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  1. #1

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    5 days at Disney and 3 days at Universal. My April 2012 Trip Report

    Hi everyone. I do alot of lurking but not a ton of posting but I thought i'd share with you my trip report to Orlando from this past april. The trip had been planned since last summer and it was the first vacation we took with our 7 month old Son Daniel. In this trip you will see myself (Jeff) and my wife Kiera as well as my parents and brothers during the Universal portion of the trip.

    Anyways my trip reports are fairly long as they are VERY photo filled and I try to make them as informative as I can. The trip starts with the Universal Parks but I figured since we spent more time at Disney then we did at Universal then it was a better fit to put this in the Disney section as I don't want to seperate the posts.

    If you have any questions or comments please feel free to ask them and I will answer as quickly as possible. With that said lets begin with the first day of our trip as we travel from Utah to Orlando.

    Day 1: Travel to Florida


    Our trip began the morning of April 19th, 2012. It had been nearly a year since our previous vacation and the first we've had since the birth of our Son Daniel. It was a rocky road to get to this point with date and even vacation changes at least 4 times but the day finally came when the vacation we had been hoping would happen for nearly a year would finally begin.


    Typically I like to travel early in the morning. The sooner we can leave for vacation the better in my opinion as that gives you extra time at your actual destination. However traveling with an Infant that wouldn't be happening this year. The choice came between an 8am flight or a 2:20pm flight. We decided to choose the later since we would have that extra time in the morning to get the baby ready and we could take our time getting to the airport.


    By 11am we were leaving our house. We would be meeting Kieras aunt at 11:30 at her parents house (where we would be leaving our car while we were gone) to take us to the airport. The car was packed and everything locked up and we were soon on our way to the start of our vacation.


    We made one last stop by the mailbox in hopes that the extra camera battery would be there. I had ordered it 5 days earlier off ebay. The reason I bought the one I did was because it said it would arrive before we left on vacation. That day had come and gone and still not battery. We arrived at the mailbox as our delivery person was sorting the mail. Would there be a miracle and would the battery be there? Unfortunatly no it wasn't. Looks like I will be using the back up camera if the battery dies on our normal camera.


    We soon meet up with Kieras aunt and after swapping all the luggage into her vehicle we were on our way to the Salt Lake Airport where our vacation would officially begin. Its amazing how much extra luggage we had to haul into the airport having a child. In addition to a bag for each of us we also had an extra bag for Danny in addition to a carry on duffle bag with his stuff, Kieras breast pump/diaper bag, his stroller, and finally his car seat. Luckly for us Kieras aunt was kind enough to help us haul all of our crap to the airport until they were checked in.


    Traveling with an Infant requires additional check in at the airport counter as we would have to verify his age as he would just be sitting on our laps. I read many places online that if a child is clearly younger then 2 years old then they wouldn't ask for additional ID to verify the age. That wasn't the case in SLC though as they still asked for a birth certificate. They handled our boarding passes and checked in our bags and we were soon on our way to proceed thru security and on to our flight.


    Going thru security with and Infant turned out to be easier then we thought. I read online as well that some airports require you to go thru a special line when traveling with a breast pump but that wasn't the case here. It just went thru the x-ray machine like everything else. Make sure you fold up any strollers and car seats beforehand as they have to go thru the x-ray machine as well. Kiera then held Danny with her as she stepped thru the metal detector. We did get flagged for a moment though as the diaper bag went thru the machine. We still had a half filled bottle of breast milk that Danny had been eating. They told us they had to do a taist test on it to verify if it was really milk. We told them that was fine and felt bad for whatever TSA agent had to do the taist test lol. Needless to say it passed.


    Once thru security we finally felt like we could relax and vacation was really starting. We quickly found our gate and then decided we should find something to eat since we really wouldn't have a layover (we would stop in Denver but wouldn't change planes). We decided on a Sandwich place called the Boar's Head. We laughed as its name and logo and simularitys to the Hogs Head from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter which we would be visiting the next day. The sandwiches were good but kind of expensive but what can you expect from Airport food.







    Not long after finishing our sandwiches they announced that we would soon be boarding. We would be flying on Southwest Airlines. We usually do and we really enjoy flying with them. Plus we have there Rapid Rewards credit cards so my ticket didn't cost us anything. Although we were now traveling with and Infant and that would entitle us to use Family boarding between the A and B boarding groups we still tried to check in as soon as possible. And it worked as the previous day I got our tickets in the A group. Southwest allows you to gate check a car seat and stroller for free. However when you get to your gate have the attendant check it prior to boarding. We didn't know this so we held up the line for a moment as they tagged them.





    We were soon on the plane and our trip would begin. Honestly the flight was the thing we were most worried about with traveling with an Infant. Nobody likes a crying child on a flight and we were hoping that wouldn't be our child. Kiera made sure that Danny was sucking on a binky during take off to help so his ears wouldn't hurt as the altitude changed. We would be traveling to Denver where were would have as short stop before continuing on to Orlando. Danny did great with no issues at all during take off or even the landing. He just chilled and played with some toys or his Mickey Mouse Plush. About an hour and 15 minutes later we were landing in Denver.














    As I said although we stopped in Denver we wouldn't be switching planes as ours continued on to Orlando. I don't know what it is about Denver but last time we passed thru Denver we did the exact same thing. Its kind of nice though as after the plane emptys and they take a count of the remaining passengers then we are free to move around the cabin and change to whatever seats we would like before the new passengers boarded. We took advantage of this by moving the very front row of the plane. We chose these seats because they have significantly more leg room. It would also make it much easier to get out and change diapers if needed to.






    After about 30 minutes the plane started loading again. And we started to find it very funny how many people avoid sitting by a baby like the plague. person after person after person would see the empty seat next to us, move to sit there, see the baby, and move further back in to the plane. The person who finally did sit next to us it was pretty much the only option left lol. On the flip side of that though 3 kids when seeing the baby jumped right in to the seat as they wanted to sit with the baby. Of course there parents would rather them sit with them though. It was pretty funny.






    We were soon back in the air and on our way to Orlando. This leg of the flight would obviously be longer then the first leg and the flight took just over 3 hours. We passed the time playing with Danny, Reading our books or playig games on the Kindle Fire, or just trying to relax. Danny had his dinner and soon crashed out asleep for part of the trip. We really enjoyed having the front seats as it made if very easy to get access to the restroom. But it had its downfall too such as not having trays for your drinks and snacks. Oh well we made it work. Overall Danny did excellent on the plane never crying once.










    As the daylight slowly turned to Dark we knew we would soon be landing in our destination of Orlando. And sure enough we soon did. We were here. We made it. Let the awesomeness of this vacation begin. After a bathroom stop we made our way to the baggage claim. I love the Orlando airport. I don't know what it is but since a kid i've always liked it. Something about the trams and the hotel in the airport itself just seems so cool to me.







    We soon arrived at the baggage claim and quickly realized that it would be very difficult to haul all of our bags on our own. So I bit and rented one of those carts to load all of our luggage on to. It cost $5 to rent it but it made life so much easier then trying to haul all of our luggage around the airport and to the rental car on our own. I joked that it was like I was hauling all of our luggage to Hogwarts.






    Before leaving the airport we needed to make one last stop and that was to get our rental car. I don't remember what discount code I used but I got a very good deal on a Compact car thru Budget. Last year when we came getting the rental car was rediculous as it took 45 minutes. Today I walked right up the counter. The agent was very helpful and nice and unlike the agent last year didn't make me get there insurance when I told him my personal coverage covered it. Although if you do this make sure you bring your own proof of insurance. I didn't have mine and could have got in trouble had I been pulled over. We soon had our vehicle assigned and made our way to it. Our 10 day rental only cost us $245.


    Our rental was a little Suzuki SX4 Hatchback. It actually turned out to be a decent little car. I was also really suprised to find it was the All Wheel Drive model that was pretty loaded. The car worked out great for us although it felt smaller then a compact car. We had to put the stroller in the rear seat as it wouldn't fit in the trunk area.





    With the car loaded up we did a quick walk around to make sure we noted all dents, dings, and scratches as we didn't want to be held liable for something that was already wrong. We made note to the attendant of what we found and we were on our way. Remember when in Orlando especially when leaving the airport that there are toll roads so bring some quarters with you. Luckly for us the airport tolls would be the only ones we would encounter on this trip. However if you head out to Port/Cape Canaveral there will be many more that you come across.


    We had to make on stop before getting to our hotel and that was a Walmart. We decided to wait and buy some items until we got to Orlando so we wouldn't have to travel with them. We went to the Walmart located on Turkey Road by the Universal Orlando resort. I ran in quickly while Kiera stayed in the car to feed the hungry baby. What were we picking up? Not much. Just a box of Diapers, Wipes, Popcorn, and some toiletry type items. After grabbing some Wendy's for Dinner we were on our way to check in to our Hotel.


    Just after 11pm we arrived at the Hotel we would be spending the next 9 nights in. The Baymont Inn and Suites Celebration. We stayed at this hotel last year and really enjoyed it. Yeah its not perfect but its also not a dump. We also got it for only $35 a night booked thru hotwire.com so you can't go wrong with the price ether. In all the room only cost us like $360. You can tell the hotel was built in the 70's but the rooms and common areas are all recently remodeled and pretty nice. Our room was on the 3rd floor and turned out to be great. We love that for the low cost we got nice beds, a large flat screen tv, a seperate vanity area from the toilet/shower, plus a fridge/freezer and a microwave. The hotel also offers a free complementry breakfast each morning until 9am. Its not the greatest thing but it taisted better then last year and it saved the cost of an extra meal most days. Our only complaint about the hotel was that it doesn't have a hot tube. What we thought was a hot tub was just a kiddie pool. Still we enjoyed it especially for how close it was to all the Disney parks (Animal Kingdom 5 minutes, Hollywood Studios 10 minutes, Epcot 13 minutes, Magic Kingdom 18 Minutes). You can even see Everest from the top floor of the hotel.












    As we got settled in to the room I called my mom to find out the plans for the next day. They arrived a day earlier and today the went to Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and the Magic Kingdom hitting only the major attractions. Needless to say 3 parks in 1 day made them very tired and exhausted. Islands of Adventure would be opening at 8am the next day but they knew there was no way they could get up for that. Not wanting to go without them we decided to wait and would head around 9:30ish instead and hope for the best crowd wise.


    We quickly got ready for bed as we knew the morning would come very quickly. We also didn't know yet how Danny would do adjusting to being 2 hours ahead of Utah time. Only time would tell. We were very excited to be returning to one of our favorite places tomorrow. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the rest of Islands of Adventure.

  2. #2

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    Re: 5 days at Disney and 3 days at Universal. My April 2012 Trip Report

    great trip report sounds like you guys had so much fun. i cant wait to see the rest

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    Re: 5 days at Disney and 3 days at Universal. My April 2012 Trip Report

    Stupendous start--THANK YOU! I'm looking forward to reading the rest!
    You have the world's cutest kid under the age of six.

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    Re: 5 days at Disney and 3 days at Universal. My April 2012 Trip Report

    Quote Originally Posted by jcruise86 View Post
    Stupendous start--THANK YOU! I'm looking forward to reading the rest!
    You have the world's cutest kid under the age of six.
    Thanks. I like to think he's pretty cute. And with how many people stopped and told us that then it must be true lol. Anyways thank for the kind words.

