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Old 01-13-2005, 11:22 AM   #1
rhysd2
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Guide to Universal

Well after Kaylee giving me some stick and telling me to keep an eye open for universal related threads i decided i'd write up a little guide for you all on universal. Well it started little and ended up 13 pages long....... so here goes.

Where to even begin, well after a little advice I gave on universal recently I decided Iíd write a little something for you all to help you in your universal travels. I know this board mainly gets asked Disney style questions but I also know that most go to universal when in Florida too. So hereís a little guide to help you make the most of your time there.

First some basic information about universal. In universal there are 3 main areas

1. City walk. This is the commercial and nightlife area of Universal. It has a variety of shops including fossil, a surf style shop, and a universal merchandise shop. For lighter bites and drinks there are places like starbucks, cinnabon, and the little bar outside jimmy buffets.
For eating there are a wide variety of restaurants like the sports themed NBA city and NASCAR cafť, the middle of the road places like pastamore and hard rock cafť, and then the more specialist themed places like jimmy buffets Margaritaville bob Marleyís restaurant the Latin quarter and decades.
And for night life there are several bars and clubs that are open to the wee hours of the morning, Plus a 2 story multiplex cinema (which by the way sells beer and cocktails. Watching a movie sipping a beer was really fun though donít drink too much or youíll be peeing through the movie).
I havenít eaten in all of the places here though I hear glowing reviews from just about all of them. They seem to have a great consistent level of quality across the board. One exception however seems to be Bob Marleyís. I have heard of a series of bad reports coming from this place so I would advise avoiding it for the time being.
My personal favourites are jimmy buffets (try the guava ribs and the cheese burger in paradise, OH and look for the volcano that erupts margarita mix) and hard rock cafť.


The main street of city walk from its entrance


jimmy buffets at night


The loungers outside jimmy buffets.

The food on city walk is very reasonable and in some cases cheap, and in general is good quality. However as with most of the rest of the places in Orlando expect to pay silly prices for alcohol.

TIP: A lot of the restaurants have live entertainment after 9:30pm so get in early to avoid paying the cover charge.

TIP: City walk does a dinner and movie deal for a set price. This gets you a ticket to a movie of your choosing and dinner in a choice of restaurants. We did this when we were last in Florida and expected reduced service/portions in the place we ate (hard rock). Instead we got full size portions, and amazing service. This is a great deal and costs a mere $19.95 per person. More info can be found here

TIP: At night this place comes alive. With entertainment on the city walk stage plus fairground type stalls. A good place to wander round even if you donít plan to eat. Looks amazing when itís all lit up.

TIP: The hard rock live concert arena is here. Check its schedule before you leave to see what bands are playing.

2. Universal Studios. The original park that was built on this site. Mainly an indoor ride park suitable for all weathers. To get to it branch to the right in city walk as you come to the lake.
This site has a wide variety of rides with something for all ages. Originally designed around the theme of a working movie studio the whole park is setup like a soundstage warehouse area. In fact many of the soundstages in-between this park and IoA are still regularly used for movies and TV shows.
Most of the rides for this park are indoors so itís a great one to do on a day where the weathers in question. Iíll go into more detail on the rides etc later.

3. Islands of adventure. Built back in the late 90ís along with city walk to help expand Universal into a serious rival for Disney. This ride was mainly built with thrill seekers in mind. It has a large proportion of roller coasters and fast type rides. Though there are some neat things for those of you who arenít so inclined. But Iíll go into these later.

These are the 3 areas of universal. Iíll now delve into the deeper depths of the two theme parks and their various rides etc.
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Old 01-13-2005, 11:23 AM   #2
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Islands Of Adventure


The IoA lighthouse at night

Port of entry

Where it all begins. You enter islands of adventure to a medieval style port of entry. The effect is wonderful. It always reminds me of an old port in the Caribbean every time I enter here. As you wander up the street youíll find a variety of stores selling merchandise, films, batteries etc. (TIP: the main big universal merchandise store is on the left about half way up the street) and also guest services and a few fast food type eateries.

On the right as you walk up the street is the universal Christmas store, selling all manner of universal decorations. Adjoined with the Xmas store is the sweet store. If your kids ho crazy on sugar do NOT let them go here. A wall filled with jellybean dispensers, rice crispy marshmallow squares the size of bricks (I kid you not), you get the idea.


