Super Bowl Aftermath at Universal Studios

Super Bowl Aftermath at Universal Studios February 5, 2008

This morning I was able to confirm what I had suspected last night by the pool. For the first time in my life I was watching the Super Bowl. Watching is probably too strong a word for it as I was dividing my attention between the big outdoor screen, my kids who were swimming, and the book I was reading. The occasional word I actually understood from the screen and the cheers which went up at various points during the incomprehensible action were strong hints that I was, in fact, watching something vaguely important to you Americans, although of almost no interest to the rest of the world! I could make a load of rude comments such as, “What’s with the constant rests to get their wind back and all that body armor?” But I have too much to say about what we did today to make wisecracks about the superiority of the Rugby Union. It was when one of the actors in a show at the Universal Studios Resort interjected a comment about the Patriots and the Super Bowl that I knew for sure I had largely missed a critical event! Any hope I might have had of ever receiving a link from C.J.’s new blog has surely now evaporated!

Anyway, so what did we think of Universal Studios? First up, it seems it was a good park for us to start with as it probably has the fewest real rides of any of the parks we will visit. But that’s not to say there wasn’t lots to do! Universal Studios is more about shows which are often a hybrid between cinema, live theater, and ride-like sensations. They are all very clever and, at least today, consistently and energetically delivered. We almost didn’t need our fast access which allowed us as Universal Hotel guests to jump the queues which were mostly very short in any case. We did not have to wait at all for anything, except when the show in front of us had to finish before we could enter. The attractions where this was an issue almost always had a “pre-show” that helped to set the scene and was very much part of the fun.

We began with the Revenge of the Mummy. I wasn’t quite sure about this one from a creepiness perspective. We have a very low threshold for things like that—having, for example, walked out of the movie King Kong. However, I don’t think I really needed to worry that much. Apart from the mummy itself, it was really much more about a fast and furious rollercoaster ride in the pitch black, which was enough to leave the three of us feeling slightly unsteady by the end! We loved it. The pyrotechnics were great and set the scene for the day. We saw a whole lot of bursts of flame large enough and close enough to make you warm today!

We stayed in the park from 9 a.m. until just after 5 p.m., not even really stopping for lunch, although we did grab a hot dog. We actually wandered a bit more than we probably should have as we hadn’t worked out a program for the various shows we wanted to see.

Four attractions stood out because we found ourselves joining a spontaneous round of applause at the end. These were Twister—whose special effect depiction of a tornando was very believable; Disaster—which used to be called Earthquake; Terminator 2 4D—which was the most immersive experience you could ever have in an adapted movie theatre; and the surprisingly good Jimmy Neutron.

We also enjoyed all the other things we saw very much—Shrek 4D, Fear Factor Live, the Live Blues Brothers Show, rock climbing, and especially the Men in Black ride.

We won’t forget Universal Studios in a long time, and will be returning later in the week for Mardi Gras. We were a little disapponted that Back to the Future has closed and building works are ongoing to replace it with a Simpsons’ ride. My family knows I don’t really like the Simpsons as they make men look weak and ineffectual. Also Jaws will only reopen later in the week, but at least it will be before we move to Disney so we will be able to experience that, which I suspect will also be a highlight. We also had a caricature drawn of us, which was rather fun.

We did get a bit caught out by the cost of our hotel breakfast this morning. We were awake and very hungry very early because of jet lag. So we had little choice but to partake since the parks and Universal restautants didn’t open until 9 a.m. We discovered that we could have bought “eat as much as you like all day” tickets in the park for what we spent on our breakfast! I guess you could say, “Well, live and learn!”

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