Wednesday, 30 November 2011


Trip Report  Days 1 & 2 continues

As previously mentioned, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure were so light on crowds that I managed to do each park in only five hours each - which is rather extraordinary in comparison to say, Epcot, which takes 2 days.
E.C.U.  that wait time of 90 minutes! The reason why you are never out of a Disney park by lunchtime.                    (photo source:
I am not a "free fall drop" person so there was no way I was getting on the big roller coasters such as Dragon Challenge, The Hulk or even Dudley DoRight's Rip Saw Falls. But I do love interactivity and simulators. So I loved Men in Black (a moving carriage dark ride where you shoot the aliens - much like Disney's Buzz Lightyear - a moving carriage dark ride where you shoot the aliens).

I laughed all the way through The Simpsons Ride - this is a small simulator ride set to a cartoon film. It had all the wacky wild motion and scenery of the TV show. This is definitely a winner of a ride. I found this POV video on You Tube. When watching remember one is sitting in a simulator which gives the feeling of all the twists, turns and falls.
My favourite bits: "Honey, a theme park will never let you die whilst you have a dime in your pocket" and the Pirates of the Caribbean parody.

Universal also has the Jaws ride. People my age would remember Jaws. I wonder what the kids of today make of it?! So there is a little pretend Amity village and we all boarded little boats for a tour. Suddenly over the radio - there's a giant shark terrorising tourists! Go around the corner and DISASTER! Now we are being chased by a giant rubber white pointer shark with sharp gnashy teeth and splashing water everywhere. And this thing is persistent. No matter how many times the boat driver trys to scare it off with his fake shotgun, it keeps coming, again and again and again.

So did I tell you that late October/early November in a fairly quiet time in the parks? School was in so it was mostly families with four year old kids. In fact, there was at least half a dozen four year olds in my boat. And at the first shark attack the first 4 yr old went off with an ear piercing squeal, and it was like dogs and car alarms - the rest of the boat joined the chorus. This wasn't just crying - this kid (who was sitting directly in front of me) was SCREAMING - that high pitched squeal that bursts your ear drums. In fact, all the people sitting in front of the kid had their fingers in their ears. Now I know why they banned photography and filming.

And the boat driver? He didn't miss a beat - he kept on with his disaster routine - kiddies screaming over him, parents and adults bemused and laughing - who could keep track of what was happening to that danged shark? It kept bursting up out of the water and kids kept screaming their heads off. At the final scene, the shark is lying dead, mangled, bleeding, with huge shotgun holes in its head and that scared the bejesus out of them all more than anything previous.

So no pictures of that then.

Loved the Amazing Adventures of Spider Man. This is a 3D simulator which actually moves along a track - similar technology to HP Forbidden Journey. Among the most technologically advanced rides, worked smoothly, gave a fantastic ride experience, very engaging experience, and I came off, a bit shaken and excited! It's the kind of experience that keeps me going back. 

My least pleasurable experience? Poseidon's Fury. Never before has the external set promised so much and then the experience delivered so little. And worst of all - I had to stand up throughout this whole debarcle!. The acting was the hammiest, cheesiest, lamest attempt at comedy cum drama I've ever seen. The whole set and story was was this weak attempt at Fire vs Water, that bore no resemblence to the actual stories of Poseidon. The wonderous special effects? A few water canon and gas flame bursts. And I had to stand up all the way through this debarcle. Have a look at this entrance set up:

Look at how detailed the entrance is

See that tiny tiny cleaner? This show the scale of the thing:
Poseidon's Fury?? more like Poseidon's Fluffy
Now go to the top of this post and look at the Toy Story Mania wait time, now look back at this picture at the queue waiting to get in. This should have given me a clue. No wonder photography was banned in this thing. Honestly, I couldn't be bothered taking pictures of it - my feet were tired from all the standing.

Anyway - the remainder of my day was spent at the Mall at Millenia - doing lots of shopping in the Lindt shop (hooley fadooley Batman - I haven't seen a range like that before. I did get a lot of halloween Lindor balls which had wrappers that looked like orange carved pumpkins and with cute cartoon ghosts)

Bwah ha ha ha - I shall scare you to death with my chocolatey goodness!
 ...  and basically avoiding the designer label shops on the top floor.

Later in the day, the Mall was full of kids Trick or Treating the shops. I had imagined that T&T was a residential neighbourhood, house to house kind of thing. But apparently the new deal is to do it in shopping malls as it is considered safer for the kiddies and they are probably less likely to be offered fruit instead of candy.

Saturday night I went to dinner with an old (yes I am old enough to say "old") high school friend who emigrated to Florida many years ago and lives with her family about 90mins south of Orlando. I met her entire family and we went to Emeril's main restaurant in Universal City Walk. No photos unfortunately - it would have been a bit strange in front of her whole family - but frankly I thought the restaurant was a bit average. I had grilled salmon, with herbed roasted root veges and a sweet, sticky, black pepper sauce. The servings were HUGE - so many points on the Mr Creasote scale, but average on the Spoonfuls scale of happiness. (I really have to come up with some graphics). Go to the link and check out the menu - and think about the descriptions - it is really not so complex.

So now you know - how I spent those early days.

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