alright, let's keep it going then.
We got up around 8, headed down to the islands restaurant for a quick breakfast before taking the boat over to citywalk again so we could head to the parks. I had not been to the Universal parks in at least 11 years. The last time I was there Islands nor Citywalk were there, King Kong, Hannah Barbara, the old Hard Rock, and the psycho house still were so I was prepared for a brand new experience.
We went straight to Islands of Adventure and entered with our brand new 2 park preferred annual passes which we had gotten with the deal where we got two years for the price of one. That is definitely a great deal. We entered Islands of Adventure and I was immediately blown away. IOA exceeded my expectations from the minute I stepped into the park.
You enter into what serves the same purpose as Main Street at Magic Kingdom. Instead of being themed to early 1900 cities it is themed to some distant arabic market street or something like that. It was beautiful and the entrance music immediately takes you away. There were no attractions here but there were several shops and a few food carts. We just stood around for a few moments taking in the sites. I found a cart and went for a ride.
We left from this section and instead of following the mass of crowds to superhero island to ride the hulk we veered to the right and headed to seuss landing. This place was so cute. There wasn't a straight line to be found. Even the railings for the queues were curved and bent. My wife loved this land and her favorite ride out of the entire park was there version of the dumbo ride called one fish two fish or something like that. It was slightly different as you had to listen to the song and figure out whether to go up or down based off the song or get wet. I really sucked at figuring it out and we got wet everytime.
We stopped by the cat in the hat ride and it was a cute little dark ride. I thought the animatronics were a little on the cheap side but it was still a fun ride. It seemed a little too intense for a child ride as it spins you around in circles several times. Maybe I'm just getting old though as anything that spins me around gets me sick. My wife found a green eggs and ham cart and posed for a picture.
After getting off the one fish two fish ride we found our way over to the high in the sky seuss trolley. This ride was really cute and I liked it but it was way too short. If the ride would go through the entire track it would be worth a wait but as it is I won't do it without a walk on or express pass. It was very cute though and adds a nice kinetic to this part of the land as well as giving you some nice views. After we got off my wife found got arrested.
We headed on over to The Lost Continent where I was amazed again. This area is beautiful. In fact it was so beautiful that my wife actually stopped and said I am really really impressed by this park. I've never heard her say that once. She just stopped and wanted to just look. I'd never seen something capture her imagination like that and it was wonderful.
We headed through the Lost Continent. The only complaint I had with this area is that there wasn't anything I could ride. I can't do big roller coasters so that was out, we didn't feel like waiting around for sinbad, and everytime we looked over at Poseidon's Fury the wait was around 25 minutes for the next tour to start. We did stop and look at poseidon's fury for a while though because it was just so beautiful however.
We headed out of The Lost Continent and headed over towards Jurassic Park. On the way over we passed this little display outside of dueling dragons that made me laugh. My wife got seated as this was as close to a roller coaster as she was going to get all day. The sign over the seats make me laugh everytime I read them though.
We entered on into Jurassic Park and I was very impressed with how this truly felt like the Jurassic Park from the movies. I was a little annoyed by a few things though. If you'll notice in this picture below, only two of the torches on the Jurassic Park entry sign were working and there were too many places where I could see through the trees and see backstage. That was bad show, but it's still a very cool area.
We stopped by the Jurassic Park Discovery Center where I looked around for a bit. This reminds me of some of the innoventions displays. When it first opened it may have been cool but the technology has certainly been left behind. I'd like to see them update the displays here. I did get managed to be attacked by a dinosaur on the way over to the jurrasic park river ride however.
The Jurassic Park River Adventure was great. I really liked this ride. I just felt the leadup to the drop was a little short. I'd have liked to have seen a slightly longer tour of Jurassic Park before the boat gets knocked off course into the raptor cage. Everything seemed to be working except for two small raptors who looked like they should be fighting over a CM's outfit, they were just standing still. The portion inside of the facility where you're attacked by the raptors and the T-Rex were top notch though and the point where the T Rex rips a whole in the side of the building actually scared me. The drop is a tremendous drop and really pulls your heart out of your chest. I loved the drop, my wife didn't. All in all I give that ride an 8 out of 10. Good ride.
After we got off this ride we headed back towards The Lost Continent for lunch at Mythos. I had heard all the hype about this restaurant and didn't expect to believe it. Apparently this restaurant has been named the number one theme park restaurant in the world four years in a row by themeparkinsider.com. I don't know if that claim is justified because I haven't had a chance to eat at blue bayou in Disneyland or any of the great restaurants I hear about in Tokyo Disneyland, but Mythos was by far the best restaurant I've eaten at in Orlando. The food was great and the warm ooey gooey chocolate banana cake was phenominal. It's a little small, so each person may want their own, but it was well worth the price. I'd go as far as to say this was the best meal we ate the entire trip. I was that impressed. The restaurant is beautiful as well with wonderful views of the park inside.
The day was really really hot and my wife was starting to feel a little sick from the heat so we headed over to toon lagoon after this and hopped aboard Dudley Do Right. The theming and show scenes are nowhere near as good as Splash Mountain but it's still a fun ride and you get drenched at the end which felt great on this hot day. It doesn't compare to splash mountain, but it's probably the second best log flume I've ever ridden. My wife felt much better after the ride though even though we looked much worse. lol
We were starting to get a bit tired from the heat by now and there were still a lot of things I wanted to see at the studios so we headed by Marvel Superhero Island where we rode Spiderman. I had heard so my hype about this ride that I was a little let down. It was good and I was very impressed with the 3d technology but it didn't live up to the hype. It may have also bothered me that it made me a bit sick with all the spinning around it did to your car. After we left Spiderman we headed out and on over to Universal Studios.
