I stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel for a few nights. The hotel is still great, but it could use a refurb. New carpet, furniture and new props in the lobby would be great.
Staying there also gives you the Universal "Express" line access. It rocks (although I got into a bit of an argument with a lady who had not heard of Express and felt I was cutting the line.)
Heres a couple of tips for anyone staying at Hard Rock:
-Ask for a room near the elevator. Some rooms are waaaaaay far away from the elevator. Trust me on this one. If I read this before I went I would have said "oh, that's silly! It can't be that far." Don't be like me. Have them put you near the elevator.
-Don't walk the "path" to Universal. Just walk out the Hard Rock front door go out to the parking lot on the left. follow that parking lot until you see the gates of Universal. It is much closer.
-Try the "peanut crusted buffalo wings" at Hard Rock Hotel's "The Kitchen" restaurant. They are awesome.
Anyway, I loved Universal. As a destination, they have come a long way in the past few years.
Madagascar Penguins have arrived! So has Alex the lion.
Scooby Doo and Shaggy still make the rounds in the Mystery Machine.
In front of the MIB ride the World's Fair Towers stand tall.
I thought this was especially cool since I had visited the actual fair grounds last summer:
Over by the MIB ride I spotted Doc Brown:
This guy was a pretty good ad libber. We talked for a few minutes.
Then I bought a funny hat and stood by the Delorean:
I watched the Fear Factor Live show (wasn't very impressed) and then headed to Hollywood.
Oh wait, is that Beverly Hills?
Lots of characters on hand:
The current Blues Brothers put on a great show:
ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE:
Still one of my favorite places on earth!
I attended the new character meal they offer. The characters were too few (Spiderman, Thing 1 & 2, and Cat in the Hat) still, they were a riot and very interactive.
ESPECIALLY Thing 1 & 2! They wandered around knocking over everything that wasn't nailed down and climbing on everything that was!
I was disspointed to find out that Rocky and Bullwinkle are no longer appearing at IOA. Shame, they are my favorites.
I spent a whole lot of time in Jurassic Park.
I even played with a machine that showed me what I would look like as a dinosaur:
Pretty handsome, huh?
And I bought a turkey leg. Sorry, IOA, but Frontierland turkey legs taste better.
I ended up buying a Scooby Doo hat and shirt. The shirt says "Runiversal Rudios." Tee hee hee.
BTW, look in the background and you can see the trees whipping around because a MEGA rainstorm was on it's way.