"Swimsuit edition" Day 4 -- Sun Mar 4 -- Checkout, VonDrake to conference, Rajah to IOA an


DIS Veteran
Aug 17, 1999
(Note, this same day is posted on the main trip reports board along with the rest of the trip report. I've provided a link to the pre-trip report for those interested in viewing the entire trip report, but since this day specifically dealt with IOA, I decided to post it here as well)

Rajah/Tammi -- As usual, trip report writer and trip planner
VonDrake/Michael -- Rajah's DH, whose conference is our excuse for the trip this time

Guest Cast:
Art -- our CM friend, pin-fanatic, and all around cool guy
Marsha and Tom -- aka Mackey Mouse and her DH from the DIS
Carol, Jen, and Kristin -- aka CarolAnnK and her daughters from the DIS
"Aaron" -- another solo IOA guest

Dates: Feb 28 through Mar 4, 2001

Destination: WDW, and for Rajah, USF and IOA as well

Name: "Swimsuit edition" -- keep reading to find out why, though one tip: always take your swimsuit, even if you don't think you'll want it ;)


This time when the alarm went off around 8, we actually had to get up. It didn't take us long to finish our packing, but we didn't find the bill on our door as we expected :eek: No big deal, we still had until 11 and even then could review everything on the TV checkout system.

We had breakfast PS over at Cape May Cafe, which we decided to actually go to. I had the bright idea that it would be easier to leave our bags in the room and walk to the Beach Club than it would be to take the bags down to the car then drive around the corner. I probably had that backwards, but oh well.

So we walked to the Beach Club, where Cape May Cafe is located, and looked dubiously at the morning sky. It was getting darker as we walked, and we knew we'd be in for rain soon. Besides, the Weather Channel told us so ;) We were also surprised at how deserted the walkway was this morning. It was almost 9am, and I expected to see more people. We only saw two or three people all the way from the Dolphin to the Beach Club.

As we walked in, we kept our eyes open for Marsha or Tom, since we knew at least they were staying here. We didn't see them and didn't know their last name so couldn't leave them a message, or would have. :D We checked in and were given one of those coaster-pagers, so went to sit down in the lobby and look around. Doing so, we decided we weren't as interested in staying at the Beach Club as we might otherwise have been. There just wasn't much to the lobby at least to draw us back there. We'll do so one of these days, but it's not at the top of our list any more.

We had about a 15 minute wait (it was Sunday morning after all) before we were seated. When we were taken inside, the CM seating us grabbed two of those coloring mats for us :D They were both Chip and Dale munching on peanuts. When we were seated at our table, we found a bucket full of crayons (no brown though!! :( ). The CM asked us if we'd been there before and when we said no, she explained the procedure and layout to us. Pretty much the same procedure as the other buffets we've been to, but a different layout.

We hit the buffet first thing, then returned to eat. Dale was the first to come by, and I swear both chipmunks had their heads on springs! This was the first time I've seen them shaking their head from side to side as much as they were! I would have gotten dizzy ;) Goofy came by next, and finally Chip made it by. By the time Chip came around, I had part of my page colored. Michael wasn't touching the crayons ;) Chip gave me a thumb's up because I was coloring his nose or mouth at that point, and I grinned to him as I tried to figure out the best way to get brown from reds, yellows, and blues and an orange.

On my next trip back from the buffet, I saw a brown crayon sticking up very obviously from a bucket on an empty table, so I slipped in and snatched the brown as I went by ;) Michael was embarrassed when I got back to the table with my snitched crayon, but I got to color the chipmunks the right color ;)

As for the food, it was decent. We missed our omelets, but the breakfast wasn't bad. Nothing too memorable other than that I liked the hash browns. I don't know that we'll be back for the food, though I did enjoy coloring ;)

The only other noteworthy thing of the breakfast was watching the character's reactions when they got to the table next to us -- the family there was obviously baseball fans as they had a baseball they were asking the characters to sign... with a ball point pen! Both Dale and Goofy went to the back to get another CM who had another pen and who could help them, because trying to hold that ball and the pen and write was rather difficult with their gloves and paws! (Do chipmunks have paws? Or are they considered hands as well?)

Once again, we ran into the problem of having great service...up until the time we were ready to pay the check and leave. We were there about 15 minutes before we were able to catch our server and request our check, when she'd been rather attentive up until that point. But we did finally get back, even though I was chomping at the bit once more. I wanted to get Michael checked in to his conference so I could go to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure ;)

We hurried back to the Dolphin from the Beach Club and found a slightly shorter path to take. As we were walking in the door, we started feeling the light misting of a very slow rain, with much more threatening to come. But we made it indoors before it really started.

