I was really surprised by how small this park is. I mean, Islands of Adventures seemed huge compared to the older Universal Studios. We came right when the park opened at eight, and easily could have done all the rides by noon if we hadn't decided to go back to our hotel and sleep for a few hours.
Revenge of the Mummy: First ride of the day. We had heard that the lines get nuts, so the minute the park was open we made a beeline here. I love The Mummy, Brendan Fraser and everything Ancient Egypt, so I was looking forward to this roller coaster. I'm a little disappointed with how much of it was dark - it's much more fun to see stuff when you go whizzing around - but the set decoration I did see was pretty freakin' cool. I did get jostled around a *lot*, so the motion sickness prone might want to pass. I definitely had to sit for a quick minute before moving on to the next adventure.
Men in Black Alien Attack: This must have been so cool when the ride first opened, but now it's a little worn down. The guns aren't very accurate; you can't really tell if you're hitting the aliens or not! You get spun around a lot, so again, this ride might be problematic for those who get sick easily. I do think it's really cool that your score effects the outcome of the ride.
Jaws: We hemmed and hawed about going on this ride because we didn't want to get wet. (It was still unusually cold for Florida.) Finally we did, and naturally my butt got *soaked*. It's a decent ride, about on par with Disney's Jungle Cruise in terms of thrills. I thought it could have used a lot more shark. I went into the ladies' room, took off my jeans, and held them in the hand dryer for several minutes, but even after I got the butt mostly dry it was still uncomfortable.
What made it worse was that Alexis had PROMISED that there were no water rides at Universal Studios. (We'd gotten soaked the day before and I didn't want to repeat the experience.) I had to take this picture and send it to him with an ANGRY FROWNY FACE >:-(!!!
The Simpsons Ride: As sad as I am that there's no Back to the Future ride, I'm glad this ride is at Universal Studios because it's the best one they have, hands down. The queue is very long, but entertaining because you watch a loop of Simpson animation (I'd guess it's between 30-40 minutes long) and once you get closer to the ride, the characters start interacting with each other. The simulator takes you all over Krustyland, including several rides like "Captain Dinosaur's Pirate Rip Off." How can you not enjoy that? There's a whole story behind the ride, too. Really, really fun - it may not be thrilling, but you will laugh your ass off. Sean went on this ride in the morning, but I was still feeling queasy from the other rides so I didn't get around to it until the evening, when the queue was almost 2 hours long. THAT sucked.
Stupid water ride.
Later, in the evening
Top of a souvenir pencil; why isn't this a real ride?
Twister: For all the buildup for how devastating a real storm is - and the scary footage they show as you wait in the queue - this is a pretty tame ride. More of a show, really. You might get slightly wet from simulated rain, but it's definitely not a major draw to the park.
Disaster: Anything involving Christopher Walken - I'm sorry, "Frank Kincaid" - is going to be awesome. It's a little slow getting started, since an employee has to pick several actors from the crowd and take shots of them for the final "movie" trailer, but once you get into the subway it's a fun ride. I mean, you got earthquakes, fire, and flood - all the disaster you could want, right?
Although the Back to the Future ride is long gone, the car and train from the movies are still on-site. Seanie was very excited when we found them.
The only show we saw was UNIVERSAL'S HORROR MAKE-UP SHOW, which was not quite what I expected. I thought it'd be something like a tutorial for how to make your face look like Frankenstein or the Wolfman - not so much! It's much more entertaining. You see film clips that showcase the evolution of movie make-up and two actors pretend to cut off limbs and ham it up for the kids.
Oh, I guess TERMINATOR 2 counts as a show, too. This was cutting edge 3-D when it was added to the park, but now that you can get 3-D in almost any movie theater it's a lot less exciting. It doesn't help that I've never actually seen a Terminator movie.
While we were there, a section of the park was set aside for Christmas-themed vendors. There were artisans selling their wares and a couple of food carts. I only mention this because one food stall had DEEP FRIED OREOS, and they were fantastic.
Otherwise, the food wasn't too exciting. We ended up getting Starbucks for breakfast, and the rest of the park's food was so underwhelming we just left and went back out to City Walk to find some grub.
Perhaps I would have enjoyed the park more if we hadn't gone to Islands of Adventure the day before. But considering the entry price is the same, no matter which Universal park you go to, I felt like you got seriously less bang for your buck at Universal Studios. We were in and out, and in and out again but still managed to see everything we were interested in by 8:00pm or so. We got dinner at TGI Friday's, out by the hotels. It seemed rather preferable to lingering in the park longer.
As always, lots more photos from the trip can be found here.