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June 27th, 2010
We went Universal Studios in Florida the weekend after opening of the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Islands of Adventure park). We went to both Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure (the park next door to Universal Studios) and walked the Universal City Walk and our hotel the Loew's Royal Pacific Hotel. We also drove a little around Orlando and went to "The Holy Land Experience". All these things will have their own pages (see below).
We went to Universal Studios on the third day of our trip. We got up, ate one fantastic breakfast at the hotel (VERY VERY nice but also VERY expensive at like 45 dollars for the two of us which is a lot for breakfast!). We took our normal boat ride to the City walk and walked across the bridge to the park and waited outside the gate an hour before it opened and there were a lot of people already lined up. Not thousands but a couple hundred. This is an hour earlier than "outside" guests get in. Hotel guests get in one hour before the general public. So all those in line were hotel guests. It was HOT. By 8 AM in the morning, it probably was about 90 degrees and 75% humidity already.
This page features Universal Studios. We took a lot of photos and I've grouped them according to their "lands" or shows. Lands include: Hollywood, Production Central, San Francisco/Amity, New York, World Expo, Woody Woodpecker and other areas. We may not have done EVERYTHING but we show photos of all the items we did. Here's some random non specific photos (below other photos) that do not fit into the park 'lands':
Left to Right: 1) Universal Globe in front of entrance 2) another Globe 3) Universal Entrance 4) Allah's Gardens (offices I think there)
Left to Right: 1) Allah's Gardens again 2) Leaving; It's Wrap Gift Shop 3) It's a Wrap Store Close up (leaving the park)
Walking in past the big globe, we came to "Production Central" which featured three rides. First up was Shrek 4D with no wait. So we got right in and enjoyed that a lot. It was good for me because it wasn't roller coaster scary. But it was good enough for Scott who hates mild stuff. We skipped "Hollywood Rip Rid Rock It" because I am chicken. It is a coaster (see below). It's the tallest ride in the park. We hit Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast as our very last ride when we were leaving the park. It was pretty fun, and was a roller coaster type ride which was a little different from those 4D rides. It was a little more jolting but it is does not move out of the place. It's like a bank of seats that move and rocks. It does not roll anywhere. It was fun though. We almost thought not to do it because it seemed lame but we did enjoy it. Here's some "Production Central" Photos:
Left to right: 1) Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit 2) Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit 3) Hollywood Universal Store with Harry Potter Merchandise (and me) 4) Street view before all the people got there
Left to right: 1) Monsters Cafe 2) Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast Ride 3) Photo taken in line of the Shrek 4D ride (no photos are allowed during rides so we did not take any. 4) Universal Studios Store.
Production Central was short with only three rides, shops and a food joint.. so we moved onto New York. It was still early and not many people made it this far, so we we enjoying the quiet. We got right into "Twister" which was a little boring. You see clips of the movie and hear about Twisters before entering the "ride". Turns out it wasn't really a ride. You stood the whole time which made me exhausted (cause they made us wait so long to go in). You walked in groups and looked at a sound stage where a scenario played out and a tornado came through and blew out a power line, moved a truck and blew out some stuff etc. A cow goes flying. Fire heats the place up with a taker explosion etc. You get the point. It was okay but not one of the favorite things. Onto what turned out to be the best ride in the whole park!!! "Revenge of the Mummy". This is a nice ride and it is in dark with twists, whipping you around fast and there's a couple drops. Before I went in I asked how big the drop was cause I was petrified. It wasn't big at all, like 26 feet or something like that. But it sure felt like more! Cause it was in dark. Beetles crawling all around in film, and this was super fun. I was scared and this is about the worse type of ride I'd endure as a self-confessed "chicken". But I recommend this above all the other rides. We had a blast! We tried to hit the "Blues Brothers" show next but the timing was way off and we would try to come back (not to be because there were only a couple shows and they conflicted with something else and the times we were available) So we never did see it ;( We also missed the "Delancy Street Preview Center" which you were supposed to take part in a Network TV show production where you vote to see if it's air worthy... So we only have done four rides at this point and missed a ride and two shows, but we trudged on to San Francisco/Amity. Here are some "New York" photos:
