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Old 2 Aug 19, 01:06 PM  
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Return of the Rescuer – Day 3 –Rollercoaster Riding - 5.7.19

Return of the Rescuer – Day 3 –Rollercoaster Riding - 5.7.19

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Another early wake up at 5.25am but I managed to return to sleep until 7am. I felt I’d had a nice time acclimatising to the weather and switching off from reality over the last couple of days but I was ready for some more excitement.

I know you can check in super early and do early entry to the parks but we had already decided that the Universal portion of our trip would be fairly chilled and we were only planning to do only the things we really liked so we got organised in our time and requested an Uber at 9am.

Traffic was pretty crazy, our Uber driver pointed out the exit that took you directly into Universal and the line was crazy. The cost was $13.

We arrived at 9.30am and I was so excited with our first glimpse


Bell services collected our luggage from the car and gave us a ticket to collect it later.

Check in was straight forward – we had booked using the annual passholders discount, I paid the first night when I booked at it worked out at £313 and the second night was payable on arrival and worked out at £327. Still expensive but I couldn’t find rates like that anywhere else, at the time, I could have booked Portofino for a slightly lower rate with the annual passes but RPR had no availability on that rate.

At check in they put a hold on my card for $200 a night, although we never ended up charging anything to the room, and the cost of the second night. Our room wasn’t ready but they printed room keys for express pass, unfortunately their system crashed so although I had my proper one, ds and dh needed to get temp ones which just meant we would need to go back to the front desk later which was not a big issue. They took my mobile number and sent me a test message to ensure it worked so that they could let us know when our room was ready.

All set we went outside to take some photos at the fountain, I forgot to do this last time so now was as good a time as any or I knew we’d end up not doing it again.


Next we headed downstairs and decided to walk to the parks and cut through the pool area just to get our bearings.


There is an internal way you can go too if its raining and it takes you out at the pool gate as well. It is such a short walk, I love RPR as well but from that exit at Hard Rock it’s only minutes to get to security and the Universal gates.

A photo on entry as our annual photo pass was still valid.


How things change and Ds was determined that Rip Ride or Hulk would be his first ride, so since we had decided on the original park Rip Ride it was.


Despicable me was showing a 60-minute wait so we knew it would be a fairly busy day. Rip Ride was 35 minutes, I think it took us about 10 minutes maximum before we were ready to ride. Ds was eager to ride with Dh as he’d missed the moment the roller coaster love had finally set in at Easter so I was riding alone or rather with a very brave single rider about the same age as ds. I like this ride, other than the back row which is mental and my song of choice is I Will Survive as I need that positive affirmation for the first vertical climb.


Dh and I went to Orlando for our first holiday together in January 1999 and watched the construction of IOA with great excitement and returned to visit in January 2000, to celebrate the 20 year anniversary Universal had released a limited amount of annual passholder tops that they were only selling in the passholder lounge so I was really keen to pick one up.


The lounge opens at 11am and it wasn’t far away from that time so we walked round the streets of Hollywood and stopped off for some pretzels, reactivated the mug and got it filled with a blue fanta icee.


We took these into the lounge with us and I picked up the last small sized top for ds and our passholder pins. The lounge is basic but it is a lovely airconditioned spot with comfy couches to chill.


Next up was the Mummy, ds was all for the thrill rides today. We stored our stuff in the lockers, dh had a small rucksack and it fitted in the free lockers fine, I really like the way it is your park ticket that you use for the locker as I never had the best luck with it reading my fingerprint. If you have a small bum bag that fastens with a 3-pronged clip then you can keep this on, this applies to all rides except Hulk and Rip Ride and Hagrids is a bit of a grey area on this. This ride is wild, I find the fire room terrifying but the theming is awesome and overall, I love it. I believe there is a backstage tour here but it was too busy to ask for it today. The standard line was 35 minutes but we were pretty much walk on with express.


We decided to head round to the Hogwarts Express and walked past beat builders, they were pretty good but we only stopped for a few minutes as it was roasting hot.



