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Old 09-14-2010, 08:13 AM   #31
mandas08
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Universal was one of DH and I stops on our honeymoon 2 years ago. Simpsons was by far our favorite ride. I was shocked when we were there because there weren’t any line anywhere either. We also did express but it hardly seemed necessary on most rides. Glad your trip is going so well so far

Oh and we also ate at Bubba Gumps. Our waiter’s first question was "What was the name of the actor who played Forrest Gump?" It was hilarious how long it took us to answer him, for some reason we both drew a blank...it was hilarious. It sounds like you two did MUCH better than us.
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:57 AM   #32
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I'm in! Can't wait to read all about your trip!
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Old 09-14-2010, 06:09 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Stefy View Post
Don't you just love seeing an empty park Looks like you got a lot done on arrival day How much fun is the Mummy?!? My fav ride at US

Your room looks beautiful, Portofino was a good choice then?

Roseanne doesn't look v happy does she
Loved the Mummy! It is so cool- with plenty of fire

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Your wedding dress was so beautiful!

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Awesome TR - loving the start at Universal- we're going there for our first time in a few weeks! (Well 16 days to be exact...) Can't wait to read more!
Oooh, your trip is so close! Thanks for reading, there's plenty more Universal to come!

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Originally Posted by mandas08 View Post
Universal was one of DH and I stops on our honeymoon 2 years ago. Simpsons was by far our favorite ride. I was shocked when we were there because there weren’t any line anywhere either. We also did express but it hardly seemed necessary on most rides. Glad your trip is going so well so far

Oh and we also ate at Bubba Gumps. Our waiter’s first question was "What was the name of the actor who played Forrest Gump?" It was hilarious how long it took us to answer him, for some reason we both drew a blank...it was hilarious. It sounds like you two did MUCH better than us.
The Simpsons was so well done- I didn't know what to expect and loved it!
Haha, that would be the one question I could've answered. Ben knew Forrest's hometown, among lots of other things. Including at least one trick question. I wasn't much help with the trivia.

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I'm in! Can't wait to read all about your trip!
Helloooo there! Welcome to the trip report, plenty more to go!
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Old 09-14-2010, 07:10 PM   #34
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Day 2: Beers for Breakfast!
Having passed out before 8PM the night before, it came as a surprise that we slept straight through until the alarm woke us at 7AM. I know I've said it before, but here it is again: I loved Portofino Bay. One of the best, most comfortable rooms I've ever stayed in.
We both started getting ready because we had somewhere to be: Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at 8AM for Universal Resort guests. We thought that meant we should be heading over to IOA by 7:30. So we skipped breakfast but made a couple of cups of coffee in the Keurig provided in our room (this thing was amazing, and I want one at home). This would also be the first day I wore my Crocs. Because we are dorks, we took this picture to celebrate:


Out the door of our building, we walked right onto a half empty water taxi. So much for walking over to beat the crowds! In just a few minutes, we were at IOA


There really weren't many people waiting to go in and we still had 20 minutes before the park opened. So we headed to Guest Services to find out if we could exchange our 8x11 pieces of paper for actual tickets. The girl at the counter told us that because a fee was waived to print the tickets at home, she wasn't supposed to just give us new ones. But she continued to tell us that "if" the tickets were damaged, she could. "If" that happened. So Ben ripped them and said, "oops, my tickets just got damaged."
"Oh, that sucks. Let me reprint some for you." And she handed us the nice ticket sized tickets. Thanks, nice Universal girl!

Now we got inline at a turnstile behind these nice folks.


They let us in right at 8AM. The only part of the park open was the Hogsmeade area, so that is where everyone went. Ben and I kinda moseyed along taking pictures. Some people were running, but there just weren't enough people for us to feel like we needed to rush. Even with taking our time, this is what Hogsmeade looked like:




Plenty of elbow room, no craziness at all. I felt like we were in an alternate universe.


We made it to Hogwarts!

