Up in the air…trip report

And so it begins. Mom is in front of us and to the left and our friend is flying from Seattle already since he has further to go.

We’ll I couldn’t upload this earlier and I lost a chunk of what I typed but we’re here at Portofino now.

This trip was supposed to be a solo Dopey Challenge trip and then son invited a friend and it became me and the two boys and then last minute mom said she wanted to come. So here we are and I’m not running but hanging with the family and friends instead. I have created a USOR scavenger hunt challenge so if we can avoid omicron the challenge begins tomorrow at 8am and ends Thursday at 7pm. If the boys win they get the souvenir of their choice within reason. If mom and I win they get the souvenir of my choice (and it’s gonna be bad!).
Here’s the challenge: Universal Studios Scavenger Hunt - Google Docs

Tonight we verily easily flew on Spirit airlines in the Big seats which now I’m not going back. I watched C’mon C’mon on the plane which was fantastic! The flight was on time and watching all these horror stories I’ve been nervous but Spirit seems to be beating the competition of late at least with me. Flight crew was polite and I was very comfortable and we were on time. I’ll take it!

We verily easily caught a Lyft XL which was about $55 from the airport to the Portofino compared the $75 Uber wanted. They picked us up within 7 minutes of request which was also a present surprise because I’ve heard it’s been hard to get a ride share lately. So one more positive experience to start off the trip.

The hotel is as gorgeous as I remember it from 12.5 years ago but I can feel how understaffed it is. Service was slow to checkin (and I did online checkin). The ticket desk was slow. The gelateria was very slow. I was not pleased with the quick service Sal’s pizza. None of us were. The desserts in the club lounge were like store bough desserts and okay but nothing special (we missed food and wine). But the fridge with sodas and waters is nice. The gelato was okay but nothing special.

The room is huge but the boys complained the toilet isn’t in its own room and my mom said they could improve it by adding a separate shower from the tub with all that room. We’ve got a bay view and the room itself is lovely and the beds and pillows heavenly comfortable and I’m pretty picky about those things.

So far so good and tomorrow let the games begin after the 7am club breakfast.


Can’t wait to hear about the scavenger hunt Shenanigans!


How fun! The scavenger hunt sounds amazing!


Sounds like a great start! I love scavenger hunts - what a great idea!! Hope you all have a wonderful day!


Ha ha ha. With the go. Im not quite sure how the boys are doing but the women are kicking butt. We’re taking a bench snack break so I’m checking in. But I’ll write something up later this evening.


haha! My money is on the moms! I know I’m one of those that gets super competitive in scavenger hunts, even if there’s no prize. :face_with_monocle:


I’m gonna type it all up later but today was awesome. If I get Covid it was worth it!


So here’s where mom and I are after Day 1:

With 45 points. Not a bad first day.

We started with breakfast together in the Portofino Club about 7:30am. This was a nice spread and the food was good quality though the coffee was weak. (I’m a coffee snob and addict though). View from the club

We walked to the park around 8:30am for the 9am opening of USF and arrived about 8:45am.

We picked up our MUP card and went straight to HRRR all four of us. Mom and I picked Tom Petty Runnin Down a Dream and Friend successfully got Muppets Movin Right Along. Jaden didn’t make it in time. Mom and I got front row as it was a walk on.

The boys then left for the HE to IOA and Mom and I knocked out Production Central and New York getting a photo of the banana tree, riding Despicable Me (we weren’t the ones who hadn’t showered in a week), watching our final showing of Shrek, grabbed a photo with Donkey who had waffles for breakfast, grabbed a photo with Bumblebee who played “Because I’m happy”, rode Transformers and saw the old bumblebee, rode Jimmy Fallon which had no line so no colored cards, mom took a granola bar snack break on the benches in Central Park, we rode Mummy.

With 30 minutes to our lunch reservations we decided to knock out some scavenger hunt items in Diagon Alley so we asked the Kings Cross attendant how to find platform 9 and 3/4 to which she replied there is no such thing and we shouldn’t try walking thru walls as we could hurt ourselves. We met the Knight Bus driver and shrunken head and chatted and took a photo with them and the back of the bus, dialed MAGIC in the phone booth, spotted Kreacher, got dripped on by the Leaky Cauldron sign, saw the rabbit appear under Weasley’s hat, saw the dragon breathe fire, tried in gryffindor robe (wow those are nice and look good) and the mirror said I should rethink the color scheme at Madam Malkins, spotted Dolores Umbridge on the unicycle and the fireworks in Weasley’s.

5-10 minutes till lunch we met the boys for lunch at Lombard’s (had a nice 2 hour lunch with meh food and great conversation…fish was over cooked in my tacos and mom’s salad), boys had got soaked on Dudley’s and though they bought some pants for lunch they were lugging around wet pants so they returned to the room to drop those off and mom and I ventured back on a mission to defeat the boys in our little game.

