Universal Studios Florida 2018

Universal Orlando Resort | Photos | Videos


December 21, 2018
Orlando FL

On Monday morning I woke up, showered, packed up, and headed north, back to the Universal  Orlando Resort. Today, though, I’d been spending a few hours at the Studios. Although I’ve been to both parks on a couple of other occasions, this trip was the first time I spent a day at each park, though to say I spent a ‘day’ there is stretching it quite a bit for both parks. I arrived around 11:15 am, parked, and walked over to the Studios. I could tell that the crowd wasn’t terrible, and at only the 60 degrees, I figured it wouldn’t be a very crowded day. As I walked in I headed past Minions, which I rode in Japan, and Shrek, which I don’t like 4D theaters, and headed to the right, looking for what was new. And new I saw, forgetting all about Transformers.

Transformers The Ride 3D-I knew this ride was there, but totally forgot about it, so it ended up being a nice surprise. Another nice surprise was the single rider line, a theme throughout the day I would later discover. I knew it was the same ride system as Spider-Man, and I think I’d read it was the same, or at least very similar, layout, and if there were any changes to the layout, I didn’t notice. It was just as well done as Spider-Man, though my right lens was a little wonky. The physical sets were cool, and overall it was a fun ride with cool effects, just like the Spider-men I’ve ridden, and DarKastle.

Thirty minutes in and I’d already gotten one of the new attractions out of the way. I hadn’t had breakfast so I decided to grab a bit to eat at Mel’s Drive-in. As I left the restaurant, there was a Dora the Explorer float coming around the bend for a kids dance party. I took a gander for a second then made my way around. My next destination was MIB, via Springfield.

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Islands of Adventure 2018

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Islands of Adventure | Photos | Videos


December 20, 2018
Orlando FL

After arriving in Orlando I picked up my minivan I headed to the resort, checked into my suite, got cleaned up, and headed to Universal Studios Orlando Resort. I picked up some food at Wawa on the way and after about 30 minutes I was heading into the parking garage. I took a photo of the parking row information and walked towards CityWalk.

Although they’re highly manufactured and I’m not exactly into that anymore, CityWalk does have a lot to offer. I quickly headed towards Islands of Adventure. It wasn’t raining at the moment, but it had been. The skies were still cloudy. I didn’t see much of a crowd being at the parks today and I’d never been to a Universal park that wasn’t pretty packed. I went over to the self service kiosk to redeem my ticket. I wish more parks had these, though I understand why not all parks outside of Orlando don’t invest.

It had been nearly a decade since I’d been to Islands of Adventure. I’ve always really liked the park. The last time I was here they were busy constructing The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The old HULK coaster was still running, as were the Dragons. I miss the Dragons. They gave an awesome ride and were visually stunning. But change is constant and Islands of Adventure has changed a lot in the last 9 years. My first stop was to the left of the Port of Entry. It’s a new credit for me because they replaced nearly all of the coaster as well as the trains. I liked the original, and I was excited to try the new one out.

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Fun Spots America 2017

18FunSpotBannerFun Spots America | Photos | Videos


December 30, 2017
Orlando & Kissimmee FL

Saturday was mostly a leisurely day for me. During the afternoon we hung out at my sister’s house. Eventually, though, I was ready to head out and ride some more rides. I asked my niece and nephew if they wanted to join me. My sister and brother-in-law were going to hang out at home and go out for dinner later. So we headed in to Orlando, thru Disney World for a short cut, and then to our first of two Fun Spot parks, Orlando. This was my first time to either park.

The afternoon was sunny and warm, and as we pulled up and found a place to park, we noticed the area was fairly busy. Lots of families bringing their kids to ride rides. I was impressed with the park from the get go. It was very clean, nicely done, and there were plenty of people everywhere. We took some pictures and headed the long way around the small lake in the middle of the park and over to our first stop…the restroom in the park’s arcade. Then we purchased tickets. I got the 4 rides for $30 bracelet as this would be enough riding for me on this visit. Then we walked towards Mine Blower. My nephew had been to the park for the go-karts, but neither of them had been on the coasters there.

Mine BlowerThere was barely a line. Chris and I rode in the front row and Kaitlyn was behind us. I have to say, I really loved the Timberliner trains again on another coaster. You drop out of the station and head up the lift quickly, where you turn and then hit the first drop. And what a drop it was. Right after, you’re up and over the station, all while upside down. The inversion was really well done, with airtime, making it more like a zero G roll. What followed was a twisted mess of track and turns, with over banked turns, airtime hills, laterals. It was very intense, very much like a mini-Voyage. Very Gravity Group. I loved it!

