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Old 05-06-2012, 12:54 PM   #16
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As we passed thru Suess Landing this was the first time I noticed Sneetch Beach. The Star Bellied Sneetches was one of my favorite Dr. Suess books so I loved it. Its one of those small details of Islands of Adventure that I love so much. Plus the views of the rest of the park here are great just like they were from the Jurassic Park Discovery Center. There were even Sneetches sitting in the water.









I finally caught back up with my family in the Port of Entry where they were slowly looking in some of the shop windows as they passed by. The Port of Entry was packed with people leaving the park for the day but there were still room for some ducks and birds to be wondering so close to you that you could touch them. Really if you have the time take your time ether coming or going to explore the details of the Port of Entry. That really are great.








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Old 05-06-2012, 12:56 PM   #17
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We exited the park into what was a very busy Citywalk. We were gonna stop by the Universal store out here but it was closed off as surrounding it was the staging area for the kids going to Grad Nights. Well that sucks. We did stop by the billabong store on the way out though as my brothers really wanted to check out the stuff there. We also got a better look at the mini golf course.







We made our way back to the parking garage and to our vehicle. What was nice not having to wait for the elevators in the morning was made up for the long wait to get on one in the evening. After waiting twice we finally got on the 3rd elevator and made our way back to the top of the garage where our family was already in the truck waiting for us. I snapped some pictures of the parks from up here and then we were on our way back to the hotel area. It was on this drive that we heard the "Major Lightning Storm" warning for the next day. The news really made it sound like it was the worst storm Orlando will ever see.








before heading back to the Hotel we decided to grab dinner first as Daniel would likely be hungry not long afterwards. So we drove all around the hotel area looking for what options we had for dinner. What we decided on was probably a mistake. We went to the Golden Corral. Now these things aren't the greatest back home. So I don't know what we were thinking. It was pretty expensive (over $30 for just Kiera and I) and the food was worse then back home (although there were a couple things that were alright). I guess you should always be iffy of a restaurant that has a gift shop attatched to it. Yes thats right. To exit the Golden Corral you exited thru a large generic Florida gift shop. After looking around the gift shop we finally headed back to the Hotel.




And at the Hotel was where our night ends. I think Daniel was very happy to be here where he could finally get out and sit and play. We wouldn't be going out again for the night after Daniel feed, We got ready for bed, and I transfered all the photos I took that day to the laptop. Once again on the TV they kept talking about this huge major Lightning/rain strom coming in tomorrow. Knowing this I figured maybe it would be good to grab a stroller cover and some ponchos and umbrella just incase we needed them at the parks tomorrow. We soon went to bed so that we could get the rest we needed. I would be running to Target as soon as they open in the morning to grab what we need and we had another full day ahead of us tomorrow at Universal Studios Florida.



And thats all for Day 2 at Islands of Adventure. Thanks to those taking the time to look at or read my recap. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to ask. Thanks everyone.
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Old 05-09-2012, 03:07 AM   #18
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Day 3: Universal Studios Florida Part 1


Today we would be going to Universal Studios Florida. The park would be opening today at 8am however instead of waiting outside the park waiting for it to open at 8 I would find myself waiting outside a different location. A local Target. The previous day all over the radio and tv they talked about the big storm that would be rolling thru Orlando today. A storm with a 90% chance of heavy rain. So I got up early, got ready, and left to Target to pick up a few things before heading to the park.



I got to the Target about 10 minutes prior to its 8am opening. Kinda funny that in addition to myself there were also many other tourists that were waiting for the store to open as well. When the doors opened I was suprised to find everything I was looking for right when you walk in where you not only see a large display of sunblock. But also of umbrellas and ponchos. I grabbed a few $1 ponchos and an Umbrella and then continued on to the baby section to see if I could find a stroller rain cover. Unfortunatly I couldn't find one so I just figured I would try to rig a poncho to work instead. I grabbed a some fruit for Kiera and before long I was on my way back to the hotel. I decided to skip breakfast at the hotel today though and instead grabbed breakfast for us from Chick Fila which was pretty good and much more filling then the hotels breakfast.



Back at the Hotel Kiera and Danny were almost ready to go. We were still done sooner then the rest of my family who we would be heading back to the Universal Parks with. After they grabbed breakfast we finally loaded into the vehicle and made our way back to Universal. We parked once again in the South parking structure but this time we were parked on level 4 inside. Again Kiera, Daniel and myself took the elevator while the rest of my family took the escolaters but unlike the previous day they were waiting for us at the bottom. We made our way once again thru Citywalk and but today we turned right towards Universal Studios instead of walking strait to Islands of Adventure like the majority of the crowds were.





We soon approched that trademark globe and took some photos before passing thru the magnificent archways and entered the studios. This day in the Studios was one of our sadder days of the trip as the studio park had changed since our last visit. Of course the big loss is that the Jaws attraction no longer exists. We had no idea that our ride with that great white would be our final ride on our previous trip. Also gone was the Jimmy Neutron ride which really wasn't much of a loss. Don't get me wrong i'm excited for the changes that are coming. Its just sad to see the park in the state its in with all this expansion going on.







Inside the park some characters were out for meet and greets. In addition to Woody Woodpecker there was also Curious George who we had to get a photo with. Curious George would be the first Character Daniel would ever meet so we got his (Disney) autograph book out and Daniel absolutly LOVED Curious George. He was laughing and giggling and George was so cute with him. Getting down on his level and just playing with him and taking his blanket. It was so cute.











