May 27, 2001 The cast: Me (the 29-year old) RhondaS (moderator of the Community Board) Scottie (RhondaS DH) Erin (RhondaS DD) Malarie (RhondaS DD) Dan Murphy (moderator of the Community Board) I was up at around 6:30 am. The plan today was early entry at Universal Studios and to meet the one and only Dan Murphy! I headed out around 7:15 am for the breakfast buffet in the Portifino. I had the full buffet, which included all the pastries, bagels, and other cold stuff with eggs, bacon, sausage, and other hot stuff. The breakfast was very good. It was a little pricey at $15.25 though. I have eaten at $3.99 breakfast buffets. Those buffets have a bigger selection, but the food seems much greasier. The Portifino breakfast wasnt too greasy. Even the sausages and eggs werent overly greasy! I didnt want to overstuff myself today either. As I got my final helping, the waiter took away my coffee pot too soon. I didnt really mind since I was on my last cup of coffee anyway. I didnt need a whole pot! Id have a nervous twitch all day. Besides, I was expecting to ride Men in Black early and I didnt want my aim to be affected by a caffeine fix. I hopped on the boat at 7:45 and headed to Universal Studios. I then met up with Rhondas family. It was a very smoky day. Visibility was around 25 feet. We looked towards the globe and out of the smoke came Dan Murphy. He said that his drive down I-4 was impaired by smoke. We entered the park and smoke covered a good portion of the place. The smoke did add a touch of reality to the San Francisco set. This is really how foggy San Francisco is! I didnt feel the affects of the smoke though. I wasnt coughing and I didnt have a raw throat. The park was pretty quiet during early entry. I didnt see very many people walking around and it was like we had the park to ourselves. Our first ride was Men in Black. As we passed by Back to the Future, a Back to the Future ride op kept on saying you could ride Back to the Future or something else. He must be new. We got on Men in Black with a short wait, mainly with the hydrolator elevator. I think we just walked right onto a vehicle. Rhonda scored the highest with 232,000 and I had 192,000. I could feel the caffeine surging through my veins. I blame the caffeine for my bad aim! I thought that I could cut through baby swap to get another ride without riding the elevator, but Scottie and the kids were out the exit door before I had a chance to herd them back! We rode once more and my aim was better. I scored 444,000 points! Next was E.T. We had to wait 5 minutes for the preshow movie. In the movie, Steven Spielberg said to give our names to the attendant and we would get a special pass. When we got to the attendant, she said that we didnt need to give our names and ushered us to the forest queue area. I had never taken photos of the E.T. forest queue area, so I pulled out my camera and took flash photos. I took two of them when an announcement came on. The attendant kindly said that flash photography and videotaping are not allowed in the E.T. Adventure. Everyone then turned around and said, Ohhh, Barry! Sorry, I was taking them for the boards! I thought I would be ushered out of the park by security, but no one really bothered me about it. We hopped on. I like to admire the animatronics in the first scene. I couldnt help thinking how much better they looked than in the past. I would not mistake them for real people if one was beside me on the bus, but they did look good. The ride was smooth until we reached E.T.s home planet. Then the bikes stopped and started. Someone needs to grease up the chains! It was interesting, though, to admire the details in some of the scenes when we stopped. Dan and Rhonda took photos, but the flash didnt go off. Humph! We rode Back to the Future next. Scottie and Dan sat out on this one. The ride didnt seem as shaky as it was in the past. I was letting the rest of the group sit up front, but there were no takers. The early bird gets the worm, so I took the front seat! I can ride in the back, but I hold my head forward so I dont get my head banged up on the back wall. The next ride was Jaws. This ride was a walk-on too. The queue was very empty. We got into the third row and Rhonda had an idea to set up Scottie. Rhonda had Scottie sit on the right hand side. He would be at ground zero for the dock explosion and the splashes of water at the end. He was unsuspecting of what would happen to him. The boat passed by the docks and boom! the gas lines exploded and Scottie was roasted! Then he got a cooling off during the water splashes at the end. Rhonda thought that he would get a sprinkle, but the brunt of the water hit Scottie and half his shirt was wet! When we got off the ride, Scottie did not seem very happy. I suppose we are not riding Jaws again! Next we rode Kongfrontation. I dont recall too much of this ride, other than Dan was taking a bunch of photos. I am kind of amazed by the quality of the film with such low light. I am never able to get so sharp photos from my 35 mm camera! Then we went on Twister, where our group got broken up. Dan still snapped photos and we met up with Rhonda and her family at the end. We took a ride on Hanna Barbera. The seating arrangement on this ride is unusual. You are split up from the rest of your party, so you cant hear little Timmy screaming beside you. I wonder if people mess up the seating arrangement. If one person is split up from the party, do they leave the seat empty and all sit together? That would really mess up the seating arrangement! After Hanna Barbera, Dan had to leave for an afternoon Epcot meet. I would meet up with him later for a Garden Grill meet at Epcot. It was time for lunch, so we headed to Lombards Landing.