Disney Day 4 : Not Disney, Universal

 Day 4 of our fabuloso vacation started on a bit of a sleepy note. This child is very much like her daddy, and is not really a morning person. We were able to finally drag everyone out of bed though for a quick breakfast at the All Star Music Resort food court. It was fine but not someplace we wanted to eat every meal.

One last surprise I managed to keep (Bobby is a fortress, but it is hard for me to keep stuff from the kids) was that we were going to Universal Islands of Adventure and Harry Potter World. Once our Mickey shaped waffles were consumed we were able to head out to our car.  Universal is only about 14 miles from Disney so it was no problem to jump in the car and head up there. We did have to make a brief stop at Walgreens for Bandaids though as we were really suffering from the blisters on our feet.

I took a quick video of the kids on the way and revealed that we were headed to Harry Potter World. Little Man could care less about Harry Potter but was thrilled to find out he was going to get to see Spiderman!
 I knew ahead of time that parking was going to cost $15 (at Disney we could park for free at the parks but we used the buses so this was the only time we moved our car all week). As we got in line for parking though Bobby spied a sign for preferred parking. It was $5 more but it was supposedly closer and all on the same level. We decided that since out feet were already feeling like they were going to fall off less walking was a good idea. Now, we intended to head straight for Harry Potter World but Little Man saw the Dr. Seuss tram and really wanted to ride it. The line wasn't too bad so we acquiesced. The kids wanted to ride together in the front row so we sat behind them and enjoyed watching them enjoy the ride. It was pretty slow so no one freaked out. We got to meet The Grinch in Seuss Island, rode the carousel (which we discovered each of our Seussical animals did different things besides going up and down), and walked through the Seuss maze.

Then, we finally made it to Harry Potter World.....with everyone else in Florida.... You might remember that Harry Potter 7 was just released.
 Munchkin has read the first 3 Harry Potter books and has seen the first 4 movies. She was Hermione for Halloween last year and was absolutely excited to go to Hogsmeade. I don't know how I managed to get a photo of my kids by the train without anyone else because it was packed!
 After seeing the train our first stop was to ride The Forbidden Journey. You are not to take anything on the ride which was kind of a bummer. I wish I had had my camera with me because the line wound through the castle. You got to go through Dumbledores office, through an area where the paintings were talking and moving, and saw Harry, Ron and Hermione in a classroom where it "snowed". To encourage people not to take anything they provided lockers for free while you were on the ride. The time was a bit daunting (120 minute wait) but it ended up being about an hour. They hid the line well but had big sprayers and fans to keep people cool. When we finally got to the ride Little Man was out of sorts. They made him get measured and then seated us and then made us get up and move to another car...Little Man and transition, especially in a dark area was not really happening. He was already upset when the ride started and he was not happy at the end. Munchkin insisted that she did not want to go on any roller coasters that went upside down but this was went pretty close. I did have to close my eyes in some sections (motion sickness) but thought the ride was fun. It was pretty scary for little kids though. I would go on it again and Munchkin was thrilled with the ride. If we had time she would have gone again for sure!
 Our next ride was Flight of the Hippogriff. It was a small wooden roller coaster that Little Man loved and terrified Munchkin. She screamed her head off the entire time! Hogsmeade was like a scene from the movies. The stores, the forced perspective, the snow. If there were fewer people we would have spent much more time there. We could not leave Harry Potter world without getting Butterbeer. I made Bobby stand in line for a few minutes while I checked out Honeydukes. We purchased 1 frozen butterbeer for the four of us to share. When it is almost the same amount for a drink as it is to park you only get 1. However, 1 was plenty for us and it hit the spot. And, Munchkin got to keep the cup as a souvenir.
 After Harry Potter World we needed a break from walking around so our next event was Matt Hoffman's Aggro Circus. When we walked in my sweet hubby asked if there were certain places we needed to sit. Because he was just being polite the guy took us over to sit in the reserved seating area. Which means we were front and center for all of the action. It was a really entertaining show and the kids were completely impressed (heck, I was impressed) with all of the stunts. Once all of the death defying events were over the same worker came over and asked if we would like to meet a couple of the guys. Both the guys that came out (the BMX stunt guy and the skateboarder) were very nice to the kids and gave them autographs and stickers.
 Munchkin had Harry Potter World, Little Man was elated that our next stop was the Spiderman ride. We waited about 30 minutes to get on the 3D ride. We tried to get a smashed penny in line but the machine stole our money. If we ever needed Spiderman fighting for justice it was right then! ;) This was another ride where I needed to close my eyes for a few minutes but it was really fun. Both kids thought it was AWESOME!!!! As luck would have it Spiderman was signing autographs right across the street when we got off the ride. My picture of the kids with Spidey may not be awesome but the one taken by the park was terrible. The kids eyes were closed and they were making weird faces.
 We had been walking and exploring the park for hours and we were starting to think about lunch. Bobby mentioned the Mithros restaurant. There was a sign on it that said it was the number one theme park restaurant so we thought we would try it. However, before we could get to it we saw another restaurant that advertised fajitas, wood fired pizza and buffalo wings. All food items we like so we stopped at Confisco instead of Mithros. It. was. so. good! The prices were reasonable, think Chili's, and the best part was free refills! I probably downed 5 diet cokes and I know I was not even close to keeping up with Bobby and his cokes! Just think Florida, in August, in 100 degree heat and 95% humidity. Then you get to a restaurant with free refills on sodas...AHHHHHHHH!
 Feeling refreshed we made our way to a stunt show called The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad. It was pretty entertaining. Next up though was the Jurassic Park area. At this point it has started to rain so we spent some time hanging with the dinos. There was a great exploring area for the kids to play in. Not only did they get to take care of dinosaur eggs they got to combine their dna with that of a dino. A puff of air stood in for a needle to take a skin sample and they put their face on the screen (I was wishing for antibacterial gel at this moment in time) so they could see what a dino mixed with them would look like.
 Munchkin managed to get soaked by the Jurassic ride without even riding it. Little Man didn't want to ride and it shut down during the rain storm anyway. We may have gone on it but we were getting kind of tired. As soon as it opened up we went on Popeye and Bluto's Bilge Rat Barges. Once again we were completely soaked. We tried to dry off a little bit on the Me Ship, The Olive but it was futile. I had an extra plastic bag from Disney so I put my backpack inside and pulled the straps through the plastic bag handles. This enabled me to wear the back pack without getting it soaked. You can say it...ingenious! :)

