carries her own pineapple juice
Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure - both in one day Nov 16, 2010 + DHS after
I thought this report was long gone, but lo and behold a member here at easyWDW (roamma) who is also over on TGM found the report (where it was most likely buried beneath lots of others on their forums) that I wrote after my solo trip in November 2010 (the same year WWoHP opened) and sent it to me via private message here bit by bit so I'd have it again. See, my process with trip reports usually is to jot down notes in a little notebook while touring the parks, then type them up later into text files on the computer at home, then delete the text as I post it onto the forums in my trip report. I have to apologize in advance that the photos from this day at US/IOA (and DHS, where I went via taxi after I left Universal) are no longer online - I must have deleted that Photobucket album back when I needed to make more room. However, this "text only" report will still serve to help out others who are planning to visit US/IOA in Orlando. I noted a lot of details. And thanks again to roamma for finding this report for me.
On my 40th birthday on Tuesday, November 16th, I took a day out of my fun WDW visit to go see Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure (where the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is located) and stayed from opening until closing (9 am - 6 pm that day, I believe). It was the fourth day of my Orlando trip, and I was staying at the All Star Movies resort in the Toy Story building section. One thing to take note of: Since I already had my park tickets that I'd bought online (had to carry a piece of paper to both US and IOA so they could scan the barcode at the turnstiles), I didn't take advantage of the Mears transportation/tickets deal that a friend told me about - didn't know about it in time. But if anyone reading is interested, here is the link: http://www.dreamsunlimitedtravel.com...-roundtrip.htm
All details are on that page, but it basically lets you buy your US/IOA tickets in a package with Mears bus transportation and apparently the bus will come get you wherever you're staying on Disney property to take you to US/IOA for the day. Hours and prices are listed on the site. If I didn't already have my park tickets I would have used that deal. Instead, I took a taxi to Universal. Now here are the exact notes I wrote (and I'll edit a bit as I paste them here since I tended to ramble sometimes as I wrote, and sometimes new comments will be in italics).
I was up pretty early this morning. Woke up three times before finally staying awake at 4:30 am. I should have no trouble getting to US on time. I have the free Disney Dining Plan, that I upgraded from quick service to regular dining plan with $40 for the 4 nights' total, so while I'll have lunch at IOA I'll wait and have dinner somewhere on Disney property later so I don't have to pay out of pocket.
I was thinking about how it's kind of funny when people hear me winding my disposable cameras (you have to wind them up between exposures - I brought disposables because my then digital camera was not working well)...they're LOUD, and sometimes people turn around to see where the noise is coming from and what is making it. I don't do this in quiet places (except for maybe the Grand Floridian's lounge). On a couple of rides, when I took a couple photos a kid in front of me would turn around, spot the camera and look like they've never seen one before. Nearly everyone has digital cameras now, and they're much quieter. Makes me feel old, LOL. Speaking of old, I turn 40 today. I'm 40 NOW, since I happen to be up before dawn. I don't think of 40 as old.
One more thing about this hotel room...I'm in a corner unit on the second floor (#9811) and it's nice that I only have two common walls. I can't hear anyone's noise around me except for toilet flushes and high heels walking. There isn't too much noise going by my door (at least not while I'm here), so maybe there aren't many staying on this floor. I never see anyone, just one Mousekeeper I passed last night when I went to get ice. However, I've seen little towel art creatures in some rooms' windows. Why don't I have any of those? Just because I'm one adult in this room with no kids present? I want towel art! I'm only using one of the two beds, to make less work for Mousekeeping - they only have to make up one of the beds each day. I'll go ahead and wear the Disney birthday button today even though I'll be at Universal - their staff shouldn't care. (In fact, if they noticed the button they did indeed wish me a Happy Birthday...they see Disney all over...I saw lots of people in Disney shirts at Universal. I wore a plain, undecorated shirt today.)
5:35 am I left for the food court with my disposable tea cup. Got my tea filled (with my own tea bag)...no one is here, no one noticed me. There are workers here but no cashiers yet. They came out shortly but I was already sitting down in the cartoon dining area. "All cartoons all the time." Uh oh, Donald Duck's going after a woodpecker with toothpaste. Now, there's a sentence I don't think I've ever written in my life thus far. This end of the room has posters on the wall of Peter Pan, That Darn Cat, Pinocchio, Old Yeller, and Swiss Family Robinson. HA! Timone from "The Lion King" was singing "Stand By Me" (in this cartoon I'm watching) with Pumba the warthog as backup...and Pumba asked, "You won't cry?" with Timone yelling/singing back, "No! I won't shed a tear..." His voice cracks me up sometimes. Did Nathan Lane do his voice all the time, or just in the movies?
