We're off to see the Wizards - Our 1st Trip to US/IOA

Discussion in 'Universal Studios Trip Reports' started by aprilfoolwed, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. aprilfoolwed

    aprilfoolwed DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Messages:
    941
    Today we had our first day at Universal Orlando, and we spent it at the Studios.

    We left our house in Kissimmee around 8:00, and arrived in the Universal parking deck around 8:20. After the walk through the parking deck and a stop at the restroom in CityWalk, we arrived at the front gate around 8:35. We were about 20th in line at the gate, so it didn't take long to get in the park.

    The gates opened around 8:50, and we went straight to Despicable Me. There was no line at all! We walked right into the preshow room. Really cute attraction - I think it was my favorite of all the 3D/4D things we did (and I have not even seen the movie!). The Minion Dance Party at the end of the ride was really cute too!

    From there, we walked across the street to Shrek 4D, where we waited 5 minutes. The kids were frustrated with the preshow because they had a hard time seeing, but they liked the actual attraction. I found it to be a little too bumpy at times, but maybe I am just getting too old. :rotfl2:

    We did Twister next, also on a 5 minute wait. Then on to the Mummy (again, a 5 minute wait). My boys didn't want to ride the Mummy, so I sat out with them while my DD and DH rode. They loved it! And I hoped that I would get a chance to ride it later....

    We had a quick snack in the New York area and started walking into San Francisco. The boys started getting antsy to go on the Simpsons ride, but I insisted that we stop and do Disaster (my Undercover Tourist App listed it at a 20 minute wait, but we only waited about 15 minutes until the next show).

    Good thing we stopped there. Both of my boys were selected to be part of the show! They were thrilled! I think my DD felt a little left out, but she enjoyed watching her brothers be part of the show.

    Okay - now to try my first photo (I didn't take the camera out much this day -we were more focused on getting things done).

    [​IMG]

    These are my kids in the line for Disaster. They got a lot of attention because of their shirts (Grandma got those for them a few years ago!).

    To be continued...
     
  2. Avatar

    Google AdSense Guest Advertisement


    to hide this advert.
  3. aprilfoolwed

    aprilfoolwed DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Messages:
    941
  4. aprilfoolwed

    aprilfoolwed DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Messages:
    941
    Ok - took a while, but I think I finally figured out the photo linking!
     
  5. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Messages:
    60,336
    you did good!
     
  6. aprilfoolwed

    aprilfoolwed DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Messages:
    941
    After Disaster!, there was no way to keep the kids from The Simpsons ride. We were silly though, and didn't just continue around the loop - we backtracked and walked allllllllllll the way around the park.

    It turned out to be ok though, because we stumbled upon the Spongebob Meet-n-Greet street show. We missed the show part, but were there just in time for the photos!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    FINALLY, the kids got on the Simpsons ride (keep in mind, they have never even seen an episode of the show, but their grandfather is a HUGE fan). I enjoyed that section of the park - with its bright colors and circus-like atmosphere. There was a 10 minute wait for the ride, which gave us just enough time to have a few laughs at all the silly things in the line area.

    From there, we went to Men In Black, where we had our first locker experience. I appreciate the free lockers, but it can be such a headache to get into those locker areas. I wonder if there is a better way that could be handled (maybe seperate lines for renting and reopening?)? 10 minute wait for MIB - and I was proud to have a score of 240,000 on my first ride! Even beat my video-game junkie DH! :thumbsup2

    By this time, it was noon and we hit the majority of the main attractions. We figured it was time for lunch, so the kids voted to try Richters Burger Co. We all had a basic burger (no cheese for the kids) with fries. The boys shared a burger since they were pretty big. The burger was slightly overdone, but not too bad. The fries were very tasty. I liked the fixins' bar with lettuce, tomato, pickles etc. The kids really wanted to try the new Coke machines and were disappointed that you could only use them if you purchased the refill cup (which were $10.50 each - but buy 2 get 1 free). So we promised them a trip to our local Five Guys soon, where they can try the Coke machines all they want!

    After lunch, we started to pay attention to show times. We hit the 1:30 Terminator 2--3D show. DH and I saw that when it was new at the park years ago, and not much had changed. I am guessing that attraction may be on borrowed time?

    As we left Terminator, we ran into Scooby and Shaggy:

    [​IMG]

    To Be Continued...
     
