Day 22 (Thursday 29th)
Published: Saturday, 31 August 2013
As our Disney passes had now expired we spent our last full day in Orlando at Universal Studios.
Although Universal have some world class attractions, this is easily our least favourite park and was only the second visit here this trip. It’s always ridiculously hot as they just don't have as comfortable queuing areas as Disney have. At Disney, a lot of the ride queuing is inside with air conditioning cranked up. Not so at Universal, you can really get too hot while waiting in line here. Perhaps a ploy to sell more drinks?
Anyway, Josh and I rushed to Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, an INSANE rollercoaster that neither of us had ever ridden. It was brilliant even though I wanted to lose my breakfast at the end of it ;-) It has a very long vertical climb at the start which then goes straight into a vertical descent. It’s really intense with loads of stomach churning twists and turns. A great feature at the start is that you get to choose the music you want playing through the speakers in your ride car as you go along the coaster. Great touch and great fun (we rode it one more time before we left and it’s a DEFINITE must ride in the future).
The new Despicable Me attraction next which we could all ride together. These new generation 3D rides are just incredible and they are so difficult to describe. You sit in a theatre and the whole seats move which you watch an eye-popping Despicable Me animation. A truly amazing experience.
My favourite ever ride at Universal Studios is Spider-man. A new ride has now opened based on that same concept but is themed on Transformers. I heard this ride has cost Universal $180 million! They are spending billions on new rides here over the coming years and really going all out to beat Disney. If these new rides are anything to go by they’re going to really ‘WOW’ everyone.
Transformers was really good but I don’t think it’s a massive leap from Spider-man which has been there a good few years now. In fact, I’d say Spider-man is still my favourite of the two.
We jumped onto Disaster! next. This is one of the original rides at Universal and it shows. This, ET and Terminator 3D are REALLY showing their age in my opinion. I remember back in the day they seemed amazing but now look really dated. It’s amazing to me that 40 year old Disney rides have stood the test of time while these 25 year old Universal attractions haven’t. I personally can’t see Universal keeping these rides going for much longer.
We rode The Simpsons ride next…BLEURGHH! This is a motion simulator ride which replaced the Back To The Future ride some years ago. That ride also gave me motion sickness but I liked that theme much more than the Simpsons one. After the ride we walked through Springfield (an area of the park designed to be like the town where The Simpsons live). This is a brand new area of the park and all I can say is that it looked much more impressive on paper.
I’m actually sat on the plane home writing this and it may seem like I’m just bashing Universal. I’m not really, some of their attractions are world beaters and we love riding them, it just seems a bit of a hassle trudging around these parks compared with the relative ease of the Disney parks.
Joanne was feeling nostalgic for ET so we rode that next. It was fun riding through the forest on bikes and saving ET but it really is showing it’s age.
After Terminator 3D we walked over to the Islands Of Adventure park as Josh had been wanting to ride The Hulk since he was about 5 years old. I think I’m getting too old for these rides. I still love them but after a ride like this I feel like I’ve just run around in a circle 20 times. Dizzy and feeling sick is the order of the day but it doesn’t seem to affect Josh at all which is fine by me. I’ll ride any ride with him as he just loves them so much.
Our last ride of the holiday was Spider-man. I’ve mentioned how great this ride is many times and we all really loved riding it one more time. The new 4K projection footage is just eye-poppingly beautiful. Spidey has never looked so good.
The boys both had temporary tattoos on their arms on the way out and we headed off to The Polynesian for showers and a meal at ‘Ohana.
‘Ohana was good and as Wishes started the lights in the restaurant were dimmed and we could sit at our table and watch the Fireworks spectacular over at the Magic Kingdom for the last time. They pipe in the music to the restaurant as you watch and it was a great end to the holiday.
We then swam in the pool until midnight and then hit the sack for the last time this trip.