Up to our room, where we did one more quick check of the premises for everything before we turned on the TV and checked out about 10am. They have a very nice checkout system at the Dolphin :D Then we lugged our bags down to the entrance. There, I left Michael with all the bags in the covered area while I hurried out to get the car. Good thing I did, because it started raining pretty hard before I reached the car, then turned into a complete DOWNPOUR just as I was getting in. No way we would have made it with the luggage before it started downpouring. This was only the first time I was to get wet this day ;)

I pulled around to pick Michael up, and an ever helpful CM (if they are technically CMs at the Dolphin) came around to see if we needed any help. I told him we were checking out and nodded toward Michael, who was bringing the first of the bags around to the trunk. Before I could move to get any, the CM was over grabbing the rest and helping us load them :D Then he asked if we needed any directions anyplace. Michael said no, but I said yes -- Holiday Inn International Drive since that's where Michael's conference was.

He gave us some directions (which for the most part we once again promptly forgot but were able to figure out), then we were on our way. It was still completely POUNDING rain, and Michael apologized. I HATE driving in the rain, but he wasn't a registered driver for the car so couldn't take over. Plus, I was the one who knew where we were going. This wasn't too bad, though -- people were actually driving the speed limit or below, going for the conditions instead of hitting 70 or 80 mph when you can't see 10 feet in front of you like they tend to do back home :rolleyes:

We made it to International Drive by way of Sand Lake, then turned right as we think the Bellhop told us to turn. We drove past a lot of interesting buildings, including the upside-down building (Wonder Hall or something like that... World of Wonder??) which got Michael completely dizzy. I'd been wanting to see some of the things on International Drive (as in drive past them) for a while, but didn't know where they were, so this was an acceptable delay for me.

After a few lights, we started to get the feeling we were going the wrong way. Sure enough, Michael started paying attention to the street numbers and noticed they were going the wrong way. Thankfully, he had the address of the place, so we found a place to turn around and went back the other way.

We finally found the lobby, and I let Michael out to check in. They didn't have a very big drop-off area, so I drove out when I could to find a parking place then went in to find him. By now, the rain had slowed to a gentle drizzle. Michael checked in, only to find that he was in another building around the corner and on the very top floor of the tower. We took his bag back to the car and pulled back around to where we were going to pull in in the first place, then found a new parking place once more and got him up to the room.

Wow. After the luxury of the Disney resorts, this place was a complete *dump*. Compared to your average hotel, it wasn't bad, but after what we'd just come from...? I was VERY glad we hadn't opted to stay here the entire time. First of all, he was on the 14th floor of the tower, which had an open atrium. I guess with man-made structures, I'm a little scared of heights in addition to having a fear of elevators, because I stayed WELL clear of the railing. Then we got in the room and it was decorated very plainly in dark greens and browns, and there wasn't enough light. The only good thing was it *did* have a coffee maker as well as a microwave. It was very obviously an older hotel that really needed a major renovation IMHO. I felt sorry for Michael, who would be staying there for the next week.

Once I got Michael settled in (it was about 11:15 am by this point), I returned back down to the main floor, hands white-knuckled on the elevator until the doors opened, then hurried back out to the car. Naturally, it had picked up in rain again, so I had to rush to keep from getting TOO wet. My feet got a little wet, though, because I stupidly wore my sandals this morning instead of my normal shoes :eek:

From there, I found my way back to Sand Lake and from there followed the signs to Universal. I got my parking pass, then followed more signs to the parking garage until I ended up placed in a spot at the end of the Jaws section, area 416. First thing I did after parking was switch from my sandals to my normal shoes. Then I grabbed the poncho and my stuff, leaving the sunglasses on the passenger seat. (This will be important later) Then I was ready to start my first Universal adventure.

Down the escalator, along one moving sidewalk to another and yet another, I found my way to Citiwalk. At that point, I decided to go by Universal Studios first so I could catch the two main attractions I wanted to see there before spending the rest of the day in Islands of Adventure. I'd originally planned to leave the park around 6, but after seeing how long it took me to get from the parking garage to the park entrance itself, I decided I'd better leave Islands of Adventure around 5:30. That gave me just barely over 5 and a half hours to take in the parks. Before leaving, I was dubious of the task, but with the constant rain I hoped there might be a chance.

Once I got through the gates at Universal Studios, I went straight for.. er... okay, turn around here and go that way to go straight to... no... must have passed it. Ahhh!! Here we are! I went straight to ET (love those signs in Universal, once I learned to look for them. That's one thing Disney should do that Universal actually does better). This is one attraction I've been wanting to see for several years. A number of years ago, my parents came to Orlando for several days. In that trip, they spent one day at Universal, and their favorite attraction was ET. Ever since they returned, the *one* attraction I *really* wanted to see at Universal Studios was ET. Finally, I got to go on it! I stopped to get an express pass for ET before entering, just in case I needed to use it to go a second time.