    Anyways I figured I might as well go ahead and post the next day so here it is:

    Day 2: Islands of Adventure

    Although the alarms would be going off later then I originally planned it was somewhat of a relief after the short nights sleep as we adjusted to the time change. What was 8am in Florida would only be 6am back home. Kiera and I got up and were ready fairly quickly to begin our day and grab breakfast down in the hotel lobby before 9am.


    Little Danny was the one we were most curious as to how the time change would effect him. And you could totally see that "Why am I up so early" look on his face when we started getting him dressed for the day. He did fine though and fell back asleep as soon as we put him in to his car seat.


    The time was quickly approching 9am so we quickly went down to grab breakfast and made it right in time as they cut the line off not long after we got in it. Last year we thought the breakfast was pretty bad. This year though I thought it had improved. It was still the same stuff as before but it just seemed to taist much better. As soon as we had sat down the staff had started cleaning up and in no time everything was closed up and put away. They aren't kidding around here when they say breakfast ends at 9am.


    After breakfast we returned to our room to apply some sunscreen and wait for my family to meet up with us. Do to there long day at Disney the previous day they wanted to take there time getting ready for the day. We were really excited to see them though as we didn't the night before when we got in. My mom had only seen Danny in person once before when he was 2 weeks old. He is now 7 months. My step dad actually saw Danny for the first time when he was passing thru Utah about 1 1/2 months earlier. My two brothers though had never had the chance to meet there Nephew though. Thats the bad thing about them living on the opposite side of the country.


    After conversing for a minute we decided it was time to head to the parks. My parents drove there larger Durango down so we were able to take just one vehicle to the Universal parks to help save on parking costs. We loaded up and were soon on our way. It was after 9:30 now and with the parks opening at 8am this Friday morning I was kind of concerned with how crowds would be. Looking at the undercovertourist app added to my fears as all the headliners were already showing 60+ minute waits.


    After around a 20 minute drive we finally arrived at the Universal Orlando Resort. A place that Kiera and I have come to love just as much as Disney over the years. The addition of the Wizarding World only made our love for Universal even better. This however would be my parents first time visiting the resort (well my Mom did take us when I was little back in 93). I figured with all the thrill rides though my brothers would enjoy the resort for sure. Dispite all our previous visits we had never parked in the garages before though. Our previous trips had been Universal only trips so we stayed at Hotels that were in walking distance of the parks. So the gargaes were new to us. We were directed to park on the very top level of the south garage. Which offers a great view of the parks.


    The stroller was unfolded, the diaper bag was loaded, and we were soon on our way to the park. My family headed to the escolater while Kiera and I headed to the elevator to go down with Danny and the stroller. There was no line or wait though for it so we got to the bottom before my family did. We made our way thru the garage and to the rotunda where we would experiance something new. The Bag Check. This was new as we would typically travel lightly in the past and not bring any bags. That obviously changes with a baby though. The line moved quick and we were soon thru and on our way to Citywalk.


    The first thing we noticed while going in to Citywalk was the new Hollywood Drive In Mini Golf. I've watched this thing be built over the past few months Online and its much larger in person then I thought it would be. At it looked like so much fun. Unfortunatly we never got the oppertunity to play on it as we were way too tired at the end of each day. Citywalk seemed more packed then what we were use to. Again adding to my fear of big crowds awaiting us all day long. And as before the majority of the crowds were heading in the same direction as we were. Islands of Adventure.






    Here we were. Finally we had returned. We were about to step foot in to not only would be Daniels first Theme park, but it is also my 2nd favorite Theme park out there (2nd only to the Original Disneyland). We had already bought our tickets from our local Costco so we wouldn't be waiting at the ticket booths or will call machines this year. With the tickets we could go strait thru the gate. After a ticket scan and finger print scan we entered the park.





    Awe the Port of Entry. Easily one of the best themed enterances of ANY theme park. It is seriously underestimated by how many people quick pass thru it get to the major attractions in the park. There are so many amazing little details that I always seem to find something new each time we enter it.






    At the end of the Port of Entry you can see beauty in the distance that is Hogwarts Castle. We had returned. However would going to the Wizarding World now be our best option? I've read many times that if you can't make it to the Wizarding World at park opening to wait until later in the day when crowds die down. With fearing large crowds today I decided to heed that advice and figured we would start out Day in Marvel Superhero Island. Besides with the drool coming out of my brothers mouths upon seeing the Hulk Coaster I didn't think we had any other option.





    Into Marvel we went and of course we went strait to the Hulk where we would get our first idea of how crowds would be. An idea that I will tell you now would set the tone for the rest of the day. Walking up to the enterance we expected to find the 45 minute wait that the Undercovertourist wait was now showing. So needless to say I was completly shocked to find the Coaster with a posted 5 minute wait. Thats right. 5 minutes for the Hulk. My brothers quickly ran and got in line while I waited for Kiera to use the restroom. While waiting though the wait time did end up changing for the Hulk from 5 to 15 minutes. Being still to early in the morning my Mom decided to not do the coaster and would wait outside with Danny.


    I've said it before that I love the Hulk. It is hands down the best extreme coaster i've been on (I really need to make a trip to Six Flags). I love everything about it. The slow incline into the launch immediatly followed by 4 inversions. This thing is awesome. And short waits only make it better. All in all the new wait time was fairly accurate as we waited about 12 minutes to ride. There was of course a longer line for the Front Row. I've never actually rode the front row on the Hulk but I can say that i've never had a bad ride on this thing no matter where I've sat. And this ride was no better. The Hulk is still rough in many parts but its still an incredible coaster. It even looks great now thanks to that paint job last year.








    After the ride we met back up with my Mom and made our way thru the rest of the Island. The next ride we would come to would be Dr. Dooms Fearfall. A ride that i've never actually done on previous trips because we have similar (and taller) drop/shot tower back home. Because of that we bipassed Doom again and made our way to the ride I was most excited for then anything else on this entire trip. The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman.








    Spiderman has always been a favorite of ours. We dare say we even liked the old version more still then Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. I knew about the changes and updates and read all the reviews. I was very anctious to see the new Spiderman for myself.






    This would also be the first ride where we would actually use the Child Swap option on. Universal does it completly different then Disney does it. At Universal the child who is too small to ride still waits in the entire line with your party. Near the load plateform there will be a small room where the person (people) waiting with the child go to while the other people in your party go and ride. Once there done they come back to the room and those who waited out first then go and ride while the others watch the child. Pretty simple concept that works well. I don't want it to compare to Disney quite yet though as I will do so at a later time.


    Spiderman had a wait time posted of 35 minutes. Not too bad considering it was the newest updated ride in the park and typically one of the busiest. We got in line and were suprised to see how fast it was moving. The line itself of the Spiderman updates was still the same. They just dusted a few things and touched up some paint. The que video is also still the same which is my only complaint about the update. I wish they would have updated the que video as well as some of the villans no longer look the same on the ride as they do in the que video (I'm looking at you Doc Oc). The Line may have said 35 minutes but within 20 we were at the load plateform. Kiera, Danny, and myself headed to Child Swap while the rest of my family boarded the vehicle for there adventure.











    I tried to not tell my family anything about the ride before hand so that I could see there reactions to it. As they all walked off all 4 of them had huge grins on there face and all agreed that Spiderman was the most amazing ride they have ever been on. I was so excited. The moment had come. My parents took Danny while Kiera, Myself, and my 2 brothers went back to the load plateform. We were soon in the Scoop and with the new 3d glasses we were on our way into the attraction. OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The new animation truely is amazing. My one complaint about the previous version was that the video was too cartoonish. Not anymore. Seriously everything looks real now. You seriously can't tell where the live sets end and the screens start. The animation mixed with the new 40k HD projections are just incredible. The ride was a none stop thrill ride. It was better then I ever remembered it being. Especially since all the effects were working correctly now. Seriously this is the Best Ride EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! After Spiderman we would continue or way thru Marvel Island.





    The next Island we would be coming to would be Toon Lagoon. A section dedicated to the crazyness that can be found in the Sunday Comics. Toon Lagoon is alot of fun. From the many bubble sayings to its two amazing Water Rides found in the Popeye Rapids or the Duddly Do Right Log Flume. That is of course if you want to get wet because these two rides won't leave a dry spot on you. With that in mind you might want to wait and ride these at the end of the day. Duddly isn't the best overall Log Flume ride there is as Splash Mountain takes that title. However Duddly does have possibly the best drop as It is taller, steeper, and faster then Splash Mountain. Hands down the Popeye Rapids is the best of its kind in my opinion though. Unforunatly we wouldn't be riding ether on this trip though as we didn't want to get very wet this early in the day and we unfortunatly never made it back before the park closed.









    Back in the Day (which was probably a Wednesday) in a time before Harry Potter came to town the next section of the park was my favorite section. That section is Jurassic Park. I have always loved the movies/books (not the 3rd movie though) and even today I'd say the movie is in my top 3 favorites. I just love how lush and tropical and perfect everything is (minus the Forbidden Journey Show building). Plus the area also holds my favorite Flume type ride ever. The Jurassic Park River adventure (or Jurassic Park the Ride for you Hollywood folks). That ride would be where we would be heading next. Kiera however would be sitting this one out. Danny was hungry and needed feeding. So while Kiera went to find a quite private place to feed Daniel the rest of us got in the posted 15 minute wait line.







    The wait was basically a walk on and not 15 minutes. The whole walk thru the line my mom was worried about getting wet. Having rode the Orlando version only in October the previous years I assured her that as long as you sit in the middle then you shouldn't get we. Hey we never have in the past anyways. And so we boarded our boat and our journey began. As I said I love this ride and I was happy to see some of the effects were working and the dinos looked better then the last time I rode in 2010. It was in really poor shape then and looked much better. The time soon came for the climax of the ride as we rushed 85ft down and into the splash pool where to my suprise we got wet. And not just a little wet ether. We were all soaked (but not drenched). Needless to say my mom was not happy with me as I assured her she wouldn't get wet. Now I don't know if they turn on additional water effects or if the splash pool is more full in the spring but I was in just as much shock. The ride was still a blast though and looked great. However its still not as good as the Universal Studios Hollywood version which is much better and holds my favorite spot for this type of ride.








    After the River adventure I called Kiera to find out where she was. She was still feeding Danny and was down in front of the Discovery Center and so thats where we headed. Upon seeing how wet we all got Kiera was very happy that she decided to skip out on the River Adventure as she really dislikes being wet. As she finished up feeding I took in the views from the Discovery Center of the rest of Islands of Adventure as the park looks great from basically any angle.







    By this point in the day we were all getting pretty hungry. So we decided to go in to the next section of the park to see if there was anything to eat there that my family would like. That next area is our favorite location in all of Orlando. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.








    The area was just as we remembered it. Yet to our suprise not nearly as busy as it was in October 2010. We made our way thru what crowds there were to the Three Broomsticks so that my parents could see not only what was on the menu but also what the prices for everything were. They decided after looking though that they didn't want to spend that much money for lunch (rather they would for dinner) so we decided not to eat there at this time. What we did decide on though was it was time to get the best taisting drink every created. Butterbeer.






