Universal Studios Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA
The wife and I hadd planned on flying to Florida with my nephew Justin since the begining of last year to take him to Disney and Universal. But, my wife always being on top of things to get very cheap airline tickets thanks to her connections in the hospotality and travel industry, missed the boat this year. We got busy later in the year and plain out forgot about it. Anyways, we had to drive from Muskegon, Michigan to our destination in Florida. Leaving at about 7:30 a.m. on the 21st of December for a trip that seemed to be more driving than anything else.
We arrived after driving 14 hours to our first destination in Panama City where we visited with my wife's best friend for about two days.
Leaving Panama City we arrived 6 hours later on Christmas Eve at my parents house in Clearwater Florida.
Christmas day we as a family went to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. We hit Islands of Adventure first.
Harry Potter Land was first.
The wizarding world of harry potter ride was very dis-orientating and made my mom sick. My Nephew loved it and wanted to ride it again. After waiting 20 minutes at 8 in the morning the first time we waited an hour the second time. All in all this ride was very well done. 9/10
Flight of the Hippogriff was next. We waited 15 minutes to ride it. The ride was very well-themed. My nephew rode it again with my dad later in the day. 7/10.
We waited an hour for the magic wand shop. I thought this was the most dis-appointing thing for me in harry-land. Thinking that we wited an hour to see a short little show and then exiting into a gift shop selling $30 wands. 4/10
I rode Dueling dragons when it first opened and actually dueled. I thought the dispaatch times and` the stacking was a little out of hand. We rode both sides, waiting about 30 minutes per side, It works well with potter-land but I liked it better when it was new. 7/10
The Incredible Hulk. I know the talk of this ride is that it has gotten rough over the years. But, I didn't seem to notice that very much and I thought it gave the same ride as when it was new.
Since my dad and I were going golfing the next day we went over to Universal Studios, and took a last ride on Jaws after waiting a half hour, I hate to see this go, but glad new things are coming to take it's place. 5/10
The Mummy Returns is a new ride for me and I found it quite enjoyable. The theming and special effects were top-notch, and the line seemed to move right along. 9/10
Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rock-it. What a waste of an hour and a half of my time. All those block-brakes kill this ride. I find it crazy that they Universal couldn't build a better ride than this, but then again they did bring us E.T. the ride. 2/10
The rest of Florida for me was spent Golfing and saying goodbye to a good friend of mine that has stage 3 stomach cancer in Miami. The doctors have given him another month of life.
My wife, Mom and Nephew went to Disney resorts for three days and had a great time.
Our return trip started on the 28th as we were headed to Atlanta to visit more friends and go to Stone Mountain.
Stone Mountain aka Snow Mountain was awesome. I have been there 3 times and this is the first time I climbed up the mountain. Took me about 1 1/2 hours, but was well worth it. We also bought the tubing package and laughed at all these red-necks that don't get a chance to play in the snow all winter like we can. Then again we laughed at ourselfs after realizing that we were paying to sled on fake snow when we can do the same thing on real snow at home. Oh Well!
New Years Eve the wife and I got liquored up on Crown Royal and cheap tequilla, while my nephew spent the night with other kids his own age and stayed up all night playing video games. The good news is he slept all the way through the 12 hour trip home the next day.
All in all it was a great trip, just alot of driving for me and my wife. As far as theme parks are concerned Harry Potter land is awesome and a great attraction for Universal. On a side note I don'e see what all the fuss is over butter-beer.
As far as life is concerned it was great saying goodbye to a great friend of mine for the last 29 years.
I hope everybody has a great coaster riding new year in 2012!
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