If you have read this blog for awhile, you know I always return from these trips with an awards presentation and this year is no different. This year we reluctantly moved on from Disney and decided to give Universal a go. It's no Disney, but on the "up" side, we only saw 2 Pet Children (my kids have a game of counting them and yelling "Look at that kid on a leash!") and only one pair of Sketchers Shape Ups (sorry, they are my pet peeve)!
Hands down Universal Studios (vs. Universal's Islands of Adventure). This park was not as maddeningly crowded as Islands of Adventure and has lots of fun rides and shows for the kids. My 52 inch 8 year old could ride everything and we played there 2 days in a row from 9 am-7 pm. The kids cried to leave Islands of Adventure by noon because the over crowding made it frustrating and not very fun.
Laugh Until You Cry Award:
The Big Guy got dragged out of the crowd during a hip hop dance show and pulled on-stage. Hip hop and Big Guy don't mix! We joke that he is all about A.M. talk radio and country music, but he was a good sport. The guys running the show dubbed him "White Chocolate", the best nickname of our whole vacation!
If you aren't easily sickened by bad, constantly moving home videos you can check out the movie my son made on his Flip camera:
Creepiest Park "Character":
This dude outside The Mummy ride freaked me out! Let's just say he was no Mickey Mouse - he would sneak up behind you and wait quietly until you turned around and your heart stopped. He never cracked a smile and stared at you in a most disturbing way. I think he was trying to hypnotize me! Liked the ride - not the creepy guy!
The Most Brilliant Yet Most Frustrating Park Attraction:
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is amazing, realistic, fantastic...and utterly frustrating because of the crowds. This attraction exploded once it opened and interest hasn't died down yet. The entire area is constantly over capacity and park staff stands at the entrance turning guests away. They give you a slip of paper with a time to return so they can control the crowds. Ride wait times for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey were 115 minutes 30 minutes after the parks opened.
I'll post some tips for visiting Universal Studios next week and tell you how we were able to avoid these crowds.
Worst Luck for a Patient Photographer:
See this car full of people riding The Hulk? Well, I sat on a bridge with my too short younger boys waiting for The Big Guy and Firstborn to ride. I had a perfect view of this loop and took photos of the 6 trains that passed around the time they were to be riding to be sure I got them. Well, this was the train they were on and believe it or not, they are seated in the second row! The only row obstructed from view in all 6 photos! BAH!
Most Distracting Park Creature:
My two youngest boys were Ob. Sessed. with capturing one of the many lizards around the park. It held us up in line, it held us up while walking, it interrupted meals, it ruined photos. You can see my oldest son is just OVER it in this picture!
Poseidon's Fury was situated right outside Harry Potter and we ducked in to escape the crowds not knowing what to expect. The line was looonnnggg and we almost left several times, but I'm so glad we stuck it out! It was surprising and entertaining and well worth the wait...and I might have crapped my pants a few times during the show. Bonus!
Favorite (and only) Family Photo:
Yes, we are the sort of cheese balls that buy those photos they bring to your table at the Hard Rock Cafe. It's the only family photo we have! The Big Guy had sneaked off to buy beer rather than riding several rides (it was St. Patty's Day), so he is red faced and buzzed, I'm worn out and I had no idea my oldest was making that face until they brought the picture around!
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