February Trip Report -- Part 1: We looked and we saw him, the Dave in the Hat!


DIS Veteran
Aug 20, 1999
February 3, 2001

The cast:
Me (the 28 year old)
Dave O’Brien (the 34 year old)
The Other Dave (Dave O’Brien’s friend, didn’t ask age)

I went to Universal this time to see Dave O’Brien, one of the regulars on the Universal board.

I left at around 8:00 am. I left looking at gloomy skies and arrived at Orlando under the same gloomy skies. The sky looked pretty ugly throughout my entire drive. I didn’t pack very well either. I packaged mainly shorts and only had one pair of jeans for the entire 3-day visit. I realized I had packed wrong when I stopped for gas at Polk City and stepped outside. It was cold!

I also had the beginnings of a cold. I started showing signs of it on Friday night. I didn’t need a cold to hamper my fun!

I arrived at Universal around 11:45 am and was through the Islands of Adventure gates about 10 minutes later. The walk wasn’t that bad, considerng that I ended up in Jurassic Park row 503 (right on the parking garage roof). It started to sprinkle.

The Universal meet was scheduled for noon at the Backwater Bar. It started to sprinkle. I walked by the information board. Queues for most of the rides had no wait. Spider-Man had a 20-minute wait. The Hulk was about 10 minutes. Pterandon Flyers had the longest at 30 minutes. Dave O’Brien was sitting in by a table in front of the place. He had an IOA hat and sweatshirt on, a walking ad for the park! We greeted each other and waited for the Other Dave to arrive. The Other Dave was off looking for his Cedar Point hat. He lost it at Citywalk last night. I heard the story of their wild time at Margritaville and it was amazing that they only lost a hat! Dave had an extra key for me. He stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel and he got front of the line access all day, just by flashing his room key.

Dave mentioned that he saw Hulk Hogan at Dueling Dragons the other day. His family and entourage surrounded him. A young fan ran up to say hi and Hogan just shrugged him off! Dave also said that he went to Disney World earlier in the week. I traded a Disney Park Hopper pass for a two-night stay at the Hard Rock Hotel. I think it was a fair trade. He went to Animal Kingdom to ride Dinosaur and Disney-MGM. He rode Rock N Roller Coaster nine times and Tower of Terror three times without a wait! He was done by 11:30. I was amazed! I wanted a piece of this no wait. Dave was leaving on Monday morning, so I decided then and there to go to Disney on Monday.

As we were sitting in front of the Backwater Bar, two Universal employees asked us if we liked the rain. They also asked if we got our photo taken out front. We didn’t. I can usually avoid the photographers at the front if I am visiting solo. I either give them a wide birth or follow a large group. They never bother me!

I went to the bathroom in Confscio’s Grill (I did not see Spider-Man). When I came out, Dave O’Brien was with the Other Dave. They were hiding under a canvas roof. The Other Dave was wearing an IOA hat. Where was the Cedar Point hat? We introduced each other and headed out for fun!

The first ride we went on was the Hulk. Dave knew the FOTL entrance by heart. We went up the exit. I felt like a fish swimming against the current. The FOTL entrance was the baby swap entrance and exit. We showed our cards, but the ride op knew Dave already! I can see that he has been using FOTL quite effectively!

We thought the primary crew was out to lunch since the Hulk loaded much slower than I recall. There were also large-sized individuals who had trouble fitting into the seats. I saw two ride attendants push down on the restraint to get some people in, but some people had to exit the ride because they were too big. We rode the Hulk two times. Once in my favorite seat, the back seat, and the next time in the sixth row. I love the back because you get the tail end of the launch. As we were getting loaded into the trains, the Other Dave was talking to me. I could not hear a word me said. The noise from the queue and the coaster were loud and drowned out the conversation. All I remember him moving his mouth and smiling. He could have told me who shot JFK or the Roswell aliens, but I could not hear a thing! As we rode, the rain pelted us in the face! We also got dripped on from the overhang at the end of the ride. The train just stopped one row too soon and we were getting dripped on!

We decided to come back later when the primary crew was back from lunch. We rode Spider-Man next. The FOTL entrance was through the gift shop entrance. We walked through a roped-off area that u-turned through the baby swap area. We rode it two times, both in the last row. Dave was telling us about the perfect Scoop – the one that had the best movement and was timed the best. It was car 118. Dave had the pleasure of riding it a few days ago. A ride op had pointed out the car to him. We did not get the pleasure.

The two rides were some of the best rides I’ve been on for Spider-Man. Almost all the effects were working. On our first ride, we felt the water from Hydro-Man’s first attack. I did not feel it on our second ride. The screen where Spider-Man jumps on the hood of our Scoop had some sort of tear or white dot on it. It was kind of distracting since I could see it on Spider-Man’s neck! It broke the virtual fantasy a little. As we exited into the gift shop, I saw an IOA souvenir video by the registers. It is finally here! Molokai Gram will be happy!

We were getting hungry, so we were trying to decide on where to eat. Dave suggested Café 4. However, I suggested the Burger Digs, which has the best burgers in the park. Dave asked if it had a fixings bar. I said yes and we were there! As we walked to Jurassic Park, we passed by Popeye and Ripsaw Falls. It was way too cold to ride them! I had the Adventure combo (Cheeseburger, fries, pudding, and soda) and the Daves had cheeseburgers. They agreed the burgers were good! As we ate, I could hear the roar from the Hulk all the way on the Burger Digs’ balcony. That is one loud coaster! During lunch, the Daves kept on saying Hulk Hogan probably doesn’t have to eat at the Burger Digs. He probably ate at Emeril’s!

After lunch, we decided to go to Dueling Dragons. Dave wanted to pass on the Flying Unicorn. He rode it once and didn’t like it. We used our room keys for FOTL. The FOTL line cut through Baby Swap and into the main room. The room was packed! The wait was about 15 minutes. We were expecting to walk on, but it was busy. The front seat was probably running a 30-45 minute wait. We decided to do one ride on Fire. We chose a row near the front. As we headed up the lift hill, water dripped on the Other Dave and me. We had rain in the face again!

The crew must be back from lunch, so we headed back to the Hulk. We used FOTL on the Hulk again. We loaded much quicker this time. We rode in the last row and then we were in the second row for our second ride. We had the rain in the face again!

It was getting close to the Universal globe webcam meet, so we headed over to Universal Studios. The Other Dave was still looking for his Cedar Point hat. He was sent to several Guest Services windows and was finally instructed to go to the Studios’ Guest Services window. The Other Dave headed to Nascar Café to buy a gift and then headed to the Guest Services window. Dave and I headed to the Universal globe.

At the Universal globe, there was another guy standing there. He had glasses and a beard. I thought that it might be part of the Universal meet, but he went away before I could ask. It was rainy and cold! We tried to stay out there for the Universal board people, but we were done after five minutes. The cold and rain conquered us. We headed for drier ground.

We went over to Guest Services at the Studios. Dave wanted to call the Hard Rock Hotel to get the sofa bed made for me. The Other Dave was inquiring about his hat. They could not find it! Guest Services passed the phone to Dave through the hole in the window. Dave asked for the sofa bed to be done “whenever, before we get back.” We were assured that it would get done.

We headed into Universal Studios for Men in Black combat…


Barry Hom
The moderator formerly known as Barry aka usagi
Moderator, Universal and Sea World Boards

"If you were me, you'd be good looking."
Many thanks for posting these, Barry. This is why I never bothered with one. You're better with the details!


"Compose your final, loathesome dirge!"


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