The Nomads went back to the Universal Theme Parks in Orlando, Florida for the third and final time. The first time was a pure Harry Potter Experience. The second time was for Islands of Adventure. This time we visited Universal Studios, the originally built Universal Theme Park in Orlando.
On our third visit, it was colder than the previous two times. We actually went in pants and long sleeves. But the cold did not bother us because the lines were so short. Like I stated in the Islands of Adventure post, I am not sure if the short lines were due to November being the off-season, most kids being in school or, now, because of the temperature. However, we did not question it too much. We simply enjoyed the much, much shorter lines. Take a moment to read the Islands of Adventure post to learn a few tips for visiting the park during off-season.
We entered the park and headed straight, which took us to the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride. This was a 3-D ride where you are turned into a minion to help serve Gru. This ride really makes you feel like you are flying, falling, twisting and turning. For those who get motion sickness, there are some steady seats in the front that do not move. The Nomads love the minions and we really enjoyed this ride.
After the Minion Mayhem ride, we strolled on to the next ride, The Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. However, due to high winds and cold temperatures, it was closed. They said to come back later in the day and hopefully the wind would die down and the temperature would raise. So, we progressed on across the street to the Shrek 4-D ride.
The Shrek 4-D ride was another indoor 3-D ride. Upon entering the building, you are told that you are about to be tortured for the whereabouts of Fiona. Lord Farquaad has risen from the grave and kidnapped Fiona, Shrek’s wife, and desires to kill her to make her his undead queen. You follow Shrek and Donkey to save the fair ogress, being chased by stone dragons and leaping over chasms.
We jumped from Shrek to Transformers; a 3-D ride that actually moves, jerking, spinning and throwing you from room to room, keeping your eyes pointed in the direction of the 3-D screen. You’re assigned to Evac, a cleverly named Transformer who’s job is to evacuate you and a piece of the Allspark. Along the way you encounter Transformers, foe and friend alike and watch Optimus Prime and Megatron engage in a knock down drag out battle. It was a thrill of a ride for both the young and young at heart.
Please note, outside of the rides and throughout the park, you encounter different characters which you can stop and take pictures with. They range from Bumble Bee and Shrek to Bart Simpson and Lucille Ball.
On our way to the next attraction, we meandered through the streets of an old world recreation of a 1920s looking cityscape. It had Christmas trees, wreaths and more. We exited by the port that was supposed to be the recreation of Jaws. That is one big shark!
Next we visited the Twister attraction. This is a recreation of the movie Twister. When entering the building, you see upside down cars mounted to the ceiling and other signs of tornadic destruction. You eventually end up in an area where you stand on the side looking at a scene with a gas station. A small tornado is recreated along with fires, rains and wind; there was even a flying cow. The attraction is a little older, but interesting nonetheless.
After Twister, we entered the Revenge of the Mummy ride. You enter and wind through the inside of a tomb in a pyramid. Along the way you even encounter a huge statue of Anubis. The Nomads all thought this was going to be a 3-D ride; that was until we saw the sign, right before we got to the ride, that said this was an indoor roller coaster. Folks, let me tell you, this ride was the diamond in the rough for us. It speeds forward, goes backward at one point and the ceiling even becomes engulfed in flames! We were all very pleasantly surprised and ranked this as a “must experience” ride.
We skipped the Blues Brothers Show and went on to Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue. This was a very fun and one of the most entertaining shows at Universal Studios. Beetlejuice is hilarious and his graveyard friends follow suit.
If you are a Christopher Walken fan, you cannot miss the Disaster attraction. You enter in and they tell you that you are going to be part of making a movie. Some of the crowd actually participates as extras. The film is created and directed by a character played by Christopher Walken. It is one based on natural disasters and it was a unique experience.
Continuing on around you run into Diagon Alley. Since we visited it on the first trip, I will not go into detail in this article. You can read the post here.
We came upon the Men In Black Alien Attack ride next. You are training to be a MIB agent. The Men in Black ride, for those of you who have been to Disney, is like the Buzz Lightyear ride; you spin and go from room to room, shooting things. This time, you’re shooting aliens with a laser gun. During the ride you might notice a bright red button in front of you; do not press it! They will even tell you to not press the red button. At the end, there’s a giant alien monster and they tell you to press the red button; press it, you get a hundred thousand points!
Soon after, you enter the Simpson’s area. It has all your favorite shops; Kwik-E Mart, Krusty’s, Moes, all of ’em. You can hop on Kang and Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl (it’s a mild spinning ride, like Dumbo at Disney) with a young one, or head on over to the Simpson’s ride for another 3-D ride that will jerk you around and make you think you’re really falling down a waterfall.
While you’re in the Simpson’s area, you might want to buy a Lard Lad doughnut or eat at Bumblebee Man’s Tacos. The Nomads took their loyalty to Krusty Burger and ordered five Cloggers. It’s a double patty burger with bacon, hot cheese, secret sauce, lettuce, tomato and curly fries; you guys want a Clogger now don’t you? It was the curly fries wasn’t it?
If you’re feeling nostalgic over your childhood days, you can go over to Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone, see some animal actors or get on a water slide at Fievel’s Playland, which should only be done when it’s hot outside. For a mild roller coaster take a spin on Woody’s Nuthouse Coaster, or if you want to play that off, Curious George goes to town is a nice little spot to go.
Moving on from the children’s area, you come to E.T. Which is like the Peter Pan ride from Disney, with Steven Spielberg’s touch. It’s a nice, calm, pleasant ride where you sit on bikes, looking around as you’re taken through the forest then over the city. Finally, you make it to E.T.’s planet, which he has to save with his healing touch. It’s a cute ride, both safe and relaxing.
The area leading up to the ride is done like the forest in the movie, which means it is dimly lit; you should walk at an average pace and should not run. You will run into a tree. When we tried to ride the ride became inoperable. That was okay because they gave us free Express Passes for one ride. We came back near the end of the day and rode the E.T. ride. It was a great experience.
We took the Express Passes and went to the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. The wind died down and the temperature was warmer. So, everyone was trying to get on the ride. The wait time was 60 minutes; except for us because we had an Express Pass. We waited about 5 minutes.
Rockit goes very fast; I mean, it’s really fast. You have a straight up vertical climb so high you could probably high-five Optimus Prime, and then you’re dropped almost straight down. You’re slung through tight turns, loops and turns on loops. Meaning while you’re going upside down, the roller coaster is spinning. If this sounds at all frightening to you, don’t worry, you can listen to music the entire time you’re riding the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. Overall, the Rockit was one of the Younger Nomads’ favorite roller coaster at Universal, and the ride lasts for over a minute and a half, so you get quite a bit of time out of it as well.
After The Rockit, we went to the last two attractions; Horror Make-up Show and Terminator 2 3-D. The Horror Make-up Show was quite entertaining. They show you different special effects both past and present. The Terminator 2 3-D show is a mix of CGI and live action. If you are a Terminator fan, you should take the time to duck in and check it out.
The Nomads really enjoyed the whole Universal experience; Harry Potter, Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. And, going in November with short lines made it even better!