The first time I ever went to a Disney park was in November 1995 when Danial was 10 years old. Then it was to create memories with him. We spent 9 days in Anaheim and armed with one-week passes to Disneyland, we spent days, and some nights collecting memories.
Now 16 years later hubby and I are on a pre-cruise stay in Orlando, Florida for 5 days. Three of those days we are spending at various park attractions. Hubby had said, “Let’s be kids again!” and I agreed. I missed Danial and wished he could have come with us but have to accept the reality that he was a working man! Anyway the reality also was that we could always come here again together or else he had plenty of time to make a trip here. I just really missed him.
We arrived in Orlando on a Thursday afternoon 31 hours after we left Kuwait and hubby had had our itinerary all laid out. On Friday morning we went to the hotel reception to buy our park tickets – Universal Studios on Friday and a 2-day (Sunday and Monday) park hopper for three of the four Disney parks – Hollywood Studios, the Magic Kingdom and Epcot Centre.
Universal Studios was a lot of fun. It wasn’t overcrowded and the waiting times were 10 to 15 minutes. I couldn’t believe we enjoyed the 4-D experience of Shrek but we did! While the special 3-D glasses did their thing to give us the 3-D experience, the rocking seats, puffs of wind and sprinkles of water completed the 4-D experience. I was using my LV Neverfull bag and the leather trimmings got a little wet! So I learnt a lesson – never use your LVs in a theme park!
Actually there was water in all the rides we did today…including at the most awesome 4-D experience at Universal Studios – Terminator 2! It has to be the highlight of Universal Studios Orlando for us.
In “Twister” we experienced a simulated tornado and saw some of the special effects used to create the natural disaster. We were glad to be in the back-most row because people in the front got splashed with water from the simulated rain and winds. There were “strong winds” blowing from behind our heads and backs later and we got hit by big drops of water coming at us from “broken windows”! Water again…
We went to “Disaster Movie” where Christopher Walken was supposed to be “producing” a disaster movie and they selected actors from the audience. That was a good laugh! At first hubby didn’t believe it was really Christopher Walken and he wondered if it was a camera trick or special effect but it was real. It was really him. We experienced an earthquake while in a subway train, and of course there was water too! We were sitting on the right side of the train so we didn’t get wet but those sitting on the right side got wet during the simulation of water gushing down when a truck exploded!
We came across the “Amity Boat Tours” when we walked to “Amityville” so we decided to do the “Jaws” ride. You got it. Water. Ir was a realistic enough boat ride with a huge shark in the water and of course our “tour guide and driver” of the boat saved us from a shark attack when he “shot” at the giant “shark” in the water. Of course people got wet.
So I guess the moral of the story is, you can’t avoid water at a theme park so just leave your LVs at the hotel! That aside, we really enjoyed our day at Universal Studios! It wasn’t such a kiddie experience as I thought it would be as obviously there were treats for adults too!
Apart from the attractions we also watched a live Blues Brothers concert. They were marvelous and the crowd were really engaged in the performance.
We just had to watch the Macy’s Christmas Parade and found a spot on the sidewalk like everyone else.
But a theme park experience is incomplete without an adrenaline rush. We had seen the double loop roller coaster which was smack in the middle of the park and you can’t miss the screams. But I’ve gone off roller coaster rides so we never even planned to stop there. Last year when we were at a theme park in the Netherlands I went on one, a reasonably mild one, but midway, I was screaming to get off! I was that petrified! LOL Later I told hubby that if I ever wanted an adrenaline rush, I’d just drop my paint-laden brush on my painting or something like that!!!
As we were leaving the park, we passed by the roller coaster and had a real close look. It was called “Rip Ride” and the first 30 to 40 metres was a completely vertical climb! Imagine the first drop from there! Just thinking about it gave me goose bumps…well actually I have to admit that it was more than goose bumps! Then there the two loops and the cars actually snaked around the track! I asked hubby if he was going to do the ride and his eyes sparkled like a kid. The sign outside said that the wait was only 15 minutes. So I took his bag and his coat and waited there for him. It was a unique ride I know but I didn’t regret not going. I know Danial would have gone on it with his Dad but I was happy to wait on the ground. I saw on the poster outside that there were giant personal speakers on the head rest and you chose your music for the ride. I could just imagine what kind of music both my men would chose.
I was there waiting for hubby as he came out of the ride and took a photo of him. A little shaken but he enjoyed it, of course. We watched the video taken of his car and had a good laugh! But at USD39.95 a pop, he decided not to buy it.
So that was Universal Studios at Orlando! Everything was right. The weather. The short waiting time. The combination of experiences. There were a lot of people but it certainly didn’t feel overcrowded.