    We freaken love this stuff. So much that Kiera and I had a gift card dedicated only to buying Butterbeer on this trip. Although both versions are good we prefer the Frozen version the best. My parents bought one of each as well to try and they also agreed that they liked the Frozen the best.







    At this point you'd think we would do all the attractions that the Wizarding World has to offer. But you would be wrong. As shortly after getting our Butterbeers we exited the Wizarding World and made our way back in to Jurassic Park. Remember we were hungry still and looking for food. So we went back to the Jurassic Park Discovery Center and got some food at the Burger Dig which has now become a tradition for Kiera and I as we have ate lunch here every time we've come. Kiera and I tried to save money on food whenever possible so we typically split a lunch each day. We found by ordering a double hamburger that it was plenty for the both of us so we would each take one pattie and dress it as we would like. It worked well for us.






    After a filling lunch we made our way back across the bridge into Hogsmead and turned to make our way to Hogwarts castle. On our last visit to IOA the Forbidden Journey quickly became one of our favorite rides. The question is with the Spiderman upgrades could the Forbidden Journey still be the top attraction?







    We entered what was posted to be a 35 minute wait que. This was the first time we had done the entire standby que since our original ride as each ride since then had been via the single rider line. I love how absolutly detailed the line is. However my biggest complaint from our last visit is still present. And that is how the line moves. You basically rush thru the dungions, get held up forever in the greenhouses, and then sprint thru the rest of the castle to the load plateform. I wish the long hold up would be in the parts of the castle that are interesting. You never got to hear all of Dumbledors speach or even the Kids dialog as you are constantly being pushed to the loading area. Unfortunatly I don't think theres anything that can be done to change this. I guess thats why you can take a castle tour afterwards.










    My family are not Harry Potter fans at all but they still really liked the que. They were all pretty amazed by the projections of the Kids and Dumbledor as well as the moving portraits. I have to say too that while waiting for the Forbidden Journey that this is when we noticed the horible looks some people were giving us. I assume the looks were because they assumed we were taking a 7 month old on a big thrill ride. Seriously are people really this uneducuated? Do they really think we are just going to hold the kid on our lap? People really should become educated before passing judgement.









    We waited in line for less then 20 minutes when we reached the Room of Requierment. Kiera and I were directed to the Child Swap room while the rest of my family boarded the ride. I couldn't believe how packed the Forbidden Journeys childswap room was. You could barely move. We did like how they had the movie playing though. As I watched out the door I immediatly started feeling bad for my family as the load plateform was stopped. Which means the entire ride was stopped. This happened 2 more times over the course of my familys ride. When they got off they told me that 2 of the stops were right when you entered the screen domes and so they never saw what happened. The domes are seriously the worst place you can stop of on this ride. I told them to ask if they could ride again because of all there stops but they decided they didn't want to. My brothers came back with Kiera and I on our ride though.


    Our ride started out great until we hit the first dome and once again the ride stopped. We were about halfway thru when this happened. Again being in the worst place possible to stop. But we quickly got going again and the rest of the ride was great. I never noticed so much movment in the Dragon before. Also the Dementor scene seemed much darker and scarier with what seemed like more Dementors then before. Unfortunatly though the "Soul Sucking" Dementor wasn't working but nether was the effect. It also seemed like the projection on the domes were darker then usual as well. Overall dispite the minor breakdown it was one of the better rides i've had on it and its still one of the best rides in the world. However I can honestly say with the new Upgrades that Spiderman is better.






    When we exited Hogwarts we found the sky to be very dark compared to when we entered the line. It looked like it could start raining at any moment. Still we weren't going to let a little rain ruin our fun. We saw Flight of the Hippogriph only had a 5 minute wait so we made our way over there to find it closed. This was kind of odd we thought. So next we walked down thru Hogsmead to go to Dragons Challenge which was not only closed as well but people were coming out of the enterance. At the time I figured it must be because it looks like its gonna start raining any minute. Upon looking it up later though Universal will close all outdoor rides whenever Lightning is present within 5 miles of the park. Which makes sinse.









    With the thought of this rain/lightning storm coming quickly we decided maybe it would be best to do a long indoor attraction next. So we left the Wizarding World and made our way to thru the Lost Continant and to an attraction that Kiera and I had never done before. Posidens Fury. We found the stroller parking to be under a thick area of trees that should hopefully would protect the stroller well enough incase it rains. We also thru a blanket over it just in case.






    We weren't the only ones who thought this would be a good ride to take cover from the rain in as the line got long very quickly and it was one of our longer waits of the day. We were finally in though and the show soon started. To our suprise it was actually a pretty cool show. It had some very cool effects and the Water Vortex was one of the coolest things i've seen. My only complaint about the show was that the videos need to be updated. They really show there age and are pretty bad. An updated video could take the attraction a long ways. Its not the best thing on the property but if the wait is short its something thats worth checking out. It also will always have a special place with our family now too as it was the first attraction that Danny actually got to do the whole thing with us.





    As we exited Possidens Fury we found everything soaking wet and it was also still lightly raining. My family ran for cover while I went and got the stroller which to my suprise was still dry. The tree coverage protected it. The rain was light enough that it wasn't annoying or bothersome so we walked thru it to the last area in Islands of Adventure that we hadn't been to yet. Suess Landing.







    Dispite the light rain it seemed like the only people out were wearing ponchos. They must make a killing on these things when the rains starts in the parks. Since the outdoor rides were still closed we made our way the only indoor ride in Suess Landing. The Cat in the Hat. And it only had a 10 minute wait posted. Unfotunatly we would end up not riding what I consider to be one of the best Dark Rides on this trip. As shortly after we entered the line for Cat in the Hat the ride broke down. And it broke down to a point where they cleared out the standby line as they didn't know when it would be working again. Well that sucks. We never made it back on this trip to ride it again.







    By the time we left the Cat in the Hat line the rain had stopped and blue skys were showing. Not only was 1 fish 2 fish being tested but so was the High in the Sky trolley which ment if they were testing they were getting ready to reopen them. Which was also likely true for all of the Outdoor rides. With nothing left in Suess Landing that interested my family we made our way back to Wizarding World in hopes to get on Dragons Challenge before the park closed early for the day at 6pm.






    As we walked back thru the Hogsmead Arch there was already a decent crowd gathered near the Dragons Challenge enterance. In the distance you could see the empty trains running which ment that it would be reopening soon. Not even 5 mintues had passed when finally they reopened the line and the attraction reopened. We followed the crowd in and made our way to what was at one time the greatest suspended coasters ever.






    I say at one time because Dragons Challenge is now just a shadow of its former greatness that was Dueling Dragons. The first blow came to the ride was when its former amazing que was removed during the Harry Potter overlay. The second and worst blow came late last year when the Dragons would no longer "Duel" do to multipule people being hurt on them. Now all you have is 2 good suspended coasters but nothing great anymore.









    Our first ride would be on Ice, wait I mean the Horntail as I think its the better side. My family went first and thought the ride was awesome (they would never know how much better it use to be). Kiera and I went next with my brothers. This was the first time i've ridden not being in the front row. I must say that if you can wait for the front row. Seriously its the only way to ride a suspended coaster as its so much more exciting. The only thing fun about not being in the front was that you never knew what was coming.


    Daniel was getting Hungry so after our ride Kiera and most of my family left the ride so that she could find a place to feed Danny. My brother Kory and I though stayed behind as we were gonna go ride Fire, my bad I mean the Fireball. This time though we were gonna wait it out and ride the front row. Although the wait was much longer the ride this time was much better as nothing beats the front row on a suspended coaster. My brother couldn't belive we were going the same speeds as he thought the fireball was much faster then the horntail. The ride was great and we soon exited to meet my family.







    Kiera had actually found a quite spot to feed on the trail between the entry and exit lines for Dragons Challenge. By the time she finished the park was just about to close. We headed back down into Hogsmead to find my family at the Owlry waiting for us. Now was as good of time as any to grab some more Butterbeers. This time we bought a 2nd refillable mug as we knew we would end up using it. I filled one up with frozen for Kiera but I had our new mug filled with Regular Butterbeer for myself. The regular is still very good but I have to say I still prefer the frozen over it.









    The park had now officially closed by this point. But before we left we wanted to look around some of the shops. To our suprise though they weren't keeping them open longer like usual though because of Grad Nights. They were doing whats called a Hard Close to get people out of the parks quickly to prepare for the incoming Seniors. We briefly looked in the Owl Post and the different wands before having to leave. We also barely made it into Honeydukes and Zonkos and were able to look around quickly before having to leave as well. On our way out the the Hogwarts Express conductor was still out so we grabbed a quick photo and then started to make our way towards the exit of the park with a line of security people already forming a line to sweep the park and push people out.
















    As we passed thru Suess Landing this was the first time I noticed Sneetch Beach. The Star Bellied Sneetches was one of my favorite Dr. Suess books so I loved it. Its one of those small details of Islands of Adventure that I love so much. Plus the views of the rest of the park here are great just like they were from the Jurassic Park Discovery Center. There were even Sneetches sitting in the water.











    I finally caught back up with my family in the Port of Entry where they were slowly looking in some of the shop windows as they passed by. The Port of Entry was packed with people leaving the park for the day but there were still room for some ducks and birds to be wondering so close to you that you could touch them. Really if you have the time take your time ether coming or going to explore the details of the Port of Entry. That really are great.















    We exited the park into what was a very busy Citywalk. We were gonna stop by the Universal store out here but it was closed off as surrounding it was the staging area for the kids going to Grad Nights. Well that sucks. We did stop by the billabong store on the way out though as my brothers really wanted to check out the stuff there. We also got a better look at the mini golf course.









    We made our way back to the parking garage and to our vehicle. What was nice not having to wait for the elevators in the morning was made up for the long wait to get on one in the evening. After waiting twice we finally got on the 3rd elevator and made our way back to the top of the garage where our family was already in the truck waiting for us. I snapped some pictures of the parks from up here and then we were on our way back to the hotel area. It was on this drive that we heard the "Major Lightning Storm" warning for the next day. The news really made it sound like it was the worst storm Orlando will ever see.










    before heading back to the Hotel we decided to grab dinner first as Daniel would likely be hungry not long afterwards. So we drove all around the hotel area looking for what options we had for dinner. What we decided on was probably a mistake. We went to the Golden Corral. Now these things aren't the greatest back home. So I don't know what we were thinking. It was pretty expensive (over $30 for just Kiera and I) and the food was worse then back home (although there were a couple things that were alright). I guess you should always be iffy of a restaurant that has a gift shop attatched to it. Yes thats right. To exit the Golden Corral you exited thru a large generic Florida gift shop. After looking around the gift shop we finally headed back to the Hotel.






    And at the Hotel was where our night ends. I think Daniel was very happy to be here where he could finally get out and sit and play. We wouldn't be going out again for the night after Daniel feed, We got ready for bed, and I transfered all the photos I took that day to the laptop. Once again on the TV they kept talking about this huge major Lightning/rain strom coming in tomorrow. Knowing this I figured maybe it would be good to grab a stroller cover and some ponchos and umbrella just incase we needed them at the parks tomorrow. We soon went to bed so that we could get the rest we needed. I would be running to Target as soon as they open in the morning to grab what we need and we had another full day ahead of us tomorrow at Universal Studios Florida.