Sign as you enter point of entry


the street through port of entry

As you come to the end of the port of entry you come to a t-junction. Left takes you to marvel super hero island. Right takes you to Seuss land. TIP: Before you decide though take time to look out across the lake. You get an amazing view of the Jurassic park building from here.


see what i mean?



Marvel Super Hero Island

Wow what a sight. The very first thing you see of this area is The Hulk. Standing big and green up into the sky. And the first thing you hear are the screams of the people as they ROAR over your heads towards the next loop. It really gets your pulse racing.

As you enter Marvel Island you walk over a little bridge, which the hulk flies overÖ. And under! Really gives you a taste of whatís to come if you ride it. As you enter the main street of Marvel Island you are assaulted with a variety of comic book bright jagged style buildings. On your direct left is storm force acceleration spider man and the hulk. To your right is the lake and the marvel comic book store.

Itís a very nicely themed area with a few fast food type stalls and self-service cafes. The foods ok but nothing to go nuts over. Also tacked onto the side of spider man is an arcade. This is probably the shortest section of the park length wise, which is unusual when you consider how much is crammed into it.

TIP: every so often a super hero patrol with turn up. Featuring such heroís as captain America, spider man etc. They will happily sign autographs and pose for photos for a while before jetting off on their little ATVís.

Dr Dooms Fearfall

Walk just past spider man and take a left to get to this ride. Its set back in a little cul-de-sac surrounded by buildings which stop you from being able to see the true height of what your about to ride.

Every time Iíve ridden this ride thereís been a queue of about 2 seconds (most people look at its height and chicken out) so Iím not 100% sure on the story behind it but its got something to do with Dr Doom wanting to suck your fear out of you to power some evvvvviill machine. The area you walk through in the queue is amazingly well themed with a variety of different cool things to look at along the way. In particular look out for some of his ďDoom botsĒ part the way through the queue.

The ride itself is really hard to describe. As you reach the loading area your strapped onto one side of one of the two towers. 4 people on each side total of 32 people riding at any given time between the two towers. You try and look up but cant get a good view, which really builds suspense. Then without warning WHOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHH you are catapulted to the top of the tower at breakneck speed. Then dropped. Then catapulted then dropped then catapulted about 3/4 of the way and dropped slower. Then halfway then you come down.

After the initial shock of being sent to the top of a VERY large tower at high speed the ride itself is fairly tame, the drop itself isnít that fast so the ride really doesnít push you that hard. However what did scare the life out of me was the fact I could see the entire length of I-Drive from the top and even miles beyond that. Which made me realise just how high these towers go. Great for a view over Orlando, for a few seconds.

This ride isnít as bad as it looks though and is over VERY quickly. Not worth queuing a long time for but good to do once or twice if the lines short.


Dr Dooms towers

Spiderman

FAST PASS IT!!!! I cannot stress this enough. This ride is the busiest in the park ALWAYS. And if you arrive and the queues short get in it now! Even in November when the rest of the parks were quiet this ride had a 1-hour wait. But itís worth it. To give you an idea. My father hates rides. He walked out of this one proclaiming it to be amazing and his favourite ride ever. He then promptly joined the queue to ride it again.

The queue area is nothing special. It sees you walking through the offices of the paper peter parker works for and getting a briefing from his obnoxious editor. You then enter a new roaming reporting vehicle and head out into the city to investigate trouble that is sweeping through it. And thanks to a truck nearly ramming you off the road you stumble into the bad guys planning their chaos. Enter spider man to the rescue.

This ride is amazing because of the technologies it crosses over. This ride is 3d based and you will be wearing 3d glasses all the way through the ride. Making the attacks by the villains, and rescues by spidey that much more incredible. Then the vehicle you are in also moves to give you the physical motion to match the 3d effects. And they truly make the ride because they work brilliantly together. Its suitable for most if not all ages and is a heck of a lot of fun. Ride it several times if you get the chance.

The Hulk

The ďbigĒ coaster of Marvel Island. And a bit of a let down really. A lot of people really love this ride and I can see why. But personally Iím not overly impressed with it. True theyíve sped it up recently but it still isnít enough. The queuing area is pretty well themed with lots of neat stuff to look at along the way. Then you load up into a traditional style cart based coaster and crack up into a tunnel that you assume when you reach the top will drop you down for speed.

