I realised from the length of Q on the first day that Universal must have opened the gates well in advance of the on site early opening time of 8.00 am.
We left Portofino Bay at just after 7.00am and walked down to Universal. The Q’s were building up by the time we arrived at 7.20. Doors opened at 7.30 and everyone walked up to Diagon Alley and Escape from Gringotts.
We were much nearer the front of the Q this morning and the wait time was only about 10 minutes. This was our 2nd time on the ride so we were in a much better position to take in all the details and fully appreciate the ride. Unfortunately towards the end, the ride broke down for a couple of minutes. It started again and when we got off the staff took us through the Child Swap area so that we could have another go and fully experience the ride without the interruption of the breakdown. However, they seemed to be having further technical difficulties so they gave us Express Passes specific to one ride within the HP area that we could use later in the day.
We went over to Rip Ride Rockit but unfortunately this was also having technical difficulties.
One of the rides always near the top of the “Must-Do list” is “Revenge of the Mummy”. We had express passes but at this time there was hardly any Q’s, it was just really a walk on ride and so we did it a couple of times. This was previously one of our all time favourites rides in this park. However, with all the new rides I think it is now starting to look a bit dated.
Had some snacks and by the time we had finished Rip Ride Rockit had opened. DW gave it a miss. Me and DS 17 selected our traditional family choice of Gloria Gaynor’s 1970’s disco classic, “I Will Survive”. The ride starts off by heading up a straight vertical, it is a very smooth ride and great fun, especially as you can sing out loud at the top of your voice. Me and the DS17 went on a 2nd time.
Overall a great ride. Superb theming and the music really adds to the experience. Although I’m not sure the people nearby listening to me sing Gloria’s classic would necessarily agree.
Next we did the Despicable Me attraction that replaced the Jimmy Neutron simulator ride. Apart from DD11, none of us have seen the film, so we had no real idea what it was about. However, it was very well done. This seems to be one of the most popular rides in the park, certainly one of the longest q’s.
After all these thrill rides we wanted something a bit more relaxing, so we did ET. We had intended to playing of our favourite games of all selecting different names. However, I think they are updating this bit as they no longer ask for your names.
We watched the 11.30 Barney show. DD11 was still keen to see this and it is always a really happy trip down memory lane for us as a family. All the children really enjoyed this show when they were younger.
We had some pizza’s and pop corn for lunch and then headed up to The Simpson’s ride. In the pre-ride show it’s always good especially when Homer is told the ride is radioactive and he replies “I’ve waited 60 minutes for this ride and no one is stopping me riding it now”. It definitely reminds everyone of me. I like the ride, but once on this type of simulator ride is enough for me.
Next we went on Men in Black. A good ride, but in my view nowhere near as good as Toy Story at DHS. On MIB the scoring always seems a bit ht and miss. (especially as DS17 score was over 10 times my score!). Also I could do without all the spinning at the end.
One of our favourite shows from a number of years ago, Fear Factor Live was also on. Over the last few years when we have visited in mid to late August this show is generally closed. We caught the 1.30 pm show. It is great entertainment and a good chance to sit down for 30 minutes or so.
We then headed back to Diagon Alley and Escape from Gringotts to use the Express Passes we had received earlier in the day when the ride broke down. It is the type of ride that you see more detail and appreciate more each time you go on it.
As we were leaving Diagon Alley a small live puppet show was taking place with 4 actors playing the “3 Brothers Story” from “The Tales of Beedle the Bard”. It was just a 5 to 10 minute show but a nice break and well performed.
After this we went on the relatively new Transformers ride. This is a very similar format to the Spiderman ride at IOA. Again it is a well done, although I don’t know the story. Also whilst the Spiderman ride was at the cutting edge of this technology when it first opened, it does not seem that the Transformers ride has substantially moved the technology on.
By now it was 4pm and with a combination of the early entry and the Express Passes we had pretty much done everything we wanted to do at Universal Studios.
We caught the water bus back to the Hotel. On our way back a heavy storm came and the captain had a bit of difficulty manavouring the boat into position next to the dock.
We had originally planned to go back to City Walk for our evening meal but as it was raining heavily and we had enjoyed Mama Della’s so much on the first night we decided to go back there. Again good food, excellent service and they had a couple of Italian performers. It was the eve of our wedding anniversary so we requested Ave Marie from the singer and accordian player, and it was a beautiful version. The singer has a great voice. A very good end to a very successful day.