Let me just say that Orlando is not all about Disney. If you take a trip, make time of Universal Studios. Both parks. Monday we did the Universal Studios Florida park.
Here are my thoughts and feelings.
We decided to park at Universal Studios.
I’m not sure if they have a bus system, but there didn’t seem to be an easy, convenient one for us. Parking was $15 for the day.
-Despicable Me – This ride was great. It was a simulation, but it was in a gigantic auditorium. Instead of a small screen on the inside of a “car,” it was a gigantic screen in the auditorium. It was pretty funny too!
-The Simpsons – Another simulation ride. I know it seems like there are a lot of them (and there are), but they are all SO different and so much fun! This one felt really real. I think the line for this is usually pretty long but we went during lunchtime and didn’t have to wait long.
-Rip Ride Rockit – So so fun. This is the one real rollercoaster they have at the park. I absolutely loved it. The cool thing about this ride is that each seat has a set of speakers built in to the headpiece and a touchscreen on the lap bar. Before the ride starts, you can select a song to play during the ride. How fun is that?! This had about a 20 minute line each time we did it. Universal doesn’t have a FastPass. They have an Express Pass, but you have to pay for it. No thanks.
-Revenge of the Mummy – Stephen really liked this one. It was an indoor rollercoaster. I don’t like scary things (mummies, skeletons, etc) so I closed my eyes a lot. I actually love closing my eyes during rollercoasters because I think it’s fun to have no idea what is coming next. So it worked well for us and we went on it twice.
-Disaster – This is a show. I think it kind of depends on the person putting it on, but we absolutely loved it. The actor working at the time was very entertaining.
-Shrek 4D – Stephen and I don’t see 3D. Weird fun fact. We each only use one eye on a daily basis, so 3D things are hard for us. They take a lot of concentration and if something moves too quickly, we end up seeing double. This was fun though. Shrek is always funny, and the show was really well done.
-Twister – Skip this. It was created back when the movie came out and it’s really not that cool. The pre-show is especially lame. Go if you’re curious and have some spare time, but don’t feel bad about skipping.
-Men in Black – This is another shooting game. Stephen rocked it, I was terrible. I didn’t really like it because I didn’t know where I was supposed to be shooting. Plus, even if I did know, my aim is so terrible that it doesn’t really matter. Stephen beat me by about a bagillion points. I was tragically eaten by aliens since I couldn’t protect myself.
-Animal Actors – OMG. Once upon a time, Stephen and I went to Dickens on the Strand and witnessed a falcon fly away during a bird show. Think that’s bad? Go to this show. The animals wouldn’t cooperate. Since the trainers use these shows as teaching moments, they continue giving the commands so that the animals know that while they are on stage, they are working. So… yeah… it got awkward. The only good part of the show was that Stephen and I got to eat our Dippin Dots in the shade.
-Horror Make-up Show – Like Destruction, this was fantastic!! Maybe it wouldn’t be as good if the actors weren’t as good. Ours were fabulous and hilarious. What made it even more funny was the woman they chose from the audience as a “helper” didn’t speak any English. Nice.
We had lunch at this place called Finnegan’s. Stephen had some sort of meat sandwich with sauerkraut or something. I honestly can’t remember what I had, maybe a burger? I remember enjoying it though. It wasn’t grossly overpriced and it was good food. I recommend it and I’d have it again.
Dinner. Ha. Well here is a story.
We heard a guy in the street announcing something about a taping going on today on Stage 24. I was like, “Say wha???” So we walked over to ask him what was being filmed so we could decide if we’d like to go. It was some new show called Unplugged with Shaquille O’Neal. Basically Shaq and a few other comedians watch YouTube videos and make fun of them. Think Tosh.0, plus a few comedians, minus the green screen. They were giving out tickets for the 5:00 taping and the 7:00 taping. We chose to go to the 7 show and we were told to show up at 6 and that it would be about an hour and a half commitment.For the record, we went because Stephen wanted to go. I didn’t think it sounded great. Especially when the lady said, “Come ready to have a great time!!” and did a little dance. I don’t know how to have a great time like that. I was scared they’d make me dance or do something else that might make me faint and embarrass myself.
We arrived at 6:00 and tons of people were sitting around. We waited and waited. At about 6:30, someone came to tell us they were running a bit behind and it would probably be another 15 minutes. About 25 minutes later, someone came out to tell us it would be another 15 minutes and they’d really appreciate it if we could all stay. Stephen and I decided to grab a soft pretzel and hurry back. They ended up calling us back a bit after 7:00. They took us into a building and said, “Okay, we are still not done, but we wanted to get you out of the rain.” It wasn’t raining. Basically they wanted to get us behind the fence so we’d be less likely to leave. Well played, Universal. We waited there for a while and then they came out to get us. “We still aren’t done but we’re going to bring you inside. We are going to have you hang out back stage. You are LITERALLY right behind the stage, so please don’t make any noise.” Okay. Finally it was our turn. The first show was over and the first audience left, but not without stopping to take pictures with Shaq.
We headed to the set and saw that there were basically a ton of tall tables with high chairs that had no backs. There were also two long couches on each side of the set. Some lady was instructing people where to go. THANKFULLY we were chosen to sit on a couch. I think it’s because Stephen was wearing his awesome fedora.
Our hour and a half commitment turned out to be 5 hours. It was long! But it was funny and I’m glad we did it. Good choice, Stephen! When we left, it was quite late. We were hungry but didn’t want to eat a lot, so we drove through McDonald’s and got a small cheeseburger and split some fries. It hit the spot.
My overall Universal experience: great! I loved it. It wasn’t very crowded, the food was good, the rides were great! I definitely notice a difference in the employees than at Disney. Aside from the actors in the shows (who are FANTASTIC), the other employees aren’t quite as happy as Disney employees. They don’t really care if your day is magical. None of them were rude, mind you, they just didn’t have fairy dust coming out of their ears.
Want some pictures? OKAY
This is of us with Shaq. (Obviously.) Keep in mind that it’s the end of a LONG day. My hair has been completely tangled from going on that rolelrcoaster twice (seriously, I couldn’t even run my fingers through it), we were tired and starving, and there is some weird light or something on Stephen’s face. BUT! Look at the size of Shaq’s hands!!! Also, keep in mind that I’m about 6 feet tall.