WRONG!!!! You get halfway up and instead it launches you out! Giving you an amazing rush and burst of speed. Great start with a series of twists and loops. But then things go downhill. Once you are about 40-50% of the way round it hits a series of twists where all of a sudden it seems to slow down which ruins it a bit for me. Also the ride is a bit jerky so if you suffer from back or neck problems avoid riding it as this is likely to aggravate your condition. Not sure why perhaps they need to refurb it.


View of the hulk as you approach it

Storm Force Acceleration

Iíve never actually got around to riding this but basically itís a teacup ride with an X-Men twist and fog/smoke being blown into it as you ride. Looks pretty fun.



Toon Lagoon

Keep going through Marvel Island and a short distance later you come to toon lagoon. Full of weird and wacky buildings, and speech bubbles. There are a nice variety of stores here for cartoon items including a store dedicated to Betty boop. Sometimes youíll see the lady herself wandering round though be warned she looks remarkably like a hooker. Heh I know it sounds funny but she does.

TIP: On the left before you enter toon lagoon is a large open area where characters will often be in large groups entertaining children, posing for photos, and signing autographs.


main street through toon lagoon.


one of the toon town stores

Toon Lagoon Amphitheatre
Mat Hoffman's Crazy Freakin' Stunt Show will return to the Toon Lagoon Amphitheatre from July 1st through August 24th, 2005.

Dudley Do-rights Rip Saw Falls

Generally this ride has the longest queue in this section of the park, as its very very popular. However the queue moves extremely fast so unless itís up to an hour I wouldnít bother wasting a fast pass on it.

The queuing area for this ride is pretty lame really with not much detail put into it but the ride itself more than makes up for it. Got to be my favourite log flume ride ever for sheer speed and drop. Such an amazing thing to ride. Word of warning though. You WILL get wet so try and do this early in the day or avoid it if the weathers not so good.


the big drop on dudlys.

Popeye and Blutos Bilge Rat Barges

A very popular ride again but they do clear the queue fairly fast so its worth the wait. At first it would appear to be a typical river rapids rides but they way theyíve designed it, and put the story in along the way really makes this one stand out. Truly amazing and fun.

Best ridden directly after Dudley do-rights, as you will get SOAKED. And I mean soaked. From head to toe. But itís a lot of fun and well worth doing. I donít want to give too much away as to spoil it so Iíll leave it at that. The queuing area is well themed but a little boring.


Popeyes loading area

Me Ship Olive

Iíve personally never taken the time to go on this ship but basically itís a 3-layer interactive play area for kids with slides, a working piano and other such fun stuff



Jurassic Park

Love or hate the movie when you walk past toon lagoon and first see the GIANT gate entrance, and rainforest thatís either side of it, is an awe inspiring site.



As you pass under the gates and into the ďparkĒ you really feel as if your wading into the movie itself as the area is so perfectly themed. Lots of great spots for photos and winding paths so you feel like you are in a densely packed jungle as opposed to an open-air theme park.

Camp Jurassic

This area is in the same vein as me ship olive. A multi layer interactive play area with an amber mine, rope ladders, caves and a variety of other things for children to explore. Aimed at slightly older children.

Discovery Centre

A replica of the now infamous Jurassic park main building from the movie, complete with giant t-rex skeleton. Inside are a variety of interactive exhibits, shops, and a fast food joint.


The amazing skeleton

River Adventure

An innocent boat ride through Jurassic park to look at some of the lovely dinoís theyíve genetically grownÖ but some things wrong! A raptors free!!

Again the queue area for this is themed averagely but the ride makes up for it. Starting as a nice sedate ride through the park with impressive animatronic dinosaurs along the way. Then a raptor gets free and you end up fighting for your life. A really good ride that at first appears to be tame and boring and ends up with an attack by dinoís and an amazing drop. A great addition to the log flume style rides. Be warned though youíll get wet!!

Triceratops Discovery Trail

A walk through nature trail type attraction with a small variety of animatronic dinoís.

