Today we drove to the Universal Theme parks. We shelled out that magical $9 bucks for parking (again!), and then topped it off with another $70 per person for a day pass to the parks. All this island hopping is expensive!! Then, inside the Universal Studios park, I received a horrible shock – locker rentals were EIGHT BUCKS!!! I decided that I would just have to drag my bag, sweatshirt, and jacket around all day.
The only reason I wanted to even go to Universal was to ride the Mummy ride. I practically ran to this attraction, only to find that we had to stow our bags in a "free" locker (for the first hour and fifteen minutes). This process took about 15 minutes, because the "smart" lockers, aren’t really that smart. They have a finger scanner, and it took about 4 tries before it could read my finger! It was frustrating and took much longer than it should have.
The wait for the Mummy ride was about an hour. Universal doesn’t have fast pass tickets – they have one better – for themselves! They charge an extra 50 bucks per ticket for VIP status, which lets you enter the rides through a special line with shorter wait times. We waited with the rest of the poor folk.
After finally winding our way around the waiting "set" we boarded our car. This ride was pretty good – it was fast, had direction changes, and the environment the car sped by was well done. However, it was too short, especially considering the long wait!
Next we raced off to the Men in Black Alien Attack, where we had to stow our stuff in another locker, and get into another long line. This one was only about 40 minutes. The MIB Alien Attack is like the Buzz Lightyear ride in Magic Kingdom. The cars for MIB have 2 rows, which seat 3 people in each row. Our car had 2 groups of 2, so there was an empty seat in each row. Dean and I sat in the outside seats, which meant I had 2 guns!! I grabbed the zapper for the empty seat between us, and prepared for our shoot out.
This is another short ride, and the car slowly follows a track down a city street, while aliens pop out from behind windows, trash cans, hot dog stands, etc. The car spins around and stops to make things a little more difficult. The goal is to zap them, and get a high score, so you can move up to "Agent" status. I was trounced, even with 2 guns.
We had a problem getting the locker open after this ride. We had to wait for an attendant to come and open it. This slowed us down by about 20 minutes. Another bummer.
We decided at this point to rent a locker in the front of the park. Did I mention that it was 8 bucks?? Universal thoughtfully provided a credit card payment option. Greedy BASTARDS!!!
Next was the Shrek 4-D show. This was a fun little movie where Shrek and Donkey had to save Fiona. The seats moved, and water sprayed on the audience, and smoke billowed into the crowd, depending on the action on screen. This was fun, and the wait wasn’t too long.
We headed over to the Terminator 2: 3-D show next. This was another fun show, which had live action as well as movie action. I like the Terminator series, so this was fun for me. The special effects were enjoyable, and the actors running around the theater were entertaining. And another plus – there was NO wait for this!
After Terminator, we went to the Back to the Future ride. The wait for this was about 15 minutes. This was a simulator ride, and it was really good, EXCEPT that you could see the other cars whenever your tilted. This killed the magic. This was still diverting, and better than the lame Star Wars sim at MGM.
We were both hungry by this point, so we had a sub par meal at Finnigan’s, or something like that. It wasn’t worth remembering the name. Yuck. Don’t eat there.
After our less than appealing lunch, we went to Islands of Adventure. While I waited to play a quick game of DDR (1.50 per play, 5 songs), Dean rode the Incredible Hulk Coaster. This was a sweet looking coaster, that had way too may twists, turns and loops for wimpy little me. Dean gave it a thumbs up.
Dean hopped on the Spider man ride next, but I didn’t feel like standing in line. I walked around Marvel Island, took pictures, and watched the cast of mutants interact with the crowd. It was very amusing when the loudspeaker blared that all mutants must return to HQ. They raced over to their motor vehicles, and drove away on their quad-runners. It looked silly.
The went to the Poseidon’s Fury Attraction in the Lost Continent next. This is only recommended if it’s hot out and you’ve done everything else. The final battle with Poseidon and his arch enemy was well done, but they packed so many people into this performance that it was hard to see, and it felt like we were boarding an airplane.
We use wandered around the park after this. It closes at 7 and it was about 6:30, so they were closing up for the night. We decided to get something else to eat, and picked the Latin Quarter in the Universal City Walk – better known as the Downtown Disney wanna be. They have a lot of work to do on this before it is even a third as good as Downtown Disney.
The service at the Latin Quarter SUCKED! The waitress forgot our bread, and when our meals came, we didn’t have utensils. Dean had to get up and find someone to bring us some. Our beverages were never refilled, and the waitress only came over to check on us once. Don’t eat here. You’d get better service at McDonald’s.