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Florida 18 - T2 - Day 13 - Universal Studios

Our plan had been just been to drop the boys off at Universal Studios but they were keen for us to come along and so we had decided to bite the bullet, pay the exorbitant enhance fee and accompany them for the day.

We were all up early and in the car just after 8am. Unfortunately Barry was suffering with the symptoms of a heavy cold/flu and so we had to dose him up before leaving. The drive today was very easy and took us just over 15 minutes until we were pulling into the car park to pay yet another $25 fee. Still it was with a cheery heart that we walked along the moving walkways through the car park, city walk and then round to the entrance. I went and purchased our tickets for the day and tried to forget the cost involved.

The park was soon open and we headed to the Despicable Me - Minion ride. Ostensibly a children's ride it was a gentle introduction to the park and good clean harmless fun. We were as usual following the order of the rides as determined by 'The unofficial Guide' that Neil had purchased and committed to memory. This is always our bible when visiting US theme parks and never lets us down in reducing wait times for rides.

The boys then went and rode Rip Ride Rockit whilst Karen & I wandered and got some hot drinks from Starbucks. They were off the ride quicker than we were in getting our drinks. It meant we had to guzzle them down before hitting the Transformers ride. This is a noisy ride where I can make no sense of the 'story' and I can see why it is no longer as popular. I am not sure if I rode it several times whether I would follow what was happening and why. Still it was a nice sit down if nothing else.

From here we went over to The Ride through New York with Jimmy Fallon. There was only a 10 minute wait which passed so quickly whilst watching the pre pre show. The clips from the show were very amusing. The ride itself was another screen simulator, although very agreeable and fun but was non sensible and rather childish at the same time.

We then walked over to The Mummy ride which we rode as single riders with a very small queue. This is a ride we all enjoy. From here we strode to the newish Fast & Furious ride. I have never seen any of the films but it is kind of easy to follow. I enjoyed both the free shows with the live actors. The ride was a lot of fun as well, even if it was a lot of crash bang whallop.

It was then time to hit the Harry Potter land. This is always deceptive as it looked fairly quiet and small from the outside and then you go through the secret walls and suddenly you find yourself immersed in the streets of Diagonal Alley with crowds of other people. After leaving our bags in the free lockers we joined the single rider queue to hopefully be able to get onto the Gringotts ride quicker. I think the normal queue was 80 minutes at that point, but it still took us 30 minutes including the ride itself before we were outside again. The boys always moan about the fact that the original actors refused to take part in the making of this ride and cheap lookalikes are used instead.

The boys then purchased themselves a Butterbeer each before we explored more of the atmospheric streets and alleyways. It was then time for Men In Black and this one we were able to almost walk straight on as single riders. As usual the non competitive Neil got the highest score of us all.

The Simpsons ride beckoned next and we had about a 15 minute wait before yet another simulator ride with a large screen. It was still amusing though. By now we were hungry and so decided to eat it in the KrustyBurger restaurant. It was chaotic to say the least. The system for serving and getting the food was ridiculous and we spent longing getting food that than any ride or attraction.

We decided to ride ET after this. Each time we come we think it might be the last time for this ride, but it still keeps ploughing on. It maybe twee, but still brings a smile to our faces especially as we had the front row of the bike with ET in the basket.

When we exited the ride we found that the heavens had opened. After sheltering in the gift shop we ran across opposite to the Animal Actors Theatre to watch the show that was about to begin. Sadly still no orang-utan (or chimps tea party) but some of the dogs were good and Neil & I had a falcon fly in-between us.

The rain had eased by the time the show had finished so we took a slow wander to the Shrek 4D show which was a pleasant enough show in which we could have another welcomed sit down. A light rain was then coming down as that finished and because Barry was still feeling rough we decided to go back to the car only stopping to get Karen a Coldstone Creamery on the way back through City Walk.

Barry was still feeling poorly later on and so did not come out for a meal. The three of us went to Manny's Chop House, where the food was just about acceptable but the service was poor. I think it will be a while before we go back there. We called into a Pharmacy on the way back to get Barry some more cold relief tablets before going back and having some wine and retiring for the night.

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