One of the first things you notice when you walk in the park is the construction taking place on Universals newest attraction and the replacement for Jimmy Neutron. The Dispicable Me Minion Mayham ride. The only time we rode the old Jimmy Neutron was on our 2009 trip and it wasn't anything great. I remembered the old Hanna-Barabara ride being much, much better so I was happy to see it go. I also loved Dispicable Me so I'm really looking forward to the new ride. Unfortunatly we made it to the park right before the rapid finish to the showbuilding and fascade happend as a few days later (after we were done at Universal) the bricking on the house and minor touches were finished, as well as the murals all hung up. (3 weeks later now the building is out from behind walls, the shop is open, and rumors of soft openings starting any day are going around). I don't know when we will be back I really look forward to the Dispicable Me ride.







We made our way to a ride that my brothers obviously wanted to do first thing and also a ride that was closed for some "unscheduled matenance" that last time we came. The Hollwood Rip, Ride, Rockit coaster. We rode this thing back in 2009 about a month after it opened and absolutly loved it so we were dissapointed when it closed suddenly for over a month during our 2010 trip. So we were excited to give this thing a try again. The wait time posted would pretty much set the tone for the day as well as we expected the park to be fairly busy on a Saturday. However it was quite the opposite as with the park being opened for over 2 hours by this point Rockit was still only posting a 5 minute wait.

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Old 05-09-2012, 03:08 AM   #19
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We hoped in line for the coaster and the TM at the front of the line told us we would get a child swap card from the TM at the bottom of the stairs. We walked thru the whole lower level que with no wait whatsoever. However when we arrived at the stairs there was no TM to be seen. So we just walked up the stairs as we now had no clue what to do. There was finally a line waiting at the top of the stairs for the ride. By this point the line had already extended down teh stairs and into the lower que and we now saw a TM standing there. So Kiera and I walked back down to go see the TM about the child swap card. We were once again given rude stares by other guests thinking we were gonna attempt to take Daniel on the coaster. Instead the TM gave us a pass and directed us to the Elevator to reach the child swap area. I loved giving those who gave rude glairs the same rude glairs back from the child swap. My parents obviously stayed in line and rode the coaster first while we waited.







Now child swap was done differently on Rockit then other rides. As I said they gave us a pass for it allowed us to get in the child swap area. We also had to keep the pass in order to reboard after my family were done and its specifically said only those waiting and 1 other could use the pass to reride. So this turned out to be the only ride that my brothers couldn't reride with us. My family soon returned from there ride and Kiera and I made our way back to the coaster line where we were promptly put in line for the next train. Other then the Vertical lift that scares the crap out of me so much the ride was just as awesome as I remembered. I love choosing your own music and the coaster is such a blast. I know many people compain of it being pretty rough but it wasn't for us. This is a must ride at the park assuming you like coasters and the verticle lift hill doesn't scare you away.




I loved the coaster so much that I immediatly wanted to ride again. But other then my little brother Kory the rest of my family didn't want to as I guess they did have a rough car lol. They stayed in child swap while Kory and I ran down the exit and back in the enterance that was still showing a 5 minute wait. Once again we didn't reach a line until we got to the top of the stairs. While waiting a group of 5 people walked up in the single rider line that was previously empty. Single Rider was closed when we walked past so thats the reason we didn't use it. I asked those in it if it was now open and they said yes so Kory and I jumped in that line and within 2 minutes Kory was sent to a train and I was shortly behind him. As a bonus I scored the very front row of my train that soon came to a stop and we had to unload. I guess somebody that was on the train previously lost there lunch and so they had to do a quick clean up. I was waiting on the load plateform and my brother was now sitting in a line of trains waiting to come back into the station. We soon reloaded and I was on my way to a rockin good time. This time I tried not to hold on to the restraint and loved the airtime I was getting. This ride just got better trying to get the most airtime I could. After my ride we all left the coaster and had a good time looking at our videos from our previous rides.



The next ride that we went to isn't actually a ride but is a show. That show being Shrek 4d. Its a show we've done on each of our visits to both US Universal Studio parks and is in my opinion is one of the better 4d shows out there. Plus my parents obviously had never seen it. One thing I love about universal is that most of there stroller parking areas are themed as well. I loved the one for Shrek. Anyways we were able to get right in for the next show with a very little wait. During the preshow Daniel crashed in Kieras arms. Thats ok seeing as how we would need to sit in stationary seats with him anyways. My parents sat in the back of the theater while Kiera and I went to the stationary seats in the very front row. I don't know if it was just cause we were in the front but it seemed so much louder then it has before. The front row is also VERY close to the screen so your neck kind hurts by the end as well. Still it was a good show and nice to sit down and dispite being really bright and loud Daniel slept thru the whole thing.






We meet up with my family afterwards and started making our way to E.T. We timed it pretty good though as we caught Shrek, Fiona, and Donkey out for there Meet and Greet so dispite Daniel still being asleep we still got a picture taken with them.



As we stopped for a restroom break I looked around the Universal Studios Lagoon where setup and work was still taking place on Universals upcoming night time show called the Cinamatic Spectical. Many online websites complained about how the barges and waterscreens look in the lagoon during the day and I can understand the complaints. However I personally don't think they look as bad as people claim. especially with the themeing they put on the barges. Too bad the show doesn't start until after our trip is over.................







