August 15




A Universal Adventure


No jetlag so far! We both rose at 7 without any problems and started out day with a "homemade" in-room breakfast, which means we made some tea and had the leftovers from the day before, including the "welcome" cookies.

At around 9am we started our adventure. We went back to reception to exchange our voucher for the free park tickets. (Special offer - they give you a week long of park access if you stay with them.) After that we went down to the water taxi docking station. It  had just left when we approached the station, so we decided to walk over to Islands of Adventures. We had been told it was only a 10 minute walk - well, it was less than that and very nice as well. Coming up the hotel walkway there was NO line for the bag check and the line at the turnstiles was short as well. Since we were not really used to the heat by then we went through the stores to feel a little cooler.

But then it was on to the first attraction. The Hulk Coaster!! We went in search for the lockers to store our backpack and cameras and got into line. I am very sorry to admit it, but I LOVE Universal Express (a kind of FP that comes as a perk if you stay at one of their hotels). We headed towards the Express entrance (line was about 30 minutes for regulars) and boarded the coaster in about 3 minutes. GOOD ride! Since we had our hands free we went over to Spiderman and went on there as well within a few minutes. It took us longer to stroll through the store at the end of the ride than to get onto the actual ride! Since we passed the Doctor Doom Fearfall anyway we went on it as well - express again and had wonderful seats overlooking our hotel complex. Nothing like an areal view of a theme park or hotel complex. 
3 rides in about 45 minutes! We were very proud of ourselves to do that much on our first theme park day! We then proceeded counter clockwise, moving towards Suess Landing. Went onto the Cat in the Hat ride and shared a vehicle with a mother and small daughter. It was a lot of fun watching the little girl enjoying the ride! Next stop was The High In The Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride (like the Alice ride in Anaheim). You ride high above the whole of Suess Landing and it is real fun to finally being able to ride it. We had seen it on previous visits, but it was never working. Next up was a short photos stop at the Lost Continent. Took photos of the outside of the Mythos Restaurant (right) and Poseidon's Fury. 
We had not been to that show in a long time, so we used the Express line again and went straight on. Loved the show! We then went on towards Jurassic Park and stopped at the Burger Digs to have some lunch. Tom decided on the Cheeseburger, while I tried the Chicken Tenders - well, I like the ones at Disney better, sorry Universal! After lunch we went back to the lost continent to ride the Dueling Dragons. Nothing better than riding a coaster on a full stomach! First we went for the Ice-Dragon - goooood ride!!! Since the walk through the Express line was short we went for the Fire-Dragon immediately afterwards. Had lots of fun and went on it for a second time! Makes 3 Dragon rides in about half an hour - not bad.
After that we had to take a little break. We had not thought to be able to ride that many rides in just such a short span of time and we wanted to go see the fireworks in the Universal Studio Park in the evening. So we walked back to the hotel and took a little break.
After a two hour break we got changed and were ready to go out again. This time we took the water-taxi back to Universal City Walk to have dinner at Bubba Gump's Shrimp Co. 
We shared the Cajun Shrimp (left), but were too gready to take a photo before a tasting, sorry. I had the Coconut Shrimp (middle) and Tom decided on Shrimper's Heaven. Everything was just as yummy as I remembered it from our last trip to California. After such an enjoyable meal we strolled through City Walk and went over to the Universal Studios Park. First we checked out the large Studio Store - it is always such a pleasure to walk through such a large store and not being tempted to buy. Sorry again, Universal. Let me get loose in any Disney store and I will carry out a variety of their shopping bags, shock full! Opposite the shop there is the Shrek ride, has Express, so we went on that one. It is quite a nice thing, but once is more than enough to ride it. 
On we went to ride the Mummy. Their Express line was so short, that their wasn't one at all. Once we arrived at the loading dock we were seated. Great ride, love the Mummy! We then went on to stroll through the San Francisco and Amity parts of the park, taking in the atmosphere. 
Next ride for us was the Men in Black ride. Fun ride, it's just that I am NOT very good at "zapping" the aliens. Our ride vehicle lost, despite a little boy sitting next to us scoring more than 120 000 points. While walking over to the New York area we went past a fence where the new Simpsons ride is going to be and Tom couldn't resist playing a little "baby ball" with Homer.
While walking past the flag display we discovered the Austrian one and being "proud Austrians" we HAD to take a photo. There was a lot of viewing area along the lagoon, so we decided to stay there to watch the night show. There are several huge "balls" "parked" in the lagoon where they projected movies on to. They had music and a little fireworks show to go with it. It was a nice show, but we won't go back for a second viewing this visit. Everyone was heading towards the exit after the show and so were we. Since there was a long line for the water taxi we decided to walk back and reached the hotel with only one water taxi passing us by while walking. We were both SO tired, so we just fell into bed.