Then I got in line. What there was of one. By the time the doors opened, I think there were...oh...maybe 15 people in line. I really enjoyed the queue area, and the ride itself was worth the trip over for me :D Very cute. Though what's the point of them taking your name at the beginning? I wanted to go again, but time was ticking away, so I left there to head for Men In Black.

This was the second of two attractions on my "must see this trip" list (I have a handful of others for another trip). It was posted with a 5 minute wait, but I think we waited 10 minutes to get in the door (if not 15), then another 10-15 minutes inside before we actually got on the car itself. Another well done attraction, though I found it hard to aim. And when your car gets hit... look out! ;) My personal score was about 50,000, but the average was a bit lower. The guy on the other end had somewhere around 115,000.

When I finally got off MIB (which I also would have gone on again if the wait hadn't been so long and if my list of "really want to sees" wasn't so long for IOA), I all but ran back to the entrance. It was *still* raining, and by this point I was starting to get rather wet. There's only so much a poncho can do to keep you from getting wet when you're out in it for hours at a time.

On the way out of Universal, I got my hand stamped. By the time I arrived at IOA, maybe a 5 minute walk from the Universal gate, the stamp had almost completely washed off already :eek: By the time I'd been in IOA for about an hour, it was gone almost entirely, and by the time I left that day you couldn't tell at all that I'd ever had my hand stamped :eek: . *This* is one place where Disney is *far* superior, unless the hand stamp is designed to be visible for a short time but have an invisible section that doesn't wash off so easily.

As I approached IOA, I heard a noise rather reminiscent of thunder. Only it was a very sustained thunder. By the time I got in the gates and around the corner, I had identified it as the Incredible Hulk Coaster. I took one look at it and, like a character in Roller Coaster Tycoon, said "I'm not going on Incredible Hulk while it's raining". Cross one off the list for now. Maybe if it stopped raining by the time I got back around, I'd make it back over here and ride it before I left.

So on to ride number 2: Spiderman. There was a 5 minute posted wait, but the wait wasn't even that long. I barely had any time to take in the queue area before we were told to grab our night goggles then hit the actual line below the TV monitors. I watched the hilarious safety briefing (now *how* do you get in those cars again? ;) ) for a couple of minutes before I was ushered into my car with a group of young teen or pre-teen girls. I almost wished for a longer wait, because I wanted to see if the news boss (I'm blanking on his name -- JD?) ever got the people properly into the vehicle ;)

Then we were off. I have two things to say about this ride. The ride system (special effects, movement, scenery...) FANTASTIC!!! The storyline: Eh. Not bad, but nothing special either. But I do agree with people who say this is one of the best ride systems ever developed. I *thought* I could tell where the movie let off and the real scenes began, but when I got home and watched the special on the Travel Channel about Secrets of Universal Studios Escape Revealed, I discovered I hadn't ;) There were several points where something I thought was real was on the TV and vice-versa. More-so vice-versa (that is, something I thought was on the big 3-d screen was really a physical setting piece). I would definitely go on this ride again, and give it two thumbs up even if the storyline wasn't quite up to "my" standards ;) But, I do have to say, with the limited time they had available, they did fit a lot in to the story ;)

And why did I mention the pre-teen girls when I got in the car? Because they were so cute throughout the ride! Screaming at the villains, cheering on Spidey. And at the end, one of them yelled "Spiderman is so HOT!" at the end. ;) Ahh, to be a teen again ;)

Once I got off Spiderman, I took another look at the Hulk. But, it was still raining, so I decided not to go on it. I looked around briefly for Storm Force, but never saw it. I did see Dr Doom Fearfall, though, and quickly walked away. That finished up what I wanted to do in Marvel Super Hero Island (other than the Hulk, which I didn't want to do while it was raining), so I made my way to Toon Lagoon.

From the pictures I'd seen, I was fearful that there wouldn't really be much to any of the lands except Jurassic Park and Lost Continent. Wrong :D The pictures don't do this area justice (and I didn't get any yet because it was raining. I didn't want to risk getting the camera too wet). I want to go back when it's not raining so I can fully take in this area :D While entering Toon Lagoon, I overheard some pre-teen boys saying "Let's go on a water ride while it's raining! We're already wet anyway..."

I considered that and decided they were right. By now, I was already rather wet. The rain wasn't going to stop for several more hours (if it stopped at all before I left), so I was just going to get wetter. Why not go ahead and go for the water ride I'd been considering skipping? So off I went to the pathway to Jurassic Park, paused, then turned around and spent the next few minutes searching for Dudley DoRight's Ripsaw Falls.