As we walked past Mel's Drive In before making our way thru Central Park to E.T. we noticed that the Lorax was also out doing a meet and greet. Dispite Daniel still being asleep we decided what the heck we would take him to see the Lorax as well. We waited in line and what do you think happened next? Right as we walk up the Lorax Daniel wakes up from his nap. And the first thing he sees is the Lorax right in his face. Kiera and I were waiting for him to have a freak out or be super scared waking up to the Lorax. Instead he got a HUGE smile and started laughing and reaching for the Lorax. He absolutly loved him. This turned out to be one of the cutest character meets of the entire trip as we got some great pictures and Daniel loved him so much. Infact as we were leaving he grabbed the Lorax's fur and wouldn't let go of him.





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Old 05-09-2012, 03:10 AM   #20
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We next arrived in Kidzone to do the only attraction there that we planned to do. The E.T. Adventure. A ride that has a soft spot in my heart as I grew up with it at the Hollywood park. Now Orlando is the only place that you can still experiance the ride. The ride was also a 5 minute wait and it didn't take long at all until we had our "passports" and we were sitting on the child swap benches. My family joked with my brother Tanner asking if he would be ok on the ride because he use to have Nightmares as toddler of E.T.




Needless to say he did fine and to our suprise once again Daniel absolutly LOVED E.T. as well. Of course i'm not refering to the ride itself. In the waiting area theres a bunch of photos from the film on the wall and a large photo of E.T. was right next to where we were sitting. Daniel went crazy for it just like he did with the characters. It was very funny.




After my family returned we then made our way for our ride to the Green Planet. I still absolutly love the forest Que for E.T. and all of its details. The ride itself I thought looked great compared to our last ride in 2009. The human animatronics could use some updating but overall the ride is still very good. Yes the Green planet scenes still get very weird like your on drugs or something and the vocal E.T. at the end could use a tune up but overall it was once again a fun, classic Dark Ride that brings back memories of my childhood. I hope this thing never leaves like many of the classics before it (or like it has at the sister parks) but with many kids these days not even knowing who E.T. is I don't know how long the ride will stay relevent.





The next ride we would be coming to would be the Simpsons ride. A ride that in my opinion held the title as the best Simulator ride out there (Back to the Future was still better). We have done every attraction so far with pretty much no wait so we were shocked when we walked up to the Simpsons and saw a posted 35 minute wait. Now if our experiance from the previous day at IOA was any indication we knew that none of the rides with a 35 minute wait were really that long. However with a family getting hungry and not wanting to be shaken up at this time we decided to skip the Simpsons for now. As we walked thru the World Expo area this was also the first time we caught the glimpse of what was at one point the Amity area and Jaws ride. So sad to see the vast nothingness thats there now.







Since we decided to skip the Simpsons we instead went to the next nearest ride. That being Men in Black. My favorite shooter type ride ever. It had a 15 minute wait posted but it wasn't even close to being that. We walked right in to the "Universe and You" preshow which was kind of dissapointing because the preshow had not already started but was already running the Men in Black recruitment speal. This preshow and recruitment is one of the most unique line experiances in any theme park and I was sad that my family missed out on it. We soon made our way thru the MIB head quarters and at the load platform we went to Child Swap while my family went on the ride. They soon returned to us where Kory was bragging about how he won and killed everyone else. He also returned with Kiera and myself to go along for our ride too. The whole ride I was killing both him and Kiera until the end when Kory got to the red button before I did and stole the bonus from me and putting him slightly ahead of me in the end. Once again meaning he bragged about it like crazy. MIB is such a great ride as I love the full sets and three demensional Aliens compared to the flat 2d cutouts of Buzz Lightyear and the 3d screens of Toy Story.







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Old 05-09-2012, 03:11 AM   #21
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Before getting lunch we figured we would peak back over to see what the wait was now at the Simpsons and instead of going down the wait time was now UP to 45 minutes. So yeah lets take a lunch break instead. Plus it was about time for Daniel to need to feed as well. My family wanted hamburgers so we decided to head over to the San Fransisco area to go to Richters Burgers. Of course to get there that ment we had to actually pass thru Amity. Its so sad seeing the nearly endless sea of walls. Its so sad to think of a classic attraction gone. However with the Rumors stating that the Former Amity area will soon become home to London and the Wizarding World expansion featuring Diagon Alley, Gringots bank, and a working Hogwarts Express I can't help but get excited for the Harry Potter Expansion being such a huge fan of the boy wizard. I look forward to visiting again when the expansion finishes (and is actually announced) and I had to toast my Butterbeer mug to the place where I will someday fill it up.









We soon arrived in San Fransisco and to Richters. This quick service only serves hamburgers and is pretty much the same as what Burger Digs had to offer the previous day in IOA. So Kiera and I once again split a double burger. The food was pretty good and filled us up. The interior of Richters is also pretty cool with some earthquake damage seeming to be present. After we were all filled up and Daniel finished with his feeding we headed back out into the park to continue our fun.







Well thats all for this minor update. Part 2 of Day 3 in Universal Studios will hopefully be up very soon. Once again thank you for taking the time reading my review and looking at my photos.
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:26 AM   #22
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Joining in! I sort of joined your PTR but fell off after having my baby. She's now just over 3 months old and we are really looking forward to our October trip with her when she'll be 8 months old. So, I absolutely love the details you have in your TR about Danny and random stuff like the airport lines and such. Very nice info, thanks! I have some random questions, hope you don't mind!

How was the stroller? We have a larger stroller I intend to take, with a nice big basket underneath, but not the lightest thing. We also have a Maclaren, but IDK which to take.

Did you bring a car seat base for the rental car + car seat? If so, how did that fare on the airplane? Did you check them with the base & seat attached? Did you gate check them or check them when checking in?

How did your wife find nursing while at the parks (sorry if this is TMI, but I also plan to nurse and am worried about constantly finding a comfy spot to do so, that is discreet, out of the sun, etc).

