KickTheSky's FL Coaster Pilgramage Pt2- Universal

Associated parks:
None

Monday, February 25, 2002 6:16 AM
All told, my wife and I spent two days at Universal.  A half day at the Studios and one and half days at Islands of Adventure.  In that half day at Studios, we saw everything there was to see.  In the day and a half at IOA we saw about three quarters of what there was to see.

I will get the mostly boring stuff out of the way and talk about Studios first.  This was our second time at this park and thusly was not too much fun for us.  Almost all of the attractions in this park rely on some sense of suprise.  Since we knew all the suprises all ready, well we didnt have to much fun.  We did Studios on a Wendsday when the park was dead.  Every attraction, even MIB was a walk on. 

MIB was the highlight of this park for us.  We did it three times and I actually got quite good at it, outscoring all the cars that were on the pictures at the end everytime.  The BIG secret to this attraction is to hit that red button when they tell you to.  If you do, you will get a 100,000 point bonus.  Most people do not do this and their scores are well under 100,000 points.  My high score was 235,000.  My wife's high score was 45,000.  She failed everytime to hit the button. 

On to IOA.  Last year we did not hit this park so this was a first time park for us.  We first hit IOA on Monday.  Daytona people were there that day and the park was absolutely packed.  Dragons had a 40 minute wait, Hulk 60 minutes, Spidey 75 minutes for most of the day.  Lines did go down later in the day. 

I was uterly amazed by the theming.  I heard from people how good it was and I saw some of it on the Discovery Channel and Travel Channel.  Let us just say that TV does not do this place justice.  Every Island was superbly themed and I was just blown away everywhere I went.  My favorite had to be Suess Landing.  Even though the area is for kids, it was enjoyable for adults and had the most attention to detail.  Lost Continent was a close second for me and the theming around Posiedon's Fury was unbeatable. 

First ride in the park was Hulk.  I had my brother in law and his girlfriend with this day so I didnt have to ride alone.  We ended up riding this thing twice on Monday and another four times on Wendesday when it was a virtual walk on.  This thing is great from the back because you get more launch than anywhere else on the coaster and you get some really good air where you are on the shoulders of the harness.  I was impressed with how smooth this ride is comparred to the other sit down I have riden, Kumba.  Kumba is one of the roughest B&Ms I have riden even rougher than Iron Wolf and I was afraid Hulk might be the same.  Thankfully it wasnt.

The other major coaster was Dueling Dragons, Fire and Ice.  I only got to ride Fire on Monday because of the lines, but I rode both on Wendesday when lines where a tad shorter but still in the 30 minute range.  Both of these coasters reminded me of Batman the ride at SFGAm where all the elements are packed in and the whole ride lacked pacing.  I thought the flybys where overrated and was highly disappointed.  Would I reride this again?  Yes.  They are both very fine coasters, but as far as inverted coasters, they are not my favorites.  One thing that annoyed me with this on Wendesday was that there was a 30 minute line for this ride, longest line in the park and they only ran one train per side.  They only ran two to a side on Monday as well.  Do they have three trains for these two coasters?

I did not get to ride Pteradon Flyers as we didnt have any rugrats with us.  My wife and I both rode the Flying Unicorn coaster and I thought it was pretty good for a kiddy coaster.  My wife had a good time and got to add one new coaster to her total for this entire trip(she didnt do Hulk or Dragons and had already riden Woody Woodpecker at Studios)

Other notables were of course Spiderman.  My wife claims this is the best ride she has ever been on.  I have to say it was the best simulator ride I have ever been on.  Well done special effects, I love the temperature changes in the ride. 

I also went on Dudley Do Right's Ripsaw Falls and was kind of disappointed with all they hype surrounding it.  It was a good water ride, but the one at Seaworld blows this one away. 

As far as dining, we were going to do Mythos but it was packed and quite expensive for my brother in law and his girlfriend, both college students.  We ended up eating Green Eggs and Ham in Suess Landing.  I got a special sticker saying I ate green eggs and ham, got a good pic of the box with the sandwich in it(turned out to show the green eggs and ham) and it was actually good eating.  Well worth the pittance we paid for it.  Best deal in both parks we found though was this one pizza and italian place in Studios.  For two slices of pizza, two soda refills(we used our dragon cups there), breadsticks, and a salad we paid 14 bucks.  Not bad for park food. 

We also hit CityWalk both nights and had a real good time at Margaritaville.  Their Margarita's are to die for and you get to keep the glass!  We also dined one night at Pastamore' and found their food and service to be out of this world. 

All in all Universal was a great experience.  We will be hitting IOA again, but I think we are done with Universal Studios for a while until they get a few more new things. 

Next up our wonderful day at Busch Gardens...

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Bob Hansen

"Excuse me while I kick the sky!"
kickthesky@hotmail.com

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Monday, February 25, 2002 8:28 AM
Wow, what a difference a month (and an "event") make -- my trip in January, IoA was EMPTY.  Glad you had a relatively empty second day, at least
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--Greg
"The collective women in your life have more baggage than a Samsonite factory..."
My page
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Monday, February 25, 2002 9:44 AM
A lot of it had to do with Daytona and President's day weekend.  My guess is a lot of people did a park before going home from Daytona on Monday.  That was evidenced by the number of NASCAR shirts and jackets I saw being worn around the park and around CityWalk on Monday.  On Wendesday there was not many NASCAR shirts, not more than say you would normally find in central Florida at any given time.

I do wish they would have run Dragons more efficiently so I could have riden it more otherwise I think I had ample opportunity on everything with the second day. 

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Bob Hansen

"Excuse me while I kick the sky!"
kickthesky@hotmail.com

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Monday, February 25, 2002 1:42 PM
I'm guessing you did, but did you ride Dragons at the Front on Both Sides, because of course this is the only place you can experience the Near Misses very well. I personally thought the Near Misses/FlyBys were excellent, the Loop Near Miss actually scared the crap out of me, B&M designed it so perfect, thats its quite scary on your first ride.
also, DD does and can run 3 trains simply because of the unload station, However, I have not heard a report of them ever running 3 trains, It seems to be only 1 or 2 train operation on each all the time. Also when I went, I thought the staff are terribly slow on that ride, to be fair, they were only doing this to ensure duelling went on all day. But they could have still easily speeded it up a little bit more.

I must say personally, I actually liked Ripsaw Falls, however it still doesnt compare to Splash Mountain which is still the best log ride in the world in my opinion. Ripsaw Falls still qualifies in my Top 3 List of Good Log Rides however.

Also, did you by any chance ride Popeye and Bluto's Bilge Rat Barges, I loved that Rapids Ride:)

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Monday, February 25, 2002 2:35 PM
I unfortunately did not get to ride the Barges.  It was so cold that day that Dudley's and Jurrasic Park had me freezing for hours.
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Bob Hansen

New Top 5:
5-MF; 4-X-Flight; 3-Hulk; 2-Kraken; 1-Raging Bull

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