So, the morning wasn’t going exactly as planned but I was ok with that. We still got to do and see things in Diagon Alley that I wanted to plus, I knew we’d be back.
Next up, we went over to Men In Black. This is a ride my DW will go on and she especially enjoys it because she kicks all of our butts in scoring. Actually, I kicked everyone’s butts this first time but only because I pressed the red button at the right time for the 100,000 point bonus. Otherwise, I only had a paltry 23,000 points while DW had 80 or 90k.
From there, we headed over into the Simpsons area. We had been on the Simpsons ride before but that was before the whole Springfield expansion so that was really cool to see. The ride is as fun and funny as ever. I love all the little jokes and I was laughing out loud during the part just before you get on the ride. Even though DD7 has never watched a Simpsons episode and didn’t get a lot of the jokes, she loved this ride. We ended up going a second time right after.
Let me pause for a moment and just say how much I LOVED having Express Passes. (who doesn’t, though, right?) It was so great when we wanted to do something again that we knew we could jump back in line with minimal wait using EP. I’m usually able to do this with certain things at WDW but I have to plan it out just right and I have to know which rides the kids will want to do twice in a row. That was before FPP, though, so not sure how it will work next time we go. I’m sure I’ll be fine doing some similar planning - e.g. Splash Mtn early and then use FPP shortly after. I did get a chance to try out FPP on a business trip in March. I went to Magic Kingdom one evening and I really liked it and I think I would be able to make a good plan using it for our next family trip. I think both systems - EP and FPP have their advantages and disadvantages but I like them both a whole lot more than waiting in hour+ lines.
After our second ride with the Simpsons, it was getting to be lunchtime. We went over to the Fast Food Blvd to eat. The kids both had pizza from Luigi’s which they liked. DW and I both got something from Cletus’ Chicken Shack. She surprised me by getting the Chicken and Waffle Sandwich. I’m usually the one that gets weird stuff like that. She really liked it and let me taste her maple mayonnaise. I thought it was pretty good. I got the Double Batter Chicken Platter which was fried chicken, mashed potatoes, coleslaw and corn on the cob. I liked everything except the coleslaw.
Oh, and lest I forget, I also made sure to get myself a Duff Beer. As a longtime Simpsons fan, this was a must-do. I’m happy to say that it didn’t disappoint. I got a regular Duff which is an amber beer. I’m not any kind of connoisseur so all I can say is that it was good. I would definitely get it again.
After lunch, I had planned to go see the Animal Actors show if the timing worked. The next show was at 12:15 and it was approaching 12 as we finished up - perfect! We got there in time to line up in the EP line. We ended up with some nice seats in the middle.
It’s a really cute show if you like animals. It’s one we always go to when visiting Universal and we always enjoy it.
I had originally planned to leave the park around this time (after the show) for a mid-day break back to the hotel. As anyone who has been to Orlando in June can attest to, it gets HOT so we usually like to get out of the sun and either into a pool or into our air conditioned hotel room. As luck would have it, though, most of the day there was a good amount of cloud cover so the heat wasn’t so intense. We decided that we were all doing ok enough to keep on going.
Since we were near the Kid Zone, we headed over there. First, we did E.T. This is one of those rides that has sort of an obligatory feel to it. Like Small World. It’s not particularly great but there is some nostalgia - at least for DW and me. The kids’ assessment was that it was “creepy”. Yeah, I guess it is, kind of. I still have to do it. When E.T. came out in 1982, I was 12 and it was my absolute favorite movie. I loved it. In fact, I’m probably one of the few people who, upon first riding E.T., knew that we were on the Green Planet. I actually read the book “E.T. The Book of the Green Planet” by William Kotzwinkle back in '82 during my E.T. obsession phase.
We went over to the Woody Woodpecker roller coaster afterward. Kids were not impressed. They were ready for bigger thrills.
I think my DW was a little sad when we left the Kids Zone. It was the first time in recent memory that we’d gone there and NOT done the Barney show. About 8 years ago, when DS was 3 or 4, we visited and he absolutely loved the show. Then, four years ago when DD was 3 we went and SHE loved it. We have these cute videos (perfect for blackmail some day) of them dancing to the songs and meeting Barney afterward. I wasn’t too sad to skip Barney this time…
We walked down Hollywood Blvd to get to our next destination. On the way, we stopped into a Magic Store. They were going to be doing a show in the next 10 minutes or so but we decided we’d try to get back there later. We continued on to Transformers. This was new since our last visit so I was excited to try it out. I knew it was similar to Spiderman which is one of my favorites. Kids and I went on it and really liked it. We did it a second time. (Thank you, Express Pass!)
After Transformers, DS12 and I went over to Revenge of the Mummy. He didn’t go on it on the last trip when he was 8 so he was excited to try it. I didn’t think DD7 was ready for it yet so she stayed with mom. DS really liked it - it ended up being one of his top 3 favorites. Of course, we had to do it a second time before getting back with the girls.
From there, we went over to Twister: Ride it Out. I always thought this was kind of cool but it did not go over well with DD or DW. DD got scared by the pre-show where they talk about how deadly tornadoes are and DW got dripped on quite a bit from where we were standing.
We went to Shrek after that and it was fun. Then, we went over to the big store at the front of the park. While there, I mentioned Rip, RIde Rock It and wanted to know if anyone wanted to go on it. For whatever reason, the sight of it intimidated the kids and neither wanted to go. I went by myself because this was another ride that I had never been on. I think it was there when we went the last time but we skipped it because kids were little and we only had one day to do both parks. I was a little nervous when the lady asked me how tall I was and mentioned that there was a height MAXIMUM. Yikes! So, if I’m too tall, will my head get chopped off or something?? Turns out, I was short enough to ride at 6’5". It was a great ride…I think. It scared the you know what out of me but at the same time I was laughing loudly the whole time. I met the family back in the store so we could move on to the next thing.