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Old 01-28-2012, 03:18 PM   #1
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Fred and Wilma - They're Back and They're Child Free (Day 1 - IOA & Universal)

Thursday 26th August

Frustratingly (but not unexpectedly or unusually) I was awake at 1am, 3.30am and 4.15am. Eventually, I gave up trying to sleep (it’s over-rated anyway) and got up. Since Gary was still snoozing away (how does he do it?), I made myself comfortable in the bathroom and wrote up my trip report notes so far.

Since on-site guests get into Islands of Adventure and, more importantly, Wizarding World of Harry Potter an hour before off-site guests, we had an early start planned. It wasn’t long before Sleeping Beauty woke – that in-room tea maker was a godsend – and got ready to face the day. By 7.30, we were stepping out into a glorious morning and onto the walking path to Islands of Adventure.



We had deliberately left bags in the room and brought only a camera so we wouldn’t have to waste time getting a locker at Forbidden Journey. There was a steady stream of people entering the park by the time we arrived and we followed them anti-clockwise around to WWOHP, entering Hogsmeade next to the Hogwarts Express (I still haven’t managed to work out whether this is the ‘back’ entrance or not)



We went straight to Forbidden Journey and, with it being so early, were able to walk straight through the castle and onto the ride. I must admit, I was a little disappointed with the ride. I’m not sure whether I expected more since it had been so hyped-up or whether the giant spider put me off but, either way, I wasn’t in any great rush to do it again. We did ride again, though, and took a more leisurely stroll through Hogwarts, taking photos of the queuing area as we went. I did comment to Gary that I wouldn’t like to be in the line if it started all the way out in the greenhouse (of course, when we went in October, that’s precisely where we did join the line and, boy, that was a loooooong wait).

Love these mandrake-type plants
















Regardless of my opinion of the ride, I do think that the theming of the queue areas is amazing. So much attention to detail and, we were lucky enough the second time round, to be in the area where it snows at just the right time, which was fantastic.

After leaving Forbidden Journey, we took a quick trip on Flight of the Hippogriff. Previously the Flying Unicorn, we had only ever ridden this once as the queues were always horrendous for such a small coaster. However, with early entry and so few people around, the line was short so we took advantage. Plus, it is the only way you can get a really great view of Hagrid’s Hut.





From the Hippogriff to the Dragon’s Challenge, a favourite of ours.

Essentially this is exactly the same as when it was Duelling Dragon's with some minor changes to the queuing area.







With our room keys, we were able to get on the front of the Hungarian Horntail (blue) and the back of the Chinese Fireball (Red) before the crowds began to build up.

It was still quiet but people were beginning to arrive so we figured it was a good time to leave WWOHP.



We stopped for a bit of breakfast at Croissant Moon bakery.



We shared a ham, egg and cheese croissant and had a pastry each – apple for me and cherry for Gary. We also shared a diet coke. With AP discount, it came to $11.75.





After catching up with some old friends – Spiderman, Dr Doom and The Incredible Hulk coaster, we decided to head across to Universal. It was 10am.





Our mission at Universal was to ride Rip Ride Rockit since it had broken down the last time we were here (in October 2009) and, when it came back up, the wait was in excess of 100 minutes.

Luckily, there were hardly any lines this morning and the ride was running fine. We managed to ride twice – I chose ‘U Can’t Touch This’ by MC Hammer and ‘Born to be Wild’ by Steppenwolf as my tunes.

After RRR, we went on Revenge of the Mummy with no wait. I was absolutely loving the (technically not but really is as good as) front-of-the-line access to the rides.

The first Blues Brothers show of the day was just starting so we grabbed a cold drink and stopped to watch.





After shaking our tail feathers and singing our hearts out, we moved on to Men In Black. We rode twice, then went to The Simpsons. Neither of us are particularly fussed about this ride but thought we would take advantage while we were that side of the park. This was the longest wait we had in the whole 5 days we spent at IOA/Universal – 20 minutes.

Bonus picture of my lovely DH


It was starting to get really hot by now and, since our tactic for August park touring is to try and leave the park by early afternoon, we grabbed a lemon slush and took a slow stroll back to RPR.