  5. #5

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    Re: 5 days at Disney and 3 days at Universal. My April 2012 Trip Report

    Your trip report is becoming an epic, Tecnic! Thanks for all of the photos and information!
    I'm really looking forward to reading your perceptions of Walt Disney World in 2012!

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    Re: 5 days at Disney and 3 days at Universal. My April 2012 Trip Report

    Looking forward to more!

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    Re: 5 days at Disney and 3 days at Universal. My April 2012 Trip Report

    Thanks for the comments guys. Heres my next update.


    Day 3: Universal Studios Florida


    Today we would be going to Universal Studios Florida. The park would be opening today at 8am however instead of waiting outside the park waiting for it to open at 8 I would find myself waiting outside a different location. A local Target. The previous day all over the radio and tv they talked about the big storm that would be rolling thru Orlando today. A storm with a 90% chance of heavy rain. So I got up early, got ready, and left to Target to pick up a few things before heading to the park.





    I got to the Target about 10 minutes prior to its 8am opening. Kinda funny that in addition to myself there were also many other tourists that were waiting for the store to open as well. When the doors opened I was suprised to find everything I was looking for right when you walk in where you not only see a large display of sunblock. But also of umbrellas and ponchos. I grabbed a few $1 ponchos and an Umbrella and then continued on to the baby section to see if I could find a stroller rain cover. Unfortunatly I couldn't find one so I just figured I would try to rig a poncho to work instead. I grabbed a some fruit for Kiera and before long I was on my way back to the hotel. I decided to skip breakfast at the hotel today though and instead grabbed breakfast for us from Chick Fila which was pretty good and much more filling then the hotels breakfast.





    Back at the Hotel Kiera and Danny were almost ready to go. We were still done sooner then the rest of my family who we would be heading back to the Universal Parks with. After they grabbed breakfast we finally loaded into the vehicle and made our way back to Universal. We parked once again in the South parking structure but this time we were parked on level 4 inside. Again Kiera, Daniel and myself took the elevator while the rest of my family took the escolaters but unlike the previous day they were waiting for us at the bottom. We made our way once again thru Citywalk and but today we turned right towards Universal Studios instead of walking strait to Islands of Adventure like the majority of the crowds were.







    We soon approched that trademark globe and took some photos before passing thru the magnificent archways and entered the studios. This day in the Studios was one of our sadder days of the trip as the studio park had changed since our last visit. Of course the big loss is that the Jaws attraction no longer exists. We had no idea that our ride with that great white would be our final ride on our previous trip. Also gone was the Jimmy Neutron ride which really wasn't much of a loss. Don't get me wrong i'm excited for the changes that are coming. Its just sad to see the park in the state its in with all this expansion going on.









    Inside the park some characters were out for meet and greets. In addition to Woody Woodpecker there was also Curious George who we had to get a photo with. Curious George would be the first Character Daniel would ever meet so we got his (Disney) autograph book out and Daniel absolutly LOVED Curious George. He was laughing and giggling and George was so cute with him. Getting down on his level and just playing with him and taking his blanket. It was so cute.













    One of the first things you notice when you walk in the park is the construction taking place on Universals newest attraction and the replacement for Jimmy Neutron. The Dispicable Me Minion Mayham ride. The only time we rode the old Jimmy Neutron was on our 2009 trip and it wasn't anything great. I remembered the old Hanna-Barabara ride being much, much better so I was happy to see it go. I also loved Dispicable Me so I'm really looking forward to the new ride. Unfortunatly we made it to the park right before the rapid finish to the showbuilding and fascade happend as a few days later (after we were done at Universal) the bricking on the house and minor touches were finished, as well as the murals all hung up. (3 weeks later now the building is out from behind walls, the shop is open, and rumors of soft openings starting any day are going around). I don't know when we will be back I really look forward to the Dispicable Me ride.









    We made our way to a ride that my brothers obviously wanted to do first thing and also a ride that was closed for some "unscheduled matenance" that last time we came. The Hollwood Rip, Ride, Rockit coaster. We rode this thing back in 2009 about a month after it opened and absolutly loved it so we were dissapointed when it closed suddenly for over a month during our 2010 trip. So we were excited to give this thing a try again. The wait time posted would pretty much set the tone for the day as well as we expected the park to be fairly busy on a Saturday. However it was quite the opposite as with the park being opened for over 2 hours by this point Rockit was still only posting a 5 minute wait.







    We hoped in line for the coaster and the TM at the front of the line told us we would get a child swap card from the TM at the bottom of the stairs. We walked thru the whole lower level que with no wait whatsoever. However when we arrived at the stairs there was no TM to be seen. So we just walked up the stairs as we now had no clue what to do. There was finally a line waiting at the top of the stairs for the ride. By this point the line had already extended down teh stairs and into the lower que and we now saw a TM standing there. So Kiera and I walked back down to go see the TM about the child swap card. We were once again given rude stares by other guests thinking we were gonna attempt to take Daniel on the coaster. Instead the TM gave us a pass and directed us to the Elevator to reach the child swap area. I loved giving those who gave rude glairs the same rude glairs back from the child swap. My parents obviously stayed in line and rode the coaster first while we waited.









    Now child swap was done differently on Rockit then other rides. As I said they gave us a pass for it allowed us to get in the child swap area. We also had to keep the pass in order to reboard after my family were done and its specifically said only those waiting and 1 other could use the pass to reride. So this turned out to be the only ride that my brothers couldn't reride with us. My family soon returned from there ride and Kiera and I made our way back to the coaster line where we were promptly put in line for the next train. Other then the Vertical lift that scares the crap out of me so much the ride was just as awesome as I remembered. I love choosing your own music and the coaster is such a blast. I know many people compain of it being pretty rough but it wasn't for us. This is a must ride at the park assuming you like coasters and the verticle lift hill doesn't scare you away.






    I loved the coaster so much that I immediatly wanted to ride again. But other then my little brother Kory the rest of my family didn't want to as I guess they did have a rough car lol. They stayed in child swap while Kory and I ran down the exit and back in the enterance that was still showing a 5 minute wait. Once again we didn't reach a line until we got to the top of the stairs. While waiting a group of 5 people walked up in the single rider line that was previously empty. Single Rider was closed when we walked past so thats the reason we didn't use it. I asked those in it if it was now open and they said yes so Kory and I jumped in that line and within 2 minutes Kory was sent to a train and I was shortly behind him. As a bonus I scored the very front row of my train that soon came to a stop and we had to unload. I guess somebody that was on the train previously lost there lunch and so they had to do a quick clean up. I was waiting on the load plateform and my brother was now sitting in a line of trains waiting to come back into the station. We soon reloaded and I was on my way to a rockin good time. This time I tried not to hold on to the restraint and loved the airtime I was getting. This ride just got better trying to get the most airtime I could. After my ride we all left the coaster and had a good time looking at our videos from our previous rides.





    The next ride that we went to isn't actually a ride but is a show. That show being Shrek 4d. Its a show we've done on each of our visits to both US Universal Studio parks and is in my opinion is one of the better 4d shows out there. Plus my parents obviously had never seen it. One thing I love about universal is that most of there stroller parking areas are themed as well. I loved the one for Shrek. Anyways we were able to get right in for the next show with a very little wait. During the preshow Daniel crashed in Kieras arms. Thats ok seeing as how we would need to sit in stationary seats with him anyways. My parents sat in the back of the theater while Kiera and I went to the stationary seats in the very front row. I don't know if it was just cause we were in the front but it seemed so much louder then it has before. The front row is also VERY close to the screen so your neck kind hurts by the end as well. Still it was a good show and nice to sit down and dispite being really bright and loud Daniel slept thru the whole thing.








    We meet up with my family afterwards and started making our way to E.T. We timed it pretty good though as we caught Shrek, Fiona, and Donkey out for there Meet and Greet so dispite Daniel still being asleep we still got a picture taken with them.





    As we stopped for a restroom break I looked around the Universal Studios Lagoon where setup and work was still taking place on Universals upcoming night time show called the Cinamatic Spectical. Many online websites complained about how the barges and waterscreens look in the lagoon during the day and I can understand the complaints. However I personally don't think they look as bad as people claim. especially with the themeing they put on the barges. Too bad the show doesn't start until after our trip is over.................









    As we walked past Mel's Drive In before making our way thru Central Park to E.T. we noticed that the Lorax was also out doing a meet and greet. Dispite Daniel still being asleep we decided what the heck we would take him to see the Lorax as well. We waited in line and what do you think happened next? Right as we walk up the Lorax Daniel wakes up from his nap. And the first thing he sees is the Lorax right in his face. Kiera and I were waiting for him to have a freak out or be super scared waking up to the Lorax. Instead he got a HUGE smile and started laughing and reaching for the Lorax. He absolutly loved him. This turned out to be one of the cutest character meets of the entire trip as we got some great pictures and Daniel loved him so much. Infact as we were leaving he grabbed the Lorax's fur and wouldn't let go of him.











    We next arrived in Kidzone to do the only attraction there that we planned to do. The E.T. Adventure. A ride that has a soft spot in my heart as I grew up with it at the Hollywood park. Now Orlando is the only place that you can still experiance the ride. The ride was also a 5 minute wait and it didn't take long at all until we had our "passports" and we were sitting on the child swap benches. My family joked with my brother Tanner asking if he would be ok on the ride because he use to have Nightmares as toddler of E.T.






    Needless to say he did fine and to our suprise once again Daniel absolutly LOVED E.T. as well. Of course i'm not refering to the ride itself. In the waiting area theres a bunch of photos from the film on the wall and a large photo of E.T. was right next to where we were sitting. Daniel went crazy for it just like he did with the characters. It was very funny.






    After my family returned we then made our way for our ride to the Green Planet. I still absolutly love the forest Que for E.T. and all of its details. The ride itself I thought looked great compared to our last ride in 2009. The human animatronics could use some updating but overall the ride is still very good. Yes the Green planet scenes still get very weird like your on drugs or something and the vocal E.T. at the end could use a tune up but overall it was once again a fun, classic Dark Ride that brings back memories of my childhood. I hope this thing never leaves like many of the classics before it (or like it has at the sister parks) but with many kids these days not even knowing who E.T. is I don't know how long the ride will stay relevent.







    The next ride we would be coming to would be the Simpsons ride. A ride that in my opinion held the title as the best Simulator ride out there (Back to the Future was still better). We have done every attraction so far with pretty much no wait so we were shocked when we walked up to the Simpsons and saw a posted 35 minute wait. Now if our experiance from the previous day at IOA was any indication we knew that none of the rides with a 35 minute wait were really that long. However with a family getting hungry and not wanting to be shaken up at this time we decided to skip the Simpsons for now. As we walked thru the World Expo area this was also the first time we caught the glimpse of what was at one point the Amity area and Jaws ride. So sad to see the vast nothingness thats there now.