How was it keeping Danny cool? How did he do napping? How about in restaurants? How often did he need to feed, and in between was he fussy at all? My LO currently eats about every 2.5-3 hours and she gets fussy if she hasn't napped well after being awake for about 2 hours. I'm hoping she'll nap in the stroller or my arms but IDK how that'll be...

Great to see Danny loving the characters! I'm hoping Aria also really likes them. Love the pics of Danny with the Lorax!

Ok I think that's all for now, but looking forward to reading more!!
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:20 AM   #23
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Great report! My family likes Universal just as much as Disney too. Universal really has way more for kids than I realized - my 5 year old loves the Fievel and Curious George areas at Universal. Both of my boys have been taking Orlando trips since they were babies too.

The rumor is that they are adding another Harry Potter section in the place of Jaws - I hope so! I can't wait for more details to come out about that.
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Old 05-09-2012, 02:31 PM   #24
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Joining in on your report! Danny is just a little doll! So cute, especially his meets with Curious George & the Lorax. Looks like he was at the perfect age for a trip to USO while being under the height limits. We thought about doing at least IOA to experience WWoHP on DS's first trip, but he was 1 and a brand new walker, so we decided against it. As much as it is killing me not to have experienced HP yet, he would have been absolutely miserable being stuck in the stroller most of the day (which we did get to experience on our DHS visits! lol). I guess Danny was so little he really didn't know what he was missing out on anyway. Your pictures from there make me want to go even more! We are aiming for next year when DS will be almost 3 and should be able to ride at least a few of the attractions.

Look forward to more updates!
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:10 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imagineer5 View Post
Joining in! I sort of joined your PTR but fell off after having my baby. She's now just over 3 months old and we are really looking forward to our October trip with her when she'll be 8 months old. So, I absolutely love the details you have in your TR about Danny and random stuff like the airport lines and such. Very nice info, thanks! I have some random questions, hope you don't mind!

How was the stroller? We have a larger stroller I intend to take, with a nice big basket underneath, but not the lightest thing. We also have a Maclaren, but IDK which to take.

Did you bring a car seat base for the rental car + car seat? If so, how did that fare on the airplane? Did you check them with the base & seat attached? Did you gate check them or check them when checking in?

How did your wife find nursing while at the parks (sorry if this is TMI, but I also plan to nurse and am worried about constantly finding a comfy spot to do so, that is discreet, out of the sun, etc).

How was it keeping Danny cool? How did he do napping? How about in restaurants? How often did he need to feed, and in between was he fussy at all? My LO currently eats about every 2.5-3 hours and she gets fussy if she hasn't napped well after being awake for about 2 hours. I'm hoping she'll nap in the stroller or my arms but IDK how that'll be...

Great to see Danny loving the characters! I'm hoping Aria also really likes them. Love the pics of Danny with the Lorax!

Ok I think that's all for now, but looking forward to reading more!!
Well thanks for coming over from the PTR I did. I hope to share as much info as I can that we found out while traveling with an Infant. Unfortunatly as I get typing sometimes I'm sure some things will be left out but I hope to give as much advice as possible. Now on to the questions you asked.

1. The stroller we had was perfect for traveling. I wouldn't want to think about traveling with our larger stroller. At least not when air traveling anyways. With a larger stroller the chances of it getting damaged are much higher while flying then a small umbrella stroller is. The umbrella stroller we took is a nicer one from Babies R Us that cost around $50. Its more durable, the seat back reclines slightly, and there is a basket underneath. It also had a large storage bag and cup holders near the handle and worked great for us. We just hung the diaper bag on the back of it and pulled it off to take in to attractions with us. Although I said the seat back reclined it was only slightly and not enough if you'd like to lay the child completly down for a nap. Luckly for us Danny likes his stroller so that was never much of a problem. Had we been traveling by car we likely would have brought his larger stroller as it would have been much better in the park as we could lay him down, it would provide more shade, and have a larger basket. We just didn't want to risk damaging it while flying.

2. We did not bring the car seat base. Infact we didn't take his actual car seat with us. We borrowed an older seat from some family members that no longer used it so once again we wouldn't risk damaging it while travling on the plane. We just made sure we buckled the seat in the car as recommended by the manufacture when not using a base each day. At the parks we just left the seat sitting in the car. I wouldn't see why the base couldn't be gate checked with the car seat though so long as the base it attached to the seat once you gate check it.

3. Nursing was a bit tricky for Kiera at first but something we eventually figured out. First of all don't expect to keep your baby on there current schedule. With a 2 hour time difference from home Daniels schedule was all out of wack so we came up with a new one that he quickly adapted to. He was feed right before we left the hotel and then typically feed twice in the parks and then again before bed. We did bring the breast pump as the original plan was to pump and bottle feed but we never ended up doing that at all. I'm not sure why Kiera decided against it at the last minute. Kiera did find it kind of tough to find a quite, shaded spot at times. Also Daniel wasn't liking being under his cover when he was already hot. Universal was pretty much our trial and we learned quick. We found instead of trying to find a place that it was much easier to feed in the corner of a quick service restaurant while we ate then it was out in the sun. Also many of the child swap rooms at the attractions were great to feed in as well. Once at Disney we discovered the Baby Centers which are a God Send as Daniel finally ate great in these as they were quite and dark and in AK and DHS there were private rooms for feeding mothers. Universal does have baby centers too but we never used them so I don't know how they compare to Disney's. Anyways what i'm saying is Use the Baby Centers. I can't stress this enough. It will make for a much happier baby and mother. And Dad can enjoy some of the rides again.