  7. aprilfoolwed

    aprilfoolwed DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Messages:
    941
    We went to the 2:30 Fear Factor Live show. I was pretty excited to see this - I am not a huge fan of the show, but thought it would make a pretty neat live show. I wasn't disappointed. It was a lot of fun seeing the contestants do the stunts and gross stuff. I don't know if they do the same thing at each show (we weren't able to make it back for a second show at all, although we would have liked to)?

    There were some technical difficulties in the show - one contestant's platform didn't drop out beneath him, so there was a bit to-do about who was eliminated. And I can't believe what some people willingly drank! :scared1:

    We went right from Fear Factor to the 3:30 Animal Actors show. My DD is a huge animal lover, so I knew she would like this one. This is also a show I remember from our trip there years ago (1996???), but I liked the updates to show some more current "actors" like Marley and Pirates of the Caribbean.

    And guess who got picked to help with the show?

    [​IMG]

    My youngest son had a pigeon land on his head! There were lots of pigeon poop jokes, and the poor little guy thought he really did have poop on his head. :rotfl2:

    The kids needed a ride after all those shows, so we went to E.T., where we waited about 10 minutes to ride. I remember this ride as well! We were lucky that the kids got the front row, so they were really able to help E.T. fly home!

    After E.T. the kids wanted to check out Fievel's Playland. They had a great time just running and playing. I didn't want them to be too wet, but they did get to go on the little waterslide there.

    We left there and headed back to Hollywood for the Horror make-up show at 5:30. We caught the tail-end of the parade right before the doors opened for the show. I loved this show, although it really was rated PG. There were a few words that I wasn't thrilled that my kids were hearing, and a lot of the jokes were above their heads. But we all liked it, and my middle DS was "picked on" by the show hosts quite a bit. Fun time!

    After the show, we headed to the waterfront to get a spot for The Cinematic Spectacular. The kids were hungry, so we invested in a refillable bucket of popcorn, which is by far the best value in the park. The original bucket was $5.50, and refills were $1. The refills were good any day at either park (unlike the soda mugs, which are only good one day). In fact, the girl working there said "You can get refills until you break the bucket." :laughing:

    We enjoyed the nighttime show. The water effects are pretty amazing, and the movie clips were a neat look at film over the years. The kids liked to point out the ones they knew.

    [​IMG]

    I really liked the park all lit up too. I noticed a lot of little details while looking across the lake - like the buildings have different types of lighting just like a real home (some overhead lights like in a kitchen and some lamps).

    We left the park after the nighttime show and headed home. We hadn't eaten dinner, so we did a McDonald's drive-thru and ate a quick bite at the house. The kids were able to swim for 40 minutes (because it was in the 80s!) before we called bedtime.

    We needed a good night's sleep because we were getting up early to get to Islands of Adventure - and Harry Potter - in the morning!
     
  8. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Messages:
    60,336
    sounds like you all have a fun day!

    did you watch the Blues Brothers show or see some of the characters by the Lucy Tribute?
     
  9. aprilfoolwed

    aprilfoolwed DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Messages:
    941
    We woke up today to another fabulous weather report - high of 82 and just partly cloudy. Nice change from our PA weather!

    We again left the house around 8:00 so that we would be in line at least 20 minutes before rope drop. We knew the crowds would be much different at Islands of Adventure, and it was certainly more crowded. This was our first real encounter with the mass tour groups too. We have seen them at Disney (and had some very negative interactions with them at character meet and greets) but there just seemed to be so many more groups here at Universal. Time of year? Type of park? Regardless, we tried to stay as far away from them as possible!

    From reading here on the DIS, I knew to make our way back to WWOHP quickly, so we did. We hopped in line for Ollivanders right away. We waited less than 10 minutes to get into our wand show! I love the theming in WWOHP, and Ollivanders just set the mood even more. I do wonder about the guest who is chosen for the wand show - do they get the wand? Or at least a discount?

    After Ollivanders, we made our way up to Hogwarts. The line was listed at a 20 minute wait, but most of that was simply winding through the queue. The lockers are sooooo crowded here. I wouldn't even let the kids in with me for that! I think I would have lost them forever in there!

    FJ was different than I expected (not quite sure what I did expect, but the ride was different). My middle child didn't like the motion of the ride, and my youngest was scared of the Dimentors (although he was a trooper and didn't cry about it - until later in the day when he randomly started thinking about them!). My DD and I are the Harry fans, and she really liked the ride. I think I wish I would have seen more about Harry, and a little less thrill ride, but it was still pretty neat.

