Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios

Orlando was two hours away by bus from where I was staying in Florida and I had only one full weekend, so I had to plan the non-work part of our trip carefully: I booked round-trip bus rides (since none of us drive) via Greyhound (first in, last out basis), a hotel for the night (we stayed at the Best Western in Downtown Disney Resort Area for $89 a night!), and spent one day each at Disney World and Universal Studios. 

Both parks are huge – don’t even try to finish them all in one go. Same as with Disney World, we chose to focus on just one park at Universal. I only wanted to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (which deserves it’s own blog entry) so we automatically chose Islands of Adventure over Universal Studios. I’m afraid I didn’t give my friends much of a choice really, as I told them I would see Harry Potter with or without them. Spoiled brat alert. Hahaha.

Our first stop inside the park? The locker rooms. Seriously, I was lugging around ten paperbags from all the outlet store shopping we did the day before and that morning before we went to Universal that my back was ready to give out on me (in case you need to know, I have a back problem and a weak shoulder which made things worse). I did buy a huge backpack and transferred my purchases there, but I wouldn’t have enjoyed the park with a ton on my back, right? Good thing Universal has some cute lockers which you can rent for $8 and $10, for the single and family-sized units, respectively. A tiny confession: I bought so much I had to rent two family-sized lockers. In any case, Christmas is just around the corner so why not do a little early shopping right?

With that out of the way, welcome, adventure! Look at the cute signs:

My favorite area, in terms of how cute everything looked like, was Seuss Landing. It was just like walking into a cartoon set – colorful, vibrant and larger than life. I can imagine kids, and kids at heart, enjoying just strolling along this park. I know I did. 

The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride

It was kind of ironic that we left Manila a few days before the office Halloween celebration where the theme for our floor was Dr. Seuss. Look at Onceler’s House!

Even their restaurants looked yummy enough to eat!

In terms of attractions though, I liked the Lost Continent most – especially the Eight Voyage of Sinbad Stunt Show, a live-action stunt show featuring Sinbad (but of course) and his sidekick as they rescue Princess Amoura from the witch Miseria. Lots of “rock”-climbing and swinging from ropes from the princess and Sinbad, and special effects like fire bursting out of nowhere and water splashing – since it was real fire and water, we actually felt the scorching heat of the fire as it threatened to burn the princess and then the coolness of the water.

the set for the live-action show
A good thing I managed to get the entire show on video, which is of course, too long to post here.

I’m not too fond of lamb, but this was really good! I had this for late lunch after our Sinbad advneture
Next, we went to Poseidon’s Fury, a tour inside a ruined “temple” where Poseidon was supposedly trapped for hundreds of years with his enemy. Honestly, I was a bit disappointed with this one – the guide was fun and was probably the only part I enjoyed but it was tiring to walk inside and just watch on the screen. 

Poseidon’s Fury

These “pirates” were nice enough to pose for us
Our last stop was the Marvel Super Hero Island – yep, all your favorite Marvel characters all in one place! We even managed to watch a live motorcycle race with Wolverine, Storm, and Captain America. 🙂 I thoroughly enjoyed The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, a 3-D ride where you are flung from building to building, dropped into the sea, and hung upside-down all in the comfort of your seat. Perfect for height-averse people like me. Hahaha. Seriously though, I liked this ride so much I wanted to do it again. My fear of heights kind of limits the attractions I could enjoy in a theme park so it’s really nice we now have these 3D things. 

One thing I most certainly would have died of? The Incredible Hulk Coaster. Look! Just the sight of it made my stomach drop. Imagine having to ride it. So. Not. Gonna. Happen.

There were lots of merchandise for sale in the park but I was quite content with my loot from Hogsmeade, so, sorry but no Simpsons t-shirt or X-Men paraphernalia this Christmas. 
Up Next: Wizarding World of Harry Potter

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