Florida Theme Park Tour: Part 4 Universal Studios Florida

Thursday, February 3, 2005 12:10 AM
We visited Universal Studios on January 27, 28, and 29.

New York traffic was a mess...
On the first two days of our visit, they were shooting a Buick commercial on 5th Avenue. Most streets in the New York area were closed to pedestrians, but they always kept a path open to Revenge of the Mummy, either to the right or left, depending on which direction they were shooting. We were lucky and picked the shortest path when we rode, but many people found themselves having to walk 5 blocks around the barrier to enter. There were no warning signs and staff along the barrier didn't know which way was open. :( The entrance to Twister was still open, but Gramercy Park was closed, the Extreme Ghostbusters show cancelled, the Blues Brothers show was moved from Delancy Street to Battery Park, and the Street Breakz show was moved from 7th Avenue to 8th Avenue.

Coasters:

Revenge of the Mummy - There's a lot to experience on this ride. The first time I rode it, staff made me take off my glasses, but I still had fun despite missing a lot of the action. The second time I rode it, I had my glasses strapped down, and it was even better. The dark ride through the crypt was very well done. The coaster ride itself (both backwards and forwards) wasn't terribly fast or violent, but the storyline, visuals, sound effects and fire were very dramatic. Revenge of the Mummy is a great coaster, comparable to Space Mountain. IMO, Revenge of the Mummy will be classic too.

Woody Woodpecker's Nuthouse Coaster - It's just another family coaster, but it's still a lot of fun. Even though it's smaller, I prefer this coaster to the Flying Unicorn at IOA. The theming is much better, and who can't laugh at Woody's corny jokes?

Non-coaster Attractions:

Nick Live! - Weird show. Lots of slime and goofing around. But the kids loved it. 'nuff said.

Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast - I'm biased. Jimmy Neutron is one of my favorite cartoons, so I really enjoyed this. My wife wasn't crazy about it because the main plot involved the Yolkians. (She thinks Jimmy Neutron is boring when he's fighting aliens -- she's much more entertained when he's battling Cindy Vortex.) The story was good (especially the part about the audience riding in the prototype Mark 1 while he was in the Mark 3. "It has a few bugs, but it's mostly ok!"), and the 3D video was great. The only part I wasn't crazy about was motion seat. It's not a full simulator seat (with seatbelts and full motion), but rather just a normal theatre seat that shakes around a bit. It doesn't move enough to add to the effects, just enough to be annoying.

Shrek 4-D - The signage and pre-show entertainment is worth the line-up alone. The show is great too, and the 3D effects were perfect. Even though the motion seats appeared to be the same style as the ones in Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast, they didn't annoy me as much on JNNB. (Maybe S4D didn't overuse the effects the way JNNB did.) A definite must see!

Twister... Ride it Out - This is a unique attraction. It's not so much a thrilling attraction, but rather a demonstration of the special effects used in the movie. It was entertaining, but not exciting. But the gift shop at the exit has some really unique stuff...

Extreme Ghostbusters: The Great Fright Way - It was closed the first two days of our visit, but we caught this and all the other shows on Saturday (when the commercial shoot set was gone). This show really doesn't have anything to do with the Ghostbusters movie, but it sure made us laugh.

The Blues Brothers - Jake and Elwood Blues belted out some tunes along with a soulful woman and a sax player. We knew all the songs, and it was a party atmosphere. However, the voice talents of Jake and Elwood were inferior to the two other performers on stage with them. I wonder if they were hired for their looks?

Street Breakz - It's a break-dance show, and normally I don't stick around for a street show like this. But we had time, and it was pretty good. These performers have talent!

Beetlejuice's Graveyard Revue - It's a rock and roll revue on a great set. Nothing particularly good or bad about it. It was also sheltered, which was nice when it was raining.

Earthquake - The Big One - closed for annual refurbishment. :(

Jaws - We rode it twice and the experiences were surprisingly different. Our first tour was with an enthusiastic captain with perfect timing. Our second tour was with a mumbling captain who had difficulty timing his shots. The ride and shark effects are pretty good, but the shark is obviously fake. If you're on the left side, you're definitely getting wet!

Universal Horror Make-Up Show - "You know, this isn't Disney. I don't have to be nice to you," said the make-up artist as he repeatedly sprayed water on a laughing woman in the front row. :) It's obvious that these cast members love their jobs. The show was a lot of fun.

Lucy A Tribute - skipped it.

Animal Planet Live - It mostly went as scripted, but a few of the animals needed a bit more practice. The show was much shorter than we were expecting. The set was amazing, but they didn't use most of it. Maybe they do more extravagant shows at different times of the year.

A Day in the Park with Barney - You couldn't pay me to experience this.

