Today was the non-Disney day on our Disney Vacation. We went to Universal Studios Theme Park, in particular, to visit the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter on the Islands of Adventure.
We got to the park shortly after opening, but the Wizarding World was already packed with people. Not so much fun. It was difficulty to become immersed into the illusion of being in Hogsmede when the area was so full of people. We even had to wait in lines to get into the shops.
Among the throngs of people, I ran into a former coworker. Small world. It was good to see her again. They had stood in line at Ollivander’s for a hour and half to get a wand. Luckily both Tate and Jasper are ignorant of this attraction, so we lucked out for not having to wait in that line.
We had an early lunch at the Three Broomsticks, which was actually pretty good. We had a smoked turkey leg, fish and chips and roasted corn on the cob, all washed down with pumpkin juice and butterbeer. The resteraunt itself was all done up as you would imagine the Three Broomsticks would be with old-looking tables and chairs and self-cleaning brooms.
After lunch we headed out into the rest of the park to see what we could see. We crossed out of the Wizarding World and immediately the crowds were gone. We stepped into the Jurassic Park area and I was immediately put into child-like awe. The Jurassic Park movie was the first cinematic experience I can remember that really drew me into the movie and left me with a sense of wonder after the movie was done. Walking under the Jurassic Park archway into the lush, green park almost made me giddy. I wasn’t expecting that.
Once we had our fill of Jurassic Park (or rather, once Megan, Tate and Jasper had their fill), we headed around to the next stop: Toon Lagoon. Tate and Jasper enjoyed this, but I don’t think they recognized a single character. This area was full of Betty Boop, Blondie, Wimpy, Popeye and other characters if similar vintage.
From there we moved on to the Comic book hero island. Tate and I stood in line for the Spiderman ride line for more than an hour. The ride was actually pretty good, so I don’t feel too bad about waiting so long. It used a combination of 3D theater and 3-axis car to create the illusions that we were falling, flying and being flung around by the various villains. It was worth the wait for Tate and I, but Megan and Jasper didn’t enjoy waiting.
We decided to make a pass back through to see if the crowds in the Wizarding World had died down at all (and so I could get one more fix of Jurassic Park). The crowds were still there, but we decided to brave it once more to see a few more things. Tate and Megan waited in line to go into Honeyduke’s for some candy and Jasper and I wandered around, trying not to get plowed over by teenagers staring at their phones. An hour later (not by their own doing), Tate and Megan emerged from the candy store and we set off to find some dinner.
We had thought that we would make a quick run into the main Universal Studios park, just to check it out and to find some dinner, but by the time we made it back to the front of the Islands of Adventure park, we were all very ready for dinner and didn’t have much energy left to explore another park.
We ended up having dinner at the Latin Quarter restaurant, which turned out pretty good. There was live music and the food was tasty.
On a side note, the AT&T service at both Disney World and Universal Studios was pretty horrible. There seemed to be enough “bars”, but hardly anything would actually go through. Most calls would fail and any attempt to do data would meet in frustration. Because of this, both Megan’s and my iPhones had pretty much lost their entire charge just while we were at the park. It wasn’t much fun when we got separated and couldn’t make calls to each other or had to ration phone usage so we wouldn’t completely run out.
Tomorrow is our lazy day. We’ll probably drive out to Cocoa Beach, then have dinner at the condo. We’re all tired and need some down time.