Left to Right: 1) A New York Painted scene 2) New York Street Scene with Egyptian on Stilts 3) New York Street Scene with lady Egyptian 4) Another New York Street Scene
Left to Right: 1) New York Street Scene 2) Central Park Area 3) Another Street Scene 4) Macys Storefront
Left to Right: 1) Laemmie Statue (Carl Laemmie was the founder of Universal Pictures) 2) New York Tribune front/Egyptian on stilts 3) Revenge of the Mummy Ride Entrance 4) Front Entrance for Revenge of the Mummy
Left to Right: 1) Twister Ride. The Cow when when you first get into line
We saw Beetlejuice's Graveyard Review but again, the timing of the show isn't right for where we are. We had a couple hours to wait and so we skip this (groan) and opt for a "ride". Next door is "Disaster". By now we were sizzling hot but we wait outside for what seems like an eternity, with people wall to wall. Finally, we get in and more standing as we learn about "disasters". After a long talk/attempted comedy/audience participation and more standing, eventually we get to sit on what looks like subway cars. As we go, things are sliding and moving/sparking/blowing up and fire blows heat on us and water rushes towards us while we are being filmed. At the end, we see a clip of the disaster with us "inserted". It was okay but aside from a slight rocking and a nice one time jolt (that was the best part) and the visuals around us, it was pretty boring compared to other rides. After leaving Disaster, we sit a little and contemplate Beetlejuice's and the Blues Brothers but that would require some more waiting and walking backwards and we are aching already on the feet and so hot we just decide to keep walking "forward". So we see the huge shark ahead and remember immediately from our California visits to Universal, this is the "Jaws" ride. Scott poses for photos with the shark and we go on the ride. No wait. We get in ahead of hundreds of others in line because of our hotel bracelet! This was the first time we saw the power of that bracelet. So we go on the boat. We have a guide who has a gun and we hear radio communications of a small boat not responding and some problems in the area and we are asked to investigate. We see a little town around us, some wreckage etc and then of course here comes Jaws ready to eat us. Mild ride and pretty close to needing updating to be more convincing. LOL But it's classic so we had to do it. After Jaws, we opt to skip "Fear Factor Live". Neither of us cares for this premise. They recruit people to participate but this is a LONG process of waiting and selection and instructions and more waiting. NOT worth it from what I hear. We are starting to get really hungry So we eat lunch. We bought as part of our hotel/park deal "meal deals" and "drink deals" which mean that for like 40.00 each and 8.00 each we can eat as much as we want/drink as much as we want all day. Catches: Only good at certain places and not good a small stands. So ice cream etc is off limits. The other catch is you are allowed ONE meal and must wait in line again for a second if you want more. There is always an hour wait in line so it's not worth getting back INTO the ride. STILL though, it was worth it I think overall. It was pricy for what it was. Typical foods like hotdogs, hamburgers, pizza, spaghetti and a few other things. One place had a couple Asian dishes and some had some other stuff. Not a WHOLE lot but what was there was actually decent food. After this we head to "World Expo" Here are some San Francisco/Amity photos (photos not in order so not Chronological on the Jaws Ride):
Left to Right: 1) Shark and where the entrance to the Jaws ride is 2) Here we go on the Jaws Ride 3) Oil tanker on Fire 4) Famous Fisherman Statue (not on the Jaws ride... in the park before the ride.
Left to Right: 1) Church (on the Jaws ride) 2) View of the Amity town (not on the Jaws Ride but outside of it) 3) Dock area of the Jaws Ride 4) more buildings on the Jaws ride.
Left to Right: 1) Jaws coming at us 2) Jaws right up to us and got us a little wet 3) Boat like we were on and the little town 4) More San Francisco/Amity town buildings
Left to Right: 1) San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf 2) Disaster! Ride Entrance 3) View from the San Francisco Bridge area across to the Men in Black/World Expo area of the park 4) Beetlejuice entrance.
Left to Right: 1) New York looking to San Francisco area of the park 2) another view of NY to San Francisco 3) Entrance to San Francisco 4) Disaster Queue inside before the ride. This was the last place to take a photo. You couldn't take photos inside the rides.
