Mon. Dec 9, 2013:
Barely out of bed, and we were already out the door to guest services. Greg had gotten a good deal on tickets to Universal Studios and we had no time to waste. To get the tickets we had to walk by where all the time share deals are signed, we were there early enough in the morning that there was still some food out. We swiped a few donuts (if you believe in karma, it got us, they were gross) and oranges which I like to believe came from an orange tree nearby.
Bad donuts and oranges make for a lousy breakfast; we stopped at McDonald’s to grab some food. Alas, they did not have muffins (it might be more widespread than I had initially thought, even though everyone in the car argued against me). I had a bite of Brent’s southwestern chicken biscuit, it only confirmed my hatred of southern biscuits, they’re weirdly mealy and chewy and just gross- at least the McDonald’s one is.
We got to Universal Studios around 11 and had to wait in line to redeem our vouchers for actual tickets. There was a giant group of at least seven people holding the line-up, debating God only knows what. I was really anxious to get to the park. Thankfully once we got our tickets the crowd thinned out. We started with the Despicable Me ride partly because it was the first one we saw upon entering. We had decided to start on the right side of the park where there were only a few rides we wanted to go on, then spend the rest of the day at Islands of Adventure, leaving Harry Potter World for another day (we had multi-day passes).
Up next we walked over to an actual roller coaster. I took one look at it and said hell no. the whole way over they were trying to convince me that it was not that bad. I beg to differ: it starts with a vertical 90˚ incline and then upside down. I happily sat out, I finally had a chance to grab a late breakfast, alas I had to settle for a hotdog as the corndogs were all sold out (damn group of school kids nearby ate them all). The Transformers ride was new; Tasha & Greg said it was not there last time. There also happened to be no line-up for it. The guy told us it was the best ride in the park. If it was the same one as at Universal Studios in LA, then this guy was telling a blatant lie. The ride was as bad as in LA, except this time there was no wait at all. When we left, we were going to confront the liar… only he was gone! That trickster had disappeared!
We got lucky again, there was no line-up at all for The Mummy. Herein I assumed it would also be the same as in LA, my expectations were set as such. Big mistake to assume so: the ride was not the same; it was much scarier, darker and had real fire. Needless to say I was screaming my head off on this roller coaster in the dark. My wrists hurt afterwards from gripping the safety bar so hard.
We were confused when we got to the Men In Black ride. There was a short line-up but we were quickly ushered into a room wherein a lady said she would take us on a guided tour of an exhibit. We were ready to bail when the charade was busted, it was a cover-up! We were taken into an “elevator” and sent to secret training at the MIB headquarters. The ride was basically an alien shootout. We each had a laser gun and had to shoot aliens. We made it into a couple’s competition. Brent and I destroyed Tasha & Greg, Brent’s score alone destroyed there’s combined. Brent had come in first place, Tasha came in a close second and Greg was a distant last. Unless you count the lady sitting beside me, she had a lowly score of 1,000 (for comparison, mine was in the 70,000 range).
The Simpsons ride was also the same as in LA so we skipped it. I demanded a stop at the Kwik-E-Mart for a giant Lard Lad donut. I have no idea why these donuts are so good, I doubt they are made fresh daily. Lunch was had at Krusty Burger; it was a giddy thrill to order a Krusty Burger. While our burgers were being prepared Brent went next door to Moe’s to get us drinks (Duff beer and a Mr. Teeny for me). The server asked me where my “husband” had gone; I stared at him blankly for a second and realized he meant Brent. It made me feel old, even more so given this kid was no more than 14 years old, maybe 16 but no older. The Krusty Burger was surprisingly good given the cheese on it was nacho cheese (I am not sure if you can actually call it cheese) and it came with curly fries (the best format of fries). For dessert we had to eat the giant donut or else we would have to lug it with us on rides, not a good idea.
Islands of Adventure was where all the good stuff was. Well, most of the good stuff. Brent & Greg started off with The Hulk. There was no way you could ever get me to ride it: you get shot out of a tunnel right into a twist that leads into an upside down loop. Tasha had given us fair warning that we were going on rides where we would get wet. I just assumed she meant like a little splash, like on a log ride. I would soon eat my words. The Dudley Do-Right ride appeared to be just that: a log ride. Everyone around was soaked, but I assumed that they had gone on it multiple times and were watching other people on it as well. Oh how wrong I was. There were people on bridges overhead who had paid to spray us with water guns. There are a few false drops on the ride, little small drops that basically caught me off guard (resulting in some funny yelps) and just splashing us, then came the final drop. I was not ready for how steep, fast and sharp it was. They also somehow engineered it so that you get soaked versus the usual splash from a log ride. We were drenched.
Before heading over to the Popeye ride, I ran into a gift shop and asked for a plastic bag: my camera was at risk. The money I had in my pocket was now soggy and stuck together; I threw it in the bag and hoped it would be ok. Popeye’s was a boat ride, we sat in a circular pontoon and thankfully there was a waterproof storage in the middle. I tossed my shoes in. good thing I did, during the ride a lot of water had poured in through the open sides. At some point a water spigot sprayed water straight down on my head, resulting in peals of laughter from everyone else… that is until they got splashed or hit with a wave. Then it wasn’t as funny apparently. I was sitting backwards and so I could not see what was coming next, it was hard to avoid the waterfalls and sprays.
The Jurassic Park ride was the same as in LA… except the splash at the end. Those damn splash engineers were at it again. We were completely drenched, whereas in LA it was just a light spray. With that we had cleared out most of what we had wanted to see. We had time to go check out Harry Potter World. We were assuming it would be busy; we had not waited in lines all day (except Despicable Me) therefore everyone was in Harry Potter world. While it was a little busier, it was not that tragic. The line at Hogwarts for the quiddich ride moved quickly. It was amazing to see how much effort h ad been put into constructing the Hogwarts castle from Harry Potter. It was the most detailed and interesting line-up queue I have ever been in. The hall of portraits was especially cool, as they were all (or most of them anyways) animated. The ride itself was partly 3D screens and partly a set. The ride moved along a track, switching between screens and real stuff. Then it did the unthinkable: it flipped us upside down. I yelled about it but did not scream. The story of the ride was really confusing. We were playing a game on a field, then a dragon chased us then we were back on the field, then we were racing through the castle? I was mad that I had been flipped upside down, not cool.
The next ride was a roller coaster wherein your feet dangled and you got flipped upside down: nope. Once again I acted as holder of hats while they went on the ride. I was not alone in my refusal. A mom walked by with her kid and tried to convince him to go on it, he refused, smart kid. I was happy just standing there, watching people drink butter beer which looked horribly disgusting.
We passed through Dr Seuss Land on our way out to go on a really annoying ride. Tasha & Greg had mentioned how terribly annoying it was, we just had to go on it, to see for ourselves. It was a crappy little train ride, narrated with a Seuss story. The train passed above a cafeteria, the people down below waved at us. It wasn’t that annoying but I was tired, hungry and damp.
On our way home we stopped at Target and the liquor store (Brent was in search of good Florida beer). I did not enjoy walking around Target in my damp clothes, it was uncomfortable. It was worth it though, I ended up finding my beloved Ben & Jerry’s Liz Lemon frozen Greek yogurt. We ended the night with a South Park marathon and a few rounds of euchre.