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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Disney Vacation: Day 4 (Universal's Islands of Adventure)

You can see all our vacation days at the following links:

Disney: Day 1 (Downtown Disney)
Disney: Day 2 (Animal Kingdom)
Disney: Day 3 (Downown Disney and Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party)
Disney: Day 4 (Universal's Islands of Adventure)
Disney: Day 5 (Magic Kingdom)
On Wednesday we took a shuttle to Universal Studios - Islands of Adventure.  We arranged with the hotel to have Mears Transportation pick us up (The Disney shuttles don't take travelers to Universal, for obvious reasons).  The shuttle was $19 per person round trip.  Sam was free.  It took about 15-20 minutes to get there.
Our first stop was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. 


We first went on the Forbidden Journey ride.  Universal also offers a child swap option for rides, but it's a little different.  Sam waited with us in line, and then at the end of the line there is a separate room for the child to wait with a parent, and then the parents take turns riding the ride.  It was fine for us, since there weren't long lines, but I can't imagine keeping Sam in a line for very long.  Also, the lines are all designed like the movies and can get scary at times.  Some parts of the Harry Potter line were very dark.  The child swap room varies depending on the ride.  The Forbidden Journey room was playing Harry Potter movie.
The line for Forbidden Journey takes you through Hogwarts and you see many things you saw in the movies or read about in the books.  The ride was very fun, probably my favorite ride (and not just because I'm a Harry Potter fan).

Then, we had to try some pumpkin juice and butter beer - both good!


Sam loved the pumpkin juice and has asked repeatedly for "more pumpkin juice."  He didn't want to try the butter beer, oh well.  It's very sweet and tastes similar to cream soda with butterscotch.  We tried the butter beer both frozen and unfrozen, I preferred the frozen. 

We went into Hogs Head and ate lunch at the Three Broomsticks restaurant. 

We also rode on the dueling dragons Harry Potter roller coaster and watched Ollivander's Wand Shop Show (I'm the only one that watched the show because we didn't want Sam to be scared of the special effects).  The show is under 10 minutes, but quite clever.  We were finished with that section of the park by lunch time, but there is a lot to see in that area: shops, singing frogs, moaning myrtle in the women's bathroom, etc.  Lots of little details to enjoy. :) 
After that we headed to Super Hero Island.  We were just in time to see some super heroes driving up on their vehicles.  There was Spider-Man, Captain America, Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, and Rogue.  Sam flipped out from excitement when he saw this! I didn't take many pictures of this because I was busy enjoying it myself and making sure Sam could see everything!

They all jumped off their "motorcycles" and ran to different parts of the area to take pictures and give autographs.  We decided to wait in line to meet Spider-Man.

 We waited about 10 minutes, Sam was squirming the whole time from excitement.  We got up to him and he was a little nervous at first but the Spider-Man character was very nice and talked to Sam, asked for a high-five and Sam happily obliged.  Spider-Man then told Sam, "Use your powers for good, little guy."  Which I thought was very cute.  Sam kept shouting "Bye Spider-Man!  High five Spider-Man!" as we were leaving.

We rode the Spider-Man ride, which was very good.  It's a 3-D ride with a moving cart.  It was worth the 20 minute wait.  Sam waited in line with us, but was entertained by the Spider-Man decor.  Sam couldn't ride this one, but the child swap room was playing Spider-Man cartoons.
After that, Brad went on the Incredible Hulk ride and Dr. Doom ride while Sam and I explored the park a little more.

We came back to Super Hero Island as the Super Heroes were getting ready to get back on their "motorcycles."  Sam saw Cyclops walking and yelled "Cyclops!" although it sounds like "oblops".  The character came right over and gave Sam a high-five and told me he was impressed that Sam knew his name.  Sam really liked talking to Cyclops and kept smiling and laughing.  (We tried to get pictures, but the camera had technical difficulties :( ).  As they were leaving, Sam was still saying "Bye!" to everyone and Cyclops told Wolverine and Captain America to say hi to Sam.  They pointed right at Sam while he was waving and Captain America gave him a high five.  Sam was thrilled by all this. Brad and I thought it was very cool, too.

Then, we headed to the Jurassic Park portion of the park.  Universal does a great job of transforming each area to make it feel like you are actually there.  The Jurassic Park area was filled with trees and hidden dinosaurs.

Brad and I took turns riding on the Jurassic Park River Tour which took a boat through the jungle and saw different dinosaurs.  It ended with the T-Rex coming out and going down a waterfall.  We didn't get soaked, but it was refreshing.

The Seuss Landing part of the park was also very cool.  It felt like you were walking through Who-Ville. We didn't ride any of these rides since Sam was asleep.  But Sam and I did walk through it while he was awake so he saw all the buildings and characters.
I thought the Green Eggs and Ham Cafe was cute. :)
Since Sam was sleeping and it was super hot, Brad and I took turns riding on a few more rides (Incredible Hulk Roller Coaster and the Dragon Roller Coaster) and then we headed back to the hotel.
Overall, we really enjoyed Universal's Islands of Adventure.  Sam didn't end up riding on anything, but he was very entertained by the super heroes and the various sights throughout the park.  I highly recommend this park, although it's not geared towards young children (other than Seuss Landing, which only had 2 rides Sam would have been able to ride).

We headed back to Disney and had dinner reservations at The Whispering Canyon, located in the Wilderness Lodge.  This dinner was served family style and we had ribs, chicken, and pork tenderloin.  It also came with lots of sides and desserts.  The waiters and waitresses are very silly at this restaurant so it gets a little loud.  Sam thought all their antics were hilarious. 
We headed home on the busses, and Sam fell asleep on the bus (4th night in a row!).

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