Part I - Arrival, Universal, Hard Rock Cafe & JPIII The players: Me - 38 yr old Accountant Wife - 38 yr old Teacher #1 Son - 13 years old #2 Son - 10 years old We left Birmingham, AL on Sunday night at about 6:00 pm (Central time)with an overnite stay in Tallahassee, FL. We found a room with two double beds at a very nice Shoney's Inn and got a rate of $49 because we checked in after 11:00 pm (eastern). On Monday morning we were off by 8:30 am after loading up with gas, Krispy Kreme Donuts, and a stop at a drugstore for some items we forgot to pack. We arrived at the Hard Rock Hotel at about 12:30 pm and attempted to check in. After a short wait in line, they began the check in process, however, the computers failed and they were unable to generate the temporory room keys that we needed for FOTL until our permanent room was ready. No matter, we simply stored our luggage and ate lunch at the poolside grill and upon returning they had a room ready for us. By 2:00 we were headed to Universal Studios to give our FOTL access a spin. We started with Terminater II - 3D and successfully entered the Express Line, however there was no ride attendant inside the queue area and much confusion. However, on this attraction at this time, FOTL was of little importance and we saw the show. Very impressive, but I have the following comments: There is always some yahoo who insists on not moving to the end of the row even though all the seats give nearly the same view of the 3D action. I had read about this attraction in the Unofficial Guide to Beyond Disney, and the author rated T II - 3D as the single best theme park attraction anywhere in the world. It was pretty good but the buildup was too much. That said, T II 3D was one of the highlights of the trip. We ended up seeing this once more later in the week Our intention was to enjoy 5 - 6 attractions before 5:00 so we skipped ET and moved to Back to the Future. The express line is very useful here and we began the process of being spoiled. Back to the Future is an excellent motion simulation ride and did not shake us nearly as much as I had read on this board. We later learned that this was because we were in the front seat. When we rode in the back seat we were tossed around pretty good. The kids were very high on this and we found ourselves experiencing this 5 more times during the week. Each time there was more to discover that you may have missed if you only ride it once. BTTF was definately one of the highlights. Men in Black was next and the kids were anxious to get a high score having been armed with tips from this board. The first time through, however, it is tough to translate the tips into successful scoring. The express line works very well on this ride, but if you aren't staying on site or able to get an express pass, the single rider line is even faster than the express line. We ended up going back to MIB 8 more times during the week getting high scores of 405,000; 401,000 and 365,000 for the 13 yr old, 10 yr old and me respectively. If anyone is interested in tips I would be happy to pass along what we learned. MIB was a favorite of the three boys in the family. Next was Jaws. The express line was very valuable here as well, however the ride was a dissappointment. Perhaps we were expecting too much or we didn't have a very good guide. Don't get me wrong, some of the special effects and shark encounters were pretty good, we all just believed that they could have done more with this attraction. We rode this once more, at night this time, and only reinforced our original view. We ended up with Twister. The express line was almost of no value both time we went to Twister. I was impressed with the special effects, but the wife and kids are claustrophobic and didn't like the two rooms that you are crowded for video pre-shows prior to the actual virtual tornado scene. By this time it was 5:00 so the boys and I explored City Walk while my wife went back to HRH to begin the process of getting ready for dinner. Our package included: 4 nights at the HRH, a free meal for everyone at the HR Cafe, movie tickets for everyone at the Cineplex, no cover charges for the adults at Citywalk, and a souvenier drink and cup for each of the boys. As well as unlimited access to USF, IOA, Sea World and Wet N Wild. FOTL was only applicable at USF and IOA. We began the evening with the "free" meal at HR Cafe adding to what was covered by ordering adult beverages and an appetizer. We finished up the evening by seeing Jurasic Park ||| at the Cineplex. We brought breakfast foods, an even our toaster with us and kept Sunny Delight's and soft drinks in a littler bag cooler in the room. We never opened the mini bar except to view the contents when we first arrived. Many people in the hotel obviously had a need for ice. Virtually every night there were guests roaming the halls with empty ice buckets looking for ice on every floor. The one ice machine per floor cannot keep up with the demand and conservation was not on the minds of the vacationers. Our room was near the ice machine on our floor and we could hear when someone was successful in getting it to cough up some ice. Others weren't so lucky as heard complaints throughout the week. Next : Sea World, more Universal and lots of Brazilians.