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Old 02-02-2013, 01:22 PM   #166
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Day 4 Part 11 - From Fantasy to Hauntings to the Closing Time Shuffle

The evil Ursula hatches her plan!





Ariel’s voice is captured



Quick fast forward to Eric and Ariel in the “Kiss the Girl” scene



We have some turmoil and then Ursula is vanquished



A silhouette smooch



The last scene is a big celebration





The happy couple





Triton gives his blessing



Farewell all!



We gathered ourselves up and headed back out. On the way out I snapped a pic of the cool masthead they did of Ariel outside the attraction



As we came out of the new area of Fantasyland we ran into Lady Tremaine, Drizella, Anastasia, Cinderella, and Prince Charming.



The wicked stepmother and stepsisters were one of our best character interactions with the girls back in 2008 so I had really wanted to see how it would go with them. Sadly as you can see they were packing it up – we missed our window of opportunity with them :-[

So we kept walking and took a ride on Peter Pan’s flight. No pics in there, it is such a dark ride and I just wanted to sit back and enjoy riding it with Roxy. By the time we got off it was just shy of 11:45pm so it was decision time on our last ride. Due to proximity and good fun we chose Haunted Mansion as the end to our attraction evening.

Hello gents



We took the express route but I stopped to take a couple of pics of the interactive route





The ride itself only broke down once – whoohoo. So a bit after midnight we found ourselves walking back towards the hub. I stopped for the obligatory ‘reflection’ shots of the castle





At the hub I took a shot of the castle and of the fam









Gotta have the shot of the Partners



A bit farther on we came across our first PP photographer




Next up we end our very long day


Click here for the next Chapter:
Day 4 Part 12 - The End of a Very Long Day
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Old 02-02-2013, 01:23 PM   #167
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Day 4 Part 12 - The End of a Very Long Day

Main Street looked very magical and Christmassy





Snow!





And on we went with the flow of tired guests



One more shot of the Contemporary – a bit clearer than the one I caught on the way in



We made it back to our room right about 1am. We were all exhausted and shuffled through the process of showers, bathroom stuff, and PJs. I transferred some pictures, got money and clothes ready for the next day, and put away the lanyards as Universal was our destination.

I can guarantee one thing; we were not going to get up early in the morning!


Click here for the next Chapter:
Stepping Back in Time at Universal Orlando!
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Old 02-02-2013, 03:47 PM   #168
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Mermaid ride looks nice. It wasn't open yet on our last trip. Will have to check it out next time

Love the castle shots in the water


The photopass Snow pic is awesome


Good call sleeping in later tomorrow. Think everyone needs a good nights sleep, especially Bean. Hope she regains some energy next day
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Old 02-02-2013, 07:11 PM   #169
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The mermaid ride is pretty much the same as the one in Disneyland or should I say~~Disney's California Adventure. It's a fun little ride & colorful.

Love the pics (especially the reflection ones) of the castle all lit up!!
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:07 PM   #170
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trentmom View Post
Mermaid ride looks nice. It wasn't open yet on our last trip. Will have to check it out next time

Love the castle shots in the water


The photopass Snow pic is awesome


Good call sleeping in later tomorrow. Think everyone needs a good nights sleep, especially Bean. Hope she regains some energy next day

It is very cute, a good ride for the wee ones and anyone who enjoys the story. Probably along the caliber of the Nemo ride in FutureWorld.

I can't get enough of those castle shots myself. This was our first time seeing the castle decorated like this so it was a real treat.

Thank you on the snow pic, it was funny because I looked at the weather back at home that day and it was really snowing there

Yes, sleep was a good thing and much needed for all. Bean bounces back pretty quickly, especially when there is a theme park that she has never experienced to look forward to

Quote:
Originally Posted by DizNee Luver View Post
The mermaid ride is pretty much the same as the one in Disneyland or should I say~~Disney's California Adventure. It's a fun little ride & colorful.

Love the pics (especially the reflection ones) of the castle all lit up!!
I had seen the pics of the one at CA and yup, seems to be the same ride except the facade outside.

Thank you on the pics, more to come!
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:07 PM   #171
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Stepping Back in Time at Universal Orlando!

Hello All!

I was about to start Day 5 of our little Holiday Adventure when I realized I could only do this piece properly by taking you on a little trip back in time first. Set your Wayback Machine to October of 2002, a decade earlier than this adventure. We had planned a big family vacation to Georgia where my family is and Florida where my great aunt has an oceanfront apartment and where we also wanted to do some theme parking.