    When we got off FJ, we saw the Butterbeer cart and needed to try some. I am not a cream soda fan, so I only drank a little, but the kids really enjoyed it. I am glad we had our Butterbeer early in the day, because just an hour later, the lines were HUGE! (no WWOHP pics from this day - I only snapped a few on my phone at this point).

    The kids really wanted to do Flight of the Hippogriff, but the line was really long (45-60 minutes), so we decided to wait. We knew we'd be back, because Dragon Challenge didn't open until 11:00.

    So off we went to see some Dr. Seuss. I really liked this part of the park. Maybe it's because I am a children's librarian? Maybe it's because it was really quiet there (especially compared to WWOHP)? But I really loved the theme and out time in this part of the park!

    We walked right on the High in the Sky Trolley! The ride is way too short. But it's so cute! From there we walked right on Caro-seuss-el, which was fun to do:

    [​IMG]

    That's my DH and youngest DS there!

    The kids did One Fish, Two Fish too. The older two said it was for babies, but they actually liked it. :rolleyes2

    [​IMG]

    Same with The Cat in the Hat. We walked on every ride in this area within 5 minutes, so it was a short period of time to spend there. We just missed the meet and greet with the characters, but my kids didn't have an interest in going back later.

    So, we refilled that popcorn bucket for $1 and had a snack before moving into the Marvel section.

    It started to lightly rain as we left the Seuss area. Marvel was pretty crowded. My Undercover Tourist App told us Spiderman was a 10 minute wait, but when we got there, it said 30. And then the ride shut down, and we were not able to get in line for it at all. The kids were disappointed. Rain, no spiderman, and they were getting hungry. We had a late reservation (2:00) at Mythos, so we didn't want to eat too much. But we gave them a little snack to hold them over.

    We didn't really know what else to do at that time, so DH and DD got in line for the Hulk (20 mins), and the boys and I headed to the Storm Forst spinning ride. They walked on that ride twice while we waited for the others to come off the Hulk.

    [​IMG]

    My DD and DH LOVED the Hulk, so we were glad they took some time to wait for that one.

    We walked back over to Spiderman, which had reopened. The wait was 45 minutes, but I think we really got there in 30. My middle DS was in near-meltdown-mode at this point (he has an anxiety disoder) so I don't think I was able to enjoy Spiderman as much as if we had done it earlier in the day. However, it was a neat ride - even if we had to wait a bit for it. Of course, for the rest of the day, the wait was back to 10 minutes. :charac4:

    We had a little time before our lunch reservation, so we decided to at least walk through the cartoon and Jurassic Park sections. We were not doing any water rides that day, so we passed right through the cartoon area. We stopped at Camp Jurassic for a bit, and the kids LOVED it. We had a really hard time getting them to leave for lunch!

    But hunger won out, and we headed to Mythos to check-in.

    To Be Continued...
     
  10. aprilfoolwed

    aprilfoolwed DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Messages:
    941
    We did! But not until our last day at the parks. There are so many good shows at the Studios! It's hard to fit them all in one day. I think that's what really makes that park a 2-day park!
     
  11. aprilfoolwed

    aprilfoolwed DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Messages:
    941
    Our lunch reservation at Mythos was at 2:00. We arrived around 1:45 and were seated within 5 minutes.

    I had read a lot about Mythos online, and really wanted to try it. The kids were glad for a chance to sit down and rest.

    Mythos is BEAUTIFUL! The outside of the building is so impressive, and the interior is lovely as well.

    [​IMG]

    I can't say enough good things about this restaurant. The greeters were friendly and seated us quickly. There were ample menus available for people waiting in the lobby. They also had some ice water with lemon in a cooler available for those waiting for a table (and since it was a hot day, it was so welcome!).