When finally I found it, I asked the employee at the entrance (they aren't CMs here, so what are they? Is there a more glamorous title for them?) just how wet I'd get. My biggest concern was the camera. She said she thought it would be safe, but couldn't say for certain because you *do* get rather wet on this and she couldn't be held responsible if something got too wet. I decided to go for it, so I walked along the empty queue until I got to a point that was mostly covered and out of the rain. There I pulled out my camera and the plastic bag I'd brought to put it in just for this occasion, and put it back in its case on my hip. Then, I spread the bag I'd brought for the belly bag stuff over the top to create a bit of a seal before I continued through the queue.

What a cute queue! No, it's not as detailed as the Disney queues tend to be, but at the same time it was done for a cartoon that wasn't as detailed as a Disney cartoon. I really enjoyed the talking heads on the wall -- cute jokes.

By the time I made it to the boarding area, I was the only one in line. So I got a boat all to myself. Only as the boat took off did I realize this was one of those straddle-the-bench kinds of log cars, which I don't like as well as the side-by-side type at Disneyworld's Splash Mountain. Oh well, it was too late to change my mind now, and I wanted to see this anyway.

What a cute ride! At least what I could see of it... by the time my boat reached the lift for the final drop, I'd gotten enough water in my face that my right contact was threatening to fall out :eek: So the ride up the lift was done with one eye closed and one eye squinting, and the ride *down* the drop (COOOOOOOOL drop, better than Splash's IMHO) was done with my eyes fully closed. Otherwise, I *would* have lost at least one contact :eek:

And for those who are curious.... yes, you do get wetter on this than you do on Splash. Much wetter. My belly bag and camera bag were perfectly safe under the poncho, but everything not covered by the poncho was SOAKED when I got off. I thought I couldn't get much wetter when I got on... I was wrong ;)

Quickly, squinting, I made my way to the nearest bathroom where I made an attempt to dry my face and eyes enough for the contacts to settle. After a few moments, they did, and it was safe for me to move around again and I could finally see again. Then I returned to Dudley so I could watch a couple of logs go down that drop and see at least some of what I missed ;)

Content with my experience in Toon Lagoon (I had no desire to get even MORE soaked on the Popeye ride), I returned to the path to Jurassic Park and paused to watch the Jurassic Park River Adventure raft splash up water as it came down the drop. I grinned and knew *this* one wouldn't get me much wetter -- I knew where to sit to not be too wet -- so hunted down the entrance to this ride.

Again, I was slightly disappointed in this one. There were a couple of animatronic dinosaurs that were missing, and I'd hoped to see them. And they were obviously missing, too, so even if I hadn't known they should have been there, I wondered where they were. Though, at the same time, it made things a little more realistic to the movie at the point when the guests are going along the track to see nothing but bushes and be told "here's where thusandsuch is" but "thusandsuch" was nowhere to be found. But aside from the missing dinosaurs, I really enjoyed this. That T-rex was one heckuvan animatronic!! I really want to see the California one now, since everyone says the California one is better. And despite my disappointment in the missing dinosaurs, I thought this was a very worthwhile stop. You really did feel like you were traveling through *the* Jurassic Park :D

And did I get wet? Nope ;) I got a row entirely to myself (meaning, again there wasn't really any wait -- literally *none*). Specifically, I got the third row, third seat -- dead center of the boat. And was the drop bad? I didn't think so. I've heard it was supposed to be one of the fastest water-ride drops in Orlando, but I thought Splash seemed to go faster. Maybe just my perceptions, though, as I've done Splash many times and have only done Jurassic Park River Adventure (JPRA) once.

When I got off JPRA, there was a guy there who somehow had already identified which boat we had come off of, and was handing out claim slips for the photo. If it hadn't been raining (meaning it would have likely been ruined), I probably would have gotten the picture. But with half a day remaining (it was about 1:30 by this point -- yes, I'd seen all of the above in less than 2 hours), roller coasters left to ride, and more rain predicted, I decided it wasn't worth the risk of spending $10-$20 on a photo only to have it water-damaged a few hours later. Another problem was they didn't have the price advertised anywhere clearly, and I didn't want to stand in line to find out how much it was.

So next, I crossed over to the Triceritops Encounter. Here, I ran into another solo traveler. We were both moving down the path at the same rate in the same area, so we started to visit as we walked. When we got to the first check point, the employee there started to let us through then was radioed to come do something so asked if we could pleaseplease wait right there for a moment. So we did, even though about 5 more people came up behind us and asked why we were stopped. She returned shortly and thanked us profusely for waiting, then allowed us to pass.

I only have one thing to say about this attraction. WOW! What an animatronic!! Very well done :D Probably the best animatronic I've ever seen, and the closest scrutiny I've been able to give one. I even got to pet it ;) I was actually the only one at first in line to pet it. And it felt like... well... rubber ;) (Go figure)

We only stayed watching "Topper" (I think that was her name?) for a few minutes, up to when they closed the petting gate, before the other solo guy and I both left. In effect, we hooked up at that point for the rest of the day. Neither of us ever asked if the other wanted to join forces, but we both could tell that both wanted to see the park, both were there alone, and would rather have someone to talk to. He introduced himself as Aaron/Erin (I missed how he spelled it -- I'll say Aaron) and I gave him my name. Then we went over to the Discovery Center.