6:30 am...the shop behind me isn't open yet. More people are showing up at the bus stops. About six people are waiting for the DME bus now. A Magic Kingdom bus came at 6:38 am. Two buses show up for Hollywood Studios at 6:52 am (why am I not just getting on any of these other buses? I can grab a taxi there, right? I didn't think of it this early, that's why). If no bus comes for Downtown Disney by 7:30 I'm getting a taxi from here, I've decided. An Epcot bus arrives at 6:55, with a Magic Kingdom bus a minute behind it - and yes, there are small groups of people boarding all these buses, probably bound for early character breakfasts at the parks. Okay, at 7:11 I called a taxi. I told the dispatcher there were two taxi vans in the nearby parking lot with the phone number on the sides. I watched one of the vans the whole time I was talking to the lady. I asked, "Should I just walk up and see if he can take me?" She said, "I'll send one, it won't take long." After I hung up, I walked over to the front of the hotel and saw this SAME TAXI VAN start up and come over to me. LOL He has been in the parking lot for probably an hour. I saw him park there in the first place.
Well, it'll cost more to leave from here but at least I'm not waiting any more. I didn't pass any bus headed to Downtown Disney, so I'm glad I got the taxi. 407-422-2222. It's nice to see more of Orlando on the ride over. I saw the outlet mall, the Disney Casting building, swamps, greenery (I like everything to look green but I know it means lots of rain and humidity), condos, hotels, the turn-offs for Sea World and the airport and Cape Canaveral....oooh, a Harry Potter billboard....International Drive. OOH! I saw the Harry Potter castle way off to the left! Universal Blvd. Nice area. Has to be, to attract visitors. 7:30 arrival, I paid $40 with the tip. Miley Cyrus music is playing, LOL - there IS a bit of Disney at Universal, besides me. I leisurely went up the escalator from the taxi/bus area, got my bag checked before the moving walkway that took me over to CityWalk (nothing looks open) and I walked all the way down to the entrance area to Islands of Adventure (it's on the left, and Universal is way off to the right, past Hard Rock Cafe and some other stuff). There is a line of people (not too long) who got in just before 8 am...they're on-site hotel guests there for Early Entry. I lined up at the regular 9 am opening turnstiles.
Then a couple from a non-Universal hotel shuttle came to join me in line. They were a little upset that their shuttle would send them here this early when they can't even get into the park yet. We just saw two women dressed as witches (in wizard hats but in long gowns) with a stuffed plush owl approach the staff, talk and then wander off. Weird. I guess Universal lets adults dress up? Disney doesn't unless it's for a Halloween party, right?
(more in next post)
carries her own pineapple juice
While in line (I was first), I talked to about six people...besides the Universal couple, the others came from Disney hotels, and we chatted about Disney (some had major complaints about their hotels, mostly Port Orleans) and Harry Potter. The Port Orleans family said they had requested to not be in the mansions, they wanted connecting rooms...and they got neither request. Management told them they could only have connecting rooms if each room had 5 people in them. This lady knew that was wrong, she had had connecting rooms before, etc. She said the manager was rude to her but she didn't get her name and now wanted to complain. They all had great things to say about the Poly and the Contemporary. One couple said they stay at the Contemporary every time they go. We talked about all the rides, and soon it was 9 am and we watched the Opening Family's daughter read from a script and officially open the park. I was first through my turnstile, and we all headed to the right, then left at Green Eggs & Ham, then left again towards Hogsmeade. Wow, it looks like it came right out of the movie (in fact, the area's designers were the set designers for the actual movies). And there I spent the next two hours.
OF COURSE I headed to the Castle first....and there's a sign that points the way (as if you needed one...the Castle is HUGE). The posted sign for the Forbidden Journey ride inside Hogwarts Castle (sign is outside) says it's a 10-minute wait. It was less. I can't say exactly because we all had to stow our things in the lockers through Filch's shop (off to the right of the line entrance...the locker is free for the first 35 minutes. It uses fingerprint ID technology, so remember the number of your locker to make it easier to get your stuff out later! More on that later. After 35 minutes it's $3 up to a max of $20 I think for the whole day and you use a credit card as payment. I never went beyond 35 minutes at any locker). I stowed everything, including my cell phone (which served as my clock, too) and my disposable cameras. We all walked on to the ride...the only reason the wait says it's ten minutes is because you walk quite a ways, through the greenhouse/conservatory, then into the Castle and through various rooms like...
