We woke up early to catch a bus that left our motel. Bus selfie.
Mom and Miranda came too.
The bus took us to a place to wait for another bus. At that location you could also buy tickets for whatever event you were going to. As mom got tickets they asked if she wanted a 'front of the line pass'. Apparently for $100 dollars (a person) you can go to the front of the line (once) on each ride. Who came up with this idea? I think I like the fast pass much more. At least it seems cheaper. (Yes, I know Disneyland is horrid expensive. It is like we are all buying the 'front of the line' pass already.)
At the second bus station, I saw a friend of mine. He is awesome!! Everything is AWESOME!!
Ran into another good friend, Ryan Reynolds. He saw my sister and was speechless. I couldn't even get him to look at the camera. That is what happens when you have a beautiful sister. (He's looking pretty good huh? Although some might saw his complexion is a little waxy.)
Finally we were on the bus to Universal. Estimated time - a good hour and forty minute drive, depending on traffic. We had a very nice bus driver named Salvador who explained when he would pick us up and how to find the bus. He covered some very useful information and then went on to talk about Universal and how you should cover the park and all the rides they have there.
When he ran out of things to say about that, he just talked about whatever we were driving by. He seemed to know the history of everything from Anaheim to Hollywood. The man talked the ENTIRE trip. Maybe he doesn't like uncomfortable silences? Maybe he was practicing to be a tour guide? Who knows? Wow. It was a bit much. Here you can see chatty Cathy helping mom off the bus.
We made it. Luckily we had hangman to keep us entertained during the monologue. (Thanks Tim for sharing your game.) Salvador actually forgot we had a wheelchair momentarily. We were standing by the bus waiting and he said, "Universal Studios right? We are here." We patiently reminded him that we had another item to unload. Then we headed towards the park.
It is a good thing we brought the wheelchair. Mom tried to rent a scooter, but the last one was rented while she stood in line. Bummer. So Miranda spent much of the time walking. They would switch off occasionally. I'm glad I was there to help push. I didn't mind and it didn't tax me too much. That said, I did get sick during the trip. (More on that later.)
We headed to the tram ride first. (What is the official name mom?) I have always loved the tram ride. It was my favorite part of Universal. We got seats right up front since that is where they load wheelchair access.
Our debonair tour guide was Alistair. (Complete with British accent.) I don't know if I have ever sat so close to the guide before.
The tour was good, but much different than before. They are slowly taking out some of the old features and substituting simulations using big screens. It used to be that there was a large model of King Kong. Now the King Kong section was all on a large screen and you wear glasses to watch. It was pretty cool, I liked all the dinosaurs in there, but it just didn't have the same feel. (Hard to take pictures too.)
There was another simulation involving a high speed car chase like in the Fast and the Furious, but I didn't love it. There were still some old favorites like Jaws but everything seemed a little less fantastic than in previous years.
The best moment of the ride was probably when some lady dropped her shoe. It wasn't even a flip flop...it was a tennis shoe. The tram stopped since someone pulled the emergency cord. Alistair calmly told them to stay put and someone would retrieve the shoe. A few moments later, the driver turned to Alistair and said, "Well...go get it."
"Oh, right," he replied and he hopped off the tram and ran for the shoe. I guess he hasn't retrieved items before?
There is a large minion area of the park now that obviously wasn't there when I was a kid. We went there to try out the new ride, but it seemed like it would be of the simulation variety as well, much like Star Tours. Mom and Miranda do not do well on that ride, so they decided to skip it. Tim and I figured we would have a go. We saw a minion posing outside. (And I saw a purple minion later on as well although I didn't get a picture.)
We had our handy dandy glasses of course. I can't remember why we are making faces though.
The first room we entered was decorated like Gru's home. It was fun to see some of the funny decorations.
The ride was okay. I don't really love simulation rides as well as other rides, but it was fun to do once.
In minion land, we stopped for lunch. It was one of the better meals I had. Miranda and I also got Freezeray smoothies. Tim really wanted to try some, but I wasn't sharing because my throat was still sore. (It started getting scratchy on day 1 and Miranda had been feeding me zinc lozenges along the way.) Tim hadn't realized until then that I wasn't feeling well. He was just wondering why I wasn't sharing like I usually do. (Good to know that I am seen as a sharer. I know with five kids, I rarely eat a treat by myself.)