Continued in the next post...
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Old 01-28-2012, 03:21 PM   #2
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We got changed into our swimming gear and grabbed a couple of loungers down by the pool. As it was really hot, we chose a half sunny (for me)/half shady (for Gary) spot next to the hot tub. We ordered a couple of cocktails from the servers who wander round the pool to cater to your every whim (I could get used to this). I had a Royal Rip Tide (I love the description of this: A crashing combination of Stolichnaya Razberi, Blue Curacao, Razzmataz, sweet & sour mix and Sprite).





Gary had an Island Colada (a classic frozen blend of pineapple, coconut and light rum). The drinks were lovely but, I must admit, I nearly had a heart attack at the price - $23.88 inc 18% gratuity (for both).

We spent a lovely couple of hours chilling by the pool and, as is usual for when we’re on Orlando, got chatting to some of the others who were doing the same, including a lovely lady with a frustrating teenage son, a cop from Arizona with an unhealthy dislike of Obama and a little girl from Stratford who wasn’t going to Walt Disney World (it was hysterical – she chatted to us for about half an hour and that was all she kept saying). When her Mum eventually came to dins her, I nearly said ‘For pity’s sake, take the poor child to Disney!’

A combination of drinking in the sun, not enough to eat and a touch of jet lag saw us retire to the room for a couple of hours in the late afternoon. However, after a short nap and a shower, we were both feeling refreshed and ready for the night ahead.

First up, we had a reservation at Margaritaville, somewhere I was really looking forward to. We were both starving, having not eaten anything since 9am.





After a short wait, we were seated upstairs. We decided to skip appetisers and go straight for the main event.

Teriyaki chicken for me. This was huge, two whole chicken breasts and a ton of chips. And it was delicious.



And ribs for Gary.



All washed down with a couple of Cosmos.



A LandShark Lager.



And a Raspberry Something-or-other.



We finished the meal with a lovely piece of key lime pie each. Absolutely stuffed, we paid the check ($85 inc tip, after AP discount) and walked down to catch the water taxi to the Hard Rock Hotel.

We had tickets for tonight’s Velvet Sessions. Held on the last Thursday of every month and described as ‘the city’s only rock’n’roll cocktail party’, this sounded right up our street. Coupled with the fact that tonight’s band were the one and only Soul Asylum (a band that most people have never heard of, including me until the release of their single ‘Runaway Train’), I was very keen to attend. So we had bought tickets a couple of weeks before leaving the UK, not really knowing what to expect.

Velvet Sessions is held, essentially, in the lobby of the Hard Rock Hotel. It was extremely busy when we arrived but we managed to grab a couple of free drinks - vodka & cranberry – and head towards the stage. We stood off to the side, chatting until the band came on. Gary went and bought a beer and picked up another free drink on his way back as he doesn’t really drink vodka so now I had three

Soul Asylum were brilliant and we actually recognised more of their songs than we thought we would.







Unfortunately, it was incredibly hot and I think I had probably had a bit too much to drink and started to feel a bit dizzy just as they were finishing up. As they were on the last song anyway, in a bid to beat the rush and get back to RPR, we left and caught the water taxi to City Walk and another one to RPR, arriving back just after 11.

We caught the end of Monday Night football (Colts v Green Bay), then it was time for lights out. What an amazing day!
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Old 01-28-2012, 04:13 PM   #3
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Oh, Joh........


We were at HRH the week before you, and Jon was highly annoyed that we were leaving Orlando 2 days before Soul Asylum played .... Not to mention the fact that you also saw Green Bay play on TV (his favourite team )


Sounds like his idea of heaven


Great day
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Old 01-28-2012, 04:59 PM   #4
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Perfect day. I went to IOA for the 1st time in December 2010 and loved it, that front of line access is perfect, especially when it's hot. Loved the look of the ribs that Gary had

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Old 01-29-2012, 05:01 AM   #5
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Gary looks like he was doing a good job of Wastin' in your Maragitaville picture.
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Old 01-29-2012, 05:13 AM   #6
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Another great day IOA is our favourite park. Can't wait to go back and see Harry Potter.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:02 AM   #7
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What a brilliant day you had!

Good music choices on RRR. I'm waaay to scared to go on that ride - but you did it twice!!

