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Old 8 Sep 19, 11:10 AM  
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tracey1302
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Disney with the Dufflers - Take 2 - Jul 2019 - Day 3 - IOA, Bahama Breeze and Bar 17 @ Aventura

Pre-Trip Report

Day 0 - Monday 1st July 2019 - Overnight at the Radisson Blu, Manchester Airport

Day 1 - Tuesday 2nd July 2019 - Travel day and arrival at Sapphire Falls

Day 2 - Wednesday 3rd July 2019 - Universal Studios and Hard Rock Cafe

Day 3 - Thursday 4th July 2019 - Islands of Adventure, Bahama Breeze and Bar 17 at Aventura

I was massively excited about this day. Not only was it due to be a day of amazing rides, but we were headed to Bahama Breeze for tea and we had planned to go to Bar 17 at Aventura to watch the 4th July fireworks

Neil and I were, however, still suffering under jetlag. We woke at 4.30 and milled about in the room watching TV and getting ready. We went over to the lobby for breakfast at 6.45, getting a large fruit cup to share and some water.

I went out onto the balcony at Strong Water Tavern again to take in the view. I think (aside from being by the pool with a Pina Colada), that this is my favourite spot at Sapphire Falls. It's so, so beautiful and I will never tire of seeing this view. It is genuinely my happy place.





The boat was in as well, but given yesterday's running fiasco, I wasn't as bothered about getting the first one. Our plan was to hit early park opening at Universal, get on Minions and Gringotts and then head over to IOA on the Hogwarts Express.



I went back inside and everyone was there, ready and on time. Mum highly approved of the Starbucks coffee in the Dutch Trading Company shop.



We got the boat at 7.30am (we missed the first one), but were still in line for park opening Everywhere was decorated for the 4th July.



Mum took a picture of me and Neil in the queue outside Universal, a significantly different look from the day before, when Neil had been sweating buckets from the early morning run



The park opened, and, for the first time in our lives, we actually got on Minions



I actually loved the ride. Really funny and a real treat to experience. I was, however, a little worried about Neil as a lot of it was quite like the Simpsons ride and he always feels really sick on that one!

After Minions, we headed straight over to Diagon Alley to get on Gringotts again. It was looking much busier than the day before as instead of going straight into the room with all of the goblins, we were headed down the side and outside. The queue did look quite big, and I was conscious of the fact that I wanted to get over to Hogsmeade on the first Hogwarts Express, but the queue moved relatively quickly and we were soon through.

We all loved Gringotts again and I was really chuffed that we all managed to get on it one more time.

After Gringotts, we headed for Kings Cross station, for a journey I had been very excited about on this trip



The last time we had been to Universal on honeymoon, Neil and I had made the trip with our friends from Hogsmeade to Kings Cross, but I had never done Kings Cross to Hogsmeade. Being an absolute Potter nut, this was just an incredible experience. I also remained glad that I hadn't spoiled myself on the queue and on what happens on the train.

I snapped my party going magically onto Platform 9 and 3/4. This is just unreal





The level of detail here is just wonderful



Mum could see that this was a really fantastic moment for me, so she took a picture of me and Neil...I was grinning so widely I could barely feel my cheeks



And then before we knew it, we were aboard the Hogwarts Express, headed for Hogsmeade.



The Dufflers had to go in their own carriage, so me and Neil went with Mum, Martin and OB. This is genuinely such a fabulous little ride and I am so so chuffed that we got the park to park tickets to be able to go on it.

We arrived in Hogsmeade in no time, but to my absolute delight, to the sound of zooming motorbikes and delighted screams.



Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure was open but with a queue of 150 minutes. No thanks.



It makes me laugh that I had this down in my notes as we ended up queuing longer than this for the ride... Anyway, we headed through beautiful Hogsmeade towards Hogwarts Castle.





Neil had previously said to me that he wasn't going on Forbidden Journey as it had made him feel really sick last time, so he stayed off this ride with all of our bags and we headed inside for what was my favourite ride (before FOP came along!)

Forbidden Journey is still a fantastic ride for me. However, it was a little more terrifying than I remembered, particularly when you come face to face with the Dementors Even I felt a little woozy afterwards.

After FJ, we headed over towards Jurassic Park, stopping for a few pictures on route.





Heading through into Jurassic Park, Uncle Mark announced that he wanted coffee and a bacon sandwich I didn't quite know how serious he was at this point. He hadn't been feeling too well that morning - and I'm not sure FJ helped in this endeavour - but equally I knew that there wasn't really anywhere in Florida that could deliver the type of bacon sandwich he was looking for

We headed for the Thunder Falls Terrace restaurant and he managed to locate coffee and a large cookie (one out of two ain't bad ). We had a little rest in here and I fiddled around with my Touring Plans app to try and navigate a way through the rest of the park. The queue for JP was actually a hefty 25 minutes at this point, which quite surprised me as most times we've done this ride, it's been a walk on.

However, my app told me to head around to Toon Lagoon, which is what we did. We were also absolutely boiling, as it was very, very humid again this day, so we were welcoming the opportunity to get wet.



Me, Neil, Martin, OB, Sam, Megan and Debsy headed on Ripsaw Falls, while Mum and Uncle Mark stayed off the ride on a nearby bench.