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SeaWorld Orlando 2017

17SWOBannerSeaWorld Orlando | Photos | Videos


December 29, 2017
Orlando FL

After getting to my sister’s home Wednesday nite we took most of Thursday easy.  Later in the evening my sister, nephew, and I went to Disney Springs to hang out for a while since I’d not been after the change over from Downtown Disney. I had Blaze Pizza for dinner and it was good.  Then on Friday morning we headed into Orlando around 11 AM on our way to SeaWorld Orlando. We were fortunate that my nephew was able to get us tickets thru work at no cost. We had to meet him and some of his work mates there, and once we arrived at the park I saw a packed parking lot.

Of course I knew it would be busy, this being one of the busiest times of the year in Orlando. Normally I wouldn’t want to go to a new park on such a busy week, but it worked out pretty well. We got in line for the tram, but that line was massive so we just walked over to the front entrance and met everyone. I’d been texted the previous day that it was around a 45 minute wait just to get tickets and get inside the park, and this was obvious when you got to the gate. We, however, walked over and got in the ten or so minute line to get in the front gate. Our first stop once inside was to Guest Services as my sister wanted to get a Handicapped Pass, since she has some major back issues and other health problems, so standing in line wasn’t really an option for her.

Once we had that in hand we went to the restrooms and started our day. We passed by some pink flamingos, then Manta on our way over to check out Kraken. I wasn’t interested in the VR, neither was my sister. We went to the entrance and, although the park was super packed, the lines were never bad, save for Manta. And the way they handle the handicapped pass is that you give them the sheet for eligible rides and they give you a return time, much like Disney. They basically looked at the wait time and assigned your time based on that. With Kraken being a 30 minute wait we were asked to come back in 30 minutes for our timed ride. As we walked back towards Journey to Atlantis we noticed that it was a walk-on, so we headed there first.

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Walt Disney World 2015 Day 3

March 19, 2015
Magic Kingdom Album | Epcot Album

Disney World Day 1 2015


On Thursday I slept in a little and then headed back down to Orlando to Rob’s apartment for more Disney fun. Should have went to Animal Kingdom for a bit, but I was planning to go on Friday. Unfortunately I overslept Friday as I was going to have my nephew drop me off on his way to work, but oh well.  Our first stop today was Epcot. I wanted to try out some Coke so we went to the Club Cool pavilion to try everything out. I still love mezzo mix, and I still don’t hate Beverly. Up next was Test Track. 

This was my first time riding since they completely redid the inside of the ride. We got in the single rider line. That was all fine and dandy, but unfortunately a large group of obnoxious teens got in behind us. Normally I don’t complain, but these kids were obnoxious, spend the 30+ minutes in line bumping up against everyone else in line, among other things. It was annoying. Finally, Rob and I got to ride.

Test Track-I really like the changes they made, very modern, obviously very Tron-esq. I’m glad the ride didn’t make a huge change. I didn’t get to do any major customization because we were limited in the single rider line, but oh well, I’d rather not have waited the extra hour. The experience isn’t much different, but it does feel much more futuristic.


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We walked around Futureworld for a bit before heading over to World Showcase. Epcot was all in bloom and as usual looks amazing. Our first stop was Mexico. Rob got a drink and we then headed inside to ride the boat ride and shop around. The thing about Epcot is that you can just walk around and not do much but still have a very good time.

I just love walking around. One day I’m just going to go to Epcot and eat and drink around the World Showcase. It’s so bustling with people and I really should take one day for each side of Epcot and explore. I know they have that game where you’re solving clues and such, I really should do that too. There’s just too much to do at Epcot! So we went to O! Canada! It’s the same as last time, but it’s really neat.  We left World Showcase and headed back to the front of the park, stopping by Spaceship Earth for a ride.


Disney World Day 1 2015


We drove over to Magic Kingdom for the rest of the evening. Our first stop was of course, Carousel of Progress. After that we went over and rode Buzz Lightyear’s shooter dark ride. It’s fun, but it’s no Midway Mania for sure. The clouds were coming in and we went over to ride Seven Dwarves Mine Train. It wasn’t time to ride just yet, we had a little wait, so we went to Mickey’s Philarmagic instead first. I really like that show. But again, 3D doesn’t do well for me.

