Disney Vacation 2014 – Friday: Universal Studios and Seaworld

Friday was our wildcard day. Several of us wanted to go to Universal Studios to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (among other things) and and other folks wanted to go to Seaworld. Joe, Deanne, Birdie, Doug, Tina, Tate, and I went to Universal and the rest of the family went to Seaworld.

Joe Deanne and Birdie at Harry Potter worldWe arrived at the park without tickets shortly after it opened and walked quite a ways before finding the park entrance and the ticket booth. Once we found them, we wanted to get the base ticket – one ticket, one park – and they put on a hard sell to get us to buy the multi-park or multi-day ticket. This was a bit off-putting and wasn’t a good first impression for the park.

We made a bee-line for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter because Tate wanted to get a wand and I wanted him to have the wand-choosing experience. Unfortunately, by the time we made it to Olivander’s, the line was already nearly an hour long. So… Tate elected to find a wand at the wand wagon. He chose Harry Potter’s wand and is very proud of it.

We picked up a butter beer, which was really, really sweet. I think it was a bit too sweet. I didn’t really like it, even though I drank plenty of it.

We got in line for the “Forbidden Journey” ride and walked right through. It still took about 30 minutes to walk through the maze of lines, but the line wound through some very interesting sights, so it went by fast.

HogwartsDrinking the butter beer right before the ride was a bad idea. It was a great ride, but all that sweet butter beer and the shaky ride upset my stomach and made the ride less enjoyable. The picture they always try to sell at the end of the big rides was pretty bad for this one. I had a sour look on my face and Tate was sunk down all the way in his seat. We passed on buying that picture.

It didn’t take long for the Wizarding World to get quite busy. Tate and I wanted to make a few more stops in the shops to find some favorite candies and perhaps another souvenir. The crowds were so thick that I lost Tate several times. Happily, I found him each time and we made it out with some Fizzing Whizbangs and Megan’s favorite candy raspberries.

Jurassic Park gateWe decided to move on to the Jurassic Park area of the Islands of Adventure. I have to admit that I enjoyed the Jurassic Park area more than I did the Harry Potter part. The Jurassic Park movie was one of my favorite moves as a kid, but it probably had more to do with the crowds than anything else. Tate and I walked through and saw the sights. We didn’t ride any of the rides, but we spent some time in the interactive learning areas.

We met back up with Joe, Deanne, and Birdie and wandered around the Islands of Adventure for another couple hours before we decided that we were ready to call it a day. It was still relatively early, but we were pretty tired from dealing with the crowds.

We went back to the resort and spent some time lounging around the room and the pool. It was a good way to end the day and our vacation.

Tomorrow we fly out for Chicago. We have a reasonably-scheduled flight, so we don’t have to be overly rushed in the morning.

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