Pteranodon Flyers

This ride is a cross between a cable car type ride and a very tame roller coaster. You ride at a slow pace beneath the belly of a Pteranodon. Soaring over Jurassic park. Some good views from up here and also a good ride for younger children so they donít feel left out. No drops or loops so nice and tame.

*NB* rumors are constantly cropping up about this ride being removed for the addition of a jurassic park style rollercoaster. no official word yet though.



Lost Continent

Continue past Jurassic park and cross the bridge and youíll be faced with two large pillars and statues and a sign to let you know your entering lost continent.



The whole area seems to have a mixed theme ranging from medieval to Middle Eastern which seem to blend together well to make the whole area look great.

In this area is the famed restaurant Mythos. If you get a chance to eat here DO IT! The food is amazing and the views out over the lake are breath taking. Yes its more expensive than eating the fast food but the moneys worth it.

Duelling Dragons

Not one but TWO roller coasters flying in tandem attacking each other as you ride them. Fire and Ice. Amazingly themed queue area. Universal actually built a mini castle, which you walk through to learn the story of the two dragons and Merlin, who casts a quick spell to protect you. Near the end you have to choose to ride fire or ice. Most people including me prefer ice, as itís a funner ride. But always ride both if you have the time free.

This attraction does get very busy so it might be worth fast passing it but the queue clears very very fast. So unless its listed as 1hour+ its better to just stand and wait, and save the fast pass for something more worthy.

The coasters themselves are a lot of fun to ride especially with the 3 ďnear missesĒ when they attack each other. However the themeing of the queuing area wasnít really carried through to the ride so the scenery below you is just bland Florida scrubland. Which is a shame really. Plus being as the ride is built into a compact area itís very easy to see whatís coming next, which can spoil things a bit. However itís still a lot of fun to ride.

Flying Unicorn

This is a tame little coaster with children in mind nestled in the back of the lost continent. A great one to do with the children that donít feel up to the full coasters yet.

Mystical Fountain

Not actually a ride. But so fun it has its own name. Inside lost continent is a big fountain that will talk to you and squirt water at you. A lot of fun for the kids and adults alike.

Poseidonís Fury

One of the more unusual rides in Florida. A mixture of a walk through ride and a stage show. The outside of this thing is truly phenomenal. HUGE and beautifully themed. The inside is just as good. Basically you walk through the ride as a story unfolds with truly great effects. Not an amazing ride but worth doing once.

The Eighth Voyage Of Sinbad

A live action stunt stage show that will blow you away. Canít say much more as itíll give parts away but go see it!



Seuss Landing

A truly crazy area of buildings characters and colours all themed in the Dr Seuss style. A great area for kids and adults alike. Some great photo opportunities in here.

Caro-Seuss-el

Pretty much as it sounds. A Giant carousel in a melee of wild colours and characters.

If I Ran The Zoo

A great little interactive play area based on the book of the same name.

One fish two fish red fish blue fish

A fun ride very similar to the dumbo flyers in Disney.

Seussian Sing along

A sing along by seussian characters performed regularly inside the circus mcgurkus cafť.


The hidden beach in seuss landings

Where to Eat in IoA

There are a variety of fast food junky places to eat in IoA but the two places that stand out are burger digs in Jurassic park (they do the best burgers) and Mythos in lost continent. Be warned though mythos often has a long wait.


A view of mythos from the lakeside by jurassic park.


How Best to Attack Islands of Adventure

This is a very easy question. The whole of IoA is a big circle with the lake in the middle so simply decide if you want to go right or left. Personally as the majority of the busier rides are left I go that way first which takes you to marvel island. Then work your way around from there. Be sure to plan what you want to fast pass also. Spider man is probably the number 1 target for this as it is by far the busiest ride.



Universal Studios


Production Central

The equivalent of main street USA for us universal fans. Walking down this street and seeing the Ghostbusters set at the end of it is as good as it gets. This whole area is setup like a production area of a movie studio. As you walk up the street thereís the usual compliment of shops with the giant universal merchandise one on your left.

Shrek-4d

This is probably the second busiest ride in the park as they only have one amphitheatre to display the movie though apparently their building more. And to make matters worse it canít be fast passed. My best advice is catch it at times when the parks quietest. Lunchtime. Just after opening. Just before closing. If you like shrek youíll love this. The little pre story show in the room before the main shows funny and the movie itself is absolutely great! Do not miss it! Good for all ages


the sign above shrek 4d.