But the ride was down. Boo. Hiss. Sadface. So we took a turn on the Dragon Challenge. I don't know what the queue area was like when this was Dueling Dragons, but I really like the Harry Potter themeing they had around the ride. I usually don't like up-side down coasters because I hit my head back and forth on the restraints. This was actually pretty smooth and I had fun!

Exiting the ride, we walked by the already pretty long line for Olivander's. I tried to explain to Ben what it was and he just couldn't understand why anyone would wait in the sun to get into a shop. I honestly couldn't, either.
We practically ran into a Butterbeer stand. I was so excited to try some!

I wanted the regular one and Ben got the frozen kind.


I thought it was so neat that the Butterbeer kept a foamy head the whole time! As for the taste, it was really sweet. It tasted like a cream soda float. I actually liked the frozen one better- it was a little less sweet. We switched and headed over to the Forbidden Journey which was now open. But I had a full frozen Butterbeer to get through. I did my best and ended up with not just a brain freeze, but a full body freeze. While I was working on my drink, we popped into the Hog's Head for a minute. It was already open, and the bartender asked what we wanted. Ben talked to him about the Hog's Head Ale and I really thought he was going to order one. Before 9AM. But he didn't and we decided to stick with our fake beer and come back later for an adult version. I will say that it was very funny to see all the kids walking around drinking 'beer'.

We got in line and walked right through. It was kinda sad to have to skip by all of the amazing things going on in Hogwarts. I knew I wanted to ride again to take in the stuff we missed. The ride is awesome. I don't want to give anything away, so I will just say that it is a very fun ride that managed to be thrilling every time I rode it.

By now it was 9AM and the park was open to all guests. The difference in crowds in Hogsmeade was unbelievable. It looked kinda like this (this was taken after lunch- picture about 10% less people for what it was like at 9)


It was claustrophobic and really uncomfortable. Now I was worried to see what the rest of the park would be like!

The rest of Day 2 will come along soon. It will include things like Star Bellied Sneetches, Spiderman private rides, and the worst ride I've ever been on (but not the worst attraction, that will happen a little later)
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Old 09-14-2010, 07:32 PM   #35
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So funny! I was debating universal just to see Harry potter but I I dont think its worth the price of tickets for 4 just to see that one thing. .
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:34 PM   #36
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Just caught up, great TR so far! I'll be WWoHP in October (but staying offsite), how long did the line for FJ get once they let everyone into the park at 9?
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:50 PM   #37
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I caught up! Great review so far... me and the hubby will be at The Universal Hard Rock on Saturday for 4 nights before heading to The Boardwalk Inn. Can't wait to read more....it is getting me even more excited. This will be the longest three days ever!
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:05 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Krisscot View Post
So funny! I was debating universal just to see Harry potter but I I dont think its worth the price of tickets for 4 just to see that one thing. .
Harry Potter is awesome, but not worth the cost of all the tickets just for that little section of the park!

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Just caught up, great TR so far! I'll be WWoHP in October (but staying offsite), how long did the line for FJ get once they let everyone into the park at 9?
Welcome and thanks for reading!
At around 9ish the line was only up to about 40 minutes. Lunchtime waits were around an hour.

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I caught up! Great review so far... me and the hubby will be at The Universal Hard Rock on Saturday for 4 nights before heading to The Boardwalk Inn. Can't wait to read more....it is getting me even more excited. This will be the longest three days ever!
Yay, that trip sounds wonderful! I hope I get far enough along in this report before you leave... in just 3 short days!
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Old 09-14-2010, 11:12 PM   #39
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Day 2: the rest of the park. Quickly
Leaving Harry Potterville at 9AM, we headed back towards the front of the park, through Seuss landing. Ben is a Dr Suess fan, his favorite stories are the Lorax and the Star Bellied Sneetches. We saw the costumes of the CMs in this area had stars on the bellies and thought it would be great if we could find a Sneetch shirt. But first we rode Cat in the Hat. It was a cute and fun ride. We were also the only ones on it.
We were disappointed to find that the merchandise sold was all Thing 1 & 2 (and 3 & 4...) with a sprinkling of Grinch thrown in. It was the same stuff we kept seeing all over the parks (this reminded us of Disney!) Seemed kind of a shame to have an entire land themed to these stories, but not selling anything unique. But Ben did get a picture with the 'Suess-y trees'


We considered Suess Landing a success and moved on to the super hero section.