I played around in here for a few minutes and had fun with it. I was hoping to see the raptor hatching, but didn't see where that would be. Either that, or I missed the timing on it. Instead, I played with the "mix your DNA with a dinosaur" and became a funny looking carnivore, then watched some people playing the trivia game. Then Aaron and I played around with the "see what a Dino sees" section. Only one of the three choices was open, but it was still kinda neat. I also thought the fossil-wall was very well done :D

Leaving the Discovery center, we bid adieu to Jurassic Park. I kinda wanted to try the Ptranadon Fliers (sp?) but didn't have any kids with me. And the play area looked great, but I didn't want to feel stupid running around in it with no kids. Especially with it raining. So, we both wandered over to Dueling Dragons. I may not have wanted to do the Hulk in the rain, but by this time I was wet and cold *anyway* and Dueling Dragons was something I'd really been wanting to try, so I opted to go for it. Aaron was a little dubious, but decided to join me as well.

So we first hunted down some lockers at that other thing Universal does better -- that is, there are some lockers that are free for something like 30-45 minutes after you rent them. That way, you can put your stuff in a locker and go on the 'coaster, then come back and get it without having to pay for a locker all day. Plus, they're very convenient right there.

We made our way through one of the best-themed queues I've ever seen. I still think Indiana Jones Adventure in Disneyland is better, but this one came close. I liked the touch of the frozen knights hanging from the ceiling. And the stained glass video was neat, what little we saw of it. There was literally *no* wait again as we made our way through the queue. But about the time we reached the point to decide Ice or Fire (we chose Ice for the first ride), we hit a wait. Not in people, but in mechanics. They decided to take one pair of trains off the cycle, and this took a good 15 minutes. I'm still not sure why Disneyland can put a train into and out of the cycle in less than the amount of time it takes to load passengers onto a single train and it took them 15 minutes to get two trains off two separate tracks, but oh well.

We opted for the front row -- or, rather, *I* opted for the front row and Aaron somewhat dubiously followed behind. There *was* a wait here, but only for about three dragons before we were strapped in. Then we were off. That first drop is a doozy, but it still wasn't as bad IMHO as the launch for Rock 'n Roller. And from there on out, it was one of the smoothest roller coasters I've ever been on. Fast, yes, turns and inversions, yes, but it was so smooth you really didn't notice!! Of course, I again had to close my eyes about half-way through. First off, as we started from the station, a bit of water fell from the front of the dragon right into our laps. Then, as we hung there waiting for the rear of the train to be released so we could fully accelerate down that first hill, *buckets* worth of water was DUMPED onto our laps from the catches over our heads!! Everyone in the front row screamed -- more for the buckets of ice cold water in the laps than for the drop! And *then* we were sent flying through the air with cold rain pelting and stinging (not bad though) as we cut a path through it. So, by the time we reached the head-on collision, I was about to lose my right contact again and my left contact wasn't behaving much either :( By the time we got off, I literally *could not see*. Between the world spinning and having to watch where I was going through one half-squinted eye, it was quite a chore to make it back to the entrance.

Aaron asked if we wanted to do fire when we came up to the "re-enter here" point, and I said yes but *first* I needed to get some eye protection! So it was back to the restroom where I once again dried my face and eyes and messed with the contacts until they settled, then it was into the store next door on the hunt for reasonably-priced decent sunglasses, since I'd so intelligently left mine in the front seat of the car. There was a pair, so I returned to the locker -- only to find our side was jammed. We had to wait for a couple of minutes for an employee (I keep wanting to call them CMs <IMG WIDTH="15" HEIGHT="15" SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_redface.gif" alt="red face"> ) to come and unjam the lockers. She ended up having to just open everyone's locker one by one by having them show her their locker slip.

Money retrieved, I returned to the shop next door and made my purchase of the sunglasses (fairly tight but not overly tight) and a sunglasses strap. Purchase complete, I tore tags from the merchandise and then slipped the strap around the glasses and put them on, balancing on my head like a headband as I usually wear glasses when they're not over my eyes. Then we rented a *second* pair of lockers, this time from the other machine, stowed our stuff, and went right back to the queue again.

There was a 30 minute wait posted, but we didn't believe it. And sure enough, by the time we made it through the queue (is it just me or does it seem like it takes 5 minutes to walk that queue with *no stopping*?) there was almost no wait. This time, we took fire. We started to go in the front-row again, but could have either a one-dragon wait for the second row or a 5-dragon wait for the front. We got in the second row. But then the group that had been just in front of us and in the front row line opted to ride elsewhere, which made it a 3-dragon wait for the front. *Then*, Aaron counted the people in the front row and realized there was one group of three, one of two, and one of four.