I love all your accounts of food and drink, the ribs Gary had look so tasty.
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:06 AM   #8
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Ahh, Margaritaville .... happy memories

Another great day Joh, I've heard good things about the Velvet Sessions and it sounds like you had a great evening
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:48 AM   #9
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What a great day Joh - you certainly managed to pack a lot in.

Still not been to WWOHP but it does look great.

Your chicken teryiaki looks delicious - I think that was one of my favourite things when they used to serve them in Adventureland in MK.

What a great end to a busy day - live music and cocktails

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Old 01-29-2012, 01:14 PM   #10
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That sounds like a perfect day.
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Old 02-06-2012, 10:28 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miffy2003 View Post
Oh, Joh........

We were at HRH the week before you, and Jon was highly annoyed that we were leaving Orlando 2 days before Soul Asylum played .... Not to mention the fact that you also saw Green Bay play on TV (his favourite team )

Sounds like his idea of heaven

Great day
Karen, they were really good. Gary loves live music so he would have enjoyed it anyway but we have listened to quite a bit of their stuff since and really like them. It was a fabulous day

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jets fan View Post
Perfect day. I went to IOA for the 1st time in December 2010 and loved it, that front of line access is perfect, especially when it's hot. Loved the look of the ribs that Gary had

Tina
Tina, the ribs did look good - he wouldn't let me taste though FOTL is brilliant and will definitely be a bonus with Daniel this summer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tony64 View Post
Gary looks like he was doing a good job of Wastin' in your Maragitaville picture.
And he was sober Tony - he'd only had one by then, I think

Quote:
Originally Posted by strawberry blonde View Post
Another great day IOA is our favourite park. Can't wait to go back and see Harry Potter.
Hope you get there soon Lesley. IOA is my favourite non-Disney park too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by princess_ariel_85 View Post
What a brilliant day you had!

Good music choices on RRR. I'm waaay to scared to go on that ride - but you did it twice!!

I love all your accounts of food and drink, the ribs Gary had look so tasty.
We actually rode RRR loads more times than twice. It is such a great coaster.

It's actually quite scary to look back and realise just how much we ate and drank on this trip - no wonder I managed to gain 8 lbs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda67 View Post
Ahh, Margaritaville .... happy memories

Another great day Joh, I've heard good things about the Velvet Sessions and it sounds like you had a great evening
We really liked Margaritaville and will defintiely go back. Velvet Sessions was brilliant - and free alcohol is not to be sniffed at

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tammy Stringer View Post
What a great day Joh - you certainly managed to pack a lot in.

Still not been to WWOHP but it does look great.

Your chicken teryiaki looks delicious - I think that was one of my favourite things when they used to serve them in Adventureland in MK.

What a great end to a busy day - live music and cocktails

Tam
We did fit a lot in - when I was writing it, I was thinking to myself 'I can't believe we did all of this in one day!' Live music and cocktails is a great way to end any day

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Originally Posted by Chilly View Post
That sounds like a perfect day.
It was a lovely day
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Old 02-06-2012, 01:20 PM   #12
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Great day, I am a ride wuss but promised Kieran I would take him on RRR so I did my choice of music was "I will survive "
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Old 02-07-2012, 03:09 AM   #13
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A great day although where's the photo of the key lime pie? I love key lime pie!
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Old 03-18-2012, 04:43 PM   #14
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Oh yeah this is my kind of day - bit of park hopping, pool, cocktails, food and more entertainment and drinks yayyyy

The first time and last time I rode Forbidden Journey we had an over 2 hour wait LOL and I thought it was worth it because I really wanted to ride it but the ride made me a little dizzy, I want to rid it again but will take Dramine beforehand next time!

I'd love to stay at Universal again and do all the Express Pass thingy included in the stay but Cinderfella is not that big into the coasters so not a lot of point doing that.
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Old 03-18-2012, 04:44 PM   #15
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Oh yeah this is my kind of day - bit of park hopping, pool, cocktails, food and more entertainment and drinks yayyyy

The first time and last time I rode Forbidden Journey we had an over 2 hour wait LOL and I thought it was worth it because I really wanted to ride it but the ride made me a little dizzy, I want to rid it again but will take Dramine beforehand next time!

I'd love to stay at Universal again and do all the Express Pass thingy included in the stay but Cinderfella is not that big into the coasters so not a lot of point doing that.
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