4. Danny was pretty easy to keep cool. Just kept him out of the sun with the stroller cover and also a blanket drapped over to cover any spots the sun could leak thru. We also bought him some Sunglasses from Target that had a strap that wrapped around his head so he couldn't take them off. We also kept him well covered in sunblock. We kept him in the shade and took him into AC equpid buildings as much as possible. We never felt like he got too hot though other then the days We tried feeding him out in open air under the cover. Danny is a kid that doesn't like to take naps as it is so that was kinda tricky. It was obvious when he was tired and when he was we would just hold him and he would quickly fall asleep. Sometimes though we would still just crash out in the stroller. He still got his typical number of naps in and also napped for as long as he usually does (only about 30 minutes). Daniel is to the point where he will go 4-5 hours between feedings. He did great with the only fussing being when he was hungry, tired, or just wanted out of the stroller for a little bit.

5. Yes he adored all the characters and as you will see he was just as cute with all of the Disney ones as well. We are really interested to see if that changes when we go to Disneyland this fall and is over a year old.

Thanks again for following and please keep the questions coming if you have any more or if anything I said didn't make sinse.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fluff724 View Post
Great report! My family likes Universal just as much as Disney too. Universal really has way more for kids than I realized - my 5 year old loves the Fievel and Curious George areas at Universal. Both of my boys have been taking Orlando trips since they were babies too.

The rumor is that they are adding another Harry Potter section in the place of Jaws - I hope so! I can't wait for more details to come out about that.
Yes i've always loved Universal as well. Especially the Orlando Resort. The Wizarding World Expansion just made it even better. I think I love it for the exact same reasons I love the Disneyland Resort. That its smaller, great rides, everything is very close, and you can bounce around the whole resort in a day. We joke that our kids will never know a Disney Trip without a Universal trip as well. Especially since the Wizarding World is also being built in California now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by khertz View Post
Joining in on your report! Danny is just a little doll! So cute, especially his meets with Curious George & the Lorax. Looks like he was at the perfect age for a trip to USO while being under the height limits. We thought about doing at least IOA to experience WWoHP on DS's first trip, but he was 1 and a brand new walker, so we decided against it. As much as it is killing me not to have experienced HP yet, he would have been absolutely miserable being stuck in the stroller most of the day (which we did get to experience on our DHS visits! lol). I guess Danny was so little he really didn't know what he was missing out on anyway. Your pictures from there make me want to go even more! We are aiming for next year when DS will be almost 3 and should be able to ride at least a few of the attractions.

Look forward to more updates!
He really was the perfect age. He liked seeing all the different sites and obviously didn't mind having to wait it out in Child Swap room. However if you had older children who knew a difference this could obviously be a problem and thats why Disney's Rider Swap works better for older children. However for younger Universals Child Swap was better in our opinion but I'll discuss that all in more detail later on.

Thanks again everyone. Please keep the questions and comments coming if you have any. I'd love to share what I can.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:44 AM   #26
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Well thanks for coming over from the PTR I did. I hope to share as much info as I can that we found out while traveling with an Infant. Unfortunatly as I get typing sometimes I'm sure some things will be left out but I hope to give as much advice as possible. Now on to the questions you asked.

1. The stroller we had was perfect for traveling. I wouldn't want to think about traveling with our larger stroller. At least not when air traveling anyways. With a larger stroller the chances of it getting damaged are much higher while flying then a small umbrella stroller is. The umbrella stroller we took is a nicer one from Babies R Us that cost around $50. Its more durable, the seat back reclines slightly, and there is a basket underneath. It also had a large storage bag and cup holders near the handle and worked great for us. We just hung the diaper bag on the back of it and pulled it off to take in to attractions with us. Although I said the seat back reclined it was only slightly and not enough if you'd like to lay the child completly down for a nap. Luckly for us Danny likes his stroller so that was never much of a problem. Had we been traveling by car we likely would have brought his larger stroller as it would have been much better in the park as we could lay him down, it would provide more shade, and have a larger basket. We just didn't want to risk damaging it while flying.

2. We did not bring the car seat base. Infact we didn't take his actual car seat with us. We borrowed an older seat from some family members that no longer used it so once again we wouldn't risk damaging it while travling on the plane. We just made sure we buckled the seat in the car as recommended by the manufacture when not using a base each day. At the parks we just left the seat sitting in the car. I wouldn't see why the base couldn't be gate checked with the car seat though so long as the base it attached to the seat once you gate check it.

3. Nursing was a bit tricky for Kiera at first but something we eventually figured out. First of all don't expect to keep your baby on there current schedule. With a 2 hour time difference from home Daniels schedule was all out of wack so we came up with a new one that he quickly adapted to. He was feed right before we left the hotel and then typically feed twice in the parks and then again before bed. We did bring the breast pump as the original plan was to pump and bottle feed but we never ended up doing that at all. I'm not sure why Kiera decided against it at the last minute. Kiera did find it kind of tough to find a quite, shaded spot at times. Also Daniel wasn't liking being under his cover when he was already hot. Universal was pretty much our trial and we learned quick. We found instead of trying to find a place that it was much easier to feed in the corner of a quick service restaurant while we ate then it was out in the sun. Also many of the child swap rooms at the attractions were great to feed in as well. Once at Disney we discovered the Baby Centers which are a God Send as Daniel finally ate great in these as they were quite and dark and in AK and DHS there were private rooms for feeding mothers. Universal does have baby centers too but we never used them so I don't know how they compare to Disney's. Anyways what i'm saying is Use the Baby Centers. I can't stress this enough. It will make for a much happier baby and mother. And Dad can enjoy some of the rides again.