Jimmy Neutrons nicktoon blast

Not actually ridden this one but from what Iíve read itís a simulator ride aimed at children where you help jimmy get a rocket back thatís been stolen by an alien.

Nickelodeon studios game lab

due to the shifting of productions to CA and decline in popularity nick studios has shut its doors here. No definite answer as to what will replace it yet



New York

Sticking to the theme of a movie studio universal elected to build themed faÁade back lots around the park. The first one we come to is New York. With all the streets and buildings themed as if you were in the big apple itself.

One noteworthy thing. One of the sides of the buildings when built was made with bricks etc sticking out turning it into a rock-climbing wall. For a small charge you can have a go at it.

The BEST place to eat in the whole of the studios is in this section. Finneganís bar and grill. Done in the style of an Irish bar the food here is to die for. Especially the potato and onion web.


A shot of the new york streets.


The street leading into new york. The big set at the end is where the ghost busters show takes place

Twister

Based on the hit movie this ride sees you experiencing a twister first hand. The queuing areas well themed with a series of little movies to watch as you filter from one room to another. Then you enter the main chamber where you are blasted with winds the strength of a very weak tornado. Watching pylons fall etc. watch out for the big ending it might make you jump hehe.

Its not a bad ride on the whole but itís starting to show its age really. Fun to do once or twice.


The front of the ride

Revenge Of The Mummy

FAST PASS THIS NOW!! Iím not kidding, go on off you go to the machine. This is the busiest ride in the park. And even though the queue moves very fast it still builds up to 1 hour or more at times. Plus its great to ride over and over. So having those fast passes will make it that much easier to ride again.

The queuing area for the ride is amazingly themed. You are an extra on the set of the latest mummy movie, which is being shot in an Egyptian tomb. The whole place is done out in ancient Egyptian style with a few interactive things along the way.

The ride itself blew me away. We rode it 15+ times in November because its that good. And yet it has no barrel rolls, cork screws, or loops. And it still blew me away! I loved it. You HAVE to ride this. A truly amazing coaster with truly amazing effects.


front of the mummy ride
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Old 01-13-2005, 11:24 AM   #3
rhysd2
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Blues Brothers Show

Happens at regular intervals throughout the day in the side street opposite the mummy coaster. If ya love the blues bothers youíll love this show.



Extreme Ghostbusters Show

Unfortunatly after a legal wrangling with sony universal had to shut down this show as of feb 19th 2005. it will be sorely missed.


Ecto1

San Francisco

The next city faÁade along from New York. Done out in San Francisco style.

If you love seafood thereís a great restaurant here called Lombardís seafood grill. A little more expensive than the fast food options but worth it.

And if youíre a burger fan you HAVE to stop and eat in Richterís burger co. best burgers Iíve had anywhere ever. Absolutely to die for.

Earthquake

Ever wondered what its like to be in a subway car when an earthquake hits? Time to find out. Really good queuing area with a few pre-show type bits followed by the spectacular stunts of the main ride. Well worth doing.


The front of the earthquake building.

Bettlejuice Graveyard Review

Back when I first saw this in í98 it was a very comedy based but this year itís become more of a serious singing and dancing show. Theyíre very good at what they do but the show could use a new set of songs etc. worth going to see though.



Amity

This area on the end of San Francisco is themed like the little sleepy town from the jaws movie with a variety of fairground like stalls leading to the town square with jaws hanging in it.


LAND SHARK!!!!

Jaws

An oldy but a goody. Canít ever get tired of this ride. A really good little one to do for all ages and never that busy.

TIP: donít sit about halfway down the boat on the left hand side or youíll get wet!!!


World Expo

The area around MIB and BTTF always strikes me as unfinished. Its as if they started themeing it in a futuristic style and got bored and went home. However the rides here make up for that.

Men in black alien attack

Enter this ride and first of all you get a bit confused. It starts going on about the world of tomorrow, today. And then Zís voice kicks in explaining its all a cover and you enter the elevator down to MIB control. The queuing area for this ride is so well themed and even though itís aimed at appealing to kids I couldnít get enough of this ride. You get really competitive with your own score and others. Constantly trying to beat it over and over. Itís a lot of fun. It also gets very very very busy. So It might be worth considering fast passing this one.