Left to Right: 1) Amity Town view
There were only two things here other than the food joint and a shopping place and an area with flags to just sit and chill... We did both things here: First up was "Men in Black" Alien Attack. Scott wasn't keen on doing this, he'd seen some video on the hotel screen and like he thought about Jimmy Neutron, it looked childish and so did the other ride. He wanted to skip this land entirely but I convinced him to do as I already missed Beetlejuice and the Blues Brothers. I am glad we went. I liked this probably second best after the Mummy's Revenge. It was a car of two people that moved around a track and you shot at stuff with a laser. It was pretty fun. We got right into this too with our bracelets; the line was HUGE for this. I love that bracelet! Saved us probably 4 hours of time that day. After "Men in Black: Alien Attack", we went on the "Simpsons Ride" which was a car that went through a track but you did go on a visual screen cartoon journey that was like a virtual roller coaster ride. It was pretty fun too. Other than that there was nothing left to do in this land so we moved onto "Woody Woodpecker's Kidzone" Here are some "World Expo" photos:
Left to Right: 1) Men in Black Ride Sign 2) Men in Black ride entrance 3) Kwik-E-Mart from The Simpsons 4) Krusty Land
Left to Right: 1) View of the Simpsons area 2) The Simpsons Ride Entrance 3) Flags of the world area (just a walk way and some benches to sit)
WOODY WOODPECKERS KIDZONE
We skipped a lot here because as the name implies, it's really for the wee ones. We skipped: "A Day in the Park with Barney" which was a "sing-a-long show". We skipped: "Curious George Goes to Town", where you follow a guy dressed in a suit through the play area and go on slides and other playground stuff. Though we DID take a photo of him. We skipped "Woody Woodpecker's Nuthouse Coaster". I guess this was a roller coaster but I did not see where it was and Scott felt it was for wee ones so we'd be out of place. And we skipped "Fievel's Playhouse" which is another play area for kids to run and climb on things. We did however do two things in this area: E. T. Adventure which is a ride. You sit on a gondola (like the kind at Palm springs that takes you up the mountains; not a boat) and you see stars and ET's and cute scenery. It goes super slow and it a nice thing to do to rest your feet but Scott thought this was the worst off all the rides, preferring "Twister" to this. I disagreed; but then again it was cool in there and I got a nice rest for my legs/feet. I think that swayed me. Plus I love ET. After ET's ride we went to a show called "Animal Actors in Action" in which famous animals do tricks... like the dog from "Men In Black". It was cute and a nice long show so that we could rest even more. We knew we were almost done now. So we got up and decided to go to the last land: Hollywood. Here's some photos from Woody Woodpecker's Kidzone:
Left to Right: 1) Curious George and The Man in the Yellow Hat (with unknown little girl) 2) Universal Cartoon Gift Store 3) Woody Woodpecker and Winnie Woodpecker 4) Kidzone Play area
Left to Right: 1) ET Adventure ride entrance 2) Animal Actors in Action show stage 2) Dog tricks 3) Birds trained... this one is on the boys head
Left to Right: 1) Shows how they get birds flying on certain backgrounds and how they fly in place 3) another example of how they film birds in flight and train them to fly in place 3) Bird in flight 4) Orangutan doing tricks/comedy
Left to Right: 1) Orangutan doing tricks/comedy 3) Pig scuttles across stage on cue with sign that says "Who let the dogs out?" and 3) The Men in Black dog is taking the trainer's wallet...
I REALLY wanted to see the makeup show but when we got there, we had JUST missed it. They had JUST closed the doors. I believe it was the last show of the day too. I was so bummed. We decided it was time to eat again and ate at the burger joint across the street. Pretty good. I was so upset I missed the three shows Beetlejuice, the Blues Brothers and now the Hollywood Make Up show that I walk back across the street and we were told though the show wasn't going to happen, we could go into the foyer and look at all the props and such. So we did that. I got to see some stuff from Rick Baker, my favorite make up artist and several other famous people; they had a few props and things from horror movies like Chucky or even old Bela Lugosi films. So that was kind of neat. After doing that, we went to "Terminator 2 3:D which was mostly a show. It had a stage where live actors did stunts and then they were magically "on screen" and we wore glasses I believe on this... and it was okay but Scott thought it was one of the more boring rides. It was air conditioned and after being over 100 degrees with 95% humidity by mid day, I was happy to be inside. After this, we headed out to the last thing, which was a room with Lucille Ball Memorabilia, photos, dioramas, autographs and other such things. It was cute. While at the park, I think I visited every other shop but only bought stuff at the one at the gate on the way out. I bought T-shirts for me, Scott and our two kids and I got a hat and I think Scott got something else but I forgot (I am writing this 6 months plus after our visit). Here are some photos of Hollywood:
Left to Right: 1) Rick Baker Makeup Vignette 2) Alfred Hitchcock Vignette 3) Lon Chaney Vignette 4) Chucky Vignette
Left to Right: 1) Jurassic Park Dinosaur 2) C-3PO 3) Re-D2 4) Gammorean Guard Mask (Star Wars) for sale in store...
Left to Right: 1) Mel's Drive In where we ate Dinner 2) Cars in front of Mel's Diner 3) More cars in front of Mel's Diner 4) another 50's car on the street
Left to Right: 1) Autographs that were for an Award Lucille Ball received (many famous people on it) 2) Diorama of the "I Love Lucy" set 3) Street view of "Hollywood" and 4) A star of Debbie Reynolds (they replicated a section of Hollywood's walk of fame n the sidewalk.
Left to Right: 1) Make up show entrance 2) car in a window 3) The Brown Derby 4) The Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo
Left to Right: 1) Shaggy and Scooby Doo
That's pretty much it. Same as Disneyworld and like the Universal Studios in California.
Sites other than Disney you might like to visit:
Orlando Airport NEW