4. Danny was pretty easy to keep cool. Just kept him out of the sun with the stroller cover and also a blanket drapped over to cover any spots the sun could leak thru. We also bought him some Sunglasses from Target that had a strap that wrapped around his head so he couldn't take them off. We also kept him well covered in sunblock. We kept him in the shade and took him into AC equpid buildings as much as possible. We never felt like he got too hot though other then the days We tried feeding him out in open air under the cover. Danny is a kid that doesn't like to take naps as it is so that was kinda tricky. It was obvious when he was tired and when he was we would just hold him and he would quickly fall asleep. Sometimes though we would still just crash out in the stroller. He still got his typical number of naps in and also napped for as long as he usually does (only about 30 minutes). Daniel is to the point where he will go 4-5 hours between feedings. He did great with the only fussing being when he was hungry, tired, or just wanted out of the stroller for a little bit.

5. Yes he adored all the characters and as you will see he was just as cute with all of the Disney ones as well. We are really interested to see if that changes when we go to Disneyland this fall and is over a year old.

Thanks again for following and please keep the questions coming if you have any more or if anything I said didn't make sinse.
Thanks so much for answering my questions! It was nice that you had those extra set of hands for the rides and such, since it will just be my DH and I with our LO for the whole trip. We are still undecided (swaying towards no) on going to Universal. I forgot to mention that I LOVE all your HP antecdotes - I am a huge HP fan and loved WWOHP. That and Spiderman are the only reasons I'd go to Universal THIS trip - when Aria is older I will definitely want to go. I am really not a fan of Universal though, just IOA. Though the new Despicable Me ride might change that - I'm watching for reports on that.

Glad to hear nursing went well overall, though I can see how being hot under a cover wouldn't work out so well in super hot Orlando. Sorry to ask for logistics, but since Aria will be just about your Danny's age during our trip - how proficient is Danny at eating compared to when he was younger? Like, does Keira have to do all the work (holding him, keeping him latched, etc) or is he pretty good at getting what he needs while she just makes sure he isn't falling off? On my PTR a couple people mentioned that as babies get older they can sort of sit themselves up and "feed" themselves a bit more vs. being held up and kept latched and all that. Sorry if this question doesnt make sense or if you think it's too personal...LOL...I guess since having a baby nothing is too personal for me now!

Your thoughts on the stroller make me still want to bring my big one...besides being worried about it on the plane, it sounds like the main things would really make it worthwhile - like the full recline (might make staying out late and still getting her to sleep easier) and the huge canopy. Our maclaren is nice but not that great of a canopy, the storage sucks, and there is just a little recline. I think your stroller looks a little bigger/more substantial than our Maclaren, which makes me think I'd really like to have the big one. We have a Baby Jogger City Select, if you're familiar with that.

The car seat is a great idea, but IDK how we'd get an older model. I guess the base really isn't necessary though, since she'll just be in our rental car, so there's no need for ease of taking it in and out. It's not like we'll keep her in the car seat during the day anyway...

We also bought Aria some sunglasses like that, have a SPF blanket, and a stroller clip on fan. I just worry about those hot days, but you're right - there's a lot of AC to be had

Thanks, and I look forward to reading more!
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Old 05-11-2012, 03:17 AM   #27
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Day 3: Universal Studios Florida Part 2


After we finished with Lunch we decided to head in to the New York section of the park. And of course that also means we would be making our way to what in my opinion is the best attraction in the park. Revenge of the Mummy.









It was at the Mummy where we would end up having the longest wait of the entire day. Posted wait said 25 minutes and that was pretty much exactly what the wait turned out to be. Not only was the wait the longest of the day but it was also the longest that we have ever waited at all to ride the attraction. I don't know what it was about the Mummys "Egyptian" section of the que but Daniel absolutly loved it constantly laughing and having a blast.








We soon reached the load platform so of course we would be heading to Child swap while my family rode the ride. I was pretty suprised that find a TV in here just like the Forbidden Journey that was playing one of the Mummy cartoons. My parents soon finished there ride and they thought it was very cool. My brothers once again came along with Kiera and I for a reride while my parents watched Daniel. The ride was just as great as it was last time we visited and is not only the best ride in the park but also one of the best rides in the entire resort and all of the Orlando parks. I love it every time and I could never get enough of it. Do not miss this thing if you like dark rides and coasters.

After the Mummy we started heading back to the San Fransisco area so that we could do the Disaster attraction. However on the way there my brother Kory saw the New York wall climbing. The previous day in Islands of Adventure Kory saw the climbing wall set up in Jurassic Park and wanted to do it. I told him to wait though until he saw this New York one as I though it seemed much cooler and much more unique. So when he saw it he started begging to do it and my parents let him. He got to do two climbs up the wall on different paths and made it to the top each time. He had a lot of fun doing it. There was also a little girl doing it when he was and the poor thing scared half to death and froze about half way up. The TM's working the wall were nice enough to help her down though.










After Kory finished his climbing we started to go to Disaster but once again we would be making a stop. A few weeks earlier Universal removed and relocated Amity's famous big fish. That big great white shark photo op with Jaws. He is now located on one of the San Fransisco Docks across from the restrooms. Honestly I like how the sharks surrounds look now and think it looks better then it did in the middle of Amity square. A photo with Jaws is a must on each trip and i'm glad they kept this around as i'm sure stories of the old Jaws ride will be told by many to there children who will never get to experiance it.