*[SPOILER ALERT FOR THE QUEUE!!]* Dumbledore's office, the Defense Against the Dark Arts' classroom, the Gryffindor common room, and past some items from the movies, like the Mirror of Erised - from the first film/book, the Sorting Hat, and some other things. The moving line only stopped now and then whenever someone paused to get a photo or admire the Castle's interior. There are two places where you see the moving paintings (plasma screens, but framed like old portraits), and they talk to each other. Well done. Best queue I've ever been in. Ever. There were lots of things to see. But hey, I'm here to go on a ride, I almost forgot! I walked on to the moving walkway to get into a 4-person seat (harness comes down over you...there is a hard drawer along the back of your seat area that you can open and stow something small inside; it's hard to see and I didn't use it because I didn't see it in time during my second ride...during the first ride I didn't have anything to stow). I sat on the far right. *END OF QUEUE'S SPOILER*
**RIDE SPOILER ALERT: *IF you don't want to know what the Forbidden Journey ride through the Castle is like, don't read this paragraph. Scroll down to the next paragraph (or look away and have someone else do this for you) and then keep reading. Okay, my feet are resting on the moving walkway. If it were a bit bumpier it would make for a nice, quick foot massage. We're moving sideways...as we pass, Hermione recites a spell on the screen in front of us that gives us FLIGHT and our feet LIFT from the ground (aw, the foot massage is over) as our seat contraption brings us up over the Castle....Hagrid's dragon has gotten loose, and while Harry and Ron intend to take us over to the Quidditch pitch to play some Quidditch, a bunch of stuff happens to us instead (funny enough, Ron disappears after the first scene - it's just heroic Harry who guides us through the bulk of the ride) because of this loose dragon. I might not have this all in the correct order, but at various times we're surrounded by spiders (who secrete stuff at us, so you get a little wet depending on your seat's position - just lightly wet), we see huge Aragog the biggest spider (I think I screamed both times I saw him), we're surrounded by dementors at some point (a certain seat position gets the start of a Dementor's Kiss..."flashlight" beaming at you from its mouth to try and suck your soul out of you...the Dementors look like a bit like skeletons in cloaks). There is no Voldemort on this ride, thank goodness (the kids have enough to be scared of). The height minimum for this is 48 inches, but there still may be kids of the proper height who can't handle the ride. It is scary. But FUN. You do feel like you're swooping down over the Castle, and you feel the action. This ride contraption isn't just Soarin' against a Harry Potter movie screen. There are animatronics throughout, and the screen adds to the atmosphere - and the ride is whipping you around the entire interior of the ride's setting. You're not staying put on a bench with a seatbelt. Oh, at some point the dragon is IN MY FACE and he blows HOT RED/ORANGE AIR at me. That happens if you're in the far right seat. On my second ride, I was in the far left seat, and I saw the dragon breathe on someone else. Also, the dementor was in my face (a group of them, actually) when I was on the right side and not while on the left (although they're all around and you do see them, and they're rather overbearing). I don't think I'm leaving anything out, but at some point you DO get to the Quidditch pitch (after leaving a cave that comes crashing down around you, and Harry leads you out), Draco comes along and teases Harry in his usual wicked manner (they're on broomsticks), I think we go through a goalpost ring, we catch the dragon (? I think, can't remember now!) and everyone from the movie is at the final screen thanking us and waving at us. Shoot, I don't remember if it was EVERYone from the movie...I don't recall if I saw Snape or some of the other teachers, but Ron is back (he probably didn't want to be near the spiders before) and Dumbledore warns you to get all your belongings (they're in the locker, thanks, dude) and leave. I don't remember his exact words, but it was very Dumbledore-like. GREAT ride. When I rode the second time, I took the camera with me, as I said before, and I got through the queue in about 7-10 minutes this time (stopping briefly to take photos along the way, no one minded - a lot of them did the same). You can go in another line to do this, through the Castle, and not ride. But when the wait is so short for the ride, why not just ride again. This is why you get into the park at opening time. Easy decision for me, to just ride again. I had sat down in the ride's sideways thingy before I remembered I hadn't stowed my camera, so a staff member told me to stuff it in my pocket. When she moved away, I tried to do this but it was hard to get past the harness now into my pocket (loose pants for this day, but still tough) so I just held the camera in front of me with both hands - not anywhere near the button so I wouldn't accidentally take any photos.
*Okay, spoiler alert is over.* I was done with riding both times by 9:39 am. Plus, before that time rolled around, I had my stuff out of the second locker and had bought another camera in Filch's shop (they're not out on display but the guy behind the counter went to the stockroom and got some out for me). Actually, at 9:39 am I was in line to ride Flight of the Hippogriff. Outside the Castle there is a booth to buy wands from (fancy sticks, they're not real wands, folks - no such thing - booth pictured earlier)....so you don't HAVE to go line up outside Ollivander's wand shop unless you want that whole experience (I think "the wand chooses you" and there is light and a fan blowing at you for a second, if I've been told correctly...needless to say I didn't line up in the long line there for that). There are also t-shirts and plastic broomsticks for sale. Very cool. Didn't buy anything besides lunch and a butterbeer, but very cool.
