Our one day at Universal Studios - Dec. 22, 2000


Earning My Ears
Jan 13, 2000
We spent Friday December 22nd at Universal Studios. If you read my report on Islands of Adventure you know that these are just some of my thoughts, comments, and opinions on our trip.
We were in Orlando for 8 days, December 17th (late arrival) to leaving early on December 26th. Six days at Disney and 2 days at IOA/USF. We went IOA on Thursday December 21st and on Friday December 22nd went to Universal. After Thursday we didn't get up as early today, but made it to the park by 8:30am. Got to the gate right at 9am opening time. This is a hint to remember, on the off season they didn't open the gates early. Yesterday we got to IOA to early and waited in line about 1 hour until the 9am opening.

I first head the family to Back to the Future. I love the Back to the Future movies, so I was very excited. It was a great ride. Good thing we rode it early in the morning, or I might have lost my breakfast! It was an excellent ride, but it could make you motion sick. As always my DH said "It should have been in 3D". He thinks every ride/show would be better in 3D.
After that it was on to MIB. Shooting aliens, always way cool. There were no lines for either of these rides this early in the morning! In fact the park was not crowded the whole day. I don't know if it was because it was Friday or December 22nd that caused it to be so nice.

After MIB we headed back to ride ET. It was cute, but neither of my kids have seen the movie ET. I think they would have enjoyed it more if the knew the movie plot. They could relate to Back to the Future and MIB because they have seen the movies multiple times. So, I recommend that you see the movie before you ride ET.

Then we let the kids ride on Woody's Coaster multiple times. Next we headed to T2.
My oldest DD didn't want to see T2, so we let her sit outside the main entrance and enjoy a snack. I wasn't sure what this show would be. It was actually very good. Video, 3D, live action actors blended all together very well. Youngest DD really liked the actors running up and down the isle in front of her. DD missed a good show.

Then we caught the Animal Actors show. My kids really enjoyed it a lot. It was a cute show. How can you go wrong with animals performing tricks. Glad Kelly Monaghan's book recommended this show.

After this we head over to Hanna-Barbera. Remember in my IOA report I said we didn't use Express pass, it was confusing, etc. Well it was about 10 minutes until 11am and the line was 30 minutes long. So I decide this is where we should use the EP. And we head down the line marked EP and … it leads to a closed door, no handle, marked do not open. Well what are we to think? So we go back to the regular line. After a few minutes my DH goes back to the door and knocks. He finds out that is the EP entrance, so we head there and go right in. Why tell this part? Well I think Universal needs to work on the Express Pass System. We really never needed it before 11am and when we tried to use it the system was very confusing. Anyway HB was a cute ride.

Lunch was something on everyone's minds now so we walked to Mel's (love the place from the outside) but DD didn't want to eat there. There weren't any tables inside and the birds were attacking all the tables outside is why she didn't like it. We strolled to the Beverly Hills Boulangerie and with out a wait got 2 sandwiches and cheesecake. The sandwiches were so large that the 4 of us could share. The food here was good and there was no one else there.

Next we walked to Twister. Before we got to Twister we encountered something I didn't like about Universal. People wanting to do a product survey that had nothing to do with Universal. This was a cheap shot from Universal I thought. I would have gladly answered questions about our day at the park, but I do not want to talk about what yogurt I eat, or shampoo I use. Very distasteful on my vacation.

On to Twister! I know many people have said what a great attraction this is. Super effects, felt like a real tornado, etc, etc. Sorry guys, it was a big zero in my book. I thought the pre-videos were the best part, showing footage of real tornadoes. It was just lame as an attraction. Being from Oklahoma it just did not empress us at all.

Then we made our way to the Nickelodeon Studios. I expected more from the tour. They showed two studios. I think even if there was production going on it wouldn't have been more. But after seeing the studios you go to an area where they play Double Dare. My kids really liked this. And the youngest DD was picked to play in the first game. So I think the kids liked it more than I did. We met Angelica from Rugrats outside the studios.

We made out way to meet Santa by King Kong. After seeing the "big guy" we went to King Kong.

Now we had a strange experience here. We get on the tram and just as it starts to pull away some lady goes nuts. She wants off, we think. She doesn't speak English. So she is trying to tell the tram Operator in Spanish that she wants off. By this time we have moved away from the platform. I thought the tram Operator handled this situation very well. She told the Control Room what was happening and tried to let the lady know that we would be going to the ride in the light, out of sequence, and then she could get off. So we went through the ride out of sequence, seeing everything in the light. The tram Operator explained all about the ride as we went through, so this was kind of neat. Anyway, we made it to the end and let the lady off. As we pulled away (again)to see the ride I saw the Security Guards approach the woman. What an unusual ride on King Kong.

It was getting late, they kids wanted to go to Fievel's playground and Curious George playground. I thought they would have time to play and we would make the last Beetlejuice show.
But after they played for a while I was ready to head out to the hotel. I thought we would make it an early day, go swim, eat dinner, rest. About that time a bus with characters arrived for a short Christmas show and autograph signing. They girls really liked this, George Jetson, Scooby Doo, Yogi Bear, BooBoo, Woody and Winnie Woodpecker, Fred Flintstone, and Fievel. Got some great pictures.
As we make our way down Hollywood Blvd. to leave we see the Blues Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, and the Ghostbusters. That was neat. I didn't know they did this there.

We make our way to the Lucy Tribute. Oldest DD is a BIG Lucy Fan. She really took her time looking and reading all about Lucy in the display. We got a few good digital pictures for her. There was a trivia game to play, she did excellent of course. This display was really neat.
So we never made it to Beetlejuice, Earthquake, or Jaws. Maybe next time. I think really covered the park well for our first time there.

We had a really good day at Universal Studios. I liked this park better than IOA. And it very not crowded at all. This was great. The kids really enjoyed it and everyone could ride everything.
Just so you know our evening didn't end early, we didn't make it back to swim, etc. After making our way through City Walk with a few stops, we get to the car and my DH can't find the car keys! That's right no keys. We contacted security via the security phones and they sent a guard (on a bike) to take us to a phone. They also checked to see if any keys were turned in. I had my cell phone but we had used it that day and it hadn't been charged in over a week, so it ran out of power just when I needed it. Anyway I called 1-800 chevy (because my car was still under warranty) and they said they would sent someone out with new keys in 30 minutes. I got the impression the Chevy helpline has many calls from Universal! So back to the car, where SURPRISE the Locksmith showed up in 20 minutes, made new keys and it cost us zero! Thank you Chevy. And the next day my DH found the keys between the door and seat. The point of my story is that I should have also carried a set of keys. You might want to remember this when you travel.
Mahalo Tammy,
Again a wonderfully detailed report. I really enjoyed reading it. :)
I, too, did not enjoy Twister. And don't get them here! ;)
Did you learn anything new about Kong when you rode through with the lights on?
Happy Valentine's Day!
This was our first time to Universal so we had not seen King Kong before. But it was very interesting to see the big guy. The Tram operator said if they didn't shut it down we could be hit be the hand because we were out of sinc with the effects of the ride. So when we went by we heard sounds like the fire or King Kong but we did n't see fire and King Kong didn't move. We also didn't do any "dropping" feeling like the Tram was falling. It was different!
Sounds like you had an awesome day! I also was not impressed the first time I saw twister, but when I went through with my dh I enjoyed it. Go figure.

Thanks for taking the time to write! :D

We are leaving tomorrow so I appreciate all the help I can get. We were there 4 years ago so I haven't seen Twister yet. My kids liked Nickeldeon too but it's definately something adults can take or leave. Maybe I can talk them into skipping it this time. :)


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