    Since we decided to skip the Simpsons we instead went to the next nearest ride. That being Men in Black. My favorite shooter type ride ever. It had a 15 minute wait posted but it wasn't even close to being that. We walked right in to the "Universe and You" preshow which was kind of dissapointing because the preshow had not already started but was already running the Men in Black recruitment speal. This preshow and recruitment is one of the most unique line experiances in any theme park and I was sad that my family missed out on it. We soon made our way thru the MIB head quarters and at the load platform we went to Child Swap while my family went on the ride. They soon returned to us where Kory was bragging about how he won and killed everyone else. He also returned with Kiera and myself to go along for our ride too. The whole ride I was killing both him and Kiera until the end when Kory got to the red button before I did and stole the bonus from me and putting him slightly ahead of me in the end. Once again meaning he bragged about it like crazy. MIB is such a great ride as I love the full sets and three demensional Aliens compared to the flat 2d cutouts of Buzz Lightyear and the 3d screens of Toy Story.











    Before getting lunch we figured we would peak back over to see what the wait was now at the Simpsons and instead of going down the wait time was now UP to 45 minutes. So yeah lets take a lunch break instead. Plus it was about time for Daniel to need to feed as well. My family wanted hamburgers so we decided to head over to the San Fransisco area to go to Richters Burgers. Of course to get there that ment we had to actually pass thru Amity. Its so sad seeing the nearly endless sea of walls. Its so sad to think of a classic attraction gone. However with the Rumors stating that the Former Amity area will soon become home to London and the Wizarding World expansion featuring Diagon Alley, Gringots bank, and a working Hogwarts Express I can't help but get excited for the Harry Potter Expansion being such a huge fan of the boy wizard. I look forward to visiting again when the expansion finishes (and is actually announced) and I had to toast my Butterbeer mug to the place where I will someday fill it up.











    We soon arrived in San Fransisco and to Richters. This quick service only serves hamburgers and is pretty much the same as what Burger Digs had to offer the previous day in IOA. So Kiera and I once again split a double burger. The food was pretty good and filled us up. The interior of Richters is also pretty cool with some earthquake damage seeming to be present. After we were all filled up and Daniel finished with his feeding we headed back out into the park to continue our fun.









    After we finished with Lunch we decided to head in to the New York section of the park. And of course that also means we would be making our way to what in my opinion is the best attraction in the park. Revenge of the Mummy.











    It was at the Mummy where we would end up having the longest wait of the entire day. Posted wait said 25 minutes and that was pretty much exactly what the wait turned out to be. Not only was the wait the longest of the day but it was also the longest that we have ever waited at all to ride the attraction. I don't know what it was about the Mummys "Egyptian" section of the que but Daniel absolutly loved it constantly laughing and having a blast.










    We soon reached the load platform so of course we would be heading to Child swap while my family rode the ride. I was pretty suprised that find a TV in here just like the Forbidden Journey that was playing one of the Mummy cartoons. My parents soon finished there ride and they thought it was very cool. My brothers once again came along with Kiera and I for a reride while my parents watched Daniel. The ride was just as great as it was last time we visited and is not only the best ride in the park but also one of the best rides in the entire resort and all of the Orlando parks. I love it every time and I could never get enough of it. Do not miss this thing if you like dark rides and coasters.


    After the Mummy we started heading back to the San Fransisco area so that we could do the Disaster attraction. However on the way there my brother Kory saw the New York wall climbing. The previous day in Islands of Adventure Kory saw the climbing wall set up in Jurassic Park and wanted to do it. I told him to wait though until he saw this New York one as I though it seemed much cooler and much more unique. So when he saw it he started begging to do it and my parents let him. He got to do two climbs up the wall on different paths and made it to the top each time. He had a lot of fun doing it. There was also a little girl doing it when he was and the poor thing scared half to death and froze about half way up. The TM's working the wall were nice enough to help her down though.












    After Kory finished his climbing we started to go to Disaster but once again we would be making a stop. A few weeks earlier Universal removed and relocated Amity's famous big fish. That big great white shark photo op with Jaws. He is now located on one of the San Fransisco Docks across from the restrooms. Honestly I like how the sharks surrounds look now and think it looks better then it did in the middle of Amity square. A photo with Jaws is a must on each trip and i'm glad they kept this around as i'm sure stories of the old Jaws ride will be told by many to there children who will never get to experiance it.










    We finally made it to Disaster which was showing a 15 minute wait. Now you might remember me talking about this "HUGE" storm that was suppose to hit Orlando today. Well if you havn't guessed by now we havn't seen anything resembling a storm yet. Yes it was fairly overcast but so far there hasn't been a drop of rain that fallin and no rides have shut down due to lightning in the area. Well that looked like it might change while we could be in Disaster as its a very long attraction and the clouds in the sky were starting to get very dark. So I quickly pulled out a poncho and wrapped the stroller up with it so it wouldn't get wet. The poncho idea actually worked out fairly well.





    Now one thing you should know is that Disaster has no height limit. We assumed then that this could be the first ride that Daniel could actually do. We were wrong. Even though there is no height limit they still told us Daniel was too little to go on the ride portion and we would have to do child swap. However he was fine for the show portions. I really wish that the signs or even Universals website mentioned this as we weren't expecting it. Just add it to the list of nothing Infants can do at Universal. So when traveling to Universal with an Infant keep that in mind.






    We hadn't done Disaster since our visit in 2009. Its a fun attraction thats worth checking out if you have time to but I wouldn't classify it a "Must see". The attraction has multipule preshows. The first is when you introduced to Disaster Studios and people are picked from the audiance to particpate in helping film a movie. The next area you meet the owner of the studios who explains whats going on today. The owner is made visible using Musslon Effect just like Dumbledor, Harry Potter, and his Friends in the Forbidden Journey and is pulled off really cool especially how it interacts with the live assistant. The next section they actually film small segments featuring those picked for the film. You are then all picked to participate in the final film sequence during and Earthquake. This is the point in the ride where we would have to go to the Child Swap room while my family rode. This section is what was the old Earthquake ride. They must not get too many people here doing Child Swap because they were very suprised when we told them we needed to do it. None the less they still had a room for us to sit in.





    A few minutes later my family came back from there ride. My mom said she remembered Earthquake being a lot better back in the day. It was now our turn and we were directed to sit in the train and wait until the next show would join us. It seemed to take much longer then our group did and when they did join us the group was a lot smaller then ours. We soon dispatched though and found ourselves in the subway as the earthquake started. It still a very fun effect and all that happens still amazes me. I'd love to see how the ride reset itself (It was very interesting sitting in the child swap room and hearing everything happening echo down the subway back to the station where we were). I also forgot how much this ride shook around. I could diffently see why it wouldn't be a good idea to have an infant on it. The ride was over and on the way back to the station they show you the "movie trailer" for the movie you just made. Its very fun and a lot of fun however when you do child swap you miss out on part of the fun as you no longer see the trailer for the group you saw being filmed.





    Although it looked like it was gonna rain when we went in to Disaster it never actually did. However the sky was still fairly dark and we still had one attraction left that we wanted to do in the park. The Simpsons Ride. We made our way back thru the Harry Potter Expansion........ Wait i'm sorry, Thats not confirmed yet lol. The Former Amity area is what I meant and across the bridge and found ourselves back at the Simpsons ride that was showing a much more favorible wait time then it was early now showing only a 15 minute wait. I parked the stroller, made sure the poncho was secure, and we entered the que. I love the Simpsons and absolutly love everything about this ride. Especially the original que videos. And finally after 7 rides on this thing I finally go to see the Back to the Future portion of the que video. Inside the building Kiera and I went to Child Swap again while my family went on the ride. When they returned they didn't look to great as they couldn't take the motion too well. My step dad and brother Tanner actually had to leave the building to get some fresh air they were feeling so bad. Needless to say my brothers did not reride with us lol.





    I said we've rode this ride many times before but we pulled the wrong straw for this ride as it would unfortunatly be the worst ride yet. Not because we got sick or the motion but because of the location of our ride vehicle. We were on the bottom floor in the far left corner. Possibly the worst vehicle you can be in as 2nd or 3rd level and center are the best spots to be. Still the ride was a blast and alot of fun. Now for years i've raved about how this is the best simulator out there with the only simulator that was better being the one it replaced in Back to the Future. However later in the week we got to experiance an updated classic in Star Tours 2. Does Simpsons still hold up as the top Simulator in my opinion? Well your just gonna have to wait and see as I'm not gonna say right now.






    As we exited the Simpsons the rain had finally paid a visit as everything now was soaking wet. What few people were out and about running around were already wearing ponchos. Tanner and my Step Dad were keeping out of the rain right outside the Simpsons exit under some cover. Although the rain was now fairly mellow they told us that a few minutes earlier it was a complete down pour of rain that made everything wet but also emptied out the park incrdible quick as there were seriously very few people still walking around. We grabbed the stroller which thanks to the poncho cover was still dry and grabbed our umbrillas and started to make our way to the front of the park. Not long after walking though the rain stopped and our umbrellas were put away for the remainder of the trip.






    As we were walking thru the World Expo area Tanner stopped and wanted to get a Turkey Leg since the park wouldn't be open for too much longer. The park would once again be closing at 6pm today due to more Grad Nights taking place. My parents did buy him a Turkey Leg that he ended up sharing with all of us. I was planning on buying one at somepoint later at Disney but this was the first time I actually tried one. It was different then I thought it would be and taisted more like smoked ham then it did turkey. Still it was pretty good buts its something that could likely feed 2 people.






    We made our way thru a very empty Hollywood on our way to the exit. I love all the details in the Hollywood section and honestly don't know why the parks original designers didn't make this area the parks entry area as it would have been much nicer and grand like Disney's Hollywood studios instead of the bland soundstages that are the parks entry area. During the day time this is where your likely to find most of the character meet and greets.







    Knowing that the Universal Store in Citywalk would likely be closed off again because of the Grad Nights staging area and this being my families last time in the Universal parks on this trip we decided to stop by the Universal Store in the Studios instead to see if theres anything they wanted (plus to give us an idea of anything we would want). We spent alot of time looking around at more of the Harry Potter stuff thats there, and especially all the new fun Dispicable Me stuff but we wouldn't be buying anything at this time. While my family still looked Kiera and I were waiting for them when Daniel started to fuss as it was once again feeding time. Kiera decided she would start feeding while I went to see how long my family would still be looking around. Well I couldn't find them anywhere after circling the shop multipule times. I finally found my Step Dads and brothers waiting outside a different exit waiting for Kiera and I. Not long after I found them my mom finished buying some things from the Candy Store and we exited the Studios in to City Walk.







    We hurried thru Citywalk as Kiera was still feeding Daniel and was doing so while walking. Yes its hard for her to do but the kid is weird and will sometimes feed best when she is standing and walking. Prior to the vacation I thought we would spend a little more time in Citywalk then we actually did. I thought one night we would give the mini golf a try but the reality of it was we were just way too tired to after long days in the parks. We also hoped that we could have gone back to IOA today to get some more butterbeer and take another ride on ether the Forbidden Journey or Spiderman but we wouldn't make it before the park closed. Oh well at least Kiera and I would have one more day in the Universal Parks tomorrow. Universal Studios is still alot of fun but it doesn't seem as great as it use to with all the construction and changes taking place. However once all these things are done the park is going to be amazing. I just really wish they would add more ride that the entire family can do together.