*SPOILER ALERT: *If you don't want to know about the kiddie coaster Flight of the Hippogriff (height minimum 36 inches), don't read this paragraph. Have that other person come back and scroll through this for you (or do it yourself). I rode Flight of the Hippogriff at 9:51 am, having been in line since 9:39. Not bad. Hagrid's Hut is nearby, good photo op.
I didn't know (or forgot) that as the coaster starts, it stops briefly at Buckbeak's "nesting" animatronic statue. He bows his bead at you, and we all bow back. This was so fast, I didn't have my camera out, but I then got the camera out as we sped by (no easy feat, it was in my backpack between my knees on the floor...I was in the back row) and tried to get a picture as we zoomed by him later...it's an 800-speed disposable camera so I hope it turned out (it would have, but a tree or something was in the way). I held on to the camera for the rest of the ride. The coaster cars themselves look like they're made of wicker but they're not. The front of the coaster has Buckbeak's head. I got a photo of that at some point (not close up), thinking that was the only Buckbeak I'd see - until the statue appeared. Nice ride...fast and with ups and downs....it's for kids so it doesn't go upside down or do anything too terrible.
*Okay, spoiler for that one is over.* Next, at 10:06 am I was hungry. I didn't really eat this morning, and I was up so early I'll call this lunch. I went into Three Broomsticks through the Hogshead Tavern. Both are dark, woody places that, again, look like they popped right out of the movies. Except for the menus and counter service registers, haha. I ordered the Cornish Pasties (3 small ones come with a green salad) and a Butterbeer (in a regular plastic cup, but they have two different souvenir cups you could also get, with the drink served in it). MORE IN NEXT POST.....
carries her own pineapple juice
The total cost was $11.70 with tax (cash). Yummy butterbeer, like a foamy cream soda (I swear, the foam on top never went away even down to the last gulp). You could get it in frozen form, but I opted for just "cold." Nice pub. I sat at a small table in a corner near a fireplace and a huge table where about ten people sat (one big family). They left after a while and I took some pictures. While I was there, Hubby phoned me to wish me a Happy Birthday (and little Kimberly talked to me, too). Music from the movie plays throughout the pub. I had to cup my hand over the phone so they could hear me. The Cornish Pasties were really more like Empanadas...small, spicy meat (taco-like) stuffed inside an enclosed pastry. Very good, though, just not real Cornish Pasties (from England). I'm hungry, so they're pretty good. I had only had a granola bar to eat thus far. The lettuce and cucumber slices in the salad look a bit dry. I wouldn't have ordered the salad but it came with the Cornish Empanadas. It's cozy and dark in here, as it should be. They did this whole place RIGHT. The butterbeer tastes like cream soda but maybe with a pinch of butterscotch added? I should have bought another one later. It's non-alcoholic. At 11 am I left Three Broomsticks and went inside the Zonko's jokes shop and Honeydukes sweet shop (they're connected). These are small shops. If I didn't mention it earlier, be sure to do Ollivander's Wand Shop first thing if you plan to go in there - it always has a queue out front. I wasn't interested, and if I wanted to just buy a souvenir wand there are kiosks out in the street where one can do so. Ollivander's is just for if you want the whole "the wand chooses you" experience (lights and wind).
I actually left the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, walked away a bit, and then realized I hadn't yet ridden the Dragon Challenge. I went all the way to the top of the short yet hilly line (it had a 10-minute wait posted but seemed much shorter), was about to board the ride, and the guy told me I need to hand off my backpack to someone or go stow it in a locker. DOH! The lockers aren't up here?!? No, he says, down at the bottom. Argh. The guy at the bottom of the hill didn't see me so I wasn't warned ahead of time - he had been talking to some people when I passed by earlier. So I went all the way back down the winding hill. Saw the Weasleys' bewitched car on the way - it makes noises and its front window is cracked/broken in a few spots from its bout with the Whomping Willow (which I didn't see anywhere as a prop).
I decided I was too tired to go all the way back up the line, passed the lockers and left the Wizarding World again, this time for good. I decided that this was just a rollercoaster (I knew of nothing too special about it except it used to be their Dueling Dragons coaster and your feet dangle free while you go upside down, etc.) and I would be going on other coasters today so it wasn't a big deal for me to skip this one in the end. By the way, the height minimum for this ride is 54 inches.
And the lockers for the Dragon Challenge ride are in the Owl Post station next to the Hogwarts train. It's close to the ride's hilly entrance.
So, I left the Harry Potter's area in Islands of Adventure and was in line at the Seuss High In The Sky Trolley ride in Seuss Landing at 11:28 am. Before I got to that area, I walked through a Morocco/Middle Eastern type area (I had passed it before on the way to WWoHP). The Seuss Landing area is surreal....you must check it out even if you don't ride everything.