We visited with family for a week in Georgia and had a nice time. Then my fam and my mom packed up and drove to Destin, Florida on the gulf coast. The apartment our family has use of is very cool being right on the beach in a hi-rise complex. My great aunt keeps it fully stocked other than perishables and has an updated sign-up sheet. You just have to pick a time with decent notice so she can send you the keys. Weve only used it that once but it was a lot of fun. We even had a front row seat to Hurricane Lili as it stormed across the gulf on its way to Louisiana!

Heres a shot of the girls and I having fun in the water




After 5 days there we packed up and hit the road for Orlando. Now you may think that for the girls first big theme park experience that Disney would have been a no-brainer. But my little ladies were only 3 and 6yrs old at the time. I did a bunch of research before the trip on which parks offered the most rides & kid activities for their height range. The info came back with more rides at Universal. Adding that to the price difference and the limited timeframe of 2 days we were going to have to give the Mouse a pass this time.

We made pretty good time and checked in at our hotel which had been provided by my mom. Unfortunately due to a logistical snafu she got us a hotel basically at the front door to WDW. So every morning we had to jump on I-4 and drive past the Disney exits and on to Universal. Go figure.

Our first day we went straight to Seuss landing, which the girls loved. First stop was to take a ride on a little cow bug thing.



PumpkinGirl on the egg



They rode the Seuss Go Round several times





Then it was on to the Cat in the Hat ride I think we ended up riding that one at least 10 times



Onto the Lost Continent and PumpkinGirl met up with Princesses and Sorceresses



No WWoHP back then so we walked past what was then called the Twin Dragons and rode what was then the little Unicorn coaster. Next up was Jurassic Park and a meeting with a big beasty!



We watched a baby dinosaur hatch which the girls were amazed by. Then we moved on to River Adventure. Here we had a big meltdown as wee little Bean was too short to ride it :-[ I stayed with her while the rest of the fam took the ride



Then Roxy and I switched out and I rode it with my mom and PumpkinGirl. Bean was distraught over missing that ride for the rest of the trip and basically for the following decade - lol. We came into Toon Landing and she was consoled by Olive Oil



We did the water rides and moved on to Marvel Island. At that time Spiderman was a very new ride so the lines were loooong. We braved it once or twice I think and moved on back to Seuss Landing the girls needed more Cat in the Hat. We also took a ride on One Fish Two Fish. A ride attendant was nice enough to take a pic of the whole fam



Day 2 brought us to Universal proper. On our way we took a moment to hang ten



In the park PumpkinGirl had a run-in with Doc Brown



Then it was on to Barney and Friends. I have to show the girls the evidence to prove that A) They liked Barney and B) They actually liked to wear pink at some point in their lives!





Then it was on to the E.T. Ride. Bean fell in love with this ride in a big way and we ended up riding it 7 or 8 times total. Here we are in line, aren't they cute?



On down the set streets we came across the Ghostbusters car!



And a car more the girl's size



Somewhere in here we did Earthquake, T2, King Kong, and Jaws no pics from them apparently. On past them was the Back to the Future ride (now The Simpsons) including the DeLorean



From there we of course headed to MiB, which we rode several times. I remember actually getting a tech call and helping through a network/server issue on the phone to work while in line for that one.



Our day wound down with a trip back towards the front and some great character interactions





As you can see the Rugrats were still big at this point in time





Hey look, its SpongeBob!!!!



We always left as soon as it started getting dark as they were doing the Halloween stuff and it freaked out the girls. I remember us being offered free jello shots by zombie schoolgirls on our way out that last night.

We had two full fun days there and a nice extended visit with my mom. We went back to the hotel that night for showers and sleep, and got up the next day for the long drive back to Atlanta and our flight home. I remember that flight was the last time in my life that I flew on a plane that actually had empty seats. It was a 747 and the last dozen rows were open so we were able to literally lie down and take naps on the flight from there back west.

So here we are, literally a decade later. Now Roxy and I had been there the previous April as part of my birthday trip so we knew the lay of the land. But the girls were REALLY chomping at the bit to get back to their first real theme park and of course experience TWWoHP. So brace yourselves for my next installments reflecting our familys return to Universal w00t!

Thanks for joining me on my little trip back in time! Oh, and as a little statistical aside, this post brings my pic count over 1,000!!!!


