I didn’t take my camera with us so we only have a couple of photos from my phone
We spent the day a Universal, we had early access passes from our Holiday Supplier (Virgin) which meant we could get in an hour before the Park opened, and Simon had purchased Express Passes for both of us which meant that we could go on all the rides without waiting, these didn’t include the Harry Potter Rides but with did those first before the Queues got too big.
We went on Harry Potter and the forbidden journey which was brilliant, Simon got to go on this year, last year the shoulder strap thing wouldn’t go over his shoulders so he was unable to go on the ride but this year everything was hunky dory.
Then I went on Flight of the Hippogriff which is a rollercoaster, not too scary and you don’t go upside down. Then a quick jaunt on the Hogwarts Express over to King’s cross Station in Universal Studios Florida, where I went on escape from Gringotts. Out of the three rides I would definitely recommend Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey as being the best.
They do have a lot of 3d rides at Universal, Spiderman and Transformers appear to work on exactly the same movement software and the stories have been changed to fit the branding, both make good use of the action and it really makes you feel that you are part of the action.
We saw the mystery Machine parked on the side of the road.
Men in Black was a great fun ride, it makes you feel like you are in the middle of a video game, the back story is that you are in training to become a MIB agent and you have to go and shoot the aliens that have escaped/invaded I only managed to get up to 7000 something the people in front were up to 24000 and 120000 points.
The Simpsons and Minion mayhem are along the same lines as Spiderman and Transformers they might use the same software but they made different use of it.
I rode The Mummy and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit on my own as Simon didn’t fancy them, the Mummy was ok but I was left with a ‘just get on with it feeling’ as they setup the story with jerking you about a bit in the dark first but the second part of the ride was very good if not quite long enough.
Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket was really good as a roller-coaster but I was surprised that it didn’t have over the shoulder safety harness instead of just a lap bar, there were a couple of times where I was slightly concerned I might fall out, I did nearly lose my lanyard with tickets my over my head.
It was a long day but completely worth it we then went up to the Florida Mall and had cheesecake at the cheese cake factory.
Day 3 Universal Studios
Day three was rather overcast, but luckily not too cold, we went to Universal Stuidios, just to have a quick look round and get some Ice-cream from the Harry Potter shop. We have a ride pass for next Tuesday so we weren’t going to go on any rides.
It doesn’t look like too much has changed from last year, but it was nice to walk around and take some pictures that we missed last year.
The Salted Caramel Ice cream which was so delicious last year in Florean Fortescues, was downright disappointing, they had obviously changed it for a soft sickly sweet version, so we won’t be trying that again.
We also had a walk round the Marvel part and I don’t remember seeing these before
Still have quite a few days to get through so bye for now….
Wednesday, Harry Potter
Today we got to see do the Harry Potter stuff we should have done on Monday, we were up early though not as early as Simon would have liked, but as our early ticket actually got us in an hour early not an hour and a half, it worked out alright. You had to start off at the Hogsmeade side first, Harry Potter is spread out over the two Universal Parks, you have Hogsmeade and Hogwarts in Universals Islands of Adventure (UIA) and Kings Cross station and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida (USF) We went into Hogwarts which is setup quite very well, they have finger print ID lockers free for the duration of the ride. Harry Potter and the forbidden Journey, Simon (who suffers from motion sickness), spent some time debating with himself about whether or not to go on this ride, unfortunately it turned out that hs shoulders were too big for the harness thingy and he wasn’t allowed on it any way. I did go on it and it was great fun, it is mostly done with video, and shaking you about in the chair. First you go into the castle and you have lots of things to look at, they have the moving paintings on the wall which talk, there is one of Dawn French as the picture that guards the entrance of the gryffindor common room. We get a talk from Dumbledore, also Harry, Ron and Hermione suggest that we don’t hang around for Professor Binns class. Then once we finished the tour, Simon went to wait for me and I joined the ‘singles’ row, because the ride is done in sets of four, if a family of 3 get on they like to have a 1 to make up the four, this is quite handy as it enables the single riders to get through quicker. For some reason it is alway snowing in Hogsmeade. We then caught the train from Hogsmeade station to Kings Cross Well for some reason I don’t appear to have a clear picture of kings cross station but here are some more photos.
The building at the far end is Kings cross the next (red) building is surprisingly Leicester Square tube station.
You get to Diagon Alley through the tube station, once in there you have Weasley’s Wheezes, Gringotts bank and Florean fortescues’s Ice-cream parlour, to name a few.
We had ice-cream which was absolutely gorgeous, I had salted caramel blondie and chocolate chili, and Simon had salted caramel blondie and sticky toffee pudding (I think)
Also no trip to Diagon Alley would be complete without going to Ollivanders for wands.
In Universal you can get interactive wands, after you work out the instructions you find the little brass plates to stand on then wave your wand in the required configuration and the spell happens, you switch lights on, make it rain and put a suit of armour together, amongstt other things.
All in all we had a very enjoyable day
Sunday, Universal Studios
After doing a lot more walking than anticpated the day before, due to having to walk up to Thunder Mountain twice because of it being closed the first time, we had another quite morning.
In the Afternoon we went to Universal and had a walk around there.
Universal isn’t quite as slick an operation as Disney, which came as a bit of a surprise, you would have thought that being in the same place that they could have taken tips from Disney, they had one carpark ticket taker for two lanes in several places and instead of a first come first served, it was a right lane then left lane scenario, it would have been better to just close one lane.
The directions for the carpark which was a multi storey were also a bit sketchy, there were also no helpful little trams to pick you up and drop you off, but a 5 -15 minute walk from the car to the ticket gate depending on where you parked.
We saw Dr Seuss landing, which unsuprisingly looked just like the books.
We had lunch at Universal, we both had lobster rolls at Lombards Landing, looking across the water I thought that looks like the statue from the Simpsons, and it was.
Then there was the Back to the Future train and car.
Can’t remember what this exibit is called.
Every where you looked there were, larger than life super heroes and Super Villians
There are two parts to Universal, and I’m not sure if I haven’t got them mixed up.
There is a lot to see and I haven’t put any photos of Harry Potter in this post as we are going to do the Harry Potter Experience tomorrow