So we asked the group of 2 if it was just two of them. Yes, it was. Did they mind if we joined them? No, as long as the group behind them didn't mind. Did that group mind? Considering it wouldn't change their wait at all, not at all. So we ducked under the divider and joined the couple to give us a 1-dragon wait for the front after all :D

It was as I was getting on the dragon that I realized....the strap for my glasses was no longer connected to my glasses. I felt around my hair and shirt, and sure enough it had gotten tangled slightly in my hair, which kept it from falling, but had come completely loose. So I untangled it as we pulled forward (having water dumped on us again) and wrapped it around my hand. Then I realized, thanks to Aaron looking at me with *his* glasses on, that I had very intelligently left my new glasses on *top* of my head. They were really going to do my eyes a lot of good there!! :rolleyes: I quickly put them on properly and readjusted the strap around my hand (I couldn't reach my pocket to put it there) and up we went.

My opinion of Dueling Dragons? They're a great pair of coasters. This was the first set of "Dueling Coasters" I've ever been on, and it was great. I had been concerned about the intensity of Dueling Dragons as compared to Rock 'n Roller, but I felt that *both* dragons were slightly less intense than Rock 'n Roller. Others may disagree with me, but I think if you can do Rock 'n Roller, you can do Dueling Dragons. This is another of those coasters that looks WORLDS worse than it really is. And which side did I like better? It's hard to say. Fire was definitely the more intense of the two IMHO, but Ice was a lot of fun as well. I'd really have to ride them both *again* when I could *see* and it wasn't *raining* for me to be able to judge which I liked better ;)

By the time we got off the Fire Dragon, I was really hungry (tells you that the 'coaster wasn't that intense to me if I was able to eat right away after getting off). Since we were right next to the Enchanted Oak and I figured that would be quick, we slipped inside. I grabbed what I thought to be a fairly small roasted chicken platter, but when it came it was HUGE! Lots of chicken, some of the best corn muffins I've ever had, and I don't remember what sides I got besides good fries and roasted corn on the cob. Very good, and much more than I could eat! This was better than the equivalent chicken I had at Flaming Tree BBQ at Animal Kingdom yesterday.

I didn't get much of a chance to really look around at the place, but what I did see was really neat. I'd definitely stop back here again, but this time with the camera out of its various casings ;) (I still had the camera wrapped in the plastic bag then inside the case and that under the poncho -- it wasn't getting wet today!).

Aaron sat and waited for me to finish eating, popping up now and again to take a picture with his camera, so I ate a little faster than I otherwise would have. When I finished, I was shivering. Maybe going on two fast roller coasters while wet, getting wetter while ON the coasters, and then going into an air conditioned building wasn't such a good idea. And it was *still* raining outside.

Next on the path was to cross from the Tolkein-style half of Lost Continent into the Lost City of Atlantis half. The blending of these two themes, three actually if you count the Arabian Nights style themeing near the 8th Voyage of Sinbad, was absolutely astounding. And the attention to detail here was fantastic.

For now, we passed by the 8th Voyage of Sinbad since we still had about an hour or so until the next show. Poseidon's Fury was next on the list, and was one I'd originally put on the "maybe" list. I'd heard several bad reviews about the storyline, but the reviews for the special effects were pretty high. So I went in expecting to be wowed as far as special effects were concerned, and not expecting much out of the storyline.

Wrong again! The storyline was very captivating to me, and saying I was "wowed" by the special effects seen for the first time in this show is very much an understatement!!! How most people seem to feel about Spiderman is how I feel about this: Poseidon's Fury alone was worth the price of admission! And I even ranked my reaction to it to be about equal to after I saw Fantasmic for the first time. I don't want to ruin it for anyone, so suffice it to say it's out of this world, even though thinking about it briefly you can figure out how they did every single effect. You can do the same on Fantasmic, and that doesn't make it any less of a spectacular show ;)

And the inside of the show was blessedly WARM! Not hot, though there were some bursts of heat, but it was definitely warmer than anywhere else we'd been, and went pretty far toward drying out the worst of the soakings.

When Aaron and I walked out of Poseidon's Fury, we were both completely stunned. We couldn't stop saying "Wow" and laughing about it, it was just that fantastic! It took us several steps on the wet sidewalk to realize that it was no longer raining! That only added to our glee :D

We still had about 30-40 minutes (or more) before the next showing of the Eighth Voyage of Sinbad, so we continued on to Seuss Landing. This time, though, since the rain had stopped, I pulled out my camera and started going camera-crazy like I tend to do.