I figured this overhead trolley ride would give me a good view of all the rest of the Landing, and it did. At 11:45 I was on the ride, in the front row. Like a Peoplemover ride with lap bars. I didn't take photos from above it all since I was saving film. The line kept stopping off and on, strangely...and then there was a PA announcement that the ride was now "open" (so maybe I was in line with several others for a ride that hadn't officially opened yet?). I have heard before of different parts of the park opening at different times, so this didn't really surprise me. But we heard this announcement twice with a few minutes in between them. Odd. Anyway, nice ride that went around and I saw Dr. Seuss's strange, whimsical land from overhead. While I was heading over to the Cat in the Hat dark ride (both of the above rides were not on my "must do" list), my mom phoned to wish me a Happy Birthday. I still got in line for the walk-on ride and wound up with a car to myself (this was like a Fantasyland dark ride, essentially). We carried on a conversation (so I'm glad no one else was in my car) and it was funny because at some points during this ride my car SPUN AROUND several times....I suddenly squealed at my mom, "I'm spinning!" and she laughed. When I got off the ride, I was still talking to her (great cell connection, eh?) and had to sit down on a low wall to finish our conversation before I got near The Hulk (a big coaster, in a loud area). While I was talking to her it suddenly struck me how utterly ridiculous this Seuss area looked, while I'm trying to have an adult conversation, so I got the giggles and told my mom, "If you could see what I can see right now, you'd be giggling, too." And then she got the giggles. I described what was around me (a crazy creature carousel, a "one fish two fish red fish blue fish" Dumbo-type ride that had water squirting from fish to fish, some other fanciful things that appealed to all ages).
*(Before going on to talk about the big coasters here and at Universal: Something that was nice about these two parks is that they have a sample seat outside all or most of the rides so you can try it if you think you might be too big or too small to fit in it comfortably/safely. Also, they list which row you should sit in if you need "modified seating" - which is if you need a bigger seat. I don't know if all thriller ride parks are offering that, but it was nice that Universal did.)*
I had to stow my stuff in a locker again over near the Hulk ride, so I don't know what time it was but it was 12-something and it was a walk-on. Score! I screamed like crazy on this ride, it was awesome. I don't care about theming, really (except for Harry Potter and the Simpsons, which you'll read about soon), as long as it's a good coaster and this is. This started the Marvel comics area/street in the park, and I made my way down towards Spiderman's ride (the only other character there I really recognized, since I'm not into comics). The staff guy outside was changing the wait time sign and for a while we all stared at it going down to zero minutes but then it went blank and he turned around and told us the ride was having technical difficulties and he couldn't say when it would be operational again. So, I figured I was now leaving Islands of Adventure, at 12:40 pm, and I got my stuff from the free locker near the Hulk. As I started to pass Spiderman again, my Spidey senses started tingling and I went over to check out the entrance area...it was OPEN again with a 5-minute wait! It actually was almost a walk-on. So I rode it. It's in 3D (not necessary, but there you go - another one with the 3D trend), in a motion simulator thing and it follows the comic book Spiderman story more than any movie I was familiar with so I considered this just so-so for me. Every now and then Spiderman or one of the villains would "land" on the front of our car thingy so our seats would bounce a bit while the character said something to us (I don't recall what any of them said), and we'd be flung around to another scene while web-zipping through the city. Someone who is a fan of the comic book would probably love the ride.
At 1 pm I left Islands of Adventure, walked across the Hard Rock Cafe area at the front over towards Universal's entrance turnstiles and was inside the park at 1:10 pm. Out comes my mister fan! It suddenly got hot. I carried it around for a while, fanning myself, and some people looked at it enviously. It also has all the Disney characters all around its base, LOL.
They have a Lucy tribute hall here, but I've been in the one in Hollywood already (several times) so I just passed it.
I got a little lost, heading through the Kids' Zone (saw the Woody Woodpecker, Barney, Curious George, and Fievel stuff - Fievel is the mouse from the American Tail movies....how many kids these days know about Woody Woodpecker, I wonder?). I was making my way towards The Simpsons' area and soon figured out that I needed to leave the kids' area and continue along a different path. The Simpsons' area is great - it's like a carnival theme, with a big Krusty the Clown "ride" as its centerpiece. (I had hoped the Kwikee Mart would sell Squishee drinks, like Icees/Slushees, but it was just a souvenir shop.)