    We had a lovely table close to a window overlooking the water. It was a booth-style table, and there was plenty of room for all 5 of us (so many times places squeeze the 5 of us into a booth meant for 4!). We all ordered something different:
    • I had the grilled chicked sandwich - with lettuce, tomato, bacon and ranch. The chicken was juicy and tender, the lettuce crisp, the bacon had excellent flavor, and the ranch added just a nice hint of flavor without being too "ranchy"
    • DH chose a chicken wrap - that had potatoes in it! Strange! But he said it was really good.
    • DD had a burger with bacon. It was huge!
    • DS9 had the kids' chicken fingers and fries. There were lots of healthy options as sides, which was nice, but he choose fries. LOL
    • DS6 had the kids pizza - it was HUGE! DH helped him finish it, because he could only eat half of it

    The herbed bread that came out before our meal was delicious too. It was warm and yummy! Even my picky eater loved it (despite there being "stuff" on the bread). :lmao: We were too full to think of dessert - but I wish we could have tried it!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    After that great meal, we took some time to walk over to the Mystic Fountain and have a few laughs there. Both of my boys had conversations with the fountain, and got a little wet in the process.

    We wandered back to WWOHP after that, stopping at Zonkos and Honeydukes to do some window shopping. We walked out and had an opportunity to get a rare family photo with the Conductor of the Hogwarts Express (and thanks to the nice couple who took the photo for us!).

    [​IMG]

    I was hoping for a chance to let my stomach settle before any rides, but since there was no wait for Dragon Challenge, DD and I took advantage of that. Great ride! We rode the blue coaster.

    After that, the kids pretty much revolted and said they wanted to go back to Camp Jurassic, which was their favorite thing in the whole park! I think they could go there for days on end and not get tired of it!

    We tried to get to the final Sinbad show, only to find that it had been cancelled. :furious: After running over there for nothing, we felt a little tired, so we started to head out of the park. We saw that the Hulk had a 5 min wait, so DD and DH rode that one more time before we left.

    We went back to our rental house to freshen up, and then drove back to the International Drive area, where we met up with a college friend for some appetizers at Dave and Busters. The kids had a blast playing games, and we enjoyed some time with an old friend. The kids were so busy playing that they didn't eat anything for dinner, so Wendy's drive-thru on the way back home was our final stop for the night.
     
  12. ProudMommyof2

    ProudMommyof2 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2007
    Messages:
    2,581
    Awesome updates! I am so relieved to see how well you did without the benefit of Express Pass!

    Can't wait to hear more!
     
  13. reelmom

    reelmom DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2006
    Messages:
    5,632
    Love the updates. So glad you had a great time. Can't wait to read more.
     
  14. aprilfoolwed

    aprilfoolwed DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Messages:
    941
    I have to admit, it was hard on us just from a past experiences stand-point. The kids kept asking why we had to wait, and why could we not just get a Fast Pass. :confused3 Guess they are just too used to Disney. I think by our last day they finally understood we could NEVER use that EP lane!

    If I had to do this trip over, I think I would have just booked one of the on-site hotels (at the time we were booking, I had a 40% off code to use!). With the cost of the house plus rental car/gas, and parking ($15 each day - so we spent $60 to park this week) it would have been close. BUT, we would have been in a typical hotel room with a rollaway for our youngest, which is NOT how we usually like to vacation.

    So, it seems at this time of the year, it's ok to not have EP. You just have to keep flexible, get their early and be prepared to wait if needed. If you have a smartphone, the Universal Studios App from Undercover Tourist was very helpful (and free!). I felt it was most accurate at the Studios - the times were a little off at IOA (numerous times it said Spiderman was 10 minutes, and when we got there it was 30). But still helpful in planning!
     
  15. aprilfoolwed

    aprilfoolwed DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Messages:
    941
    Thanks! It was a really nice little vacation. I wish we had more time in Florida, but seeing as I don't even have vacation time yet at my new job, this was really nice.

    My DD really liked Universal because of the rides there. I think my boys prefer the Disney parks, simply because there is more to do there that isn't "thrilling." Of course, last time we were at Disney, my youngest was scared to go on Big Thunder Mtn, but he did the Mummy TWICE here. :lmao:
     
  16. aprilfoolwed

    aprilfoolwed DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Messages:
    941
    We were all so tired after our previous busy days that we opted to sleep in a little today. We gave ourselves an extra hour of sleep, and arrived back at Islands of Adventure at 9:30 AM. We saw how long the lines were already getting, and decided we'd make sure we were at rope drop again tomorrow!

    The kids really wanted to ride Flight of the Hippogriff, and the lline was consistantly over 45 minutes the day before, so we did not do it. It was our first stop today, and the line was already 25 minutes long. So we waited. I am glad we did, because DS9 doesn't like thrill rides, but this family coaster was just enough of a thrill for him, so he enjoyed it.