I picked up a souvenir for Robyn in the minion shop and got a picture of Miranda by the
It was time to head to the lower lot. This means about five long escalators to get there. We opted for the elevator because of the wheelchair. In actuality, there is one small elevator that takes you down to a shuttle, which then drives you down to the lower lot. The wait can be pretty long depending on how many people are in line and how recently the shuttle left. On the way down, we hardly waited at all.
On the lower lot, there are really only two rides we wanted to go on: Jurassic Park and The Mummy. I was very disappointed in Jurassic Park. They wouldn't let Miranda wear her hat, so she opted not to go. The ride looks like it needs some repair. The dinosaurs are getting cracked and peely. The destroyed jeep didn't even drop in one section. The ride was backed up, so while the boat in front of us flew down the drop, we got to watch the T-Rex go in and out of the waterfall and you could see all the mechanics holding him up. (Not very terrifying.)
The best part for me was Tim's face in the gift shop after. I love this picture. Somehow I keep hearing Darla say, "Fish in my hair, fish in my hair."
The Mummy was broken down. (Surprise.) There wasn't much else to do down there, so we decided to head back to the upper lot to watch a show. Tim and I opted for the escalators.
Miranda and Mom took the slow shuttle, although they got some fun pictures before they left. That small dinosaur in the front scares me.
Next up, the Water World show. This show is designed to get you wet. When you walk in, many of the bleachers are green indicating they are in the soak zone. Oddly enough, the wheelchair/handicapped seats are right in front. (Makes sense since those people are less likely to climb higher into the bleachers.) But that put mom right in the soak zone. She was fine with that. She was ready for a good soaking, as was I. Miranda and Tim ended up going to the highest seats in the bleachers to avoid all water. (We gave them all the electronics.) Several people walked by warning us that we were going to get wet. They seemed concerned for mom, but she knew what was coming. We are ready!!
Yes...we got a good dousing. The show was pretty fun...maybe the best thing that day. Not much plot, but plenty of action...and water. Water skis would whip around soaking people for rows and rows. Explosions would send sheets of water into the audience. It was very fun. Although I had to laugh, because as I was leaving, I saw a sign that said #1 SHOW IN THE WORLD!
What? It was entertaining, but that hardly seems likely.
Characters we saw at the park:
Woody Woodpecker (and the girl one)
And some cop guy. I don't know who he was, but he chatted at us for a bit and I know he was supposed to be from something.
The park didn't close until ten, but the bus was due back at 6:30. We were all happy to be departing early. I saw a horse (not a real one) on the way out and it made me miss my Stallion.
Back at the bus, we were ready to go back to the motel.
Blessed day, Salvador did NOT talk all the way home. There was more traffic, so maybe he was concentrating. But the bus ride took forever. He took people to their individual hotels, so he had to make lots of stops. When he mentioned that he was stopping by the Disneyland hotel, I figured I should get off early and meet everyone back at our place. I wanted to look for Daisy Duck stuff and I figured I could walk through Downtown Disney.
I wasn't taking a leisurely stroll, but I did see some cool things. At the Lego store, they had huge displays outside...made out of all Legos, of course. Cute Beauty and the Beast. (Even Lumiere and Cogsworth are in the back.)
This Maleficent dragon and the flames are incredible. Hard to believe it is all Legos.
Really, the dragon was huge sitting on the building. I saw it from so far away and was wondering what it was. I was super impressed.
Saw some interesting art as I walked through. I had to take a picture of the creepiest Tinkerbell I have ever seen. (This one's for you Dad.)
I finally made it to the motel, but no one answered the door at our room. Could it be they already went to dinner? I called Mom only to find out they were still on. the. bus.
Wow. Longest ride ever. I was glad I had walked part of the way. There was this random guy with a parrot at the bustop. So I took a picture. Sometimes it seems like the right thing to do.
It ended up being quite the exhausting day. I'm not sure if I feel the need to visit Universal Studios again. They are opening up a Harry Potter section of the park, so I'll probably be lured back eventually, but overall, I was a little disappointed.