The ride's posted sign said it had a 10-minute wait. This has to be the second best queue I've ever been in (after Forbidden Journey), including the pre-show. Before you even get into the room for the pre-show (where there are characters on at least two monitors taking turns to tell us stuff) they show Simpsons cartoons in the exterior line. A lot of us kept forgetting to move up in the line because we were facing the other way to watch the cartoon. Everything about it - the pre-show, the ride itself - was so FUNNY, sarcastic and farcical, I wish I had ridden it twice. This is a must-do, but especially if you're a fan of the show. My husband used to watch The Simpsons every week but went off it a while back. I told him later that he would LOVE this ride. There were so many funny bits in it I can't remember them all. I couldn't even remember half of them once I exited the ride, and now it's hard to remember even that half....but I remember one tidbit from Homer. The theme is that Sideshow Bob is trying to get revenge on the Simpsons for their putting him away after he tried to kill Krusty the Clown (I think)...and he has rigged various rides they're on in a theme park (Krusty Land or whatever) but they keep escaping accidentally and are placed on other rides (without even trying)...Homer at one point tells Marge, "Don't worry, Honey...they can't kill us. Theme parks won't let you leave until they get your very last dime!" My ride companions and I were laughing hysterically throughout this motion simulator ride (I can't remember now if it was in 3D or not, but it didn't need to be). And you can take your bags onto this ride because each simulator is in its own room, so you just leave your bag off to the side before the sides come down over you (to enclose you - and then all the action is on the screen and in the simulator you're riding in).
I think the reason I didn't ride again right away was because I knew I wanted to get back near the Animal Actors show for 2:30, so I headed back that direction and stopped to get a pretzel with dipping cheese and a Coke. I sat at a shaded table near the show's entrance, and once we were let in I took the snack with me. The show was good, funny - and just like the one I saw in Hollywood about 20 years ago (but I love animals, especially dogs, and this was a nice break to rest my feet and laugh). Then I left and went to Shrek 4D. I walked in to the pre-show (no wait). The show itself was good. *SPOILERS* The seats you're in move up and down occasionally, and the story is about what happens to Shrek, Fiona, and Donkey immediately after the wedding that ends the first film. Apparently Prince Farquad's (is that his name? I don't remember now) ghost is trying to get revenge on the ogres for killing him (Donkey's dragon wife ate him)....and it goes on from there, we get squirted with water whenever one of them sneezes, etc. (typical gross ogre humor). I think this might have been the one where a Tinkerbell-like fairy appears at the end and she gets launched off into a wall in the theater, with her butt sticking out and her legs flailing. That got lots of laughs (from me, too - I kinda don't like her). Hehe. I saw Shrek outside, across the way for meet'n'greets - but Donkey wasn't there in his stall.
carries her own pineapple juice
Then I went over to ride Revenge of the Mummy (or Mummy's Revenge, whatever it's called). This ride loads from both sides, and as I got in, the guy sitting closest to me (in my row) who loaded from the other side looked at me and said, "Hey, we met you this morning!" It was one of the families from the IOA turnstiles. So for the first 30 seconds of the ride, he and I talked about how much we enjoyed the Harry Potter area earlier. Then we paid attention to the great Mummy ride, and after we exited, the guy told me that I HAVE to ride Hollywood Rip Ride Rock-it (which is on my must do list anyway, I'm just saving it for last)...he said that even his teenage son (who was there with them, just quiet) rode it and loved it, and he normally doesn't do those types of rides. Okay, I'm sold. I went over to HRRRock-it, stowed my stuff in a nearby locker. I think I waited about 5 or 6 minutes to ride, and I was off by 4:03. This ride was cool.
You sit in the coaster, the harness comes down over you, you pick which song you want from the selection thingy (I picked "Gimme All Your Lovin'" by ZZTop...they should play songs on ALL the rollercoasters - look how good it is for Rock'n'RollerCoaster at Hollywood Studios!), and then you go STRAIGHT UP while you're FLAT ON YOUR BACK before it gets to the top of the hill, where you pause (I think) before it SHOOTS YOU OFF and you're going through the hoops, etc. I think this is a good place to mention that I have this habit of not being able to swallow right before a ride like this starts....if I'm on a rollercoaster or a free-fall ride, I just suddenly shut down and can't swallow....I have to really force myself so I can then relax and not feel like I'm going to feel sick. Well, this was one of those times....and then, of course, you take off and go really fast and scream your head off (and laugh), and then it's done. I realized when I came off this ride at the end that I suddenly can't remember my locker number. I remember a couple of the other locker numbers from EARLIER in the day, but not the one for the locker that has all my stuff in it RIGHT NOW. It's all fingerprint ID technology, so no problem - I'll let the machine scan my fingerprint (I've been using my left index finger all day at these machines). Well, each locker section (there are sometimes 12 sections) has a different machine. I had to scan my finger at NINE stations before I found my locker. LOL. You see, when it verifies your ID and opens your locker, a little light-up button at your locker lights up in that section and you go to it before anyone else can maybe try and steal your stuff from it. It's a good thing I'm leaving now...I don't want to have to remember any more locker numbers today.