So it was sprinkling when we left back to Seven Dwarves. We went in the Hundred Acre Goods store to wait out the rain for our ride time. By the time we got on the ride, it was POURING. And dark. Which, even though I would have rather stayed dry, gave a really good ride.  After that we went over to the Jungle Cruise in the rain. The guy doing it really loved his job and did a great job. I had 2 much better guides on this visit to Disney than my last trip. And then, because we were already there, we went to Pirates. Another ride I love.

It stopped raining by this point. Fireworks in the rain behind the castle are really awesome. So is Haunted Mansion at nite, which we did as the rain stopped. I love that ride. I also love walking around at nite. We walked around a little more, but I honestly don’t remember if we rode anything. And then my Disney trips were over.  I love Disney parks. I say every time I go to Florida that I need to go to another set of parks, but I always end up with Disney. It’s like Magic…

Day 4


Disney World Day 1 2015

Walt Disney World 2015 Day 2

March 17, 2015
Phtoto Album

Disney World Day 2 2015


So my second full Disney day was a day to spend at the Studios park. I’ve never spent the entire day there. But this time I’d get it all crammed in. Who says it isn’t a full day park? I paid my money to park and took the tram to the front of the park. Once inside, I did what I meant to do the day before, and picked up a Magic Band, which was really nifty. One of the first things I did was to head to Star Tours, which was down last time as they changed over to the current version. It was about a 30 minute wait.

Star Tours-I did the original version of the ride at Disneyland in 2005. I’m really not into most motion sims as they tend to make me sick. Mission Space the previous day did a number because it’s so intense, and even though it was very well done, Star Tours didn’t make me feel well. The 3D just doesn’t work that well for me, not sure if it’s because I’ve had Lazik or what, but overall it is still a solid attraction. Just not one that I’ll be re-riding. Even with the random changes. We got Hoth.

I couldn’t get a fast pass for Midway Mania, which is a shame as I love the ride, but I didn’t get to do it on this visit. I did, however, get to test out the slow motion capture on my iPhone 6 Plus at Lights, Motors, Action! This was the first time I’d seen the show. It was packed, and it was really well done. If current rumors hold true, I guess I’m glad I got to do this now.


Disney World Day 2 2015


Up next I went into the One Man’s Dream exhibit. It was nice, and I loved the miniature versions of many of the rides. The propaganda film at the end was interesting as well. But it *is* still propaganda, in my humble opinion. Next it was time for one of my favorites.

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror-I love this ride. I used to love the California version more because I felt it was more aggressive. I know the Studios version has randomly programmed falls, but I’d never gotten a good one before this trip. I waited about 40 minutes, even though I had a fast pass for later. I don’t mind standing in line, though, because it’s a beautiful courtyard, and the inside is really well done as well. This ride really lets you suspend disbelief just by looking like a real, old hotel. I really got some airtime on this one, and had a really good group sitting in the front. My new shtick is to make sure I turn to the person beside me and let them know I throw up easy just as the doors shut. It worked every time.

Next I went over and got in line for Rock N Rollercoaster. I got in the single rider line as the regular line was about 90 minutes. I think I may have waited 30-40 minutes.


Disney World Day 2 2015


Rock N Rollercoaster-This ride was a little bit shakier than I’d experienced in the past. It was still good, but it’s no Premier. The layout is really good. And for a Vekoma, it isn’t half bad. I just wish they’d go the Premier route and get rid of the OTSRs. Oh well, still worth a ride every time.

I walked around and took some pictures before having lunch. After lunch, I was close to the Star Tours area, so I watched the show with the young children learning to be Jedi. It’s neat. I Love how they have the make your own Lightsaber shop. It had a line. Then I went to the Great Movie Ride. Two things were better this time. First, no big goofy hat out front to block my photos of the Chinese Theater. Second, I had a much better crew. Last time the girl ‘gangster’ wasn’t very good. The guy we had this time was good.

The next thing I stumbled into was The Little Mermaid stage show. It was good, if very short. Then I headed back over for more rides on Tower of Terror before heading to the amphitheater to see Fantasmic. I had a fast pass for the later show, and it was still an hour early for this show, so I left and went back to ride more Tower of Terror, my first time in the dark. I rode about 4 times before wandering around the park some more. By this point, there wasn’t much of a line for anything. Well, except Midway Mania. Eventually I did head back over to Fantasmic.

How was Fantasmic? Meh. It has potential. I just felt they spent too much time showing clips of movies on the water projectors when there was so much more to be done. It was okay, but honestly, I could have left the park earlier and went and watched Wishes again.