    On our way back to the hotel the Rain started coming down again but would once again stop before arriving at the Hotel. Since my parents were drained from there long days at the parks they wanted to take a long break before going out to dinner. We agreed as we looked forward to relaxing for a little bit too and also wanted to soak our feet in the Hot Tub. The boys really wanted to Swim so as soon as we got back they changed and went down. We did as well only to find the biggest dissapointment about the hotel we stayed at. There was NO hot tub. What we thought was the Hot Tube was just a kiddie pool. it was really sad as we loved to just soak our feet at past hotels after long days in the parks. I guess you have to give up something though for cheap rates like we got.







    After spending some time at the pool we decided to go back to the hotel room and relax. But first we went to the top floor of the Hotel as I heard you could see Expedition Everest from there. Well sure enough you could. Wow what a big building. It was much larger and more visible then I expected it to be. But then again our hotel was only like 1 mile from the Animal Kingdom.






    After resting and watching TV for a couple hours we finally left to go to dinner. Our final dinner with my family before they would be heading home in the morning. For dinner they were crazing Mexican Food. They found a location located in Kissimee so we figured we would give it a try. Well we were never actually able to find the place at we found ourselves in a pretty sketchy looking area. So we decided we would find something else to eat. On the GPS we were able to find a Chevys Mexican Restuarant and decided to go there for dinner. We were able to get right in and had a great meal.





    We use to have these back home but no longer do. The food was pretty good and the prices very reasonable. Tanners birthday was 2 days away but they let us celebrate it anyways and the brought him out a dessert and a sumbraro and sang to him. The best part is they let him keep the sumbraro as well. They also have people who walk around and make balloon animals which Kory wanted to have one done. The guy who made it was very interesting and knowladgebly and had a great talent. Kory decided to have a Penguin made that he could purch on his Shoulder.






    We were actually suprised that Daniel fell asleep in the car and slept all the way thru dinner. We knew that he would be hungry when he woke up and since he only naps for around 30 minutes we didn't think he would be too happy if he woke up with us at dinner and had to wait to eat. So we were very shocked to see him sleep for over 1 1/2 hours but it ended up working great as he woke up shortly after returning to the hotel for the night.


    Another day of our great vacation had come to an end. The final full day that we would have to spend with my family. We had one more day ahead of us at the Universal Orlando Resort however we would be taking that day slow as we had other things in addition to the parks that we wanted to do. Plus we wouldn't mind sleeping in a little bit and taking our time to get to the parks. All we knew was now the real fun would begin as we wouldn't have parents and family with us to help take care of Daniel.


    Will we be able to handle Daniel in the parks by ourselves for the rest of the trip? You'll have to wait to find out.

  8. #8

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    Re: 5 days at Disney and 3 days at Universal. My April 2012 Trip Report

    That is one photogenic bebbeh! I love the picture of him nomming on Mickey's nose.

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    Re: 5 days at Disney and 3 days at Universal. My April 2012 Trip Report

    Thanks again for posting these pics with your narrative, Teknik! I'm curious about how your WDW part went. In what year did you first visit Walt Disney World? In addition to new attractions, I'm looking forward to your comments about how it's changed or hasn't changed.

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    Re: 5 days at Disney and 3 days at Universal. My April 2012 Trip Report

    This is GREAT thanks... looking for an off property hotel for our next trip in 2013.... might have to give yours a try.
    Zippity doo dah, Zippity aye, My oh my what a wonderful day, Plenty of sunshine coming my way,
    Zippity doo dah, Zippity aye. Mister blue bird's on my shoulder. it's the truth, it's actual, everything's satisfactual!
    Zippity doo dah, zippity aye, zippity doo dah, zippity aye!

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    Re: 5 days at Disney and 3 days at Universal. My April 2012 Trip Report

    LOVE your recap so far!!! it gets me even more excited for my upcoming trip, living thru u and ur pictures!

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    Re: 5 days at Disney and 3 days at Universal. My April 2012 Trip Report

    Quote Originally Posted by jcruise86 View Post
    Thanks again for posting these pics with your narrative, Teknik! I'm curious about how your WDW part went. In what year did you first visit Walt Disney World? In addition to new attractions, I'm looking forward to your comments about how it's changed or hasn't changed.
    Thanks for you reply. My wife and I actually went to Epcot last year prior to a Cruise when she was Pregnant so needless to say other then the Test Track remodel thats taking place Epcot was still the same. Prior to that though I went on a family trip there in 1993 and Kiera went in 1997. Those were the last times ether of us saw the Magic Kingdom (she saw the birthday cake castle) and Hollywood Studios and neither of us have seen Animal Kingdom. We also went to the Disneyland resort in 2008 so I will also draw comparissons with the West Coast park as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Backstage View Post
    This is GREAT thanks... looking for an off property hotel for our next trip in 2013.... might have to give yours a try.
    Yeah we really liked our hotel. And if you can get a good deal thru Hotwire.com like we did then it is more then perfect. With the help of betterbidding.com you can pretty much narrow it down to what hotel you'd be looking at getting based on location area, star rating, customer reviews, aminitys, and resort fee.

    Thanks for the comments everyone.

    ---------- Post added 05-19-2012 at 07:20 PM ----------

    Day 4: Universal Orlando Resort
    Today was suppose to be an easy laid back day for us. When planning this trip we originally planned on spending 1 day at each park. So 2 days at Universal and 4 at Disney with 2 days to relax and do other things in Orlando. However upon seeing the cost to add an extra day to each resort we figured we'd get a 3 day ticket to Universal and a 5 day to Disney so that if we wanted we could head back to the parks later in the day or evening if we wanted to. So today would be our Laid back Universal Day.

    The plan for they day would basically be to sleep in, take our time getting ready for the day, go to the Orlando Prime Outlets, and then eventually go to the Universal parks for the rest of the night. However my family would be leaving Orlando this morning to go back to South Carolina and they wanted to go grab breakfast with us before they left town. So the day ended up starting off earlier then we thought. We still got to sleep in later then any of our park days but it still wasn't as late as we'd like. Still we wanted to spend as much time with my family as we could while they were there so we were up and ready to go for the day and finished right as my parents were checking out of the hotel.

    Its funny how quickly my parents have become acustomed to the South as the place they wanted to go for breakfast was none other then the infamous Waffle House. Kiera and I had never been to one before. And frankly we were kind of scared of them because they don't exactly look like the nicest of places plus you occasionaly hear about horror stories from them. Although it wouldn't be our first choice we figured what the heck we might as well. Beside its where my family wants to go and the time spent with them is whats important. We drove back out to Kissimee to the closest Waffle House. These restaurants are very small and so there of course was a wait but we were suprised at how quickly we got in. Of course it required us to have seperate tables so my brothers had there own table while Kiera and I sat with my parents. I must say that I was pretty suprised by how good the Waffle House food was and how quick and great the servers were. We actually enjoyed it. I don't know if its a place i'd want to go to often but it diffenitly wasn't as bad as we had thought it would be.

    After breakfast we checked out a gift shop that was located next to the waffle house before it was time to say our goodbyes to my family. Its never easy saying goodbye especially since they live on the opposite side of the country from us now and we are lucky to see them a couple times a year. However it had to be done. On the plus side my Mom would actually be in Utah already at the time when we would return from our vacation. My Step Dad and brothers we will see again this coming summer when they come home for a few weeks. We parted ways and our vacation would really get interesting now. We no longer had help with Danny. We would be tackling all the parks from this point on our own with an Infant.
    Our next stop on our "Laid Back" day would be the Orlando Prime Outlets on International Drive. On our trip in 2010 we stopped by these Outlets and really liked them. The thing we liked the most we found though was the Disney Character Warehouse. This store had discounted Disney Park merchandise that have been pretty much discontinued from the parks. Although we didn't buy anything from the store on the that trip we knew we had to stop by whenever the time came that we made an actual Disney World vacation. Although we knew the Outlets would be busy we were shocked at how busy it actually was. It took us over 15 minutes just to find a parking stall. Cars were parked everywhere and anywhere. Even in spots marked No Parking or in fire zones and even on the lawns. It was pretty rediculous actually.

    Once we finally found a parking stall we made our way into the Outlets. Although the main reason we were there was for the Disney Outlet we still looked at some other stores as we went along. Kiera was in need of some new capris as Daniel happened to throw up a couple days earlier on her other pair. After looking in a couple stores she finally found some she liked for a good price and so we continued on to the Disney Store. The store was packed and there were a lot of good deals to be found. I'm really glad we came because this is where I ended up finding some Tron Vinylmations. I love Tron and so I wanted to find something Tron related while in Disney World. Since it was the outlet they were also marked down to only $5 as well. So I grabbed a Quora Vinymation and we continued shopping around. After looking around for a bit we also found a Lightning McQueen shirt for Daniel and then headed for the checkout. Upon checking out the CM asked if I wanted to grab anymore Vinymations because those ones were 3 for $10. So I quickly ran back and also grabbed a Rinzler and Sam Tron Vinylmations as well. Awesome I was only planning on getting one.

    We really liked the Disney Character Warehouse as there were a lot of great deals to be found. However it seemed like there wasn't as much stuff as there was on our last visit. I thought we would find like some shirts or something but we didn't like any of the designs they had. Still if you are going to Disney World and have a car to leave the property its worth it to make a drive to ether Outlets (both have Disney Character Warehouses) and check them out. You might just save yourself quite a bit of money. After we were done we left the Outlets and after Kiera feed Daniel in the car we made our way back to spend our final afternoon/evening at the Universal Orlando Resort.

    It was almost 2:30pm when we were finally pulled up to the Universal Parking structures and interestingly enough the closing time for Universal Studios had changed from 8pm to 8:30pm. Thats kind of odd considereing Islands of Adventure would still be closing at 8pm. Unlike the previous days we were directed to the North Structure today to park in. I'm sure because we've arrived so much later in the day. We even stayed on level one meaning we would have to go up the elevator to get to the parks today.

    One last time we walked thru the garages and made our way to Citywalk. With not being in a rush today we took our time and even go a good look at the Hollywood Drive In Mini Golf. This course seriously looks so cool with so many great details. The haunted house and space worm look so much larger in person then they do in photos. In fact Photos really don't do any parts of this course Justice. I really wish we would have had time to play but that never happened on this trip. After passing the minigolf we entered Citywalk for the final time on this trip.



    So what park were we heading to today? We've already been to both Universal Parks on this trip. Well today we would be going to both parks. Thats whats so great about the Universal Parks. I love how they are so close and a 5 minute walk from one another. Its the same reason why I love the Disneyland Resort in California. To start our park time today we would be heading first to Universal Studios Florida. Our goal for going there first was Daniels new found love for Characters. So we figured we go to the Studios to see what characters were out that he hadn't meet yet. Once in the park we went strait to the Hollywood section where many characters were out and about and the cuteness would begin lol.



    This kid seriously cracks us up. He loves any costumed character. The first one that we came to was Woody Woodpecker and his reactions were just like they were with the Lorax and Curious George from the previous day. He loved him.


    The next character actually wouldn't be for Daniel but for his geeky Dad (Me). And it was one i've wanted to get a photo with for a while now but i've never seen him out in the parks before. That person was Doc Brown from Back to the Future. If you see Doc pay close attention the bike he cruises around as theres some really interesting and neat details on it.