At 4:23 pm (before closing time!) I'm in another taxi van and on my way to....hmm, where should I go? I have the Disney park hours and crowd colors on my little cheat sheet...what to do, what to do. I'm not tired. Since I just rode a lot of coasters and didn't chicken out of any of them, I think I'm ready to conquer my fear of Tower of Terror. Disney's Hollywood Studios is supposed to not be crowded today and is open until 8 pm. Also, I'd be sticking to an all-Hollywood theme today since I just left a lot of "old Hollywood" theming at Universal. I like this last minute decision, and then I don't have to go back there tomorrow on departure day as I'd originally planned. While there I'll do the other stuff I haven't done yet at DHS. The driver is nice - he said DHS is closer than my hotel (so it'll be a cheaper fare) and he reminded me that I'll need my Key To The World card so he can be let into the parking gate (I have it on me, of course, because it's also my hotel room key). The seatbelt is tight on my neck, with no way to lower it! Ouch. I suffer through this, pulling it away from my neck constantly, until we arrive at 4:40 pm. It was nice to rest my feet a little. I paid the driver $30.25 plus a $4 tip cash. I enter the park and go straight to Great Movie Ride...it's still not the cowboy scene, just the gangster scene. So, done there. (I'm not saying the gangster scene is bad, I've just done it before and wanted to try the other one this trip.) At 5 pm I waited for the Animation Building tour/show at the theater doors. This was a cute show, with little Mushu the dragon from "Mulan." I hadn't seen it before. It had a commercial at the end for "Tangled." When we came out of the show and we were waiting for the next drawing class to let us in, I saw the day's "surprise" characters in the meet'n'greet room (Characterpalooza)....WOW, they had Genie (with Aladdin), Belle (in her blue and white casual dress, back in her provincial life - a little girl was so happy to see her, and her mom said, "She looks just like Belle!"), Minnie with Pluto, Captain Hook with Smee, Mr. AND Mrs. Incredible, and Snow White. Plus the usual Lotso (grrr, villain from Toy Story 3, he doesn't fool me with his smiles and hugs) and Sorcerer Mickey. When Hook walked away to take a break, he walked up to a lady and scared her, haha. She shrieked. Frozone came out a bit later to replace Mrs. Incredible, as usual. When our character drawing class started, the artist in charge told us he had had requests to do Scrooge McDuck (Uncle Scrooge). The girl next to me was very happy (it was her request). In the middle of the class, my phone rang (it plays "Hey Jude") - I thought I had turned it off, oops. While it was playing, before I could hit the "ignore" button and turn the phone off, a couple people said, "I like that song!" It was my dad, and he left a message. My Scrooge McDuck drawing rocks. We weren't instructed to give him a coat collar but I drew one for mine. I came out of the class and the nearby shop and called my dad back. While I was on the phone, leaving the animation courtyard, a cast member who was sweeping up came up to me and was admiring my drawing (I hadn't rolled it up or folded it up yet). I carried on my conversation with my dad while also talking to the cast member. I told the CM I had been an art major for a while, and he said, "Well, you still got it!" So I thanked him, and he went on to say, "I've tried to draw those things sometimes and they're just not good at all." I left that area as politely as I could and made my way down the street towards Tower of Terror. I didn't have time to chicken out this time because I was still on the phone with my dad the whole way. Right up until I got to the ride's entrance. I started to panic, telling my dad, "Oh, I need both hands now!" So he let me go. The posted sign says it's a 10-minute wait. I asked the CM if it was really ten minutes....he answered that it goes really fast especially once you're in the boiler room. He told others near me that it's a good idea to ride right now because soon the Beauty & The Beast live show would be let out and all those people would be getting in line to ride. There were no Fastpasses available. So I got in line. My phone's battery is dying...I got a lot of calls and messages, plus I took some photos with it and texted them to my email at home. I think the wait really was ten minutes, but when I was about 20 people from the ride's start another cast member called out for a single rider and I spoke up - so I was seated early. Thanks? I'm still nervous. I decided to count the drops, to help calm myself during the ride. I counted six drops (of various heights) but still scream-laughed after each one. It's funny how we all come up out of our seats a bit each time (makes me feel very light) - imagine what a mess it would be in that elevator if we didn't have those seatbelts. I made it. And now I like the ride. I think one reason I didn't like it much before (in May, the only other time I've ridden) was because I was worried about Kimberly's ride experience. She hated it, and I was concerned for her. But with her not with me, I enjoy the ride.
