Thursday 7 July 2011

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Universal Studios Orlando

I need to start this post by making a correction on yesterday's.  I said that the Hyatt Place at Universal Studios was "ideally situated" for us for the next couple of days.  That was at night, when all I knew was how close the hotel was to Universal Studios.  This morning, amidst the light of the day, I opened the curtains to the room to look out, and all I could see was a huge outlet mall.  This is going to cost me more than I would have ever expected to spend at a Hyatt Place.

We spent today over at Universal Studios.  We had wanted to get up early and go to Islands of Adventure and see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but we were all super tired and just didn't feel like getting up as early as would be necessary to get into the Wizarding World.  So we switched it up and we'll hit Islands of Adventure tomorrow, but today we'll talk about Universal.

What's good about Universal Studios?  The price for one.  It works out to around $35 per day to go to the Universal parks.  You definitely want to make sure you buy your tickets ahead of time.  The lines to buy tickets were huge, but there was no line at the will call ticket machines.  There's a pretty good mix of rides, and they've put some serious money into some of the special effects.  It's nice that it's not a carbon copy of Universal Hollywood too.  There's plenty of great rides that are only in Florida like Men in Black, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, and Orlando even still has E.T.  The refillable drinks are a pretty good deal as well.  You can buy them for around $3 each (if you buy three) and refill them for 79 cents.  The "official" sign says that they're only good for the day, but everybody who sells them tells you that they're good for a lot longer than that.  One of the sellers even quoted a year. 

What didn't I like?  Well their time quoting sign doesn't seem that accurate.  We saw that it was quoting a 10 minute wait for The Mummy ride, so the boy and I hustled over there.  It took around 40 minutes to get through the line.  I can live with being off by a little, but over 30 minutes seems pretty unrealistic.  I'm also sad that there was no movie set tram tour like there is in Hollywood.  That's one of my favorite parts.  Their misters seem like a bit of a waste too.  When it's really hot and muggy, walking through water that feels like warm sweat doesn't improve the situation.

We had a great day though, and finished it off with dinner at the world's largest Hard Rock Cafe.  Lori wonders why the kids don't appreciate the concept of the Hard Rock, but to tell you the truth it doesn't really grab me either.  Most of the memorabilia is from bands that I know but I'm not all that interested in (our table tonight had Lynyrd Skynyrd stuff) and they play the strangest videos all the time.  Still it was a good meal, and although I was cringing when it came time to pay the bill (somehow I'd ordered two souvenir glasses), I was pleasantly surprised.  I wish I could say the same thing after picking Lori up from the outlet mall tonight.