Men in black building from across the lake.


Inside the MIB ride


The MIB car

TIP: if you are in a small group and donít mind being split up go through the single riders line. You skip the queue and the pre show and are typically on the ride in less than one minute. However it can mean youíll be sat in different cars. We did this a ton in November and only twice got sat in different cars. You get on a lot quicker but might get split up.

Back to the future

This ride is one of the oldest in the park but its still one of the best. The queuing area is pretty well themed giving you back-story into the events that are going on around you. Making you feel as if youíre in Doc Browns research building.

And the ride itselfÖ Wow! Such a good and clever simulator but it can get a bit rough in there so be careful all. Worth doing a few times though as its highly enjoyable.


The BTTF building


The train from BTTF3


The BTTF Delorien


Kids Zone

This area pretty much speaks for itself. A variety of adventures for kids of all ages to play in and ride on.

ET

The classic ride and movie. Meet ET; go flying with him and save his home world.

Animal Planet Live

A show hosted by the famous TV channel. Your typical animal type show with tricks, games, and audience interaction. Good fun to go watch and a good way to rest your feet and be entertained at the same time.

Fievels Playground

A water based play area for children.

Woody woodpeckers nuthouse coaster

A nice tame coaster for children to ride.

Curious George goes to town

A water and foam ball based play area.

A day in the life of barney

Educational play area with a barney stage show.



Hollywood

This whole area is themed like some of the famous streets of Hollywood. Some very nice themeing done here on the buildings.

T2-3D

This whole ride is themed amazingly well. Starting off as a tour inside cyberdine systems, which soon gets interrupted by a broadcast by Sarah and john Conner. After that cool little pre-show you make your way into the main theatre to see a demo of their latest robot.

Enter the Connerís guns blazing. A truly great blend of live action and 3d effects well worth going to see. There are a lot of bangs in this though so be wary of taking in small children if they startle easy.

Horror make up show

A great little show that runs at regular intervals throughout the day. Based on the premise of showing you how they perform many of the make up tricks you see in famous movies. Iíve been back and seen this show every time Iíve been there and they are always changing it so you see something different.

Plus there is a fair amount of audience interaction and the hosts mix in a bit of stand up comedy as well to keep you entertained. Well worth going to see. Good for most ages.

They often have set pieces from movies inside the foyer here too.

Lucy: A tribute

Speaks for itself really. Showing clips and props from this famous show.

Studio 54

This studio often holds props and sets from blockbuster movies.



Where to Eat in the Studios

For fast food Richterís burger co has to be the choice above them all. For a nicer sit down meal Finneganís bar and grill or Lombardís sea food grill are two excellent choices.



How Best to Attack the Studios

Despite the studios having a circular shape like IoA I tend to hop about more here as the park is a lot smaller and has access routes across the lake making it easier to access the other side.

Typically first Iíll go to shrek and check its wait time. If its 20 mins or below Iíll do that. Then go grab fast passes for the mummy. Then once I have those check the mummyís wait time. If its 25 mins or below Iíll ride it.
Then onto earthquake followed by jaws. Then depending on how soon the mummy fast pass is Iíll go do back to the future. Then take a rest maybe get some food and do my mummy fast pass.

Then Iíll head down and check out MIB if Iím in a large group Iíll check its wait time. 20 mins or under we ride it. More than that fast pass it. If there are 2 of us or less I will just hop in the single rider line a few times in a row.

After that Iíll see when the next animal planet, T2-3d and horror make up show is. And time the rest of the stuff around that. All the major rides except twister are already done so you can catch the 3 shows. Do twister and have time to re-ride a few bits and bobs.



Yearly Events At Universal

Mardi Gras

Yep you guessed it. Universal do their own version of mardi gras with beads. parade floats, beads, and booze! thought you'll need to hock a kidney to afford the booze. $5-6 for a beer. $8 for a mixed drink. and the same for a jelly shot(this is a rough price guide. its probably more expensive.) I've not personally been but i hear its alot of fun.