    Hagrid's Hut
    [​IMG]

    Buckbeak
    [​IMG]

    Then we walked through Hogsmeade a bit and took a few photos. We thought that even though the lines seemed to be a little longer today, the crowds were fewer in general. By the afternoon, that evened out and the streets of Hogsmeade were just as crowded as the day before. Here they are in the morning:

    [​IMG]

    Now, I love Harry Potter (again, Children's Librarian here!), and the theme of this area didn't disappoint me at all. We loved looking in the windows of the shoppes, and the castle itself is just amazing! BUT, I was a bit put off by how narriw the streets are and how CROWDED it can get. It was very difficult to stop and get photos, or even really enjoy the area that much. After spending a little time there, we all just got frustrated of pushing past the crowds. So we spent less time in the WWOHP than I ever expected. That was a little disappointing.

    So we left WWOHP and had a little snack in the shade in front of Poseidan's Fury, since that was our next stop. Universal only opens the line for their shows 15 minutes before the scheduled time, so we ended up doing quite a bit of waiting for just the queue to open. Here we are snacking - and looking at the little lizards (the kids LOVED those):

    [​IMG]

    I really loved the look of the Lost Continent area. And the building for Poseidan's Fury was no different:

    [​IMG]

    I hadn't really read anything about this attraction, other than it was about special effects. It was neat to see, and I am glad we did it, but since you stand for the whole attraction (moving through different rooms) it was difficult for the kids to see at times. We were never able to get into a front row, so they missed quite a bit of the action. :( So this wasn't on the top of their list at all. I am glad we saw it though.

    After the show, we wandered back to the Dr. Seuss area to get some photos.

    [​IMG]

    I still think this was one of my favorite areas in the park! I love how colorful it was, and that everything stayed true to the theme! We had not done the If I Ran the Zoo play area the previous day, so we stopped by to check that out.

    [​IMG]

    It was a cute interactive area. Unfortunately, the water play area was not open yet (I don't know why they do that! There were quite a few staggered openings for rides throughout the park. It was frustrating to have to keep walking in circles).

    We rode the Caro-seuss-el again (my DD is a sucker for merry-go-rounds) since there was no wait, and then took a few pictures. We loved the little alcove area behind the Green Eggs and Ham stand - we took some great shots there!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The kids had another little snack, and then it was back to the Lost Continent for the 8th Voyage of Sinbad. I had read that this show was not so good, and it wasn't :rotfl2: In fact, I was checking on on Facebook, and I wrote "at the Sinbad show" but Autocorrect changed it to "at the so bad show." That was a good joke for the rest of the day! My DS6 actually loved the show - fire, monsters, swords! But I thought the dialouge was terrible and very difficult to understand. They should just focus on the stunts with music in the background - I think it would be an improvement!

    All morning, the kids kept begging to go back to Camp Jurassic, so we continued from Lost Continent back through WWOHP to get to Jurassic Park. We stopped on the bridge for a few photos:

    [​IMG]

    Love the detail!

    [​IMG]

    And then into

    [​IMG]

    We stopped in the Discovery Center, even though the kids just wanted to get back to Camp Jurassic. I really enjoyed the Discovery Center! Lots of interactive, hands-on things to do.

    We saw a baby dinosaur hatch in the nursery

    [​IMG]

    Then we FINALLY got back to Camp Jurassic, where the kids played for a good amount of time. They loved the rope bridges, caves, misty water features and more!

    Our boys wore their swim suits today because they love water rides. I can't stand being wet, so I opted not to go on (as did my DD - she doesn't like getting all wet either - unless it's in the pool!). As I mentioned before, DS9 doesn't like thrill rides, so we skipped Jurassic Park water ride because the hill scared him. We entered Toon Lagoon, and he also wanted to skip the log flume there, but he loved the Popeye & Blutos Bilge-rat Barges. DD and I sat and did some people-watching while the boys rode.

    We then saw that the Hulk had a 5 minutes wait, so DD and I went to that. I wear glasses, and I am BLIND without them, but I gave my stuff to DH (so I wouldn't have to use the lockers) - so that walk through the park was interesting because I couldn't see a thing! :rotfl: If my DD ever wanted to get rid of me, she could have then! So we rode the Hulk (awesome!) while the boys went on the barges again. There was still a 5 minute wait when we all met up again, so DD and DH did the Hulk one more time as well.

    Once I had my glasses back, the boys and I waited for DD & DH in the large store near the exit to the park. We enjoyed looking at the wands, robes and other HP stuff in there.