Click here for the next Chapter:
Day 5 Part 1 - The Girls Return to Whoville after a Decade Away!
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Old 02-04-2013, 05:17 PM   #172
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Day 5 Part 1 - The Girls Return to Whoville after a Decade Away!

So as you know we came in late the night before (technically that morning) from MVMCP and the family slept until nearly 10am. I got up a bit earlier, maybe 9am and went down to the food court, grabbed breakfast, and tinkered with photos. When the ladies woke up I took their breakfast orders and brought them back to the room.

I had set a 10:25am pick-up for MEARS but was set to bump that to 11:25am if needed. But the family, Bean included, were energetic and ready to hit Universal! So down we went to the pick-up area for MEARS and took our ride to the park. We stopped at the Caribbean Beach resort to pick up a couple more passengers and I snapped a quick pic of the great wreath they had at that entrance



We did the big drive to Universal and pulled in around 11:15am. After unloading ourselves and waiting for Roxys ECV to get pulled out from the cargo hold underneath we hit the elevator on up. It brings us right to the security checkpoint, which went fast and off we went on the moving sidewalks.

Well the girls and I on the moving sidewalks



And Roxy zooming along beside us that ECV could get up and move!



As we went along I caught a quick pic of the monster house on the put-put course beneath the sky bridge. Very reminiscent of Grus house in my opinion.



Yay, we made it!



Coming in we stopped at the big wave







By comparison heres that pic from 10 years previous at the same spot. I think the old wave looked a lot cooler than the one they have now. My how PumpkinGirl has grown though!



We would of course be repeating our route from that last time and made a beeline for IA





We went to guest services and picked up our park tickets and meal deal tickets for the three days we would be spending here. For anyone contemplating it I highly recommend the meal deal there, only $20 per person per day for all you can eat at 3 QS-style restaurants in each park.

As you can see the crowds were very low coming into the market area



The market area had some great prop vehicles to pose on and the girls were actually motivated to pose in them!





Bean liked the leopard



I had tried to get a panorama of this area last time and didnt have the right angle for it to look good. This time turned out a lot better. See if you can spot the oddity in the picture ;-]



More fun pics on prop vehicles





And there it was Seuss Landing!



The girls probably werent quite as excited about this island as they were last time, but they were still happy





It was Christmas-time in Whoville



Including a sleeping Who!



The girls then ran into some more energetic Whos to frolic with!






Next up we take a quick tour of Whoville, wander the Lost Continent, and the girls say hello to the fountain!


Click here for the next Chapter:
Day 5 Part 2 - More Seussian Fun and The Girls Meet a Playful Fountain
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Old 02-04-2013, 10:37 PM   #173
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I spotted the oddity in that photo - Bean is both on the left and right of the pic!

I would love to visit Universal Studios soon! Whoville looks like so much fun
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:35 AM   #174
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Enjoyed the flashback trip to Universal

Bean and pumpkin girl so tiny and cute and in pink


Poor Bean not being able to go on River ride....


I have a pic of Steve and me sitting on that Flinstone Car....loved that thing

Glad everyone seems to be doing well this morning for Universal

I noticed the oddity too

Looked like two beans in the pic, plus another one with just her hat

Plus there were the lady in purple in that pic 3 times
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:30 AM   #175
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heaven2dc View Post
I spotted the oddity in that photo - Bean is both on the left and right of the pic!

I would love to visit Universal Studios soon! Whoville looks like so much fun
Good call on the double Bean! Whoville was very cool at Christmas - it was the first time I've been there with actual Whos!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Trentmom View Post
Enjoyed the flashback trip to Universal

Bean and pumpkin girl so tiny and cute and in pink


Poor Bean not being able to go on River ride....


I have a pic of Steve and me sitting on that Flinstone Car....loved that thing

Glad everyone seems to be doing well this morning for Universal

I noticed the oddity too

Looked like two beans in the pic, plus another one with just her hat

Plus there were the lady in purple in that pic 3 times
They were cute little girls, still are but you can't tell them that

Bean was so sad about the river adventure ride, but she will have redemption!

That flinstone car was very cool - too bad they don't still have it there.

Yup, we were all pretty chipper but still taking things at a very slow pace.

Nice catch with the Bean double - and I hadn't even noticed the triple purple lady. Good eye!
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:56 PM   #176
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Day 5 Part 2 - More Seussian Fun and The Girls Meet a Playful Fountain

The Whos got the girls together for a picture



And then some more Whos showed up!



And even more!