    Sitting across the street was none other then the Mystery Machine so you know who would be close by. Scooby Do and Shaggy. Kiera took Danny up to see them and once again he went crazy for Scooby. However this was his first encounter with a live actor but he didn't want anything to do with Shaggy. He only cared about Scooby lol.




    Theres that beat up Mobile Home again that the Simpsons crew are visiting in. Sure enough Homer, Marge, and LIsa are out meeting people. However they had to take a break before it was our turn and only Homer and Bart returned. It was still cute though and Bart was really cute with Daniel acting like he was throwing him a football and playing with him.


    The final character we came across was kind of an oldie. A classic that many kids likly don't even know who he is. Bullwinkle. There was no line to meet him and once again Daniel adored him. I'd also have to say Bullwinkle had the best autograph out of anybody.

    That was it for the characters that were out at the time. So we decided to walk around Stage 44 over to the New York section. There was an area I didn't get to see the previous day that I have each time we've visited. The Back to the Future display. The area where the Delorean and Time Train are on display. A few months ago the Delorean referbished so I wanted to check it out. I've always complained about the Delorean not being a perfect replica of the movie car (Yes it was used in the 3rd movie as one of the rail stunt cars) and the referbishment fixed some of the issues (like the taillights). However its still not perfect but far better then it was before. I also noticed the newspaper from Hill Valley from 1955 after the clock tower was struck by lightning. Something I don't think was there before.







    While we were in the New York area and since we would be heading over to Islands of Adventure next I figured i'd take a spin on my favorite ride in the Studios one more time. Revenge of the Mummy. This was the first time that I had used the Single Rider line on the Mummy and although it was the longest Single Rider line I waited in all day it was still practicly a walk on (Maybe a 5 minute wait). Be careful when using the Single Rider line here though as you go from the bright outside light to the egyptian tomb stairs pretty much immediatly. My eyes hadn't adjusted yet so the climb up the stairs was pretty fun not being able to see where I was steping. At the top of the stairs there were about 8 people in front of me before my turn. This ride was the first time I had a prolonged stop actually out in the ride. The ride stopped for a moment in the Fire room which was really neat as we saw the attendant station reset itself before we continued on with the ride. I'm a sucker for these kind of behind the scene looks at how effects are pulled off so I won't complain during a break down. After the ride was finished I meet back up with Kiera and although she would have walked on as well she didn't want to go on the Mummy.






    We made our way to the exit looking at some of the other areas of New York before stopping by a some shops on the way out. Some of the details had already emerged from the Dispicable Me exit shop with some of the girls drawings on the windows that are super cute. We also had to get a picture of Danny wearing some Shrek ears and loved that he pulled an "Ogre Face" for the picture.







    As we were about to leave the park something caught my notice on one of the Park wait times boards. No way I thought. I couldn't have seen that. Its not suppose to premier for a few more weeks. I waited for the wait time board to rotate thru one more time and sure enough what I saw was correct. Universal Cinematic Spectacular 8:30pm. The new Nighttime Show Universal has been constructing for months would be performing tonight. The first time it would have a public Technical Rehersal. Now it makes sense why Universal Studios Hours that day were extended from 8 to 8:30. Looks like our time in the Studios park wasn't quite over yet. We would now plan on leaving Islands of Adventure early so that we could go back to the Studios and see this new Nighttime show.
    When leaving the park we decided to take the "Hard Rock" exit. This Exit is located between the Universal Studios Store and Dispicable Me and will dump you out in front of the Blue Man Group theater. Not only is this way a little quicker when hopping over to Islands of Adventure but you also get to pass the former Nickelodeon studios building. As a child of the 90's Nickelodeon Studios was like sacred ground. It still saddens me to see it today and think Nick is no longer there.






    After walking thru Citywalk and passing the Rockit, Hard Rock, and the NBA Cafe we arrived back at Islands of Adventure and entered the Port of Entry. We had one thing on our mind at this point and that was Butterbeer. So instead of turning in to Marvel Superhero Island like we did a couple days earlier today we walked in to Suess Landing instead to make our way to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.




    While walking thru Suess Landing though we saw practicly no wait for the Caro-Suess-el so we figured we might as well stop and take Daniel on it since he hasn't been able to do any rides. It would also be his first ride on a Marry Go Round. We strapped him on tight by wrapping the belt around him twice. Kiera obviously would hold on to him the whole ride as well. He seemed pretty excited about it at first but that quickly changed once the ride started and we started spinning and his seat moving up and down. He never cried but he got a very concerned look on his face like he had no clue what to think about the ride. It was pretty funny to see his expersions because none of them were excitement lol. I think he was pretty happy that the ride was over when it came to a stop.




    After finishing the Ride we continued thru the rest of Suess Landing and passed in to the Lost Continant. Since there was nothing else here that we hadn't already done or were interested in doing again we quickly passed thru the area to where the Wizarding World was awaiting us.





    The Wizarding World although the most packed area of the park wasn't bad crowd wise whatsoever. In fact when we walked up to get Butterbeer from the cart outside (we almost always get it from the Hogs head) There was no wait on one side to get it. There is always a wait at that main butterbeer cart so that tells you how unpacked the area and park in general was today. I refilled both of our mugs with Fozen butterbeer then we took the time drinking them while walking around the Wizarding World. Even though i've entered this area now nearly a dozen times over my 2 trips Theres always a sense of Awe and Wonder and Excitment over how amazing this area is.









    While walking around we saw that there was a very short wait for Olivanders Wand Shop. This attraction is one thats known for having fairly long lines all day long. We wanted to see this cute show again so we hopped in line for it and we got in the next show. So it was maybe like a 10 minute wait. Although I bought a wand on our previous visit I secretly hoped to be picked for the oppetunity for a wand to "Pick" me. That didn't happen though as a boy who looked around the appropriate age of 11 was picked instead. As I said the show is actually pretty cute and worth checking out if you've never been to the Wizard World before. Just as in the first movie you see the process for a young Wizard having there first wand pick them. After a couple mishaps with the wrong wands (in our case today making it storm outside, and breaking some of the wand shop shelves) the correct wand was found and it picked the kid indicated with a bright light. The show is only about 5-8 minutes long and of course afterwards you empty into ether an extension of Olivanders or the Owl post both of which sell an assortment of Wands.












    Our next stop would take us back to Hogwarts Castle for another ride on the Forbidden Journey. It was here where we would learn the best trick and advice to give to anyone traveling with an Infant or small child that you'd have to use Child Swap for. You can Use Child Swap WITH Single Rider. I verified this upon entering the castle and we were directed to the Single Rider line where Kiera then went to the Child Swap room as we neared the load plateform and I rode just like a normal single rider would. After returning Kiera would then ride just as a normal Child Swap would. This will save you so much time using Child Swap with Single Rider that you could easily see everything the park (maybe even both parks on a slow day) has to offer and is probably even better then having the Express pass. Today for instance there was literally no wait for any Single Rider line we entered and we both rode in a mater of minutes. Just keep in mind that by Using Single Rider you do miss most of the amazing themed ques that almost all of Universals attractions have. But if thats worth it to save alot of time then go for it. With a child or not we usually used Single Rider lines after going thru the main line anyways.


    As for the ride itself this was the best ride I had this trip and also probably one of the better rides i've had in general on the Forbidden Journey. The only thing that didn't work (in addition to the usual Dementor Soul Sucking effect) was that the Dragons "Fire" didn't work. Not too big of a deal but something thats pretty neat when working right. There were no stops this time and I remembered this time to look at the base of the Whomping Willow to see a neat little easter egg. I soon returned and Swaped with Kiera where she went and rode as well. It was much nicer being in the child swap room today as it wasn't nearly as packed as it was a couple days earlier.
    After finishing the Forbidden Journey there was one other ride on my Must Do Reride list today. That ride is the Amazing Adventures of Spiderman. So upon leaving Hogwarts we turned to leave the Wizarding World to make our way back to Marvel to once again experiance this amazing ride.



    As we entered into Jurassic Park Daniel crashed out for a nap. Nothing of real interest happened as we walked thru Jurassic Park as we didn't stop to see anything here. Dispite the addition of the Wizarding World I still love the Jurassic Park area as theres so many small details to look for.






    Passing thru Toon Lagoon was much the same. We pretty much just passed right thru as Danny was still asleep and frankly we didn't want to get wet. The only stop we made was at the Marmeduke photo op that i've got a photo with on each of our visits. This time it was somewhat of a pain though as kid after kid keep cutting in line for it and there parents were totally fine with that. We finally got the photo then and continued on to area we were heading to.







    We finally arrived back in Marvel Superhero Island to do a reride on our favorite attraction in the park. Spiderman. With how amazing the ride was a couple days ago I made it a point that we would reride this thing before the Universal portion of the trip was over. When we arrived at Spiderman a 15 minute wait was posted. No bad but it wouldn't be a wait for us. Instead we went to the Single Rider line. And since Daniel was still asleep in the stroller they let Kiera roll him right up to the Child Swap area. I continued thru the Single Rider line and to the load plateform where there was nobody else waiting. I literally walked right on to the ride with no wait using Single Rider. And wow this ride was just as great as the first ride on it. Seriously the new animation and HD projectors are incredible. I could ride this thing all day long if I had the chance to.



    I returned to the Child Swap area and it was Kieras turn to ride. She left and basically walked right on to the ride as well. While she was gone Daniel woke up from his Nap and was fine hanging out while Mom was gone. Then I noticed something odd. Nobody was exiting the ride. With how the Child Swap room is situated you can pretty much see the unload plateform and no vehicles were pulling in. Then the announcement came over for those in the ride to please stay seated and the ride would start again soon. This happened one more time after the ride started going again before Kiera got off the ride. Sure enough she said she was on the ride both times. With Daniel now awake he was Hungry so Kiera decided to start feeding him while she was alone in the Child Swap room. Since she was gonna feed I decided to take advantage of the time and go reride Spiderman Again.