When we arrived we went into Hogsmede for a wee nosey at the Hagrids line, it was 240 minutes, that would be a no then


We walked down through Suess Landings, filling the mug and popping in the shops, there was an inside Grinch meet and as I was wearing my resting grinch face top it would have rude not to meet him. The characters here are so good and Mr Grinch was impressed by my wardrobe choice.



There is a funny wee fountain in Suess Landings that Ds loves. It is a fountain that when you throw a coin into the mouth it spits water at you. it is called McGreggors pool and the money goes to a charity which I think is Give Kids the World but I am not sure. If you have some spare change it is a good way to use it as it is fun and goes to a good cause. Ds would spend ages here trying to soak us.


We had lunch booked at Confisco Grill and we were glad of the airconditioned break, I’m sure you would still get a table but you get one faster if you book.

Dh had a bud, I had a Diet Coke and ds had a fanta.

The bread was served with honey butter.


Ds was happy to order off the kids menu as he likes the grilled cheese the last time and was happy to have this again.

Dh had the buffalo shrimp and chicken sandwich, he enjoyed this but perhaps not as much as I enjoyed it on our last visit.

I had the pad Thai, it didn’t look that big or that exciting when it arrived but it was so good! Very peanuty and not spicy. Ds also had some of this and thought it was great. I’d totally have it again.

I don’t think it was that bad value for a theme park meal and was all very nice.



Afterwards ds was ready for Hulk, it’s amazing the change in him. This is my favourite ride at IOA so it’s amazing to be able to ride it all 3 of us now.


Unfortunately, it made dh feel a little unwell as he seems to be suffering from a little bit of motion sickness as he gets older. He went for a drink and a seat while I took ds on Dr Doom.

By this point we were flagging and we had had a text to say our room was ready so we decided that was enough for now. We walked back to the entrance through the shop and ds treated himself to some Ravenclaw stuff with his money and remembered to ask for his annual pass discount.


We thought we would walk back to HRH via Voodoo Doughnuts.
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Old 2 Aug 19, 01:06 PM  
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We stopped off to get ds and dh proper room keys printed out, requested our luggage and went up to the room. The rooms here are very nice with very comfortable beds. We were overlooking the walking path.


Again, the pool was mentioned and again the weather hampered our plans. We chilled out for a bit and headed back to Universal about 7pm. Despicable Me was down to 50 minutes. The little parade was on and there were loads of people hanging around the stage area as they were having a character dance party as part of their 4th of July stuff.



Ds only had one thing on his mind though and that was the Horror Make Up show. He loves this, especially after being picked on a the ‘kid throwing rocks’ at Easter.

Next we headed around to Men in Black, another of our favourites. We did the backstage tour of this at Easter and the team member gave us lots of tips which has made ds even more competitive. He won but only because he pressed the red button. We had planned to ride again but just before we got off it stalled and all the lights came on so we thought better of it and decided to just come back tomorrow.

Gringotts was next on our list, as always, the locker area was chaos with team members shouting at people for just one member of the party to enter which was fine for us as we only had the mug to go in. Even the express pass line was busy and it was right to the back of the bank.

It was weird because it took a while to get into the lift but once you came out there was pretty much no line at all other than on the stairs.

Universal were attempting a 4th July dance party. Ds hates these sorts of things with an absolute passion. It looked fun if you like these sorts of things, there were stilt walkers, a DJ, lights and characters out dancing with the kids. Ds agreed to pause for a photo but only had one thing on his mind and that was riding Rip Ride in the dark.


The line for Rip Ride wasn’t the best, I do think that late on they try to get more of the standard line through so they can close on time so the express pass line gets stalled. They also seemed to be running some empty at points, I think when they had fireworks on. Anyway, we got to see the fireworks from the top platform. When we were to be seated they asked if we wanted 1 in row 1 and 2 in the back. Ds jumped at this opportunity, as it was he ended up in row 2 as someone from the other party obviously decided they would try front row. This left me in the back, which I’d rather have not been but ‘I survived’ again. Ds loved it though and posed for the photo!



By the time we came off the ride, the park was closing. I wanted to refill the mug but all the freestyle machines seemed to have been switched off, a team member advised us to head to Monsters Café and right enough there were 2 machines in there we could use. I will need to remember that in future.