The got together and sang a song from the Grinchmas show





We watched for a minute and then moved on  the icees looked good



Ye ole Cat in the Hat ride



We had decided on the bus over that we would breeze through Seuss Landing and The Lost Continent to get to WWoHP before it got too crowded so on we went!

I loved all the curves in this place  and such a nice Christmas feel



One of the themed restaurants on the dining plan - Circus McGirkus Cafe Stoopendous



And beyond the main street of Whoville



Hello Mr. Lorax



I loved the Horton-styled elephants outside the circus





We headed down the street



And caught their version of the people mover ride going overhead



On to the Lost Continent!







We rolled along until we came to the fountain. The girls saw how wet it was and knew something was going on





But they were still game for a posed pic in front of it ..hehehe



Nothing happened so I told them to give me a thumbs-up




Here it comes!







Aint I a stinker? Next up, the girls experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!


Click here for the next Chapter:
Day 5 Part 3 - The Girls Finally Experience TWWoHP!
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:29 PM   #177
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Day 5 Part 3 - The Girls Finally Experience TWWoHP!

So after about 3 years of seeing commercials for it, AND having to deal with the fact that their own parents went there without them the year before, our darling daughters were finally standing in front of the gates to Hogsmeade Village



The first stop was an enthusiastic interaction with the conductor of the Hogwarts Express











The ladies then moved along and spotted Zonkos and had to check it out







Roxy and I stayed outside while they explored the shops. The village was getting a bit more crowded



Roxy with the Express



The Express itself



Meanwhile Bean snapped a couple of pics of PumpkinGirl trying on a witchs hat





The ladies were ready for some action so they all headed up to the Dragon Challenge. If you want some cool pics of it check out my birthday TR, I took a bunch. But in this case I guarded Roxys scooter and our stuff while they took the big ride. They rode it twice and then came back down to check out some of the false storefronts. I wish more of these were real stores/exhibits we could explore.





Bean sure wanted to check them out in more detail







We were really bummed out that they were not doing the Durmstrang and Beauxbatons acrobatics/dance or the Frog Choir anymore. The girls had been looking forward to seeing that. They did however get to do a photo op with them





Then we were on to the Big Event! It was time for Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey! We made quick time up the path, I snapped a shot of the school on the way in



It was a mere 15 minute wait and again, I didnt take many pictures since we took so many the last time and we just wanted to RIDE! We rode it twice in a row and the girls LOVED it! They were very content at this point but we were all getting both hungry and thirsty, and in need of a bathroom break.

We doubled back to the village and the girls checked out the Moaning Myrtle-themed bathrooms while I got them butterbeer from the Boars head. That is a handy tip for any travelers wanting a Butterbeer if the lines are long for the stands outside, you can get your fill in the Boars Head!



The girls liked the Butterbeer well enough but now we were REALLY HUNGRY! We headed towards Jurassic Park and the Burger Digs (one of the other meal deal restaurants). On the way out I snapped pics of the ladies in front of Hogwarts






Next up we enter Jurassic Park, grab some grub, explore the Discovery Center, and then Bean finally gets a long-awaited wish!


Click here for the next Chapter:
Day 5 Part 4 - Welcome to Jurassic Park, LETS EAT
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:44 PM   #178
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Great update! You could see how happy girls were to be there and finally see Harry Potter Section

Love all the Whos.. They look fun

You are too funny with the fountains and tricking your girls
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:35 AM   #179
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Ok... I was a couple of posts behind... so here goes from memory...

Your tomorrow land photos at night were very cool... I like the wide shots... showed all of that lighting and theming...

(btw I'm impressed you all made it till evening... you are troopers... that was a pretty fully day at Ak all things considered...

We haven't done that Stitch attraction in a bit... but I remember it being cute..we'll have to give that another go...

OMG... David LOVEs the Laugh Floor... and he laughs so hard that it makes the rest of us laugh... (his joke didn't get chosen last time... we'll get it one day...

You have to love those colors in the newly done Circus Area in Fantasyland...

I love the Gaston fountain and that cute little tavern...

The theming in the New Fantasyland is amazing... really, really lovely...

I think the queuing in Ariel's new ride is cool and while I do think it's a cute ride I too think it's similar to the Nemo Ride in Epcot... ok maybe a bit more elaborate...

(I don't know if you get back to FL this trip... but the BOG restaurant is really stunning inside (and out) we went in there for lunch... and I found that impressive...


