Been to Universal Studios, Orlando (253/366)

253UniversalOrlandoTop“Orlando!  I love you, Orlando!”
~ Elder Kevin Price, “Book of Mormon


We’re on our final leg of our coast-to-coast craziness vacation (almost as epic as last year’s!), and today we went to Universal Studios, Florida.  I’ve been to Orlando twice before, and although the last time I was here I did in fact go to Universal’s awesome Islands of Adventure theme park, when we were here last we decided that since there’s a Universal Studios (the original!) in Anaheim, there was no need to go to the Universal Studios here in Orlando.  I actually didn’t even remember this, until we were walking through Universal Studios Florida this morning and I didn’t recognize it at all.  It’s awesome!

They had a Back to the Future Delorean, awesome.

And walking further into the park, we saw more familiar things … that looks like Ghirardelli Square – and Fisherman’s Grotto … is that … part of the SF waterfront?!

Ha ha ha it totally was!  They had tons of stuff – some names changed because they couldn’t get the rights (or didn’t want to pay for them), but there was an area that was totally Pier 39, and the good ol’ Buena Vista was represented, as well.
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We traveled thousands of miles just to get to Fisherman’s Wharf!?  No complaints – it was AWESOME.  They even had a building representing The Cannery, with a [slightly altered] Boudin Bakery *type* logo outside.  Really, really cool.
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And of course, in this “neighborhood” was the “Disaster!” attraction.

Super cute – there was a segment where we all sat for a show-type experience, complete with audience participation, green screen tricks, and other fun stuff … but then we all got to go on a ride as well, which was modeled after a portion of the Universal Hollywood tour – we were on a simulated BART train, in an underground station, when suddenly there was an earthquake and sudden *disaster*!  And we were all a part of the film production!  Like I said, really, really cute.  They did a great job with this one.
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Those towers looked familiar … weren’t they the “hidden, but actual working spaceships” from the 1964-5 World’s Fair, which we found out about in the movie Men in Black?  Cool – there was an “MIB Training Facility” experience as well.
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This was more of a traditional ride, but they had a cool setup getting you *to* the ride – complete with alien sightings in MIB headquarters.  NEAT.
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And look at this Despicable Me house!  So cool.  I actually haven’t even seen the movie yet, but this ride TOTALLY made me want to.

The details in the house are so awesome!  This was the first waiting area – inside the second room, you’re briefed on your “mission” and entertained by the minions, the girls, and Gru, and finally you get to go on the ride, which incorporates moving seats and a 3D film.  Adorable, and so much fun!

SF wasn’t the only neighborhood we saw at Universal – there was a bit of New York, too – since N and I had been there for the first time last year, it was really neat to see a mini version here.  They even had Finnegan’s!
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There was a lot of great detail and effort put into the decorations and atmosphere at Universal – even down to their eateries – this bust of Frankenstein’s monster and lab equipment was so cool … and it was just sitting on top of a refrigerated salad display case in the Monster’s Cafe.  Love it!
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There was even a Kwik-E-Mart (although inside was just a souvenir shop) next to the Simpson’s ride, which is cool, but they also have in Hollywood.  Speaking of Hollywood, there was a taste of *that* here, too – since walking down Rodeo Drive for the first time last year, it was really pretty cool to see a mini version of it here as well!

They did a great job with Universal Studios here in Orlando – while the Hollywood one was kind of built around the actual working movie studio (so the setup is sometimes lacking compared to other theme parks), this one was created to specifically be a park – and they used the ideas and space really well.  Different from Disneyland vs. Disneyworld, I think it’s worth it to spend a day at Universal Orlando even if you’ve been to the original Hollywood park.  It really is a different, and very fun experience!


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Universal Studios, Florida

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