Day 3


Disney World Day 2 2015

Walt Disney World 2015 Day 1

March 15, 2015
Magic Kingdom Photos | Epcot Photos

Disney World Day 1 2015


I love Disney World. I had plans. Grand plans. And a 5 day pass (Well, a 3 day pass with 2 extra days thrown in). I ended up not going but 3 days and i never got to Animal Kingdom (Still missed that safari, darn it!!!). But, well, that’s what happens when you have family with you on vacation. But I’m not complaining one bit, as I got to spend some great time with parents, siblings, nieces and nephews. Oh, and Friends. And lastly, our Mouse Overlord.

Monday morning my nephew dropped me off on his way to work. i walked over and traded my ticket for a card/ticket. I was going to ride the monorail over, but the boat was going over, which I’ve never done, and the sun was still rising, and it was a beautiful morning for a beautiful ride to the Magic Kingdom in the distance. I really enjoyed it.

I was at the park just after 8am. After a few pix (Yes, and a selfie or 2 by the castle), I headed to the one ride that has escaped me on both coasts. I had a not very needed fast pass, but there was no one in this area of the park, so I excitedly walked right on to…


Walt Disney World Day 1 2015



Splash Mountain
Finally! Every time I’ve been to a Disney park, it’s been closed. But it was lots of fun. It’s a dark ride, a flume, and it’s themed to Song of the South. Now, I know all about the racial undertones that Disney would love you to forget, but in context, I actually enjoyed seeing the movie as a kid with my dad the last time they released it in theaters, and I’ve always wanted to ride this. Now I have. It was worth it.

I had a fast pass for Seven Dwarves Mine Ride, but I was early, so I went to the other mountain near by.


Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
I still love this. First coaster of the year. I could ride it over and over. It’s a great ride, and so well themed. I can’t say much that hasn’t already been said (and if you need more feel free to look up my last TR on the subject).


Disney World Day 1 2015


I walked over to see what the line for Seven Dwarves was, and it was 70 minutes. I had about 20 minutes before my fast pass, so I went and did Pooh instead. Its fun, but, I mean, it’s another Disney Dark ride (which is still better than most other park’s dark rides). Then it was time to Fast Pass Seven Dwarves.


Seven Dwarves Mine Ride
It looks like it’s been there for a long time. I liked it, and the coaster element was a lot of fun. The drips were cool, the swinging was very well done, and the dark ride parts were all very nice. I’d love to see Disney do a more thrill centric version of this kind of mountain in the future. This, however was definitely needed.

So I went over to ride my favorite ride in Magic Kingdom, found in Tomorrowland…No, not that one, I love Carousel of Progress. Love that ride! Space Mountain was a really long wait and I had a fast pass for later.


Walt Disney World Day 1 2015


So I went back over and did another favorite, Haunted Mansion. I like the new part of the queue, that was not finished on my last visit. Then I walked over and did Ariel’s new ride (One of my favorite Disney movies is Little Mermaid. I loved it as a kid). Then I did the Parade and lunch.

Next it was time for something that I’d missed the last visit, and was unimpressed with, Hall of Presidents. I really thought all of the presidents would interact. They didn’t. Oh well.

No next I went and hopped on a monorail and went over to Epcot for a few hours. Of course, I first rode my favorite ride there, Spaceship Earth. Then I walked around for a bit. Thru the butterfly pavilion set up for the spring event, then watched the Japanese drummers, and then the Chinese acrobats. I wanted to ride Universe of Energy, but it’s wait ws too long. So I rode The Land, since I hadn’t ever ridden. It was neat. Following that I rode the 3 Callabro ride in the Mexican pavilion, and then Mission Space. I can only do that one once per visit.


Disney World Day 1 2015


Then I went back over to Magic Kingdom as Epcot got a little bit crowded. Back at Magic Kingdom, I did finally do Space Mountain. And I may have done Carousel of Progress again. And I did the People Mover and watched the dance party, which was fun. I also did Haunted Mansion again. At nite.

Of course, then I did Big Thunder again at nite, which is always wonderful. and watched the Electrical Parade. Then the magic started. I watched the projector show at Magic Kingdom. Sadly my phone and camera died, so no pictures, but that was amazing! And afterwards I stayed for Wishes. By this point it was 11pm, and I was tired, seeing that i was coming back the next morning. Yeah. I was there all day.