Curious George Goes to Town - All four adults in our group had a blast. It was too cold to enjoy the water play area, but we goofed around a bit and two of us got accidentally soaked. They have water guns and targets -- hit the 'lion' target and the lion spits water -- hit the 'fill bucket' target and the bucket above our heads filled with water and tipped over. We thought we were safe from the bucket when we stayed under the roof -- NOT -- the water just ran off the sides and hit the rafters before pouring on our heads. :) We also spent 15 minutes or so shooting foam balls around. Why should kids have all the fun?

Fievel's Playground - We walked through quickly. It looks like a lot of fun for kids.

E.T. Adventure - We rode it once to determine why pregnant woman are discouraged from riding, then we rode it again with our pregnant companion. From our perspective, the only issue was the lap-bar restraint, which might put pressure on the abdomen. Our friend's tummy wasn't too big yet, and each of us really enjoyed the ride. The theming through the queue line is very good, and the miniature effect showing the city was impressive. This ride is unique in that E.T. thanks each rider by name at the end of the ride.

Star Toons Character Meet and Greet - We got our pictures taken with Shaggy and Scooby Doo. When we asked if they had any Scooby Snacks, Shaggy replied, "No man, they're still in the van, and the gang just took of with them!" :)

Men in Black Alien Attack - Our first ride was so awesome, we rode it again. What I can't figure out is how our scores dropped from around 150,000 to around 40,000 when we repeated it?? The guns in our second car must have been inferior, because we knew we shot better and pressed the red button at the right time. Who knows... Like E.T. and Shrek 4-D, MIB has a great queuing area and pre-ride entertainment. The interactive component is great too.

Back to the Future The Ride - What a disappointment! We rode in the back row and all of us had serious head-banging issues. I sat in the left-hand seat in a car in the right half of the theatre, and the high side-wall cut off a lot of the screen. This violent simulator might be fun in front-row center, but you can't choose your seats, so I suggest skipping it.

Terminator 2: 3D - I can't believe I nearly forgot this ride. It was a great mix of action and 3D theatre. They did a great job meshing the multiple screens with the set. I was always looking from one screen to the other to see what would happen next. The actors did a fine job too.

*** Edited 2/3/2005 5:11:26 AM UTC by greatwhitenorth*** *** Edited 2/3/2005 5:12:35 AM UTC by greatwhitenorth*** *** Edited 2/3/2005 5:14:05 AM UTC by greatwhitenorth*** *** Edited 2/3/2005 5:15:09 AM UTC by greatwhitenorth*** *** Edited 2/7/2005 6:51:08 PM UTC by greatwhitenorth***

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Thursday, February 3, 2005 2:40 AM
It is possible you had malfunctioning guns (or even a malfunctioning car?) and your score was the score from the people who rode your car before. I remember back in early September I was up in Niagara with my family, and my brother (big time Spiderman fan), my dad, and I went on the Spiderman ride @ Marvel Adventure City (which is basically the same type of ride). For some reason, our car never reset the scores which were flashing the whole time during our ride, and our guns didn't work. The ride sucked big time without guns, so we complained to management who needed to be asked 3 times before they'd give us our money back. I can be so stubborn sometimes, especially when I feel like I'm getting ripped off ;)
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Friday, February 4, 2005 11:53 PM
I agree on Back to the Future, I banged my head something fierce. Too bad you missed Earthquake, it was absolutely amazing when I rode it last year. The sight of all that water rushing in against the train scared the crap outta me the first time I saw it. Ditto on Men in Black, I loved every minute of it.
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Saturday, February 5, 2005 2:44 AM
I didn't like Earthquake much. Granted, I had ridden it a few times in the past decade or so, so it seemed a bit outdated, and it was overshaddowed by the other greats in the park. I used to like it, but now, it's old news somewhat.
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Sunday, February 6, 2005 3:42 AM
I had never been to Universal before last summer, so everything there was new to me. I enjoyed all the rides, although I don't remember ET saying my name at the end of the ride. The fireworks display at closing time was a real treat. BTW, did you ride Terminator: Battle Across Time? I thought it was a bit long, but I loved the interaction between the live actors and the on-screen ones. I also totally agree with your review of Revenge of the Mummy. I thought it gave Space Mountain a real run for it's money. *** Edited 2/6/2005 8:53:24 AM UTC by Dan1*** *** Edited 2/6/2005 8:54:17 AM UTC by Dan1***
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Monday, February 7, 2005 1:52 PM
Dan1, Thanks for reminding me about T2.
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Thursday, February 10, 2005 11:42 AM
Isn't Earthquake the one where Charleton Heston comes on the TV and there are 3 people chosen from the audience that have to pull ropes down with all these boxes?

If it is, I loved that and I was chosen to be one of the participants.

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Friday, February 11, 2005 3:24 AM
That's the one.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2005 12:12 AM
We skipped EQ this past Christmas/New Years when we went, but 2 years ago I was chosen as 1 of the participants, very fun. Too bad the ride sucked. :(
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