Day 7 began with checking in via phone for my flight home while we saw rain outside our windows, then we headed for the other Universal park to see how many rides we could do in our limited time before closing at 7 again. Thankfully the rain had stopped by the time we got to the park, so first up was the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit coaster right at the entrance, thankfully only a 20 minute line since it’s one of the few rides that don’t have an Express line. When we saw it, we thought we should ride first, then eat. Whoa! Straight up then straight down several times plus many loops and corkscrews. My hair was flying and my necklace was completely backwards!
We Halloween girls couldn’t resist eating lunch at the Monster Cafe! Just basic cafeteria style food like pizza and hot dogs, but they let me replace my fries with steamed broccoli at least. Their lab setup had a lot of the same bottles as mine. 😉 Definitely fun atmosphere in crypt seating where we sat under a bust of Frankenstein with classic monster movie posters everywhere.
There were some shows we wanted to see that ran at certain times, so we headed next for the Beetlejuice Graveyard Revue at 2:30. Fun live but extremely loud rock show with the Wolfman, Dracula, Frankenstein and his Bride reimagined as a rock band and bad jokes (Wolfie goes home and makes shirts for Team Jacob, etc), but a great Michael Keaton Beetlejuice impression!
Next was the Revenge of the Mummy ride, motion track traveling through lots of effects including fire, water & puffs of air, several copied directly from the big Indy ride in Anaheim, but the ending was clever. We walked right on using our room key for the Express line but main line was only 20 minutes anyway. Where were all the people? Lucky for us since we had too many rides and too little time!
The Terminator 3D show was next at 3:30 so we headed for that. For shows, Express lines were shorter and went in first to get better seats. Before going in we saw a promotional video from Cyberdyne, makers of the robotic soldiers and Skynet, and I had to laugh since for the remote tuck-in robot hands for the cute little girl, the mom was using an interface with menus in Chicago font…was Skynet developed on pre-OS X Macs? Is there something Apple isn’t telling us? 😉 The plot goes along with T2, with Linda Hamilton and Arnie in it, very cool effects integrated with live action in the theatre, and 3 giant screens across half the theatre that all worked with the 3D. Sometimes my eyes don’t cooperate with the different 3D styles, and some this trip were better than others, but honestly even though T2 is probably 15 year old technology or even older, that was the most successful 3D for me!
I couldn’t miss the Simpsons Ride, and even funnier that I heard the SpiderPig choral version while taking a photo of the entrance. We got in the Express line just after 4pm and the ride is very cute in line as well as in the ride itself. Excellent motion simulation and the plot is absolutely hilarious for any Simpsons fan. I don’t want to spoil any surprises, but Johnathon absolutely has to see it someday, and not just for the Simpsons angle. 😉
Unfortunately while we were inside the Simpsons, it started raining again! We rushed nearby to Men in Black Alien Attack through drizzle, and that was fun scenery with a shooting game, but when we got out it was pouring with thunder for a while so we stayed inside the gift shop hoping the rain would at least slow down. We hadn’t brought our rain gear because that would require larger bags, and Universal runs a scam that for any of the popular rides, you must use lockers for anything that doesn’t fit in pockets or small bum bag, even just a water bottle. Disney at least has small mesh bags in front on coasters and that works fine to hold most stuff. If you go over the free time they think the line and ride should take, you have to pay $3 or more to get your stuff. So we were trying to travel light, which means we got wet. I refused to pay $8 for a flimsy plastic poncho, but Jules did, then we headed out to see what might still be running, since all the outside coasters stop running in the rain for safety reasons. I got plenty wet but a thin tee and shorts usually dries pretty quickly when walking around, but I wished I had brought my new Jack hat after all!