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Old 05-11-2012, 03:19 AM   #28
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We finally made it to Disaster which was showing a 15 minute wait. Now you might remember me talking about this "HUGE" storm that was suppose to hit Orlando today. Well if you havn't guessed by now we havn't seen anything resembling a storm yet. Yes it was fairly overcast but so far there hasn't been a drop of rain that fallin and no rides have shut down due to lightning in the area. Well that looked like it might change while we could be in Disaster as its a very long attraction and the clouds in the sky were starting to get very dark. So I quickly pulled out a poncho and wrapped the stroller up with it so it wouldn't get wet. The poncho idea actually worked out fairly well.



Now one thing you should know is that Disaster has no height limit. We assumed then that this could be the first ride that Daniel could actually do. We were wrong. Even though there is no height limit they still told us Daniel was too little to go on the ride portion and we would have to do child swap. However he was fine for the show portions. I really wish that the signs or even Universals website mentioned this as we weren't expecting it. Just add it to the list of nothing Infants can do at Universal. So when traveling to Universal with an Infant keep that in mind.




We hadn't done Disaster since our visit in 2009. Its a fun attraction thats worth checking out if you have time to but I wouldn't classify it a "Must see". The attraction has multipule preshows. The first is when you introduced to Disaster Studios and people are picked from the audiance to particpate in helping film a movie. The next area you meet the owner of the studios who explains whats going on today. The owner is made visible using Musslon Effect just like Dumbledor, Harry Potter, and his Friends in the Forbidden Journey and is pulled off really cool especially how it interacts with the live assistant. The next section they actually film small segments featuring those picked for the film. You are then all picked to participate in the final film sequence during and Earthquake. This is the point in the ride where we would have to go to the Child Swap room while my family rode. This section is what was the old Earthquake ride. They must not get too many people here doing Child Swap because they were very suprised when we told them we needed to do it. None the less they still had a room for us to sit in.



A few minutes later my family came back from there ride. My mom said she remembered Earthquake being a lot better back in the day. It was now our turn and we were directed to sit in the train and wait until the next show would join us. It seemed to take much longer then our group did and when they did join us the group was a lot smaller then ours. We soon dispatched though and found ourselves in the subway as the earthquake started. It still a very fun effect and all that happens still amazes me. I'd love to see how the ride reset itself (It was very interesting sitting in the child swap room and hearing everything happening echo down the subway back to the station where we were). I also forgot how much this ride shook around. I could diffently see why it wouldn't be a good idea to have an infant on it. The ride was over and on the way back to the station they show you the "movie trailer" for the movie you just made. Its very fun and a lot of fun however when you do child swap you miss out on part of the fun as you no longer see the trailer for the group you saw being filmed.



Although it looked like it was gonna rain when we went in to Disaster it never actually did. However the sky was still fairly dark and we still had one attraction left that we wanted to do in the park. The Simpsons Ride. We made our way back thru the Harry Potter Expansion........ Wait i'm sorry, Thats not confirmed yet lol. The Former Amity area is what I meant and across the bridge and found ourselves back at the Simpsons ride that was showing a much more favorible wait time then it was early now showing only a 15 minute wait. I parked the stroller, made sure the poncho was secure, and we entered the que. I love the Simpsons and absolutly love everything about this ride. Especially the original que videos. And finally after 7 rides on this thing I finally go to see the Back to the Future portion of the que video. Inside the building Kiera and I went to Child Swap again while my family went on the ride. When they returned they didn't look to great as they couldn't take the motion too well. My step dad and brother Tanner actually had to leave the building to get some fresh air they were feeling so bad. Needless to say my brothers did not reride with us lol.



I said we've rode this ride many times before but we pulled the wrong straw for this ride as it would unfortunatly be the worst ride yet. Not because we got sick or the motion but because of the location of our ride vehicle. We were on the bottom floor in the far left corner. Possibly the worst vehicle you can be in as 2nd or 3rd level and center are the best spots to be. Still the ride was a blast and alot of fun. Now for years i've raved about how this is the best simulator out there with the only simulator that was better being the one it replaced in Back to the Future. However later in the week we got to experiance an updated classic in Star Tours 2. Does Simpsons still hold up as the top Simulator in my opinion? Well your just gonna have to wait and see as I'm not gonna say right now.




As we exited the Simpsons the rain had finally paid a visit as everything now was soaking wet. What few people were out and about running around were already wearing ponchos. Tanner and my Step Dad were keeping out of the rain right outside the Simpsons exit under some cover. Although the rain was now fairly mellow they told us that a few minutes earlier it was a complete down pour of rain that made everything wet but also emptied out the park incrdible quick as there were seriously very few people still walking around. We grabbed the stroller which thanks to the poncho cover was still dry and grabbed our umbrillas and started to make our way to the front of the park. Not long after walking though the rain stopped and our umbrellas were put away for the remainder of the trip.




As we were walking thru the World Expo area Tanner stopped and wanted to get a Turkey Leg since the park wouldn't be open for too much longer. The park would once again be closing at 6pm today due to more Grad Nights taking place. My parents did buy him a Turkey Leg that he ended up sharing with all of us. I was planning on buying one at somepoint later at Disney but this was the first time I actually tried one. It was different then I thought it would be and taisted more like smoked ham then it did turkey. Still it was pretty good buts its something that could likely feed 2 people.




We made our way thru a very empty Hollywood on our way to the exit. I love all the details in the Hollywood section and honestly don't know why the parks original designers didn't make this area the parks entry area as it would have been much nicer and grand like Disney's Hollywood studios instead of the bland soundstages that are the parks entry area. During the day time this is where your likely to find most of the character meet and greets.