Ripsaw Falls was as brilliant as I remembered. It's not a particularly sophisticated ride, but that's part of its charm. That, and the fact that you get absolutely drenched on pretty much every dip and corner. It wasn't until I got off this ride, however, that I realised I had made a rookie error. I was wearing black denim shorts on IOA day... I was going to have a wet bum until next Christmas.

Anyway, starting as we meant to go on, we headed for Popeye and Bluto, which was a walk on.



Part of the cruelty of the water rides is that your top half starts to get practically dry until the moment you get on the ride, and then you're absolutely drenched again within about five minutes. The water was not kind to us on Popeye. We were all absolutely drenched.



After this, my app told me that Kong was our best bet. We were all really excited for this, as it's another ride that we've never been able to do. The queues for it have always been well over an hour so and as we've never had the luxury of that much time at Universal on our previous visits, we've never been able to do it.

The only problem with going on Kong, at this time, was that my bum was absolutely soaked through, and the queue for Kong was in a cold, stone building and was 25 minutes (posted 35 but the app was dead on). I was really quite cold, but it was my own fault. Everyone else was practically dry already!

I was, however, very excited when we headed into Skull Island



We were all really impressed with Kong. The 3D is just brilliant and the effects are fantastic. I had sort of experienced it before in Universal Studios Hollywood on the backlot tour but it had been a while (I went in 2012) so there were still some surprises.

After Kong, we were ready for some lunch, so we headed over to Marvel Super Hero Island. The Dufflers and OB went to the Captain America Diner for chicken strips, while me, Neil, Mum and Martin headed to the gorgeous Croissant Moon Bakery for some lovely fresh sandwiches . I still really rate this place, and clearly I enjoyed my sandwich immensely as I haven't even taken a picture of it

After lunch, we headed for Spider-Man, which was posting a 25 minute wait, but we only waited for 15 minutes (app was dead on again). This is still a great ride, and I enjoyed it much more than Transformers, but this could have been because Transformers had broken down

Following Spider-Man, the Dufflers decided to head back to the hotel for a rest by the pool. However, the fab four had an appointment with what is still the greatest of all Coasters: The Hulk.

I don't even get nervous when going on it anymore, I just get really pumped and excited. It's also quite cool because even though I wish that more of our group did rollercoasters so they could experience the sheer exhilaration of rides like the Hulk, it's also nice to be a little four, to be sat in a row, and to ride it together.



We headed back to the hotel after this and it was only when we got back on the boat that I realised we hadn't done JP. Whoops! Maybe next time Mr. T-Rex!

We tried to get a bed around the pool, however, a) it was absolutely packed, and b) there was not one bed with shade and c) it was unbearably hot. Not wanting to just sit and cook in the sun, we all headed back to our rooms to watch the tennis and get some rest.

We got Ubers to Bahama Breeze at around 5.15 and were seated as a table of 9 straight away. We got drinks and got a few pictures.





We all had nice meals at Bahama Breeze, apart from Uncle Mark. His steak wasn't cooked right when the waitress brought it, and the mashed potato was cold. She took it back and replaced it quickly. While the steak was cooked better, the sides still weren't great, but by this point, we'd all finished our entrees. This was a real shame, as it spoiled our experience of Bahama Breeze a little, which has always been a real diamond for us. I enjoyed my Jerk Chicken Pasta, but there wasn't as much chicken in it as there usually is...



Perhaps it's just the I-Drive outlet, as we've never had a bad meal at the one at LBV. I'm not sure if we will go back on our next trip, which is something I never thought I'd say. That said, I think we may reduce the number of nights at Universal... but more on this later...

Anyway, it was a nice night, and the overall quality of the food far exceeded Hard Rock Cafe and the NBC Grill.



After our meal, we got Ubers to Aventura, as we had plans to go to Bar 17...



I was incredibly, incredibly excited to go to Bar 17. I'd tried to reserve us a table for drinks by DM'ing the bar on Twitter, but I wasn't able to do this unless we were dining.

Aventura is seriously impressive. It's very slick and shiny.



But all of this paled in comparison to Bar 17. Wow, is all I have to say. This place was simply incredible. We were all totally blown away by these panoramic views. I've nicked this photo, as I don't seem to have one of my own.



I tried to buy a drink for me and Neil but Martin batted me away so we just soaked in the views. Just WOW.



Couldn't resist a picture of me and hubby with our beautiful honeymoon resort in the background.







Then, wonderfully making one of the first truly stand out moments of our holiday, Martin arrived with a bottle of champagne for us all to have a toast to our incredible time at Universal, and the 4th July (ah, the irony).

This was just such an emotional and breathtaking evening.



I think Mum's face here just sums it up.



We took loads of pictures to mark the occasion.









The boys were meant to take a picture of us girls. Instead, they took this...



This was the picture they were meant to take.



And then, as if it was all done for us, the fireworks started popping all around us, we barely knew where to look! We watched about three or four different shows, including the one at Universal (which we had a fabulous view of).

The only thing missing was music

But nonetheless, it was a simply incredible evening. One that I will remember for the rest of my life

Day 5 - Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure and our move to CSR is here.

Edited at 12:35 PM.
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Old 1 Oct 19, 11:42 PM  
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Another great day. Impressed at how well you managed without express pass.
We’ve never had a bad meal at the idrive Bahama Breeze, maybe it was just an off night.
Bar 17 looks great, we missed it when we stayed at Aventura at Easter, I really liked the hotel and hoping to get to the rooftop bar on our next trip.
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