Day 2


Disney World Day 1 2015

Magic Kingdom 2011 Day 2

11MK2BANNERMagic Kingdom | Photos | Videos


January 17, 2011
Walt Disney World Resort FL

There was a mass exodus leaving Epcot. My body hurt. I was tired. And I’d already told Matt I may not make it till 2 AM. In fact, as the seconds ticked off I was convincing myself more and more that I needed to leave earlier than that. We waited for a few Monorail cycles so that we could ride TRONorail again over to the Magic Kingdom. We got to Magic Kingdom and walked around a bit, heading over to Tomorrowland for a Fastpass and a quick ride on Space Mountain, which was still kicking butt. We wandered around the park and looked for the shortest lines until Extra Magic Hours began. I know we rode Big Thunder Mountain at least once and eventually we rode up Buzz Lightyear’s Astroblasters, which was also a lot of fun. Almost as fun as Toy Story Midway Mania.

Winnie the Pooh had a bit of a line, but we waited it out. It’s a fun dark ride, but I liked the outdoors station in SoCal better, although this interactive queue was quite good. We also rode Snow White’s Scary Adventures, and I’m glad we did, because it will soon be closed and turned into another attraction. I wish I’d gotten some pictures of it, but at least I will remember the ride. And finally the queue for Peter Pan wasn’t quite as long as it had been. Matt loves that ride, and I missed riding it at Disneyland. It was really good. Lots of great scenes, flying thru each one. I enjoyed it, and of course, I enjoyed sitting down.

We went back over and rode Space Mountain more before I finally decided to call it a nite. I gave Matt my fastpass for Space Mountain so he could back to back and I headed to the front of the park. My legs hurt and I was very nearly ready to fall asleep. I got to the Monorail station and headed to the Transportation center. Sadly, once I got there I was told I needed to ride all the way back around and get on a bus in front of the Magic Kingdom. Dang! It was kind of neat riding all the way around the lagoon, and having an entire Monorail train to myself.

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios 2011

11DHSBanner.jpgDisney’s Hollywood Studios | Photos | Videos


January 16, 2011
Walt Disney World Resort FL

We arrived at the Studios early. I mean, way early. Well before the park let guests in. And Bill and Jill got there early too. The reason? Toy Story Midway Mania. Everyone said it’s one of the best, if not the best, ride ever built. Not only does it see 2 hours lines on slow days, but hour plus waits just to get a fastpass to ride later! We were prepared. Bill took our tickets and planned to rush to the fastpass dispensers, while we followed with the crowd and headed to the line. This worked out well for us because we were able to get fastpasses valid after 12:30, and were able to get in line right as they opened it for a 20 minute wait. Would Toy Story Mania be that great?

Well, before I go into that, I just want to say that on my only visit to Disneyland, Buzz Lightyear’s interactive dark ride had just opened and it was commanding lines and the same kind of hype. I opted out of riding since the line was so long the day I was there, yet people said it was the greatest thing ever. They said the same thing about Soarin’ over California, but I found that ride to be very meh. Would Toy Story live up to the hype?

Toy Story Midway Mania-This was the best interactive dark ride ever! It was so simple! Disney needs to build 2 more of these in the park just to handle the capacity (well, they’d eventually add another one to this park)! It was so much fun, and yet so simple! You shoot your cannon of darts, pies, etc. at stuff in 3D. It was way too much fun to describe, but it definitely did not disappoint. And everyone else thought so too, as when we exited the line the standby line was already 2 hours, less than 30 minutes after the park even opened, and the fast pass line was around an hour wait. That meant less people in line for everything else!

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Epcot 2011

11EpcotBanner.jpgEpcot | Photos | Videos


January 16, 2011
Walt Disney World Resort FL

I’d always thought of Epcot as a ‘learning park’. I love museums and I love interactivity, but there wasn’t a whole lot at Epcot that I felt was a must do. Thankfully, though, we planned on spending a good chunk of our day at Epcot, and because the park was SO massive the lines weren’t bad at all. Plus the park was just amazing.

We arrived at the park’s rear entrance after walking around the Boardwalk area from our boat ride. I took over 700 photos in three days, and about a third of them were at Epcot. The park really was just that amazing. I could definitely go back and spend an entire day there just visiting countries and eating. Mmmmm…eating…

Wandering around World Showcase first, we then headed into Future World. As far as the first attraction I have photos of, I think we rode Mission: Space first. This ride was something I’d been looking forward to for a LONG time. But I was also kind of nervous as I really didn’t want to get sick and ruin my day knowing how intense this ride is. Still, the wait wasn’t very long so we headed in.

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