Just checked universals website and this year its running from Feb 5th to April 9th

Here is their official Blurb on the event

When and where does Mardi Gras happen?
Mardi Gras takes place at Universal Studios every Saturday night from February 5th - April 9th.

Is there a parade every night?
There is a spectacular parade with authentic floats from New Orleans each night of Mardi Gras, every Saturday night from February 5th - April 9th.

Will the rides and attractions be open?
Rides and attractions will be open during regular park hours. Select rides and attractions will be open during the parade and concerts.

What bands are scheduled to perform?

February 5 Ė COMING SOON!
February 12 Ė Go-Go's
February 19 Ė Temptations & Four Tops
February 26 Ė The O'Jays
March 5 - Creedence Clearwater Revisited
March 12 - Lynyrd Skynyrd
March 19 - O.A.R.
March 26 - Coming Soon
April 2 Ė Jason Mraz
April 9 Ė Huey Lewis & the News


How much does Mardi Gras cost?
All the Mardi Gras festivities, including the concerts, are included with your paid Universal Studios admission. You can purchase a Mardi Gras After Five Ticket for only $39.95 plus tax, valid for admission to Universal Studios after 5:00 pm on Mardi Gras event nights.

Grad Bash April 22-23, 2005

Universal's Grad Bash 2005! For TWO nights in April, Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park is being set aside just for graduating high school seniors to experience intense thrills, extreme excitement and unforgettable fun. Get your friends together and create memories they'll be talking about at every class reunion. Call 1-800-YOUTH-15 for more information. Click here for more info.

Rock the Universe at Universal Studiosģ September 9th & 10th, 2005 Itís a weekend of heart-pounding, soul-stirring, life-changing music, ministry, fellowship and fun. In addition to concerts and guest speakers, enjoy your favorite Universal Studiosģ rides and attractions. Click here for more info.

Halloween Horror Nights

Picture in your head Mickey's not so scarey halloween party and then find the furthest image from that you can think of. This is halloween horror nights. The whole night is designed to scare you to death. This year just gone by(2004) it had 7 haunted houses(deadtropolis(think zombies in a city scape), castle vampyre(self explanitory), ghost town(1800's old western town), house of wax(haunted wax museum), disorentarium(scary fun house), hellgate prison(maximum security prison riot), And nightmares(their 4 scariest mascots from the past in one house)). On top of that there were 3 large "scarezones" to walk though. One was a cornfield complete with hicks, trailer, guys jumping out of corn, and chainsaw wielding hicks. One was a abandoned rail yard complete with gang warfare, axes, chainsaws, crow bars, and flame throwers. And the last was a haunted carnival complete with dancing ladies clowns etc.

On top of all this there is a parade, the regular rides are open too, and the whole park is redecorated in a halloween theme.

We did this last year and I've never had so much fun in my life. The completely un-politically correct bill and teds stage show had us in fits. The houses were seriously scary, the scare zones were too, and the parade was amazing. We rode the lead float and boy was it fun

TIP: If you want to ride a float be outside monster cafe 1 hour in advance of the parade and look for a staff member with a clip board(might not be monster cafe this coming year. will post an update nearer the time)

Bear in mind though this even is very adult themed. There is alot of alcohol sold here though apart from the busiest nights people arent to drunk. Also the whole event is themed to scare you to death. There is an age recommendation of 14+ on the event. Though we did see some younger kids there. We were chatting with a 8 year old boy and his dad in line for ghost town. He said he knew he could bring his son because "He can tell the difference between real and fake in his head. Sure he comes out the houses scared but he knows its just fake". We walked through ghost town with them and the little boy was having a blast

TIP: For an extra 20-30 bucks(depending on whether its a peak or non peak night) you can buy an express pass ticket for the event. It will give you one express entry into every house and ride that night. We had them and they were a life saver. lines for the houses got up to 3 hours or more at times and we waited a mere 10 minutes max in the express line. They were a god send.

This event runs the entire month of october 4-5 nights a week. The park shuts early for a bit then re opens for Halloween horror nights. On a peak night it typically runs from 6pm to 2am. Non peak 7pm to midnight. Last year they opened up both IoA and US and had the houses spread around.

TIP: For a extra set price you can buy a stay and scream ticket on top of your usual day time ticket. Rather than having to leave the park at 5am this enables you to be allowed into a special waiting area and released into the parks before the main crowd.