Knowing that the Universal Store in Citywalk would likely be closed off again because of the Grad Nights staging area and this being my families last time in the Universal parks on this trip we decided to stop by the Universal Store in the Studios instead to see if theres anything they wanted (plus to give us an idea of anything we would want). We spent alot of time looking around at more of the Harry Potter stuff thats there, and especially all the new fun Dispicable Me stuff but we wouldn't be buying anything at this time. While my family still looked Kiera and I were waiting for them when Daniel started to fuss as it was once again feeding time. Kiera decided she would start feeding while I went to see how long my family would still be looking around. Well I couldn't find them anywhere after circling the shop multipule times. I finally found my Step Dads and brothers waiting outside a different exit waiting for Kiera and I. Not long after I found them my mom finished buying some things from the Candy Store and we exited the Studios in to City Walk.



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Old 05-11-2012, 03:20 AM   #29
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We hurried thru Citywalk as Kiera was still feeding Daniel and was doing so while walking. Yes its hard for her to do but the kid is weird and will sometimes feed best when she is standing and walking. Prior to the vacation I thought we would spend a little more time in Citywalk then we actually did. I thought one night we would give the mini golf a try but the reality of it was we were just way too tired to after long days in the parks. We also hoped that we could have gone back to IOA today to get some more butterbeer and take another ride on ether the Forbidden Journey or Spiderman but we wouldn't make it before the park closed. Oh well at least Kiera and I would have one more day in the Universal Parks tomorrow. Universal Studios is still alot of fun but it doesn't seem as great as it use to with all the construction and changes taking place. However once all these things are done the park is going to be amazing. I just really wish they would add more ride that the entire family can do together.







On our way back to the hotel the Rain started coming down again but would once again stop before arriving at the Hotel. Since my parents were drained from there long days at the parks they wanted to take a long break before going out to dinner. We agreed as we looked forward to relaxing for a little bit too and also wanted to soak our feet in the Hot Tub. The boys really wanted to Swim so as soon as we got back they changed and went down. We did as well only to find the biggest dissapointment about the hotel we stayed at. There was NO hot tub. What we thought was the Hot Tube was just a kiddie pool. it was really sad as we loved to just soak our feet at past hotels after long days in the parks. I guess you have to give up something though for cheap rates like we got.





After spending some time at the pool we decided to go back to the hotel room and relax. But first we went to the top floor of the Hotel as I heard you could see Expedition Everest from there. Well sure enough you could. Wow what a big building. It was much larger and more visible then I expected it to be. But then again our hotel was only like 1 mile from the Animal Kingdom.




After resting and watching TV for a couple hours we finally left to go to dinner. Our final dinner with my family before they would be heading home in the morning. For dinner they were crazing Mexican Food. They found a location located in Kissimee so we figured we would give it a try. Well we were never actually able to find the place at we found ourselves in a pretty sketchy looking area. So we decided we would find something else to eat. On the GPS we were able to find a Chevys Mexican Restuarant and decided to go there for dinner. We were able to get right in and had a great meal.



We use to have these back home but no longer do. The food was pretty good and the prices very reasonable. Tanners birthday was 2 days away but they let us celebrate it anyways and the brought him out a dessert and a sumbraro and sang to him. The best part is they let him keep the sumbraro as well. They also have people who walk around and make balloon animals which Kory wanted to have one done. The guy who made it was very interesting and knowladgebly and had a great talent. Kory decided to have a Penguin made that he could purch on his Shoulder.




We were actually suprised that Daniel fell asleep in the car and slept all the way thru dinner. We knew that he would be hungry when he woke up and since he only naps for around 30 minutes we didn't think he would be too happy if he woke up with us at dinner and had to wait to eat. So we were very shocked to see him sleep for over 1 1/2 hours but it ended up working great as he woke up shortly after returning to the hotel for the night.

Another day of our great vacation had come to an end. The final full day that we would have to spend with my family. We had one more day ahead of us at the Universal Orlando Resort however we would be taking that day slow as we had other things in addition to the parks that we wanted to do. Plus we wouldn't mind sleeping in a little bit and taking our time to get to the parks. All we knew was now the real fun would begin as we wouldn't have parents and family with us to help take care of Daniel.

Will we be able to handle Daniel in the parks by ourselves for the rest of the trip? You'll have to wait to find out.


Well thats all for Day 3. Thanks again to everyone who is reading and following along.
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:33 AM   #30
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We are definitely huge fans of The Mummy attraction too! We missed out on it for so long because we had no idea what it was, then on our honeymoon we decided to give it a try right as we were leaving the park on our last day. We couldn't believe we had been missing out on such a great attraction!! How cute that Danny loved the queue!

Great to see that they left the big Jaws up. That's a must have picture for all of our US trips. Hopefully they end up leaving it!

Where you sit for The Simpsons definitely impacts the enjoyment of the ride! We got a first row seat that just felt way too close to the screen, and even with Dramamine in my system, I was pretty messed up. Sat in the back in a car that was evidently a little further away from the screen the second time and had a much more enjoyable ride. It is a really great simulator attraction though! And my DH just loves the Simpsons, so he loves the attraction too. You really feel like you're on a roller coaster!

I have really enjoyed your pictures & experiences from Universal Studios. We have always included it in every Disney trip up until last year, so it was a bummer to miss out on it. We are skipping it again this year but hopefully will be back next year. I think it's really underrated! We have always had nothing but a great experience there!

Look forward to more!
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