    We left the park around 4:00 today, having done everything we missed or wanted to do again. We did not eat lunch at the park - just snacks - so we were really hungry when we left! We stopped at Downtown Disney and had dinner at the Rain Forest Cafe. The kids have never been there (they did go to T-Rex a few years ago), and they were really interested in it when we were at DTD a few nights ago, so it seemed like a good stop. It was fine - the atmosphere is fun, the food just ok, and the prices through the roof! LOL

    We sat next to the elephants
    [​IMG]

    From there, we went home and let the kids swim before going to bed.
     
  17. aprilfoolwed

    aprilfoolwed DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Messages:
    941
    How did we get to our last day so soon? This was a really short vacation for us. In the past, I was not working, so we had lots of time available, but little money. :) So we would drive from PA to FL - which is 20 hours each way, making it 4 days of travel. Then we would stay at our destination for at least 6 nights/7 days, so our total vacation time was at least 11 days. This trip we flew, making the travel time a lot less. But we only spent 5 nights, and really only 4.5 days (arrived late afternoon into FL; departed early morning to PA).

    So this was our last day. :(

    We headed back to the Studios today. I was a little nervous about crowds, having read that many people will do 4 days at Disney and then move to Universal. Plus, our phone app was giving us a "yellow light" for US today.

    We arrived at the gates around 8:40, and gates opened around 8:50. We split up for our first attraction. DD & DH headed over to Rip Ride Rockit, while the boys and I went back to Despicable Me. Both rides were on 5 minute waits. DD & DH got out first. We had a few technical difficulties in our ride - the preshow lost audio about 3/4 through it. It was interesting to watch the scramble as the employees tried to keep order (we weren't allowed to move into the next room) and get someone to fix the audio! It ended up fixing itself, and we were back to normal quickly!

    Next we did the Mummy. There was NO WAIT at all for it.

    [​IMG]

    I did not ride it the first day, as someone had to stay out with the boys. So I went on this time - AND DS6 went with me and DD! He was just barely 48 inches, but he made it on and LOVED the ride!

    [​IMG]

    After the Mummy, the kids wanted to get back on the Simpsons ride, so we headed there. Again, no wait. We followed that with another round on Men in Black (no wait).

    At this point, it was just shortly after 10:00 and we had hit so many attractions! The early bird gets the worm!

    We wanted to see the Blues Brothers show at 11:00, so we headed back to New York and sat on the curb and had a little snack. My DS9 was a little grumpy about sitting and waiting for the show to start:

    [​IMG]

    :rotfl: But he ended up loving the show. He stood front and center and really liked watching "Jazz" the saxophone player (since he is learning to play the sax this year in school). We all enjoyed this little show - such high energy!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    After the show, there was still no line at the Mummy, so DH, DD and DS6 rode that again. And DS9 and I took some pictures in the New York street scene.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    By the time the others got off the Mummy, it was nearly noon, so we stopped in Finnegan's Bar & Grille for some lunch. It was really good! We learned our lesson at IOA and Mythos - no quick service for us!

    We all enjoyed the Irish soda bread - and the apple butter was soooo good! We ordered the following:

    • DS6 ordered chicken fingers with fries and grapes
    • DS9 had chicken fingers with fries
    • DD had a bacon burger (adult menu)
    • DH hadMisty Isle Mixed Grill -which was grilled chicken breast, sausage and bacon served with potatoes and root veggies
    • I had a bowl of potato leek soup (shared with DD) and the Newcastle Chicken (grilled chicken with potatoes and root veggies)

    Our service was great, the atmosphere was fun, and the food was really good. Best part - we finally remembered our AAA discount (duh!) AND we had a gift card from Christmas to use, so the meal was practically free for us! That's the way to do it!

    After lunch, we headed over to the other side of the park towards E.T. We came across Lucy and Marilyn on our way there:

    [​IMG]

    We took a little detour into the I Love Lucy display. The kids don't know a lot about that show, but they liked the interactive quiz in there!

    When we exited the display, Betty Boop was there.

    [​IMG]

    She was so sweet! She had a nice conversation with the kids - great interaction!

    Then we noticed the Simpsons were in front of their camper, so we got our photo with them too!