The first ride you come to is that big green coaster, The Hulk. So that is where we headed. I had heard some good things about it and I was pretty sure it was a launched coaster, which are usually my favorite. This was yet another walk on and all I can say is thank goodness we did not wait for this ride. My notes about this ride were: "OUCH! Hated it" It was so painful, slamming my head back and forth in the restraints. I didn't find it thrilling or scary, it just hurt! I took a moment to recover, and when I felt up to it we headed to Spiderman.
Not only did we not wait, we had the whole car to ourselves! This was a ride that lived up to my expectations. And it had plenty of fire.

The water rides looked like a lot of fun, and people were walking around soaked. We were hot and wanted to ride, but with a camera in Ben's pocket we thought it would be smarter to come back after lunch better prepared.
We did ride Jurassic Park, because it didn't seem to be to big on the splishy-splashy.

Look, more extra fire!
This was a great ride. I love the music! We only got sprinkled, not wet at all.

We had now been in the park for a whopping 2 hours! It was 10AM and we were starving. Having only a couple of very sugary drinks for breakfast meant we were both crashing. Ben and I both get very angry when hungry. Uh oh. We tried to find something small to eat, but were just too grumpy to settle on anything. So we wandered out to City Walk, which actually took a little while because the security guy at the gate needed to talk to Ben about his shirt (Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute!). Then he had to tell us about all the great shopping in Orlando. He was really excited about the entire Timberland store at some outlet place. He talked for a long, long time. He was a nice guy, but we were hungry and sweating and not planning on doing any shopping. The funny thing is that when he was done he abruptly dismissed us as though we had been the ones keeping him!
So now we headed to CW and only had to waste almost an hour until we could eat lunch. I finally broke down and got the World's Saltiest Pretzel at a little snack kiosk. It was gross. But I ate it because hunger has no pride. After standing in Margaritaville's gift shop for a while, we finally could go in to eat. This place was fun- good atmosphere and we had a friendly server. I had the crab cake sandwich and Ben ordered fish tacos.
Having already had a beer (well, a fake one...) I figured it had to be 5 o'clock somewhere...


If the waiter hadn't carded me, I would've sworn this was a virgin margarita. Which is probably not a bad thing except that it cost $9.
This was an expensive lunch, but we were lucky to get our AAA discount- $3 dollars off! Woohoo, we're rich!

I'm glad we ate here, but probably don't need to go back.

After lunch we went back to the Portofino for more pool time. We had some drinks by the pool (great waitresses out there- super nice, very good service!) and used the water slide a bit more. We even went in the hot tub (for about 30 seconds... it was hot outside!) I was so happy to get this resort time.

Revived and relaxed, we kept our bathing suits on (I wore shorts over mine) and left the camera in the room. We were heading back to IOA for some water ride fun! Bluto's Bilgerat Barges were up first. We got drenched and had a blast. One of the best raft rides I've been on!
Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls was next. This may have been my favorite Universal ride... definitely top 3. It was funny and well themed and we got wet all over again.

The weather was hot enough that we started to dry almost immediately. We walked around back to Hogsmeade and checked out the line for Forbidden Journey. It was about an hour and we considered using the single rider line. But I really wanted to see everything in the castle, so I asked nicely if Ben would please wait with me. He's a good guy and said yes. We headed into the greenhouse area, which is pretty warm. By now I started to get a few painful spots from my Crocs. I was kinda happy to be standing still-ish in line but also ready for some A/C! We finally made it into the castle... and got to experience the best queue ever. I'm not going to talk about anything in there. Plenty of spoilers can be found if you want to know, but I really enjoyed being surprised.
The ride was still great!