This event is amazing fun and even if you scare easy its worth going to see.

Some pictures from this years HHN for you.

Dancer girl in midway of the bizzare.


One of the stilt walkers wandering marvel island.


One of the hicks in the cornfield aka field of screams


And her chain saw wielding son.....


Jack the clown. One of the previous years mascots. This year he was in the nightmares house.


One of the many modifications they made for HHN.


One of the floats in midway of the bizzare


Us on the grim reaper float befor the parade.


One of the scareactors in field of screams. He'd stand still for ages till people thought it was a prop then leap into the middle of a group of people.

Macys Thanksgiving day parade

This event pretty much speaks for itself. A big thanks giving day parade with the park done up in thanksgiving decorations.

The Grinchmas

This runs through the month of december and mainly operates out of seuss landings in IoA. A Christmas theme done mainly around the grinch's story. Great for children and the decorations are done amazingly.

Overall Tips for Universal

Have fun! If your getting tired and cranky it isnít fun anymore so take a break and admire the scenery.

Bring your own drinks. While food is generally reasonably priced in the parks the drinks arenít. So bring your own if you can.

Men in black and the mummy require you to put any loose items like cameras rucksacks handbags etc in lockers before riding. DO IT or they will throw you to the back of the queue. NB they arenít as strict on MIB as there are storage compartments on the carts.

Come back again! Didnít get it all done? Come back another day. Getting tired? Come back another day. Want to re ride something? Come back another day. You get the idea. No need to push yourselves to get everything done in a day. Even though it is easily possible it is more fun to take it at a more leisurely pace, or if you are bored and have a few hours spare come back and re-ride your favourites.

Dont forget! city walk is a 2 minute walk away so why not eat there and then re-enter the park.

Anyway this is it for now. Congratulations on making to the end and I hope this has been helpful to you all. Any hints or tips of your own? Post them here and Iíll add them in. no doubt Iíll think of more to add down the line.
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Old 01-13-2005, 02:04 PM   #4
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Excellent Rhys...this should definately be a great resorce for us
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Old 01-13-2005, 02:15 PM   #5
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Rhys, you're a total star for doing this for us all! Thank you so much.
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Old 01-13-2005, 02:18 PM   #6
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wow !!
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Old 01-13-2005, 03:24 PM   #7
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Updates and Rumors Section

Going to use this area for updates/rumors.

01/02/05
the motown cafe on citywalk has been replaced by a new restaraunt called decades
The old wild west stunt show area is being revamped into a show based on the tv series fear factor.
Popeye and blutos bilge rat barges is currently down for refurbing.

Seriously bad news it appears sony has won their legal battle to revoke the ghost busters license from universal so the extreme ghostbusters show will put out its last performance feb 19th
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Old 01-13-2005, 03:44 PM   #8
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Rhys, is it true they are getting rid of ET do you know?
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Old 01-13-2005, 06:24 PM   #9
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theres been rumors for years and years about this but it got revamped for the 20th anniversary plus its still very popular so i cant see it going soon.

not to mention the usual posting universal employees seem to think there are no official plans to get rid of it for a while
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Old 01-14-2005, 07:21 AM   #10
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Let's have popcorn and dippin' dots for dinner, and fried chicken for dessert!
 
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reformatted to look prettier and make it easier to read
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Old 01-14-2005, 03:02 PM   #11
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I've got Saratoga Springs - makes me smile every time I log on!
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Phew, thanks Rhys. Hopefully I will get to hear ET say "thank you, Karen" again then

(really I love this ride. But don't tell everyone!)
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Old 01-31-2005, 05:32 AM   #12
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okies now updated with this years events as they are on the universal website. also put on what pictures i have on the boards. will add a full compliment when i get a chance.

Plus if anyone else has questions please do post them
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Old 01-31-2005, 02:38 PM   #13
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ok all done now as i cant fit anymore pics into the posts according to the admins hehe
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Old 01-31-2005, 08:09 PM   #14
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Excellent report! Sooon be Thursday then we are off for two weeks...yippeeee
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Old 02-01-2005, 04:09 AM   #15
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What a great guide! Thank you

Could this be "stuck" at the top of the page so it is easy to get to?
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