It was heaving trying to get out the park . Ds tried to persuade us to head back to the Hard Rock and I was tempted as the path was just there but I was starving so we navigated the crowds and headed to Breadbox instead. Luckily it wasn’t too busy in there.

We had the hot turkey melt with tater tots and the New York pastrami with tater tots. Both were fantastic but I think the hot turkey just edged it!

Dh also had a beer and was all excited to get a wristband to obviously show he was old enough!


Afterwards we had a relaxed walk back to Hard Rock and were in bed by 11.30pm.

Day 4 here
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Old 2 Aug 19, 06:42 PM  
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I feel for your DH, I am going a little bit the same way with certain rides-am using dramamine this trip! Getting me excited for HRH reading this ! 😄👌
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Old 2 Aug 19, 08:41 PM  
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Originally Posted by GezzasGem View Post
I feel for your DH, I am going a little bit the same way with certain rides-am using dramamine this trip! Getting me excited for HRH reading this ! 😄👌
I did feel sorry for him as he really wanted to enjoy all the rides with ds. He didn't use anything but maybe next time. Someone on the internet advised that keeping facing forwards at all times helps and he actually managed to do the Hulk front row without feeling ill by doing this.

9 days to go, so jealous, I'll be back at school and you'll be in Florida
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Old 2 Aug 19, 09:10 PM  
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Originally Posted by Rescuer View Post
I did feel sorry for him as he really wanted to enjoy all the rides with ds. He didn't use anything but maybe next time. Someone on the internet advised that keeping facing forwards at all times helps and he actually managed to do the Hulk front row without feeling ill by doing this.

9 days to go, so jealous, I'll be back at school and you'll be in Florida
😂😂👍 the only down side of a good build up is the back to reality bit!
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Old 2 Aug 19, 09:13 PM  
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I don’t think those rates are two bad when you consider it includes Express passes for all three of you. I’ve been pricing those up and they are eye-watering.

Look how calm DS is on RRR!? Your single-rider pal doesn’t look quite as chilled, bless him.

Love DS’ Ravenclaw purchases, it’s great to see a young lad so comfortable with his fandoms that he’ll wear the merch, very refreshing.

Bread Box looks so good, I am really not a sandwich person but they just look amazing.

Very busy day today, definitely made great use of those passes.
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Old 2 Aug 19, 10:07 PM  
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Originally Posted by collybird View Post
I don’t think those rates are two bad when you consider it includes Express passes for all three of you. I’ve been pricing those up and they are eye-watering.

Look how calm DS is on RRR!? Your single-rider pal doesn’t look quite as chilled, bless him.

Love DS’ Ravenclaw purchases, it’s great to see a young lad so comfortable with his fandoms that he’ll wear the merch, very refreshing.

Bread Box looks so good, I am really not a sandwich person but they just look amazing.

Very busy day today, definitely made great use of those passes.
I thought the rates were good, I couldn’t get anything close to that anywhere else. We paid £255 for Portofino for a night later in the holiday on the annual pass rate which I thought was amazing value. Are you fancying a universal stay?

I know ds is now at one with coasters I think 😂

Who knows how much longer he’ll wear his themed stuff but he’s had Mickey t-shirts on the last few days.

I think even non sandwich lovers would find something to love in breadbox.
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Old 3 Aug 19, 04:21 PM  
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Nice to see HRH pictures, which I've finally decided to book. Just get the feeling that my DS will like it better here, it seems to have a younger vibe. Will leave PBR to May next year when it's just DH and I. I love how close HRH is to US too. Breadbox is going on my list now.
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Old 3 Aug 19, 05:19 PM  
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Originally Posted by JanetteParker View Post
Nice to see HRH pictures, which I've finally decided to book. Just get the feeling that my DS will like it better here, it seems to have a younger vibe. Will leave PBR to May next year when it's just DH and I. I love how close HRH is to US too. Breadbox is going on my list now.
HRH is really good, I'm sure you will all love it.

PBR would be great for an adult only trip, I'd happily sit at the bar overlooking the harbour there with dh any night.
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Old 3 Aug 19, 09:30 PM  
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