    [​IMG]

    We needed a ride after that, so we went to E.T., where there was a 5 minute wait. The Beetlejuice show was at 2:30, and we had a little time to kill, so the kids ran around Fievel's Playland for a bit. Then we headed over to Beetlejuice. This was where we saw the most people that day - there was a big crowd heading into the theater. But we got good seats, and everyone enjoyed the rock and roll show.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    We checked our Undercover Tourist App again, and Rip Ride Rockit was on a 5 minute wait, so DD and DH headed there again after the show. The boys found so many lizards in front of the Beetlejuice graveyard that they just wanted to stay there and look for more. :confused3

    When DD came back, we decided to split up again. The boys and DH went back to Fievel's playland (what can I say, the boys just like to run around!), and DD and I went to do MIB one more time (10 minute wait). We all met back at Fievel's playland and I was finally able to talk the kids into at least walking through the Barney attraction. That playhouse was soooo cute! Too bad my kids wanted nothing to do with Barney anymore!

    Our last thing on our to-do list was to see the character parade at 5:00. So we found a spot near Despicable Me and sat on the curb. I was just handing out some snacks to the kids when a Universal employee came up to me and asked if we were waiting for the parade. I said we were, and he asked if we'd like a better place to view the parade. We agreed, so we packed up our stuff and followed him to the Hollywood side of the park. There we found a roped-off bench waiting for us!

    [​IMG]

    The guy said this was something they just started doing - something to make a family have an extra smile. :thumbsup2 He was so nice! He brought the kids bottled water and really treated us like VIPs! It was a great way to view the parade.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    After the parade, our "host" came back over and asked if there was anything that we missed out doing or wanted to do again. DD mentioned how much she loved Rip Ride Rockit, so he asked if she wanted to ride it one more time - without waiting in line. She was thrilled.

    He walked us over to Rip Ride Rockit and took DD & DH up the employee's only elevator to the front of the line. There was only a 10 minute wait at that time, but they sure felt important! :goodvibes

    We thanked our guide for the full ending to our trip, and then we headed to the main souvenir store to finally make some purchases. My older two kids bought Harry Potter wands. :wizard: We also came home with some minions, a Hogwarts christmas ornament and a few other things.

    Then we said goodbye to Universal and left to get some dinner at Giordano's pizza in Kissimmee. We turned in early that night after packing our suitcase.

    We left at 6:30 AM the next day for Sanford airport and had a nice quiet flight home. We ate lunch in PA by 1:00.
     
  18. macraven

    macraven Proud Redhead

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Messages:
    60,336
    that was a nice touch to have the vip bench and goodies.

    you can never turn down a personal escort to the RRR !


    sounds like your day ended great.


    love all your pictures!
     
  19. aprilfoolwed

    aprilfoolwed DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Messages:
    941
    I thought I would also share what this trip cost us. We are always trying to save money where we can, but also don't mind spending a little more to make something special when we are able as well.

    Airfare (inc tax, fees and baggage) - $850

    Park tickets (we bought 2 adult & 2 child 4-day base tickets from AAA - our 5th set of tickets were won (free!) from Coke Rewards) - $586

    Lodging (private 4BR/2BA pool home - 5 nights) - $650

    Rental Car (Dollar) - $150

    Parking (at Universal - 4 days) - $60

    Gas - $40

    Groceries (included breakfasts, snacks, toiletries, etc) - $130

    Meals - $586

    Souvenirs - $180 (the kids had their own money for their items, so most of this was paid for by them)

    Entertainment (Dave & Busters) - $20

    Total - $3252

    This trip was supposed to be our "cheap" trip! LOL We knew when we opted to fly AND take all 5 of us, it would cost more. It certainly didn't end up being a bargain trip; however, I do think it cost us a little less than our past Disney trips (where we stayed longer, but did not fly).

    All in all, it was a good trip (Florida in January is soooo much nicer than June or July!), and I am glad we got to spend some time at Universal. I am going to miss having a summer vacation this year, but I am going back to school to start my Masters and will be unable to take a week off once I begin the program. So this was a great solution.

    Now we are all unpacked again at home, and tomorrow is back to work and school for all of us.

    I hope you all enjoyed our trip report. Let me know if you have any questions!
     
  20. Jonesloonybin

    Jonesloonybin DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    954
    What a great way to end your trip!! :goodvibes Who doesn't love the VIP treatment!
     
  21. disnut1149

    disnut1149 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,644
    Hi
    Thanks for your review!! It sounds like you had a really great time!! Your kids are very cute!!
     

Share This Page