Apparently my kids didn't think they were soaked enough so they convinced Bobby to take them on Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls. I waited on the bridge so I could get a picture of them. It was possible...they got even more soaked than they were before.
 Little Man really wanted to get a smashed Spiderman penny so we made out way back to the city. He is actually showing his penny in this next picture. Around this area was also Dr. Doom's Fearfall. Bobby really wanted to ride so I stayed with the kids while he went. He got back to us and convinced Munchkin to go with him a second time. They got to the point where she was strapped in and then freaked. They had to get her off the ride. She was a little bummed that she didn't do it but was also a little relieved.
Our last ride for the night was The Cat in the Hat and we took another quick run through the Seuss maze. We stopped in City Walk at Cinnabon and then headed back to our hotel. Dinner was late that night in the food court at the hotel. I had to do some work that week but was not able to get access to anything. While I tried to do that Bobby took Little Man swimming while Munchkin and I hung out in the room. Once they got back we all passed out in anticipation of Day 5 of our vacation.

Universal Tip #1 You can purchase a fast pass for almost the price of your ticket. If you are willing to pay you get to walk on to any ride at the front of the line. It was too much for us but it looked like it would have been worth it.

Universal Tip #2 This is also a Disney tip. This was the night I got the advice to wrap my feet in duct tape. If I had any I would have. My feet hurt!

Universal tip #3 Find a restaurant to sit down in for a meal in the heat of the day. It is quite refreshing.

I am really glad that we did the 4 day park hopper with Disney and took the time to go to Universal as well. I am also glad we did NOT do a park hopper for Universal and only did the one park ticket. It would have been too much for one day. All in all a great day at Universal!! :)

Next Up: Day 6, Epcot.

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