Super impressed that you were all so bright eyed and bushy tailed for Universal... (or maybe it was some of that Harry Potter Magic)

LOVED the photos of you and your family from that early trip to universal... so fun to see what characters were popular at the time...

Seuss Landing looks incredibly whimsical and picturesque....

& Harry Potter World.... WE'RE GOING there this JULY.... can't wait... loved your photos and have to go back and see your birthday trip report for more...

(obtw... I agree with Nemo being my preferred show... I'm not sure why... maybe because it's a bit different... maybe a lot of Lion King saturation... but I really enjoyed Nemo)
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:23 PM   #180
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trentmom View Post
Great update! You could see how happy girls were to be there and finally see Harry Potter Section

Love all the Whos.. They look fun

You are too funny with the fountains and tricking your girls
Yes, they were very excited and had a great time checking everything out and riding the rides.

The Whos were very cool and really added something to Seuss Landing.

Yeah, I couldn't help myself with that fountain, I'm actually surprised the girls didn't give me any payback for that

Quote:
Originally Posted by PracPerfPatricia View Post
Ok... I was a couple of posts behind... so here goes from memory...

Your tomorrow land photos at night were very cool... I like the wide shots... showed all of that lighting and theming...

(btw I'm impressed you all made it till evening... you are troopers... that was a pretty fully day at Ak all things considered...
I love the neon look of Tomorrowland at night, it just feels like a cool view of the future. I don't know how we all made it through that long day, I'll never attempt anything like that again!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PracPerfPatricia View Post
We haven't done that Stitch attraction in a bit... but I remember it being cute..we'll have to give that another go...

OMG... David LOVEs the Laugh Floor... and he laughs so hard that it makes the rest of us laugh... (his joke didn't get chosen last time... we'll get it one day...

You have to love those colors in the newly done Circus Area in Fantasyland...
I'm getting that from a lot of people, not many partaking in it in recent trips.

The laugh floor was fun, the girls had a good time - it seemed a bit shorter than last year's though. We'll get a joke in there some day too

The circus area was very fun, I'm looking forward to exploring the Dumbo queue next time we go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PracPerfPatricia View Post
I love the Gaston fountain and that cute little tavern...

The theming in the New Fantasyland is amazing... really, really lovely...

I think the queuing in Ariel's new ride is cool and while I do think it's a cute ride I too think it's similar to the Nemo Ride in Epcot... ok maybe a bit more elaborate...

(I don't know if you get back to FL this trip... but the BOG restaurant is really stunning inside (and out) we went in there for lunch... and I found that impressive...
If they had a good ale in there I'd like to have a couple of drinks in that tavern. If you can get adult beverages in Be Our Guest why not in Gaston's???

The queue is a big part of the magic of that ride, it really brings you into the world of the movie.

Yes, next time there will be a reservation at BOG for sure!


Quote:
Originally Posted by PracPerfPatricia View Post
Super impressed that you were all so bright eyed and bushy tailed for Universal... (or maybe it was some of that Harry Potter Magic)

LOVED the photos of you and your family from that early trip to universal... so fun to see what characters were popular at the time...

Seuss Landing looks incredibly whimsical and picturesque....

& Harry Potter World.... WE'RE GOING there this JULY.... can't wait... loved your photos and have to go back and see your birthday trip report for more...

(obtw... I agree with Nemo being my preferred show... I'm not sure why... maybe because it's a bit different... maybe a lot of Lion King saturation... but I really enjoyed Nemo)
I do think the Harry Potter magic had something to do with us being so chipper

Thank you on the trip back down memory lane, it was fun looking back on it and sharing it with everyone. Yup, Rugrats were big for sure. I also had pics of PumpkinGirl with Jimmy Neutron and a very scary looking Shreck but I had hit the posting limit

Seuss Landing is a very fun place to experience. No "E Ticket" rides but a great atmosphere.

WWoHP is great fun, you'll love it. It will be hot for ya though hitting it in July since so much that you look at is on the streets. The rides are worth it though and the experience is amazing overall. Too bad they won't have DiagonAlley done yet when you go.

Yes, more pics in that last TR, and I'll be posting some more when we get to our 3rd day at Universal

Nemo rocks!!!
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1976 - Disneyland ~ 2002 - Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure ~ 2005 - Disneyland ~ 2008 - Walt Disney World - SeaWorld/Discovery Cove ~ 2009 - Disneyland ~ 2011 - Walt Disney World/Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure ~ 2012 - Walt Disney World/Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure
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