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Old 03-08-2011, 08:18 PM   #1
aml3679
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Celebrating My 50th Birthday at Hogwarts

Day 1 - My 50th Birthday - Islands of Adventure

Sorry there are not pictures yet.

Originally we were staying on site at Lowe's Royal Pacific Hotel but ended up staying off site to save some money. We splurged for the express passes which gave us front of the line access at most rides (except - HP and the Forbidden Journey and The Hollywood Rip Tide Rocket) - well worth it.

We arrived at Islands of Adventure as soon as the park opened. After we got in my husband said we needed to stop at Guest Services. When we got there - they gave me a big button that said it was my birthday - a little embarassing but fun at the same time.

We headed right to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We went straight to The Forbidden Journey and the wait was only 20 minutes. We are both on the heavier side (I am a size 20 and my husband wears an XXL) and had no problem - they have you sit in the modified seats which are on the ends. Great ride. They take your photo. We ordered the photo but did not want to carry it around - we were told to pick it up at the front of the park - they ended up losing out photos - oh well!

Then we rode Flight of the Hippogriff - nice looking but really a mild coaster meant for kids. Unless you have small children, do yourself a favor and skip it.

Next we rode on the Dragon Challenge - nice coaster.

After we rode the 3 rides, we went to the Three Broomsticks and had a butter beer and pumpkin juice. I was not a fan of the butterbeer - my husband ended up having two. He said the pumpkin juice tasted like pie - it was refreshing but I did not think it tasted like pie.

The whole area looked great. Very well done. The few stores they had were very crowded - we did end up going back the second day later in the day and the crowds were thinner. Honeydukes was fun - there are chocolate frogs at $10 each and a lot of other goodies to tempt you.

The show at Olivander's wand shop was very well done. If your child is set on a wand, it will set you back $30.

Next Seuss Landing

I loved the Dr. Seuss books and I was more excited than my husband to be there. We rode the High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride which gave you a birds eye view of all of Seuss Landing. Then we rode the caro-seuss-el: I opted for a sit down one while my DH wanted one that went up and down - I laughed so hard when he got off and said his butt was sore. The Cat in the Hat was a lot of fun. Other than that, we did not go on any of the other rides.

Marvel Super Hero Island

My DH loved the Incredible Hulk Coaster and rode twice - once was enough for me. Same with Doctor Doom's Fearfall - he though it was great, me not so much. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man was great - we both loved it and I thought it was the best ride so far.

The Lost Continent

The only thing we did here was Poseidon's Fury - it is a nice show with a special water feature.

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park River Adventure was a fun indoor roller coaster. We wanted to go on the Pteranodon Flyers but they said we needed to have a child with us - too bed.

Toon Lagoon

We went on Dudley Doo Right's Ric Shaw Falls - it is a really fast and extreme log ride - you will get absolutely drenched. It was so much fun. There are family driers you can use for $5 - they were worth it. My DH saw 4 little kids chattering their teeth and invited them to share - they were so cute and really appreciated it.

For lunch we ate at Emeril's Orlando at CitiWalk. Voted one of the best in Orlando. Service was great and it provided a much needed mid day break for both of us. Food was good. I had fried chicken (very salty), match stick potatos (yummy) and a sweet potato biscut (good and unique). My
DH had a burger which he said was really good.

Islands of Adventure was great. It can easily be done in one day. We also took advantage of Valet Parking ($25 and you can come and go as you please all day long).

RECOMMENDATIONS
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Olivander's Wand Shop Show
Dragon Challenge
High In the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride
The Cat in the Hat
Jurassic Park River Adventure
Dudley Doo Right's Ric Shaw Falls
The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man
The Incredible Hulk Coaster

If you can afford it and not staying on site, Express Passes to save time. Also Valet Parking.

If you can avoid it, do not bring in any bags. If you can were cargo shorts/pants with pockets. It saves a lot of time if you have no bags.

Pace yourself and have fun.
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Old 03-09-2011, 08:50 AM   #2
aml3679
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Day 2 and Universal Studios

Day 2 we Went to Universal Studios.

Islands of Adventure was nice, but, I loved the overall theme of US better.

The first thing we did was the Hollywood Rip Tide Rocket - I love roller coasters but this ride scared the crap out of me. My DH loved it. You have 30 seconds to get into your seat and pick the music of your choice. If you love coasters this is for you.

Next we went to Shrek 4D - we saw it when we went to Universal in California but it is still a great show. It never fails to get laughs and applause.

Next we went to New York and did Twister - it was okay - we thought it was going to be a ride but it is a show. Then the Revenge of the Mummy - it is a fun coaster. We wanted to catch the Blues Brother Show but the timing was off.

Next San Francisco - they did do a great job with theming. We were in San Francisco in September and you would really think you were there minus all the theme park merchandise. Jaws is an old classic that seems to thrill younger people but we think is should be retired. We also thought Disaster was a bit of a disappointment. This is just our opinion.

Next World Expo - Men in Black was cute - you get to zap aliens and get points. We loved the Simpsons Ride - if you can get a front seat, we think the ride is a litte better.

Next Woody Woodpecker's Kidzone - this area is really cute. There is a great play area to let kids run off some energy. We went on Woody's Nuthouse Coaster which was cute - a good coaster for little ones. I would have loved to see Animal Actors on stage but it was not open that day. There is Curious George Goes to Town which is a water park for little ones - it is really cute. The last thing we went on was ET Adventure - this was a great ride - in a strange way it reminded me of Peter Pan's Flight at Disney.

We browsed through the little shops and there was a Betty Boop store that was cute and it led to Lucy A Tribute which was some nice trivia for us baby boomers.

We were a bit tired from the day before - we headed over to City Walk for lunch. We walked by Jimmy Buffet's and there was a some Parrotts and Macaws you could get your picture with. We decided to have lunch there. It was a nice place to relax. I had one of the best sandwiches I have ever had - it was so wrong but tasted so good. A cheeseburger french dip style and I washed it down with 2 Bahama Mama's - they were tasty. My DH had a burger with 2 perfect Margueritas. They had relaxing music and having left very cold weather and a lot of snow - we felt like we were eating cheeseburgers in paradise.

After lunch we strolled around City Walk and decided to catch a movie.

Then we went to dinner at Pastamore - nice little Italian place. They also serve a kids buffet and show Shrek movies.
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Old 03-09-2011, 02:43 PM   #3
eargal
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Thanks for taking the time to post this. It sounds like a great birthday trip! I'll have to consider something similar for my upcoming new decade starting birthday.
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