Day 4 – Universal
We got up at 7am and ate at Pop’s food court. For breakfast, I had a western omelet, Chris had french toast, Em had scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage. We shared a cinnamon roll. All was yum except for the bacon. We drove to Universal, got turned around a bit trying to follow my “Disney to Home” directions because they didn’t put us back in I-4. We got to Universal around 9:30 or so. We went directly to Wizarding World of Harry Potter after we got Em’s ticket and switched our old tickets for new ones.
First up was Flight of the Hippogriff. This had Hagrid telling you how to approach a hippogriff and you passed by Hagrid’s hut while in the line. It was super short, but Em loved it because it was about Harry Potter. Once again it was declared the best ride ever by Em. We then headed over to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. This was, by far, my favorite ride of the entire week. It was AWESOME. It was too bad than Em was too short, but we got to ride the single rider line and they had a room for parent swap. This is about the only area where Disney could take a lesson from Universal. The parent room had The Sorcerer’s Stone playing and benches to sit on. I rode first, so I had to wait only about 2 minutes instead of the 30+ that everyone else did. It was OMG awesome. You were on a broom or something, it wasn’t clear, and you were following Harry on his way to the quidditch match, but a dragon had gotten loose and dementors were there too. You followed Harry and Ron in a quidditch match and saw Draco. Hermione helped you get places. All the actors waved at you when you came back into the Great Hall near the end. It was SO FREAKING COOL. The third ride in the area was the Dragon Challenge. Em was too short for this one too and since Chris and I had ridden it when it was the Double Dragon, we skipped it.
We went to a cart afterwards where you could buy a bunch of people’s wands: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Neville, Dumbledore, McGonnegal, Draco, Voldemort, etc. Em got Hermione’s and I had to get Neville’s. They were $30 each! The line for Olivanders was INSANE and Em didn’t even want to try for that. We went into Honeydukes and picked up a chocolate frog and some Bertie Bott’s in the cool box. Zonko’s was attached, so we looked there, but nothing looked OMGGOTTAGET except Em wanted a Pygmy Puff. They announced to the whole shop that she got one and what she named it. She had no clue what to name it, so I suggested Luna and she went with it.
We stopped by a cart to get a snack after that. Chris and I got a cool little mug with cold butterbeer (as opposed to frozen) and Em got Pumpkin Juice. The juice tastes just like you’d think it would…ug. The butterbeer was MUCH better. It had a nice frothy head on it and was very sweet. I wouldn’t drink it all the time, but not bad.
We then headed out of the over-crowded Harry Potter are and got in line for the High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride. The line was WAY too long, especially for this boring ride, but it did give a nice view of the area. After, we went to Circus McGurkus Café Stoo-pendous and had lunch because it was close. I had a hamburger and fries. The hamburger was blah and the fries were cold. Chris and Em had pizza. They had a “show” while we were there where this guy comes out along with Thing 1, Thing 2, the Cat in the Hat, The Grinch, and Sam I Am. The guy reads Oh The Places You’ll Go and after the characters dance and then go see everyone. Em was pretty excited to see it all.
Chris and Em then rode One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish while I sat and rested a bit. They got a bit wet on this one. The song was hella annoying to listen to over and over again. We all rose the Caro-Seuss-el afterwards. Nothing special, just another carousel. We went into the superhero part and got in line for The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. The line was way too long and hot, but we got to see Spiderman come out while we were there.
We wanted ice cream afterwards, but the place right there was Dippin’ Dots, that we didn’t care for. We kept going and found a Ben & Jerry’s that didn’t have scooped ice cream, but just soft serve (HOW is that B&J’s?). We tried to hit there, but they were out of chocolate. So we kept going to Toon Lagoon and found another B&J’s, but when we got close, it was closed. So we saw another Dippin’ Dots and just did that. Didn’t find any kiosks with ice cream bars or anything. It was rather disappointing, that.
After ice cream, Chris and Em went on Me Ship, The Olive. It was this boat thing where you just do interactive play stuff. I sat out and waited for them. Next was Pteranodon Flyers. Em really wanted to do this. Adults can only ride it WITH a kid. So, I’d sat out some stuff, so I rode it with her. Though the wait was 45 minutes. The line wasn’t that long and there weren’t many people in front of us (maybe 50), but it took every bit of that 45 minutes. There were only 3 Pteranodons and each only sat 2 people. So, yeah.
We went back for shopping in the Harry Potter afterwards. The only place in the area that had much in the way of clothes merch was Filch’s Imporium, which is where they dropped you off after the Forbidden Journey. This place was wall-to-wall packed. It was awful and claustrophic. I found a Marauder’s Map in a cool case, but there was no price and no one I could get to to ask. Em found a broom, but the clothes merch was EXTREMELY lacking. We ended up leaving Filch’s with nothing because it was godawful. We went to a cart kiosk and got Em a broom (it even lights up!) and a cute teeshirt. They had a nice black hoodie with the Hogwarts crest on it, but it was $53 and I JUST bought a black hoodie so we skipped it. We were on our way out when we happened by the Frog Choir just starting. They did the Double, Double song and a few others and it was pretty cute.
Our original plan was to eat dinner in the City Walk area, but it was 3:15 and my foot was KILLING me (right foot, little toe was all blister) and we were all tired and ready to go. Universal is NO Disney, even though HP rocked. Anyway, there was a store on the way out and right in the front was some HP stuff. So we went in and I ended up finding a sweet Ravenclaw tee. Then I found a cool black tee with the Hogwarts crest, just like the hoodie I wanted, except it was only $18. So, I got those. I found some cute Griffyndor sweats with Harry’s name on it with a matching hoodie for Em, but even the small was way too long for her, so we didn’t get them.
We did the LONG walk to our car and finally made it back. We laid on the beds for a bit, sharing the chocolate frog. Then Em and I put on our swimsuits and I stuck my feet in the pool while she swam. She made a friend whose bday was that day and looked to be about her age. They played for a while and Chris ordered pizza (and a side salad for me). It was off to bed for us after a bit of resting.