HRH & 4 park Flex - 7/23 - 7/27 - Part II

Discussion in 'Universal Studios Trip Reports' started by Beancounter, Jul 31, 2001.

  1. Beancounter

    Beancounter Earning My Ears

    May 7, 2001
    Day 2 - Sea World, more universal, lots of Brazilians and the space shuttle

    The players:

    Me - 38 year old Accountant
    Wife - 38 year old Teacher
    #1 Son - 13 yrs old
    #2 Son - 10 yrs old

    The four park flex ticket includes Universal, Islands of Adventure, Sea World and Wet N Wild water park. We chose to do Sea World on Tuesday to take advantage of early entry at the two Universal parks on Wed and Thu.

    The Unoffical Guide said to arrive at the park no later than 8:20 to make sure you get an early start. However, the entrance gates did not even open until after 8:30. In other words, by the time you pay the $6 parking fee at the entrance gate and drive to your parking place, walk to the main entrance it was about 8:45. We rushed ourselves through this process thinking that we would be behind the crowd, however the park remains roped off until a few minutes after 9:00. In other words, we went through a hurry up and wait situation. The Unoffical Guide may have been correct for people who had to wait in line to buy tickets, but for those who have the 4 park flex ticket, time your arrival at Sea World for about 8:45 and leisurely make your way to the park.

    After the ropes dropped we headed straight to Journey to Atlantis. Having been spoiled by FOTL the day before we planned to do Atlantis and Kraken first and then start our way through exhibits and shows. There was no wait at Atlantis and we boarded quickly. This is a combination water ride and roller coaster and it is extremely well done. The first drop is in the dark and you brace yourself for a long one only to discover that it is relatively mild. You will get wet on the big drop that comes back outside. After that drop you think you may be finished with the ride only to start the roller coaster portion of the ride. I really enjoyed this ride and wished we could have experienced it more.

    Next we went next door to the Kraken. There are lockers that cost $.50 and we selected one and stored our stuff. As we entered the line the attendant singled out our 10 year old to get measured. This ride has a 54" requirement and we had measured our son at 55" before leaving home. Well something was wrong with either our measurement or their's because he came up about a ΒΌ inch short. The 10 year old was heart broken, more so because he knew that the Hulk and Dueling Dragons were also 54" rides and he did not want to face his friends in the neighborhood, one of which had been to IofA only two weeks before. In order to not make a bad situation worse, we all elected not to ride the Kraken.

    We visited the Penguin and the Sea Lions before heading over to the Dolphin Show. Those who have never been to Sea World, let me encourage you to get to the shows at least 15 minutes early. The crowds buildup of course, but also because each of the shows has a pre-show that is worth seeing. In the case of the Dolphin show it is a musician/singer/comedian that I thoroughly enjoyed. This guy is very good and can sound exactly like J. Buffett ("Fins to the Left"). The dolphin show is very good but the current show is short on dolphins and long on some type of unique dolphin-like mammal that is some type of whale. Next to the dolphin show is Dolphin Cove - a dolphin feeding experience. There is a feeding about a half hour after the first show. The food costs $4 a portion and the kids can actually touch and feed the dolphins. Because we went directly after a dolphin show next door this place was mobbed, but we enjoyed it tremendously. Enough that we made a special trip back on Friday just for pictures and feeding (More about this in Part V)
    Next to this is a shallow tank to feed and feel stingrays.

    Next we went to Clyde and Seamore. Again arriving about 15 minutes prior to the start and securing a seat in the shade. The preshow here is done by a mime who is hilarious. Another reason to arrive early for this one is to avoid being the brunt of a mime joke as your walking in. This show is also very entertaining and we all rated it high.

    We next saw the shark exhibit which is very unique and includes all kinds of "Dangers of the Deep". At one point in time in this exhibit, your on a moving sidewalk and go through a tunnel surrounded by water above you where all kinds of different sharks are swimming.

    Next was Shamu's second show (the first one was while we were at Clyde and Seamore). The pre-show here is an audience interaction trivia shown on a big screen video board. Not as good as the other preshows IMO, but still very entertaining and worth arriving early for. If you are sitting in the bottom section of this show you will get drenched. All the shows that feature splashing warn about salt water and its corrosive dangers to cameras, etc. I was struck in this show by the size of the Killer Whales and how deep the tank is. You can see underwater because the front of the tank is transparent and because they show underwater angles on the large video screen. When the underwater camera makes these huge animals look very small you begin to appreciate the size and depth of the tank.

    Next was the arctic exhibit which is actually a combination exhibit and motion simulation ride through the arctic. Not bad at all and a pleasant surprise. I was looking forward more to the penguins, but they simulate a Southern Hemisphere winter at this time of year so it was not as good as I expected. However the arctic exhibit has the motion simulation ride along with exhibits of polar bears, beluga whales, walruses, etc.

    We ate nearby at a counter service restaurant featuring chicken strips, Fajita sandwiches and grilled chicken salads. Very good counter service food. The cost for the four of us was $32.

    We next watched the majority of the ski show and then began to realise that we would be able to see everything we wanted to much quicker than planned. Another visit to Atlantis where we waited about 45 minutes and a few more exhibits and we started thinking about leaving. But not until one more visit to Dolphin Cove.

    The touring plan became flexible at this point. Originally we had planned to spend the majority of the day at Sea World and then eat off-site on the way back and finish the day with some nighttime swimming for the kids and poolside adult beverages for the parents.

    However, we decided to go back to Universal and eat at the park. We saw some of the things that we missed the day before like ET, Earthquake, Kongfrontation and try to work in a few shows. The shows were pretty much finished for the day so we repeated Back to the Future, two more tries at Men in Black and a nightime visit to Jaws.

    ET was not up the level for our family of the other rides that we had been on and we listened for our names at the end but could not hear any of them (dissappointment). Kongfrontation was better but we really enjoyed Earthquake.

    Men in Black and Back to the Future were our clear favorites so far. We ended up eating counter service hamburgers at a place in the San Francisco section, because I was outvoted on a seafood place in Amity. The counter service seafood place included a calamari sandwich which I hated to miss.

    Did I mention the Brazilians? In July, at Disney, Universal and Sea World you will find enormous numbers of large groups from Brazil. I had read about these groups and some of the difficulties with them but we experienced no problems. FOTL is very valuable for avoiding a large group that suddenly arrives at an attraction. I actually tried to talk to several of them who ended up a single riders and were placed with us, but their english is limited. Still, they are fun to watch and you will notice a lot of singing and dancing while in line or even while walking through the parks. I can't imagine being in a foreign country with a different language and customs and I found myself just hoping they all had a great time and went back to their country with positive images of America.

    Back in the hotel that night the Space Shuttle was heading in for a landing. We were watching the coverage of the landing on a local news station when we heard and felt the sonic boom of the Shuttle overhead. Not something you experience everyday.

    Tomorrow: Part III - Early Entry at Islands of Adventure, Motion sickness, Margauritaville and getting soaked
  2. markey

    markey DIS Veteran

    Jul 28, 2000
    You should have went back and been remeasured after a different attendant took over. 2 years ago our GD went on rides at Disney with the same height requirement as Journey to Atlantis. When we went to get on early in the am (no lines) the attendant would not let her on, we went back in the afternoon (40 min wait) and the attendant left her on. We were not trying to pull anything, she was tall enough because we had measured her at home, and I don't think she grew in 4 hours.

Share This Page