We headed into the park and immediately ran into the Ricky Ricardo band. They were very good and we stood around watching them play for a bit. Being back in this park brought back a lot of memories but it stood in stark contrast to the beauty of IOA. While I was blown away by the theming of IOA I noticed how barren this park feels compared to it and although there are more rides to do here than MGM, MGM is still so much more beautiful of a park.
After we watched the band for a bit I decided I wanted to ride the mummy. My wife wanted nothing of it so she decided to sit around a bit while I headed off over to the mummy. The queue was pretty nice but I took the express pass option so I missed most of it. As I was walking up the stairs to loading I began to smell something that smelled like bananas. I laughed and said, oh no I've heard about this, I bet the rides about to break down. Sure enough as soon as I was about to load on the train the ride broke down. I stayed there for about 15 minutes talking with the CM's before deciding to head out and meet back up with my wife since she was sitting by herself in the park. Apparently while I had been gone my favorite characters, scooby doo and shaggy came by. I missed them, but luckily my wife took a few pictures of them for me.
We headed on around to San Francisco and stopped on for Earthquake. This attraction was as bad as I had remembered. The first preshow is just horrible and the second one while not as bad is still laughable. I especially enjoyed when they unveiled the U571 model and no one had a clue what movie it was fun. The little subway ride is actually a bit fun alot like catastrophe canyon but not worth the wait or having to sit through those first two bad preshows.
Afterwards we made our way on over to Jaws. I have wanted to ride Jaws ever since I was a kid but it had always been closed when I'd been before. I'd been to Universal three times as a kid and was always disapointed to find it closed. When I saw it was open we immediately jumped on and it's a great ride. I was so happy to see it open. I had so much fun, I could ride this ride over and over. I wish they were able to keep the effect of the shark actually attacking your boat, but the gas explosion is great too.
We headed over to MIB for a quick spin on it and boy did we suck. I only managed to score around 200,000 points and my wife only had about 50 thousand. I thought the queue was very cool though and the visuals of the ride were much nicer than buzz lightyear. It was a good ride, but nothing amazing. I actually liked the queue more than the ride. Afterwards we walked past Back to the Future. We stopped and took a picture of the Deloreon but skipped the ride. I'm probably one of the few people who isn't upset about the rumor of it leaving. It always made me even more sick than Star Tours does so I won't miss it if something better comes. I do love the movie though so we took a pic of the Deloreon.
We headed on over to ET which is a ride I had really remembered loving as a kid. I had recently watched a video of it again on youtube and it looked like it was in bad shape on the video but I was glad to find that in real life with the correct lighting it still looked pristine and was very cute. We took the express pass line and I wished we hadn't because I really missed walking through the forest in the queue. I'll remember that next time, but the wife wasn't feeling good again so we went as quickly as possible. I'd say they should drop the ET saying your name part though, this really slows down the loading on this ride and hearing him say your name, while cute, just isnt that big of a deal anymore. Never mind that ET doesn't even have half the names that guests have.
After we left ET I ran back over to the mummy to give it a try one more time and left the wife waiting on me. It was working this time and I gave it a whirl. I must say that this has become my favorite theme park ride ever. It's the first time I've ever felt that a ride was perfect. The only complaint I could even find was that it doesn't fit in the theme of New York but if you can overlook that there's not one complaint I can have about this. The theming was beautiful, the coaster part was just intense enough to scare me but not to make me sick, and it scares you not only on a physical point, but on a psychological point. I give this ride a 10 out of 10. I was left wondering if I really was alive after getting off though as it took a while for my heart to get back in my chest. My wife snapped a picture of my corpse walking back towards her after getting off.
We had wanted to stop and see Shrek before we left but Tiffany was feeling sick again from the heat so we headed on out with a promise to come back before long and give the parks more time when it was cooler. All in all we had a wonderful time in the parks this day and I can't wait to come back to Universal. They don't have the magic that I get from the Magic Kingdom, but they're loads of fun.
After a bit of rest in the hotel and a shower we headed back to Citywalk for dinner. We decided to eat at the new Bubba Gump restaurant and we loved it. The food was a little overpriced but so is most of the food down here. It was a lot of fun though. There was nice little forrest gump decorations all over and the staff was very attentive. We really enjoyed our own personal trivia time with the wait staff. The food also tasted good. It wasn't phenominal, but it was about average for seafood. I'd put it on par with Joes Crab Shack or some other places like that. We'll definitely go back again though. We learned that Bubbas last name was Blue. We didn't know that. They also have a really cool little photo op outside.
Life is like a box of chocolates.
Afterwards we headed back to our hotel room for the final night before leaving the next day. We headed down to the jacuzzis at the Royal Pacific to rest our weary legs. It felt great but this was my main complaint with the hotel. There were about 5 kids in the jacuzzi who were making it their own personal play area. After about 10 minutes of getting splashed and dodging a kid snorkeling we decided just to head back up to the room. I know this is a resort hotel and to expect that kind of thing but it's still annoying. I really wish they'd make one jacuzzi an adult only jacuzzi and the other a family friendly one or something like that.