Universal Studios Florida 2018

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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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Universal Orlando Resort 2009

09USOBanner.jpgUniversal Orlando Resort | Photos | Videos


September 19, 2009
Orlando FL

My mother had booked a cruise for her, my dad, my brother, and myself in September of 2009. This would be their 2nd, mine and my brother’s first. Since we were leaving out of Florida this gave mea chance to visit at least one theme park in Orlando, and since I had a free 7 day 2 park ticket to Universal Studios parks from a Super Bowl promotion, that was the winner for this trip. In fact, this would be my 2nd visit to the parks, and thus far Universal Resort Orlando’s parks still the only theme parks I’ve visited in Orlando. The plan was to drive down to the Savannah area on Friday, dropping my grandmother off in Salisbury NC then head in to Universal early on Saturday morning, visiting the 2 parks during the day before picking my parents up from the airport later that evening.

Sure enough, early Saturday morning I woke up and headed the rest of the way south. I was excited because I really liked the parks the last time I was there, and was anxious to do the attractions that I’d missed last time, as well as the new coaster that just opened at Universal Studios. But once I arrived at the parks I knew it was going to be a hectic day as there were already long lines of cars just waiting to pay to get in and park. Once I did get in to the parking buildings, though, I headed over to Universal Studios first. This was a mistake.

I had to trade my voucher for a ticket, and to do that had to wait in the regular ticket line, which at this point at about 10:30 AM was already about an hour long. I texted someone to see if going over to Islands of Adventure would get me in quicker, and he said it wouldn’t. Having said that, I still kind of wish I would have went to Islands first and finished it up as there were far fewer people there and I could have gotten more done in less time.

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Universal Orlando Resort 2007

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March 21, 2007
Orlando FL

Islands of Adventure

Wednesday was the day of our Universal Resort visit. We met up with Josh and Daniella just before we got to Islands of Adventure so that Daniella could get our free parking with her Season Pass. We arrived later than I had wanted to, but oh well. Once we arrived I picked up our tickets and Josh and I headed to Guest Services, which took forever, but they were very kind to us and refunded my non-refundable tickets so we could get cheaper tickets to both parks with Josh & Daniella’s season passes. I had paid $63 for IoA tickets, Josh & Daniella were pass holders and there was a special deal that they could get us 1 day, 2 park hopper tickets for only $41 each. So we got our tickets and met Jeff inside the gate. That took a bit of time, but at least there was the opportunity to go to Universal Studios later.

After meeting up with Jeff we decided to head back to Dueling Dragons, by way of Suess Landing, as we took pictures and goofed off. We also stopped by the talking fountain and the restrooms on the way. Eventually we made it to the Dragons. The queue was massive, though I was told by Jeff that it had been shortened since it originally opened. It was very well themed, but we rushed past most of it. The sign in front said it had a 10 minute wait. Yay! Or was it…

We planned to have me and Jeff in the front of Ice, and Jon and Josh in the front of Fire. The line was all the way in the station, but they were only running ONE train on each side. This made waits very long. Then, as we were getting ready to get on, they decide to add another train to each side, which took a few minutes. Then they had to test the trains. As we were finally getting on, and Josh and Jon were sitting on Fire, we were stopped as some VIPs were going to ride in our spot. That was annoying. Not that the VIPs were there, I didn’t mind that, but we’d waited so long and timed everything just right, waited thru 1 train operation and them adding a new train, only to have to wait again. Put the VIPs in the middle, where there wasn’t any type of wait.

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Florida 2007

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March 17-23, 2007
Orlando FL

In late 2006 I began contemplating a move to Florida. It made sense. I had family there. I had friends there. There are a lot of theme parks there. But I’d never been to Florida. So during Spring Break, since he was off school for a week, my best friend Jon and I went to visit our friends, the Koontz family for a week. My main goal was to go and see if I liked Florida enough to move there permanently, and to see what the job situation down there would be like, but I knew I couldn’t go to the Sunshine State and NOT ride any coasters or have fun. Jon wasn’t sure if he’d be able to get off work or have the cash to go. And I think that, because the trip was in limbo for so long was why I wasn’t so excited to go until about 2 days ahead of time.

So in February we came up with the definite dates, I made reservations at a motel and purchased 2 one day tickets to the parks at Universal’s Orlando Resort. Jon had to work on the Sunday before we were leaving, so we planned to leave that nite after he got off around 9 PM.

Then Jon called using his serious voice. I just knew he would tell me he couldn’t go at the last minute. Thankfully, though, he was calling to tell me that he would be doing a culinary show at the Stonewall Jackson Resort in central WV that weekend, but he would be back home and would be working on Sunday so that our plans didn’t change. I made the comment that perhaps I could just meet him up there on Saturday instead of meeting members of my family in White Sulfur Springs on Sunday since this was still about the same half way point, and he made arrangements for us to have a room.
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