Thursday, February 27, 2014

{adventures} Universal Studios, February 22, 2014

Our last day in Orlando arrived too quickly. After eating some breakfast at the hotel, we decided to take the water taxi back to Universal Studios. It was a quick ride, and quite refreshing. 

This particular Saturday was one of the Mardi Gras Celebration days at the park. While we didn't stay for these special festivities, which included a Mardi Gras parade and live music (more on that later), it was cool to see the decorations everywhere, different from our previous day.

Our first stop was the Transformers ride. We went through the long queue, but since it was still early in the day, the wait time was quite short, so we had to pull over to the side to take photos in order to let other people walk past us. 

My second time on the ride, I did not wear the special glasses. I wanted to be able to see all of the physical environment elements that the husband and his company had designed. It was so cool, and I would recommend that everyone try this on a second time around. It's amazing to discover which elements are actually real, and not part of the video projection. It's a bummer that the ride car doors are so tall, because there are some features that you practically miss altogether, including a huge helicopter!

Part of the attraction of the Mardi Gras festivities is that there are all kinds of live concerts that happen on these special evenings. As you can see, Robin Thicke had other things going on this evening, and did not perform. I have no idea what they did instead of this...maybe nothing?

We didn't go on the Twister ride, but I found it funny that their big merchandising for this ride was a variety of cows wearing goggles, because of that one flying cow in the movie. *sigh*

The Shrek 4-D Experience was a general disappointment. It seems like they spent an awful lot of money on theming the queue for this, only to have you enter a crappy theater and watch a short 3-D movie that involves chairs that jerk around and spray water at you. The motorized chairs were really loud, at times louder than the film, and it was just really weird. 

Painted flats! Like a movie lot!

Construction for the Harry Potter expansion, which I will only bring up one more time.

The Men In Black Alien Attack was SO. MUCH. FUN. The theming was excellent, and while I was unsure about whether or not anything related to this franchise would still hold up, it really and truly does. You enter a ride car that moves on a track, and you have a laser gun that you use to shoot aliens, which pop out from the animatronic scenery. It actually keeps your score! So fun! We would have probably done this again if we weren't getting hungry for lunch. 


We took another ride on The Simpsons, and I loved it just as much as the first time. We had lunch in the big cafeteria, which is super organized. All of the tables are marked "reserved" because they control the line of people ordering food, and then show them to seats as they are available. We had Krusty Burgers, which are pretty much exactly as you would expect. They involve a cheese sauce that gets ladled on, and a scary steamed burger patty. While we were eating, there was a sudden downpour, but it only lasted about 20 minutes. 

After it let up a bit, we ran over to the E.T. ride, which I was excited to see again. By the time we were through, the sun had come back out, and it got quite hot. We got in line for the Disaster Movie! show, which was so cute. Several people were plucked from the group to take part in the filming of a disaster film, directed by a fictional master of disaster films, played by a hologram of Christopher Walken. You get moved through several rooms, and taken through the filming process, which ends with you boarding a subway car, which records your reactions during a simulation of an earthquake. As you pull back to exit the ride, the movie trailer plays for you on a screen. It was fun, and would be a great ride for school-aged kids.

After choosing a few souvenirs for the kids (and maybe a couple of Ravenclaw patches for myself...), we exited the park and hung out on the City Walk for a while. Our treat for the day? We split a Cinnabon and an iced coffee. I thought that I missed Cinnabon, as we haven't had one near us in years and years, but as it turns out, I don't. I may have gotten the husband addicted to their Cinnabon-flavored iced coffee, however. We ended the day with a round of science-fiction themed mini golf, and dinner at the hotel. I was sad to leave the beautiful weather, but our mini vacation was just what I needed to recharge and prepare myself for the long slog to the spring. Thank you for being my most favorite traveling companion, dear husband. I can't wait for our next adventure.


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