Our first stop in Seuss Landing was at the Caro-SEUSS-al. I'd heard this was very interactive and cute. One of the two was correct from what we saw. The "horses" were rather cute, all replaced with various Seussian characters, but if there was any working interactivity in the animals we got, we didn't find it. I think the bell on Aaron's cow would ring if he rocked the harness a bit, but mine did nothing that I could tell, and there wasn't really anyone on the ride besides us (maybe 3 or 4 other people around the other side) so we couldn't watch them. So I was a bit disappointed in the Caro-SEUSS-al.

Next we found the Cat in the Hat, which was a VERY cute ride. Again, completely different than anything Disney has done even though both parks use ride vehicles going through sets and encountering animatronics. It wasn't as detailed again as most Disney Fantasyland attractions, but once again they were modeling the ride off of a book/show that wasn't as detailed in the first place, and they really did a good job of capturing the feeling of the books and cartoons. Very cute, and two thumbs up :D

When we came out of Cat in the Hat (again we had no wait whatsoever when we got on), we stopped at One Fish Two Fish to watch. I really didn't want to get wet *again*, and I don't think Aaron did either, so we just watched. Supposedly, you're supposed to be able to follow what the song says and you won't get wet...but if anyone can understand enough of what the song's saying to be able to figure out whether your particular fish is supposed to be up or down, more power to them!

By that time, it was getting pretty close to time for the Eighth Voyage of Sinbad. This one I'd read good reviews on, but had also been told you could skip if you didn't have time. I'm glad we had time for it :D As we left Seuss Landing, we started noticing more details to the place. We both especially liked the touch of all the trees and plants being shaped either like Seuss characters, or like the trees and such in Seuss' books.

As we approached the Lost Continent again from the other direction, I was floored. The theming of this area is just downright amazing. I'd heard that from others who had visited, but even still wasn't prepared for the astounding level of detail and atmosphere.

We made our way back to the theater for the Eighth Voyage of Sinbad, pausing to watch the interactive fountain tease a little girl for a moment, then taking a few more pictures. When we got in, we had a good seat in the middle section just beyond the splash zone -- yes, there's a splash zone for this show! We still had 15-20 minutes before actual showtime, so visited and laughed as we watched people come in and start to sit in the splash zone, then either argue about moving or staying, or get up and quickly move ;)

The show itself was absolutely fantastic. Very good plot, very well orchestrated, and some pretty good stunts. Unlike the Indy Stunt Show, this one is an actual full-plot show that just contains some pretty good stunts. The Indy show purposely tries to describe how stunts are used in moves. Sinbad is more entertaining, Indy is more edutaining. I definitely have put it on my "see again next time" list!!

When we finished up with that, we had enough time for one more thing before I had to go. For me, it came down between riding the Hulk, or seeing Poseidon's Fury one more time. Well, though it was no longer raining, I was rather cold and starting to get a stuffy head -- I knew by tomorrow morning I'd be facing my own bout with the bug. As I was still wet, it didn't seem smart to get on a fast-moving roller coaster and get even colder. Plus, I can see coasters at home if I want to -- they may not be the Hulk, but they are coasters. And I've experienced fast launches before, like Rock 'n Roller. But I *can't* see anything even CLOSE to Poseidon's Fury at home, so I opted for one more run through that. Aaron still had another hour or two after I left before he'd have to leave, so he didn't mind joining me for the last show.

Usually, I'm really good at directions in a theme park, but I kept getting turned around like crazy in IOA. When we left Sinbad, I started to turn right to find Poseidon's Fury. Aaron, after being momentarily confused, turned me in the right direction ;)

This time, we actually had a little wait. Not much of one, but a small one. When we got in, I pulled out my camera and started trying to take a few pictures -- no flash, I was playing with shutter speed. Well, one of the employees walked up behind me and in a very snotty tone told me "No flash photography or videotaping." Well, I can understand that so I told her I wasn't using the flash.


Even snottier: "Oh. Well, there's still no videotaping!"

See, the camera I use is digital, and it has a little viewscreen that does look kinda like a video viewscreen. But it's a regular digital camera, not a video. I pointed this out to her -- it's not a video camera, it's digital -- and got an even *ruder* "Oh." Before she turned and walked away. This really irked me. Not that they were asking for no video taping or flash photography, not that she confused the digital camera for a video camera, but the attitude she used to tell me of the policy. I've run into this at WDW as well -- why is it that almost every person I've encountered who's told me no flash photography or videotaping has been very rude about it? I have run into some who were nice, but the overwhelming majority are very snotty about it, and I don't understand why?