At 6:42 I went in the Single Rider line for Rock'n'RollerCoaster and it was a walk-on. I went right into the pre-show Recording Studio area and this time saw the whole thing. At 6:47 pm I rode. This time the song played was "Dude Looks Like a Lady." I'm having such a lucky birthday today I decided to go over and see if I can use my last Table Service dining credit at Sci-Fi Dine-In. It looked a little crowded outside, but not bad - so when it's my turn at the counter (at 7:10 pm) I ask the guy if there is availability for one with no reservation. He said Yes, and I'd have to wait 15 minutes. At 7:15 (five minutes later) I was seated in the rear (third) seat of a car, behind a family of four who had the two front seats (I gave them my ketchup bottle at some point). I thought I'd get stuck at a table in the back so I was glad to be in a car. Great environment...dark, feels like you're at an old drive-in. I didn't think I'd like the sci-fi stuff on the screen but a lot of it was fun and silly. We still don't have that fancy kitchen of tomorrow, today! With the raising counter and the lowering cabinets/shelves. The little film about it was made in the 50s or 60s...so where is our super kitchen progress, hmm? They showed some Tom & Jerry cartoons, too. I couldn't decide on an entree, so I asked my waitress if I could get an appetizer AS my entree on the table service credit and she said yes, so I got the Double Dip appetizer (a spinach/artichoke dip and a 7-bean chili dip with corn tortilla chips), a Vanilla Coke, and a slice of cheesecake that I don't see on the AllEars.net menu (it was alternating layers of red cake and cheesecake, with raspberries and sauce on the side - plus mine came with a white chocolate birthday coin and a candle in it, and the waitress sang "Happy Birthday" to me quietly).
It was nice to have something on the screen to watch while I ate dinner (the American Way), and we were all facing forward so no one can really watch you eat (and it's pretty dark in there....the only light on the table was a bar across the top of your little bar/table area that lit up your food slightly). It was fun....cold, though (had to put on my windbreaker). I didn't take any pictures of the food here, because the darkness wouldn't let my cell phone take a good photo (didn't show up at all). The meal would have cost $22.55 with tax, but with the Dining Plan I paid $4.25 cash just for the tip. I was done at 8:06 pm. The park closed at 8, but Sci-Fi Dine-In is open tonight until 8:30. I see some people hanging around at the Osborne Lights area, so I go back over there to see it one more time. There are definitely less people here than there were on Sunday night. This time, during the audio program, Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz (of "Phineas & Ferb") messed with the lights (with his deluminator-inator) and Agent P (Perry the Platypus) saved the say (all unseen but heard). I went in the shops on my way out and bought nothing. On my way out to the bus stop, I saw an older lady lying in a heap - she had just tripped up and fell down. Her son (or daughter) and spouse ran to her aid, and I couldn't just walk by (I was about 20 feet away) so I went up to them as they were helping her up and asked if she needed some NeoSporin (I always have it in my bag). I let her use it to spray her scraped hand and knees, and I had a clean napkin in my bag that she used to dab the scrapes. She and her family thanked me and then I RAN to my bus (I saw then that it was there, one for all the All Stars hotels). At 8:44 I got on the bus and stood near the front (it was crowded, and loud) and then the same family I'd helped got on the bus after me (I didn't have to run after all...some people were still boarding when I got there). We found a seat for the lady who had fallen, and people shifted around so the kids could sit down. Most of us who had just boarded wound up near the center of the bus, avoiding the yellow-bordered area near the door. At 8:48 we left Hollywood Studios. At 8:56 we arrived at All Star Movies (last stop of three). I went to the front desk to confirm that I could use my last counter service meal credit tomorrow after I've already automatically checked out of the hotel, and she said yes. I went to the food court and used one counter service credit...I told the cast member at the register that I didn't want food but could I downgrade the credit to a snack credit. He said I could get 3 Cokes and he'd call it a counter service credit. This is where I wasn't thinking, just doing what I was told, so I got the three Cokes instead of making one of them a water or whatever. Okay, thank you! More caffeine to keep me awake and maybe wake me up early again tomorrow. But that's okay.
I got back to the room, packed up what I could, watched some TV (1-1/4 episodes of "Raising Hope," a funny comedy on Fox). The rerun that aired first was a great episode I'd seen before - for those of you who know it, it was the one with the "Constantinople" song and the Jenga game where the grandma clears out the storage shed to get the baby safely out. She can only get the storage shed cleared (like a Jenga game) if she's dancing to the "Constantinople" song.
ACK! I just realized I can't go to any park tomorrow because I just used day 4 of my 4-day ticket! Good thing I realized it tonight instead of showing up at MK tomorrow only to not be let in. Well, so I'll either hang out here or go to Downtown Disney. However, with this morning's experience with the buses I know their buses don't seem to come here early. At 11:30 pm I'm still up. I talked to my sister on the phone for a while, told her all about Harry Potter Day. Flipping TV channels around I found a "Phineas & Ferb" episode. G'nite!
-------------and that's all I wrote about that day. Hope you enjoyed reading and that it might be helpful for those going to Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure and especially Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I'll go back there some day when the kiddo is tall enough for more rides.