Cast of Characters: Me, Robinrs aka Cheapskate, 45yo kid in Disguise Michael, 8yo Adult in Disguise _____________________________________________ Michael woke up at 6am.. so much for the 7am wake up call I had set up. He was way awake by the time I had Betty Boop call him. My son has this THING for Betty Boop, PLEASE don't ask me to explain it.... Cheapskate was determined to get my car OUT of valet, sorry, not a necessary $10 IMHO, and hike it out of property to McDonalds. I wasn't feeling real great so I can't eat before going out so driving through Mickey D's sounded like a deal. We got dressed and got downstairs by about 8am. The place was bustling already. I guess lots of people wanted to get to the parks early but what's the rush with FOTL?? On the way out I noticed that the laundry room was only a few doors down from us so kept that as a mental note to do a load before leaving. In the lobby was Scooby Doo in a Leather Jacket!! Even Scooby is cool at the Hard Rock! We got lots of great pics with this character! We got our car from the valet, did I mention everyone who works here is just dripping in ? Then we hit the streets to McDs. After getting breakfast I parked at the hotel's parking lot and took the route back to the parks. The front desk clerk told me that the fastest route is via the exit behind the pool slide, which we took for the rest of the time there. A few minutes later we were marching past the entrance to Universal, pass the Hard Rock Cafe and NBA City to Islands of Adventure, MY Magic Kingdom! Unlike most people I did not grow up at Disney. My very first trip to Orlando was in July 1999 and my very first park was IOA. It holds a very special place in my heart, and though one of Orlando's newest park, it's the one that means the most to me. ::sigh:: Back to reality... We go up to the ticket booths because I STILL have to buy my tickets, remember? I turn in my lottery tickets and get 2 days, 2 parks for both of us for about $100! Now THAT is a turn-on for this Cheapskate! Note: the ticket lady told me that I would have to show my license everytime I used these tickets. Sometimes I did, sometimes I didn't. If you plan to use these, PLEASE don't forget to bring ID! Since FOTL takes the urgency out of running like crazy to the popular rides, we saunter over to Marvel Island. Now, Michael has never been tall enough to ride the Hulk and Dueling Dragons up till now but this time I'm sure he'll make it. If not, I promise him we'll wait till he is tall enough. We try Hulk first. It's pretty quiet at this point and the wait time is only 10mins. I have Michael's height checked and VOILA!! On his 11th time to IOA he FINALLY makes it!! The attendant points us to the express entrance and we are OFF!! WooooooHOOOOOOOOOOO! The express entrance is a back route that eventually ends up right to the loading point. There was NO ONE ELSE around. We were shown right to our seats before the "regular" folk.... We're locked down and ladies and gentleman, my life, is about to change..... I hear the voice that says "I think, I think this time it's going to work..."then suddenly you are literally SHOT out of a cannon. The Hulk is IMPOSSIBLE to explain in words. It must be experienced. The smooth, intense ride is unequivocally the BEST roller coaster ride I had EVER been on. I cannot exclaim how great this ride is! It's not too long or too short. IMHO it's just RIGHT! At the end Michael and I are grinning like a couple of cheshire cats, vowing to do it again, but NOT NOW... I've got to get my bearings back first... We checked out our picture on the way out and it was PERFECT! Michael was grinning and showed no signs of terror so I figured it would be a perfect memoir of our FIRST time on the Hulk. The funny part of the picture was the fact that you could see my hand was holding down his harness. He told me "Mommy, your hand is on the wrong one!" I told him, "No, it was on the RIGHT one.." Mothers.... Now onto MY favorite place... SPIDERMAN!! Anyone who has NOT ridden this ride should know that it is the most state of the art ride known to man. Whoever HAS ridden it already KNOWS! Nuff said! We flash our GOLD and saunter up the express line like the King and Queen of Sheeba... , by now I'm getting REAL used to this... We grab our 3D glasses and we're on the ride in a matter of minutes. We enter this virtual video game and 4.5 minutes later I'm the happiest woman on earth. I think I'm going to need THERAPY about this thing I have for Spidey... it's SICK! What next? My son says, Dr. Doom! I say, hey, you're tall enough, let's do Dueling Dragons! Besides, Dr. Doom gives me the heebie jeebies... On the way who do we bump into? Dr. Doom!! I give my camera to a nice lady to take a picture and whisper in his ear... "Hey, Where's Spiderman?" I have a picture of him trying to strangle me! NOT that HE wasn't a hunk himself, but not exactly my type! We run over to Seuss Landing, which I figured my son would want to surpass but no, he can't get pass Cat in the Hat. This ride is always fun for a little sit down fun. And I'm always looking for a way to get off my feet! After spinning our way through CITH, we make our way to the Lost Continent. We notice that Poseidon's Fury was still closed. Right outside of Mythos is an AOL kiosk, so I took some time to post on the DIS on the Host Board, much to my son's chagrin. The "mouse" started acting weird near the end and I couldn't log out so I gave up. We headed off to Dueling Dragons. The express entrance is not as obvious here. It's actually up the exit passageway, which is a mighty haul. We passed hundreds of befuddled riders, got to the express entrance and was waved over to a dark hallway. I couldn't see a thing but realized we were joining a group of people on their way to the ride (already in progress...) I felt like I was just THROWN on the line and apologized profusely but surprisingly no one seemed to mind... I just kept thinking if I had tried that in New York! A few steps up we're given the choice of Fire or Ice and this time we choose Fire. The line for the first