Orlando, Florida – December 19, 2013
After dinner yesterday I ordered our tickets for Universal Orlando on the internet. That ended up causing problems, but more on that later.
We went to Universal Orlando this morning. It was only about 12 miles from where we stayed. We arrived right at 09:00, opening time. Because we came when we did, we were able to park reasonably close. That ended up not making a great deal of difference; we walked a ton!
Leaving the parking garage, we took three moving sidewalks before we got to the entrance of City Walk. That is an area that is jam-packed with restaurants and shops. We stopped at Cinnabon to get a cup of coffee and a cinnamon bun. It was somewhat reminiscent of our trips in Spain. We had always stopped for coffee and a pastry when we visited places in Spain.
We continued our walk to the will-call kiosk to get our tickets. I had purchased a one-park admittance and an express pass. The express pass allowed us to go to the head of the line on the various rides.
Once we entered the park, we went left and found ourselves at the Incredible Hulk coaster. I could see that it had many corkscrews and loops. I was going to pass, but Hillary talked me into riding. Tyler wanted desperately to ride, but he looked very nervous. Finally, we all four decided to take the plunge. We got in the express lane and quickly found our way to the cars.
Before any of us could chicken out, which I think crossed all our minds, we were strapped in and on our way up the initial incline. Like most coasters, that first incline is at some impossible angle. Unlike most coasters, when the cars reach about halfway up the slope, it is suddenly shot up the rest of the way at a speed so fast it hurt my back.
The terror began immediately. The car went so fast and changed directions so quickly; it was impossible to determine what was coming next. Quite frankly, in the end, I did not think it was so much fun as just merely an experience.
During the ride, Tyler was screaming like a 12-year-old girl at a concert. When we stepped out of the car, it took me a couple of hundred feet of walking to get all of my parts back into proper alignment.
The Hulk roller coaster.We continued left around the corner to Doctor Doom’s Fear Fall. This ride has two towers. Each tower has a platform that holds 16 people. The platform is raised to the top and then dropped. Much like the Hulk coaster mentioned above, the trip to the top starts slowly and then accelerates at an incredible speed. The platform drops just as quickly, so much so that one momentarily separates from the seat. The platform “bounces” two or three times before coming to rest again. All of this is done with one’s feet just dangling in the air.
Our next stop was the Spiderman ride. It was one of my favorites. It is a 3D ride, so one is issued glasses for the ride. The 3D effects, paired with the motion of the car, made this a delightful and entertaining ride.
We next made our way to Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges. I could see it was a soaker, so I opted out. Leslie opted out too. Of course, Tyler and Hillary opted in. They returned to us reasonably wet.
Next on our trek was Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls. Again, this one was just for the kids. We told them we would meet on a specific bench. When they left, I went into a store and then I walked to a popcorn stand. Just as I made it back to Leslie, she was standing with the kids and a security guard. Leslie said, “We have a problem.” The problem turned out to be the express passes. I had inadvertently selected the 18th as the day we would visit the park. We were there on the 19th. The security guard was extremely kind and helpful. He said we could fix the problem at guest services. He asked if we would like him to take us. We said yes. He walked us quite a distance.
When we arrived at guest services, we explained our problem to the two men there. They both said this was not the first time this type of thing had happened. While one of them began tapping on a keyboard, the other one asked where we live. The kids responded with Colorado, and we stated Guyana. With extreme surprise in his voice, he said, “In South America?” Then he followed with, “I’m from Berbice!” Berbice is a town on the east coast of Guyana. We had a lengthy conversation with him.
He had left Guyana with his parents when he was five. He has never been back. He and his parents had moved to Toronto, Canada. He shared that one of his cousins had returned to Guyana. He had invested in some boating business. Over time he got sucked in with a bad element in the gold business. He was found hanged. All of his possessions, including the boat, had vanished. According to him, the police were indifferent and unable to offer any help in solving the crime. Even though it was such a tragic story, he seemed to be in good spirits.
Between the two men, they were able to fix our express pass problem.
Entering the Toon Lagoon.
With our new cards, we backtracked to Jurassic Park River Adventure. In this ride, a sizeable multi-row boat enters an area where the dinosaurs have escaped and are running amok. At one point the boat is pulled up a significant incline. Then, just as a T-rex is about to grab the riders, the craft plummets down, splashing into a waiting pond. Luckily I did not get soaking wet.
After that, we stopped for a costly lunch. Two small pizzas, two small salads, a chicken Caesar salad, three beers, and one brownie with a scoop of ice cream was $65!
Following lunch, we entered the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The first ride was Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. This ride did not have an express lane, so we ended up in quite a long line. The ended up being my other favorite ride. It was not 3D, but other than that it was a similar motion ride to the Spiderman ride. It was delightful.
Leaving that ride, we hopped on the Flight of the Hippogriff. We did not think it was that good. Then we discovered it was meant for younger children.
Tyler and Hillary rode Dragon Challenge while we waited for them.
At the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
We were all exhausted by this point. We hobbled and limped our way out of the park. We stopped for some adult beverages and nachos at the Lone Palm Airport near the Margaritaville Bar. From there we made our way back to the car and then the condo.