The way we plan our week is that we lay out all the information on park attendance predictions, based on information from past years and trends coming up until now. We then try to pick the lowest attendance days to make our choices. That’s why we had Universal on the first full day.
Universal Studios opened at 8am while Islands of Adventure opened at 9am, but stayed open later. So we planned to start our day at US and then move on. So, we get there about 10 minutes before opening. We look around in the big shop at the front to kill a bit of time. When the park opened, we headed directly to Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem. This was one of our favorite non-HP things the last time we came. Last time our line was crazy because we did US after IoA. This time, there was no line at all. It was excellent. We then went on to the HOllywood Rip Ride Rockit. This is really an awesome ride. We had no line. However, the rides that have the pads that come down by your head…those are the jerky ones that give me a giant headache. So my head was killing me when we got off. However, there wasn’t much of a line, so Chris and Em went again while I waited on them.
Next, we headed to Revenge of the Mummy. I like this one. Em really does not, but she’ll do it. We then stopped by Diagon Alley and did Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts. Of course, it was awesome. Next, it was on to Olivanders. Once again, Em wasn’t selected! We grabbed a frozen butterbeer (OMG yum) and headed over to the Simpsons area. Chris wanted to ride Kang & Kodo’s Twirl n’ Hurl, for some reason. There was no real line, so Em and I decided to ride with him. It was dumb. We then rode the Simpsons Ride. This was our only REAL line the whole day, I think. This is a cool ride too that we really like. We then headed over to Men In Black. This is pretty much the same ride as Buzz Lightyear at MK and Toy Story at HS. This one I won by a very large margin. 🙂 It will be the only one I win.
We then headed back to explore Diagon Alley. It seems like every time we were near it, we got to see the dragon breathe fire, so that was awesome. We looked around everywhere. I got a Bourgin & Burke’s tee at Knockturn Alley. We had lunch at the Leaky Cauldron (and another butterbeer for me!). It was tasty and I think I prefer it to the place in Hogsmeade for sure. We then took the Hogwarts Express over to Hogsmeade and Islands of Adventure.
First in Hogsmeade, we rode the Dragon Challenge. The Horntail was down when we got in line, but up by the time we got to the area where we pick our dragon. We went with the Chinese Fireball. This is another one where it gives me a headache, though not quite as bad. We then rode Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff. We headed out of Hogsmeade and went to ride The Hulk. This was down for maintenance when we came last year and our little adrenaline junkie was itching to ride it. We then rode The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man. Near the end, something was messed up with the sound and graphics.
We then got in line to ride the new ride, Skull Island: Reign of Kong. This was our other long line. It was…okay. Em didn’t like it at all. I wouldn’t stand in a long line to ride it again. Maybe if the line was short. We then went back to Hogsmeade and rode the Howarts Express back to Diagon Alley. We stopped at the store at the front of the park. Chris got a Simpsons tee. I got a Ravenclaw hat and Em got a beautiful Hogwarts blank book. We finished up around 4 or so and headed back to our room for a rest.
We had made our dinner reservation for 8pm that night so we would have a lot of extra time for Universal. Turns out we didn’t need it. So we were super hungry by the time we got to go to our dinner reservation. We decided to try Kona at the Polynesian. We’ve done Spirit of Aloha there twice, once for the early show and once for the late. We’ve done Ohana there before twice too, once for the character breakfast and once for dinner. So we decided to try Kona. When we had reservations at another hotel, we decided to drive there this time. Last year, we got stuck getting from Spirit of Aloha back to our hotel because they stopped running the tram. It ended up taking us over 2 hours to get back to our hotel and didn’t get back until after midnight. So we weren’t going to let that happen again. Plus, it takes SO much less time to just drive.
First off, the decor is dated. I don’t know if it’s ever been updated. The decor is okay, but there’s nothing special about it. The restaurant isn’t closed off from the rest of the hotel at all, so it kinda feels like you’re sitting in a mall food court. The food was yummy. We were so hungry, we had some Sticky Wings for an app. Em and I both had Pan Asian Noodles with chicken. It was very tasty. I think Chris had the Grilled New York Strip. I can’t really remember the dessert, to tell you the truth. I had to look it up to see what we had. Em and I both had the Kilaeau Torte. It was fine. Nothing fabulous, but fine. Chris had the chocolate fondue. We headed back to our room and crashed for the night.