We had pretty much lost an hour due to the pouring rain, so we decided to head over to the Islands of Adventure again and see what rides might run again before getting a last souvenir butterbeer mug on our way out. We did stop in at the Lucy tribute on our way out and took a dripping wet photo with the giant Universal globe. Luckily by the time we got past the Hard Rock Cafe and into the other park, we saw a couple empty trains on the Hulk coaster finally, so we rushed to get in the quickly-growing line. Another great fast and looping coaster so glad we got our chance! We didn’t get out until 6:20 though, so we decided to skip the freefall ride and rushed through the long way to Hogsmeade to see how many rides we could do before closing at 7pm. Thank goodness for the Express lines since we got into the brand-new Spiderman 3D with motion track ride fast enough that we even made it all the way through Toon Lagoon and Popeye’s land to Jurassic Park in time to get even wetter than the rain earlier! Jurassic Park was pretty much the same as the one I rode in 1996 on my last trip to Universal Studios, but it is still a great ride and quite the high drop with giant splash!
There were no signs for Hogsmeade from Jurassic Park so by following exit signs we went the long way, but we still made it to the front butterbeer cart before they closed the line. Too bad we didn’t realize earlier I could have gotten a Strongbow cider in a souvenir boar mug since the bar was already closed by the time I found out. I did get a photo of the moving Sirius wanted poster and some other shots I’m not sure I got as well the night before. I even tried taking some backward shots of our soaked selves with butterbeer in front of Hogwarts, but it started raining again so I kept getting drops on my lens. At least it was worth a try for our last look at Hogwarts!
We definitely needed to change out of our wet clothes before Citywalk, but since I needed a shot glass for my collection we went to Hard Rock Cafe first so we were close enough to take the boat back to the hotel to rest our feet a bit. We were finally on the way to Citywalk at 9pm, walking to get some more photos since the rain had stopped again, and we made it past Margaritaville to Emeril’s Orlando at just the right time to be seated immediately. Neither of us had eaten at any of Emeril’s restaurants before so we thought it’d be a fun splurge and it was. Tasty cocktails (why hadn’t I ever thought of a pineapple upside-down cocktail using butterscotch schnapps?), amazing appetizers of smoky exotic wild mushrooms and Emeril’s famous New Orleans barbecue shrimp, and good wine by the glass. I chose a Mosel Riesling for me, and since Jules doesn’t know wines but prefers dry over sweet, I suggested the South African Sauvignon Blanc for her and she liked it. I should have gone with my first choice for my entree though, since I changed my mind to the crab-stuffed flounder since it was a special and the description sounded nice, but it was very bland and not even much crab flavor. Maybe East Coast crab isn’t as flavorful as all the Pacific crab I’m used to? The peppery greens and the roasted Roma tomato halves as sides were fantastic though. For dessert we wanted to split the pain perdu bread pudding with maple ice cream but it arrived with a strawberry garnish and Jules is extremely allergic! She was hoping to eat carefully from the side the strawberry didn’t touch but our waiter insisted on bringing another one for her…so we ended up with a whole dessert each. Thankfully they were small, since it was so good there was no way I was letting any of that go to waste!
All that wonderful dinner meant we were way too full for any goofy Citywalk bar action, like the huge alcoholic slushie machines at Pat O’Briens walk up bar. We saw lots of skin tight dresses and skirts barely long enough to hide anything, so this must be a big club scene. We tried to avoid all the smokers (so much harder at Universal than Disney!) and strolled around looking in the shops that were open, not buying anything. We were a bit tempted by the monster movie themed miniature golf, but since it as already close to 1am and we couldn’t sleep in at all, I was worried it would take too long. If I hadn’t already had a sore throat all day long and worried I was getting sicker since it wasn’t going away, I might have been more enthused to stay up later and still drag myself out of bed in time for our flights.
We took the boat back to the hotel, serenaded by adorable little tiny girls belting Adele’s Rolling in the Deep, and finally in bed by 2am. We set all our alarms for 7:30am (ugh!), dragged ourselves out of bed to get ready and repack, and we were in our cab to the airport on schedule by 9am, with a last fond look at the Royal Pacific Hotel, with gorgeous landscaping and comfier pillows & beds, but free wifi only in the lobby and only one sink in our room. Frankly I think Disney was a better deal for about half the price!
Keep reading for the last photos! Thanks for following my travels again!