seat was LONG so we chose the other seats. We were on in no time. I felt a little weird having my legs dangling like that but I figured I HAD to have the shortest legs on the ride so if THEY don't get in trouble I shouldn't have a problem... I hope. The ride is smooth like the Hulk but the best part is the near collision with Ice. Scared the living *&^%$# out of me! Whew! Ride over, mind collected, child in one piece, TIME FOR ICE!! Well, we do the express thing again and this time go to the right. We wait awhile for the ride, but something seems to be wrong. Each ride takes a long time to be okayed. I was on line with a field trip of adorable 5th graders and everyone was questioning the wait. We FINALLY got on, after seeing Fire shoot off at least 5 times, go about five minutes up the first track and SCREEEEECH.... some strange sound squeals and we stop in midair! The restrooms had aLOT of business after THIS RIDE.. We were sitting there for what seemed like FOREVER... I kept thinking at least we'll go together, me and Mike, what a headline that would make... In the meantime, FIRE blew past us over and over. At this point I wanted a parachute! HELP! HELP! I pictured some underpaid, overworked, hormonal teenagers trying to figure out how to get us down. I did not like that visual.... HELP! HEEEEEEEEELPPPPP! Then it starts up again.....heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeellllllllllllllpppppppppp! It putt putts off and there we go. I spoke very loudly to God that day. He's STILL trying to figure out what happened to my faith... When we got off that ride, I SWORE that the only Ice I'd EVER see again would be in a glass of Kool-Aid!! After the bathroom break... you thought I was KIDDING?... We decided it was time for a break. At least I thought so. Of course, this is the kind of thing that 8yo boys live for. Cooool, Mommy, that was coooool! Yeah, right... We started the trek back to Confisco's. I HATED the fact that they don't have the character meals anymore, but I really like this restaurant anyway. On the way back we passed the famous... <center>MYTHOS</CENTER> Can you hear the music??? Could I, would I DARE to ask if I could possibly be seated without a PS or a ressie? Heck, after that experience on Ice, I can handle ANYTHING! Off we go to Mythos. Michael gets the biggest kick out of all the faces in the walls. We're seated immediately. This restaurant is tres cool. The booths are burgundy velvet and look like thrones. Of course I had to have one and since it wasn't too busy they sat us at one. I requested the kid's menu and they had a good selection. The kid's meals can be upgraded with a milk shake and I was in the mood for one. I asked if I could order a kid's meal, I really don't eat much more than they give in kid's meals, and she said fine. So I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich with bacon and mashed potatoes (my son was getting so SICK of me and my mashed potatoes) and Michael got the hamburger and fries... hamburgers are a new thing for Michael, he just ate his FIRST one the week before... We ordered shakes, banana for Michael, chocolate for me. They turned out to be the highlight of the meal. Everything was incredibly good, and the portions were quite adequate. Of course I tried to see if fellow DISer, TheSecondCook was working today but didn't want to embarrass him! I asked about him to the waitress but since I didn't know his real name I guess I ended up looking like a nut... After lunch we headed back through Seuss Landing. Michael was determinded to do Spiderman and the Hulk one more time. On the way back we stopped and flashed our "gold" on One Fish Two Fish... just when you think your kid is too old for some things... It took us a while to get on this one, go figure. We finally got on and got squirted a few times. All in all this is a cute ride for younger kids, but for me... give me some more Spidey! And guess what was broken down??? We walked up to Spiderman and saw a huge crowd. It turned out to be the Universal Express people getting their tickets re-timed. Oh well... At this point we, or shall I say I, decided it was time to take advantage of the fact that we are onsite and take a break at the hotel. We take the boat back this time, take some great scenery pictures and go back to the room for about an hour to rest. When we both are thoroughly rested, Micheal suggests we go back to Universal so he go BACK on BTTF and to Curious George! Oyyyyyy.... So we take our little shortcut through the pool to USF. It was blindingly humid and miserably hot! On the way to the back of the park we hear thunder. You know, Florida was in a drought until I showed up. Anyone else looking for rain? I'm more of a sure shot than an Indian Rain Dance. We decide to do Terminator2. The show was about to go on in about 5 minutes. I always enjoy this show, one of the best in the park, a classic. After T2, we realize that the thunderstorm of the century is coming. Michael is still determined to do BTTF. Oyyyy.... I suffer through BTTF ONE MORE TIME... then we're off to Curious George. We don't make it. The sky OPENS UP! It rains torrents for about a half hour. No fun. When there is finally a break in the weather we head back to Hard Rock. Curious George had NOTHING on that storm. Everyone was soaked to the bone! But the rain was welcome, it certainly cooled off the place! We spent a few relaxing minutes at the pool, Michael played in the water while I chilled under a cool cabana, whos idea was this, give them the Coooool award , and then it was up to the room for more room service and chilling out under Smokys picture I had a kids meal this time and actually finished it. Had the ice cream again, talk about your comfort food, did a load of wash down the hall and off to dreamland. In retrospect, this was a DREAM trip to IOA and USF. FOTL takes so much of the stress away, the idea is the best EVER. It makes my favorite parks all the more PERFECT.. right, Spidey???<center> </center> Coming up: Pete Werner's party, the Meeting of the Mods, the Dolphin Manor and WDW!