Anyway, that's neither here nor there and there's a trip report to finish -- rude lady gone, the show started up again. I was able to get a few pictures, and really enjoyed it again the second time around. However, the very final effect with the wall didn't work -- those of you who have seen it when it worked should know what I'm talking about. It's a very, very cool effect, and one that absolutely floored me the first time I saw it. I was sorry it didn't work this time. But, aside from that, the show was just as good as the first time around :D

By this time, it was just past 5:30, and I needed to head out. So Aaron and I walked back to the Port of Entry area where we parted ways. It was nice running into another solo traveler -- gave us both someone to talk to :D Theme parks are always best when you have someone to share your experiences with, even if that someone is essentially a total stranger.

After parting with Aaron, I made my way back to the car, pausing here and there in Port of Entry for a few pictures ;) The walk back to the car felt like it was a lot farther than the walk in, but that's always the case. I found the car pretty easily despite my fear that I'd get lost -- I'd remembered to note I was in the Jaws section... I'd failed to note earlier what *row* and *level* I was on in the Jaws section :eek: Good thing I'm pretty good at retracing my steps most of the time :eek: Once I got there, I *very* quickly changed out of my wet shoes and socks and put on some dry socks and my dry sandals. I was *very* thankful this trip that I'd opted to take two pairs of shoes -- sometimes I don't.

From there it was just a matter of finding my way back out to the freeway. I reached 4 quickly, then from there went to the Beeline. I got off at International Drive, figuring I'd easily find a place to fill up there. Sure enough, as soon as I got off the cloverleaf, there was an Exxon right to the right. So I pulled in then fished in my bag in the back for some dry clothes and quickly went inside and changed :eek: Thankfully, I didn't have to try *flying* in wet clothes :eek: Then I filled up the gas tank, fought traffic to get back out to the Beeline, and from there made it very easily back to the airport.

I was just beginning to wonder where I was supposed to take the rental car to return it when I saw all the well-marked signs :D If anything, returning the car for the first time was easier than checking it out for the first time! I just pulled up in the row, a guy directed me where to stop, then he came over and essentially scanned the vehicle and handed me a receipt. I glanced it over quickly and didn't see anything out of the ordinary, so took my bags, made sure I left nothing in the car, then hiked back out to the terminals. I don't honestly know whether or not we got the coupon rate and really discounted rate -- I *think* we did, but I didn't feel like pulling out all the paperwork to confirm and what we were charged was very reasonable for the extreme value of having the car.

From there, I found my way to the Continental terminal where I got in trouble for walking up to what I *thought* was an express counter but turned out to be a normal one :rolleyes: Well, when they put a sign out in front that says "for people with electronic tickets" and I stand behind that sign and the person directly in front of me calls "next", what do you *expect*? Only after I got yelled at to go get in line did they point out the counter next to them which had *another* sign that said "express". I rolled my eyes and said *forget this garbage*, then went back outside to curbside where I knew what to do <IMG WIDTH="15" HEIGHT="15" SRC="/infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif" alt="razz"> Once I made *that* move, it was very easy and quick to check everything and get to the gate. I didn't even have trouble getting the camera hand-checked. Moreso than before, and this time they made me take the camera and film cards out of the bag and send the bag (which after that held nothing but batteries) through the X-ray, but at least the camera itself got checked :rolleyes: It's always a hassle to get the camera hand-checked here, but I'm getting used to it. The key here was indicating I've had problems with it before by sending it through (which may or may not be true -- it may have been a coincidence that the one time we sent the camera through the X-ray was the one time we started having difficulties with it)

From there, I hurried up to the monorail as I saw one approaching, and rushed to the other terminal. But when I got there and started to go down the path that we usually go down, I was in for a bit of a surprise... I was looking for gate 10... the lowest number gate that I could find was gate *30*. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what was wrong! Everything else looked right :rolleyes:

So, beginning to panic that I'd be late, I hurried back to the monorail and over to the other side, where I took another look. Guess what? There are *TWO* sets of monorails leaving from that same X-ray machine! Every other time when I've had Michael with me, we automatically went to the right one. This time, I went to the one closest to me -- which was the one servicing gates 30-50 or so. :rolleyes: I found the right monorail this time and was put back where I expected to be, and from *there* had no more problems the rest of the night ;)

The plane was a little late, but I've come to expect that. So I just read and waited, then got my seat and had a fairly smooth flight back. When I got home, my parents were ready and waiting for me :D

Go to the rest of the trip report, starting with pre-trip

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Thanks for the detailed and funny report!


Barry Hom
Moderator, Universal and Sea World Boards

What to know how to get to the front of the line at Universal Orlando? Click HERE!
Mahalo for the great report. You had a great time in spite of the weather...good for you. Remember, if you go on JPRA at USH, you will get wet no matter where you sit. At least that was our experience.

Will you be posting pictures?
Yes, Gram, I will be posting pictures. It may be next *year* before I get them up :eek: but I *will* eventually get my pictures up. I'm waiting to see what happens with our personal server we're trying to set up, because that's where I'd prefer to post them. Once we get that working (if we do), then I have several trips worth of pictures to post :D

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