So we rode MIB, spinning the opposing car, shooting Steven Spielberg and I got the bonus and solidly whooped my poor mom.

we then rode Simpson’s. I asked someone in the Simpsons area which game was the easiest to win a prize and they said the fishing game. Guaranteed prize so I won the small and earned me a Gingy. We grabbed a Oktoberfest beer after answering the phone at Kwik E Mart and inside Moe’s trying the Love Tester on the way to drink our beers outside at Duff Brewery after choosing our Topiary Duff we liked most. We spent about 2 hours just chatting and enjoying each other’s company with our beer. So wonderful. Mom is a Casanova and I’m Luke Warm in love. Mom chose the Queasy Duff topiary as her spirit Duff and I chose Tipsy.

Caught a photo with the Delorean and of Gary the Snail and rode ET. ET actually did not say our names so not sure what went wrong there.

It was about 545 and they were taking forever to do the ET photos so we snapped a quick shot ourselves and headed to the 6pm Bourne show which ended about 636.

We hightailed it to kings cross and made the train hopping off at 656pm. We walked as fast as we could to the Hagrids locker stuffing our bag into a locker super fast and made it into the line at 659pm. Posted 90 min wait, even broker down for 5-10 minutes when we were steps from the boarding and still only waited 43 min. Mom had never done the bike as we rode single rider last time so I let her have it and we go first row of the last train of the night! We started and finished our park touring with front rows of roller coasters on a high note with one of the best rides in the world and even better at night watching fireworks go off in both parks while we were in line.

Then we rushed to meet the boys at Bigfire. Mom got the lamb, the boys got a ribeye and a filet and I got the pork tenderloin. We all agreed it was well done. I wasn’t super impressed with out Brussels sprout appetizer or flourless chocolate cake (mom is gluten free so I shared that with her) but we all agreed the meat was fabulous as were the sides that came with. With the exception of the ribeye none of them were huge pieces of meat (TWSS) but honestly I can’t eat that much anyway. Given the quality I thought the pricing was reasonable.

We rode the boat back to Portofino serenading our boat driver along with the rock/pop hits such as Africa, Spice Girls, etc. I don’t think he was too amused but we didn’t care.

The boys conked out in the time I’ve written this as they also had a funfilled long day. Both said they had so much fun today at dinner. They said they rode Gringotts, the train three times, hulk, Dudley do right, Jurassic park river adventure, forbidden journey, King Kong, and mummy. I had wonderful convos with the boys and with my mom. Deep conversation and fun times. I’m pretty sure we’re stomping the boys but I haven’t seen their checklist yet. Maybe they can catch up tomorrow or it’s silly hats for them.

I’m so tired and still have stuff to do. Tomorrow is EE for VelociCoaster so I’m gonna hop off for now. As Tigger says TTFN.


Also mom totally threw me under the bus with the knight bus driver when he asked her who put her up to asking about Voldemort. He then stated of course a Gryffindor would do that. It was so funny. They went on and on about watching our language and there are children around. You must do this; it was very funny. I also got a video of mom walking thru platform 9 and 3/4 too

I think I also forgot to say we rode Kang and Kodos and almost didn’t get the bully kid to flip in time. It was so close. We were slowing down and I thought we would fail but we made it. Mom thought I was making her ride Dumbo but then she had fun trying to make all the citizens flip and the suspense of us almost not being successful. Lol


Can I just say, I absolutely love that your Mom rides RRR and Hagrid’s. That is so awesome! Thanks for all the pictures, they are great.


I love that about her too! I couldn’t have asked for a cooler mom. Thanks!


FYI Portofino club has gluten free muffins fyi. Such a great spread. Breakfast sandwiches, deli meats, fresh and good tasting fruit, fancy donuts, flavored bagels. It’s great

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Here’s the club spread plus the four hot things today and the four juices, teas and coffees


I was thinking the same thing!


Then you’d super love she started today with front row of VelociCoaster. That ride is extraordinarily intense!


Same and same! Mom goals right there!


Your mom is SO cool!! I am enjoying your trip report. Is it intense in terms of drops, or ricketyness? I get motion sick on some roller coasters—not drops, but if your head moves around a lot on the ride, I do. Used to be able to do RRR and Hulk (until they switched the track), now I can’t. Mummy, Gringotts, Hagrid, I can do. I’m asking for future reference, lol.


OMG!! Your mom is awesome!! VelociCoaster is intense.


It’s not like Hulk or RRR. It’s intense in how fast it goes during the launches (yes plural) and the front row kind of hanging at the top of the straight drop. Lots of airtime. Very very smooth

For reference I don’t think VC pulls as many Gs as hulk either. I blacked out on hulk just now and nothing close to that feeling on VC


What?!?! Are you ok?

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