The Hog's Head wasn't very busy, so we stopped in for a beer. The special ale made for this place was actually pretty good! We had fun in there- it has a great atmosphere. It made the list of things we wanted to re-do before leaving.

We headed back to Ripsaw Falls to ride one more time before leaving. On our way over there, we saw a weird and gross thing.
The Comic Strip area has a lot of water features. People were having fun playing in them and cooling off. There is one that looks like this:


The water turns on when people are in it. A correct use of this area would be something along these lines:


(We took these pictures the next day)

An incorrect use could include a lot of things. What we saw was a man holding a naked, soiled baby (I'm terrible with child ages... this was less than a toddler more than an infant) and using this fountain to clean junior's hiney. The effect was that poop water washed off the baby onto the spongy ground. Yummy.

We left the park and walked to the Royal Pacific hotel to look at it. It was nice, but more crowded than the Portofino. Definitely closer to the parks, though!
We water taxied back to CW and got to hear a bizarre fight between two adult sisters. They were arguing with each other, and with their mom who was on the phone. But they weren't sitting together, so the whole boat got to hear the exchange. When we switched boats to the Portofino, they did to! The fight continued, still across the boat from each other. Everyone was trying not to react, but we were all pretty baffled.

We ended up eating dinner at Mama Della's at the hotel. This was a very nicely decorated restaurant and turned out to have some yummy food! They brought a salad to the table that was really delicious. We shared a fried calamari appetizer. Ben had chicken Parmesan and it was really, really good. I had food envy. Mine was a ravioli dish that was good, but not amazing. Desert was a chocolate cake we split. (Again, not a cheap meal... the bank continues to suffer for the sake of our stomachs...)

After dinner, we headed to bed around 9:30PM. Pretty early for us, but we were very tired!

Up Next: Day 3: Let's do it again!
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Old 09-15-2010, 12:31 AM   #40
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The butterbeer sounds very interesting. So...not real beer? More like a cream soda? And frozen? YUM! I am loving the frozen drinks lately. I discovered the American Dream (which a snack credit can be used for) in Epcot. It was quite yummy...but a bit on the sweet side.

As for the incorrect use of the water area?!? Good grief... what was that guy thinking. I swear... so having four kids I am definitely in the "breeders" camp. People like this make those of us who do have kids (or more than a few) look bad. Yucky! I can't even imagine. I think i would have gone to a park worker to tell of the incident.
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Old 09-15-2010, 07:53 AM   #41
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I love Ben's face looking at your lunch beer! Augh I would have been grossed out to see that improper usage of the water cooling station.
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Old 09-15-2010, 09:19 AM   #42
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I am looking forward to some pool time too! Do you know if you can "pool hop" at the three Universal Resorts?
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Old 09-15-2010, 09:38 AM   #43
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I love the update-awesome!!!

I want to take the kids to Universal next year (they will be 7 & 9) and have never been. Is the Portofino hotel good for kids? I'm not sure if DH can come but we'll probably meet my mom there (she'll be ...um....68...that can't be right, that makes me....oh forget it )
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:03 AM   #44
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We definitely need to head over to IoA and see the new Harry Potter adventure! I couldn't wait and took a sneak peak on Youtube of Forbidden Journey (mostly the queing area since the ride was hard to see because it is so dark). I am SO excited and hope we get to go!!

I love your touring plan - beer before breakfast (well not real beer but still ). Portafino was one of our favorites to stay at but we decided to just take a cab or shuttle over to IoA for the day. and what's with people and arguing in front of others?!! At least you didn't let it ruin your day (and the baby thing - ick!!)
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Old 09-15-2010, 03:14 PM   #45
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Great update Looks like you had a great day at US

Love the ticket girl saying that she couldn't replace your tickets unless they were damaged wink wink!

Can't believe that line in WWoHP
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