    Because of the breakdown issues they were allowing anyone on the ride at the time to take a reride without rewaiting. Instead of getting in this longer line I walked back down to the Single Rider line and was back on the ride vehicle before most of those waiting to reride. As I walked down the Single Rider line hallway I also got a peak into the 3d glasses Wash room which was pretty cool to see. Seeing the wash room was the start of what would be a very cool behind the scenes look at the attraction. I say this because not long after we started during the Spider signal scene the vehicle stopped again and that familiar overhead announcement came over the intercom. At this point I found I would be in for a treat as the people sitting next to me became very annoying very quickly. They started cussing there mouths off because of the stop and then started yelling "help" as loud as they could to be annoying. The Houselights then came on overhead and now I really thought the ride was stuck and we would be seeing an EVAC. But that didn't happen as shortly after the houselights came on the ride started moving again.
    Although the ride was in sync with the movements and audio and video I elected to take my 3d glasses off to take a look at how the ride looks with the house lights on. With the exception of the houselights being on the Ride operated as it should until the sewage scene when the houselights finally shut off. I figured we would be in the clear now for the rest of the ride but I was wrong. It was about to get alot stranger as once we hit the scene when we get lifted into the air the ride vehicle stopped again. It was really neat getting stuck where we did because We got to see the building that move down the screen as your lifted into the air reset itself.
    This was the point we were stuck in the longest and in addition to the fowl mouthed people cussing even more now and being even more ubnoxous a hear a man in the back of the vehicle say "Now this isn't very Disney like now is it". Are you kidding me? Like Disney rides never break down? Or ever have issues? This became the running joke between Kiera and I the rest of our time at Disney as there were far more matenance issues or rides closed for breakdowns then there were at Universal.
    From this point on the vehicle pretty much limped itself back to the unload plateform. We did stop again momentarly in the "drop" scene which was once again very cool to see how it all worked and how they pull off the effect. Although so many people were complaining about the breakdown issues I was SO HAPPY that I got to see a behind the scenes look at how such an amazing ride works. I will say though that I was very happy to get out of that vehicle and away from the fowl mouthed people I was sitting next to.
    In the child swap room Kiera was still trying to feed Daniel and obviously didn't want to move while he was eating. She suggested that I go ride Spiderman again but as I looked at the unload area I could see that all of the vehicles now coming in were empty. Which means they must be cycling the vehicles empty to try to get the breakdown bugs fixed. With no Idea how long this would take I decided to not reride Spiderman and instead Kiera stayed in the Child Swap area to finish feeding Daniel while I left and went to ride The Hulk Again.


    When I arrived at the Hulk there was only a 5 minute wait. However the Singles ride line was open so that would be a better option for me at this time. Or was it? After walking thru the Single Rider line to the load area there was once again nobody waiting in front of me. But then again with the exception of the front row there was also nobody most of the other rows. I would have had the same wait ether way. So again i walked right on to the attraction and had another incredible ride on the Hulk. I love the launch on this thing so much. HULK SMASH!!!!



    Upon exiting the ride I found Kiera waiting for me. Daniel finished feeding for the moment and we were both getting hungry so we decided to head back to the Wizarding World to get dinner at the Three Broomsticks. While walking thru Marvel though I told Kiera that if she wasn't done feeding yet that I wanted to give Dr. Doom's Fearfall a try since I've never done it before. She told me to just go ahead and do it since I would use Single Riders again and be done in no time. Again this is a ride that I don't think Single rider even made a difference as there was a 5 minute wait posted and nobody was in line when I reached the merge point. I hear the que for Dr. Doom is pretty cool so I'm kinda sad I missed it by going to the Single rider line instead. The ride itself was pretty cool even though its your typical shot tower. I really liked that you basically start in a room and the views from the top of the ride are incredible. Although the ride is still very similar to other shot tower rides it would be worth checking out if the wait is short.



    After another walk one last time thru Toon Lagoon and Jurassic Park we passed thru the Hogsmead arch one more time to spend the rest of our day in Islands of Adventure in the Wizarding World.

    Dinner tonight would be at none other then the Three Broomsticks. We had to eat here at least once on this trip and there would be no other time then now to do so. And it worked out great as when we arrived there was no waiting. Kiera went to find us a table and to finish feeding Daniel while I ordered our dinner. We both decided on the Chicken and Ribs platter which we both agreed was really good. Especially the ribs. After dinner we grabbed a couple more Butterbeers from the Hogs Head before heading back out into the Wizarding World.







    I wanted to try and do one more ride on the Forbidden Journey before we left Islands of Adventure or at least a Castle tour to try to get some better photos within Hogwarts. But with a rush to get back to the Studios for the Cinematic Spectacular and not having enough time to Shop and ride we Never ended up making it back on the ride. Instead we spent our final 30 minutes shopping around the Wizarding World.







    Up at Felches Emporium We found a Wizarding World Christmas Ornament which we ended up purchasing. We try to buy a Christmas Ornament on each of our vacations and we figured this one would work great for this portion of the trip as we bought a more generic Universal Studios one on our previous visit. Upon exiting the shop Forbidden Journey only had a 10 minute wait posted. If only we had a little more time in the day.







    We looked around in Dervish and Banges and the Owl Post but didn't find anything we really wanted on this trip. We would find a shirt or something that we liked on the front but we wouldn't like the grapic on back. Plus many of the items we liked we bought on our previous trip to the Wizarding World. I did get an update photo of me in some Hogwarts robes though as now thanks to Pottermore I know which house I'm in. Which is Hufflepuff.









    The final stores we would look in and where we finished our Wizarding World shopping was Honeydukes and Zonkos. If theres one thing we can't get enough of in the Wizarding World other then Butterbeer is the sweets and treats. We picked us up a couple boxes of Pepperment Toads, a Jar of Pepper Imps, a bag of bulk candies, and lastly a Caldron Cake.

    With it now being 8pm Islands of Adventure would be officially closed for the day and we now needed to get back to the Studios to catch the new Nightime Show. We grabbed 2 more Butterbeers, Our final Butterbeers of the trip, and left the Wizarding World for the night and the trip. Its was so sad to think that this was it for the trip. That three days had come and gone already and now we would find ourselves wondering when we would return again. Will we be back next year? When the expansion finishes? Will our next visit be in California when the Wizarding World is finished at Universal Studios Hollywood? Only time will tell.




    On the way out of the Park we couldn't take our time taking it in as we had to get to the other park. It was slowly getting dark and I must say Islands of Adventure (and especially the Wizarding world) is very beautiful after nightfall. We didn't get to experiance that on this trip but if you get the chance to then stay after nightfall. Islands of Adventure truely is and incredible park which themeing is up there and even excedes that of many Disney Parks. I know many people try to discredit it or claim to only visit for Harry Potter but if you do visit the park give it a chance. Don't compare it to Disney and judge it on its own marits. Also take the time to enjoy everything the park has to offer and not just the Wizarding World. Yes there is nothing like the Wizarding World anywhere else and it is truely emersing and incrdible. But don't pass up what I consider the greatest ride ever in Spiderman or the Hulk which is an amazing coaster. The Popeye rapids are the best rapids ride i've ever been on, Duddly has the best Log Flume drop i've seen, Jurassic park is just awesome. Seriously this park is great. Don't over look it. I can't wait til I get to visit again some day as I never tire of it.


    We soon exited the IOA gates and were soon passing the Hard Rock once again to make our way to the Studios. Upon approching the ticket gate we were enformed that the park would be closing in 15 minutes. Nobody followed us over from Islands of Adventure but there were a few groups of people coming into the park from Citywalk. Most likely locals who caught wind of the Night Show debuting to the public for the first time tonight. Although we were warned that the park would soon be closing the TM's did confirm the show would be taking place tonight.

    After passing thru Hollywood we found ourselves at the lagoon where the waterscreens were running and projecting what looked like test patterns on the screen. While Kiera waited where we originally found a spot I went further into the Central park area where I found an even better spot where we soon moved to. I figured it would be better anyways as with some slight wind I didn't know if the water would blow in to us in the other location.



    The announcement soon came over that the show would be starting soon and the surrounding areas would go dark during the show. I got the camera ready and the show soon began with white fog covered fountains rising from the lagoon and the sound of Morgan Freemans voice echoed thruout the park.




    Its very difficult to discribe the show although I will say I was very impressed with it. The star of the show is the Waterscreens which images and clips of some of the most classic scenes of Universal film history are projected on to. The color changing fountains, fireworks, and spotlights all complement whats taking place on the screens themselves.




    The show starts out as a compliation of multipule films and generas before being devided into segments. These segments include Good Vs. Evil, Laughter, Horror, Heros, and Love. I loved how dark and creepy the Horror portion got and even better how quickly the Dispicable Me Minions pulled the show into the laughter segment.




    This thing really is great and if you are attached to some of these classics the show will really touch your heart. Let me say now that these photos truely do not do the Show ANY justice. This is something that you must experiance yourself to truely understand. Please do not judge it off the photos. The perfect sync of the screens and fountains and fireworks were incredible and exactly what Univesal needs. The question of course is how it compares to Disney's Nighttime offerings. And I will compare all of these at the end of this trip report. However I will say that the show is exactly what Universal needed and should not be compared to any of Disney's offereings. I never once thought "this is a disney rip off" during the show. Is unique enough to stand on its own. Likewise I never though "universal" while watching Fantasmic or Illuminations. The shows complement there respective resorts with out copying one another.



    When it comes down to it I thought the show was great. Danny loved all the fireworks and the show was alot of fun. I think its great that we will always look back on this night and say "we were there for the first public showing". Something that could be special to Daniel later on in his life. I loved the show and look forward to seeing how the show changes and matures in the future with the Tech they have in place.


    With the show over and the park closed we stopped by the Universal Studio store before exiting the park. We still had a couple more things that we wanted to grab before leaving the Universal Resort. At this store we picked up a Thing 1 shirt for Daniel and also got him a Minion plush. I loved all of the Dispicable Me stuff that they had out for sale and wish we could have picked up some more as they had the 3 little kitties book and even the cookies that the girls sell in the films.





    We made one last stop at the Universal Store in Citywalk as well before leaving the resort. We stopped there to see what Postcards they had as we also buy a postcard for each park we go to on our vacations. The Studios store only had cards for the Studios so I figured the Citywalk store would have them for both parks. We found 2 cards that worked but its getting more and more difficult to find new cards as we have most of the general park ones now. They really need to produce updated postcards as most of them are very outdated. I never realized how little the citywalk store is and it didn't carry many of the things the studios store did so keep that in mind. The large stores in the parks had a larger selection of products.




    As we left Citywalk we looked at the other side of the Minigolf Course that looks great at night. It looked like so much fun. Oh well maybe next time. We then walked under the goodbye sign and our time at the resort was over for this trip.



    We made the drive back to our hotel and as we got out of the car we could hear the faint sound of explosions and flashes of light thru the trees. It was the Magic Kingdoms fireworks that were taking place and I was pretty suprised that we could not just hear them but we could even see them from our hotel. After taking our stuff to the room I took Daniel with me up to the top floor of the hotel where we had a great view of the fireworks dispite them being pretty small being so far away. It was still neat though and we caught the finale.


    Back in the Hotel room for the night we gave Daniel his Minion plush to play with and he loved it. He played with it the rest of the night and even fell asleep while playing with it. He was so cute with it.



    We too finally went to bed as we would have our first full day at a Disney park tomorrow. And Disney also ment more walking and longer hours in the parks. We needed our rest so we went to bed quickly. Our return to Disney would finally start tomorrow.
    Last edited by Teknik_DC2; 05-19-2012 at 05:38 PM.

  13. #13

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    Re: 5 days at Disney and 3 days at Universal. My April 2012 Trip Report

    great report so far thats cool that you were the first to see the night show. i cant wait to see more

  14. #14

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    Re: 5 days at Disney and 3 days at Universal. My April 2012 Trip Report

    First off, the little guy is totally adorable. Being that ive never been to Universal, ive enjoyed your trip report and appreciate the work it takes to put in on here. Because of your trip report, my wife and i have added 3 days to our fall trip, so we can see in person, plus see what the attraction of "butterbeer"...lol....Thanks !!

  15. #15

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    Re: 5 days at Disney and 3 days at Universal. My April 2012 Trip Report

    Great TR! It really reminds me of when my kids were younger and we would go to theme parks. Please keep it coming!

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