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Old 06-22-2009, 09:19 PM   #1
jewell
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The Great, the good, the bad and the ugly trip report!

Okay, first let me say that I didn't write this trip report out and I didn't take notes on my vacation either, so this will probably be a mishmash of things, but I hope it will be helpful to people who have planned a vacation to Universal. Also, there will be no pictures, sorry about that, but we didn't bother taking many and since I have no high speed access, downloading and uploading pictures takes WAY too much time for me. Also, the title to this report says, I'll tell you what we loved and what we didn't, so for most things I'll rate it as 'the great, the good, the bad or the ugly'!

First the cast,

Myself, age 47, wife, Mom and bank teller. I'm the obessive planner who has been on these boards since January asking a million questions about Univeral. Myself, DH and DS went to Univeral and IAO in May 2000, we didn't stay on site then, but in May the lines weren't bad. This time around we decided to stay on site at RPR, and we got the deal of 'stay five nights for the price of three'.

DH, age 47, great guy who loves to travel and loves amusement parks and will ride ANYthing!

DS, 15 year old son who is a great kid, he is a lot of fun and he makes us all laugh!

DS (okay, that is supposed to be dear sister, but DS is the same as dear son so I guess I'll just call her sister! ) She is 40, and is like my DH and will ride ANYthing! She had never been to Universal.

Last, but not least my two nieces, ages 13 and 10! Again, like their uncle (my DH) and their Mom they will ride ANYthing.

Okay, onto the good part now! The actual trip report!

We live WV, and so we leave on Saturday morning June 13 at 6:30am, the trip was going pretty good until we happened on a car wreck on Interstate 26 in SC and got stuck in traffic for 1 1/2 hours!!!! Although we hated the delay, what can you do? We couldn't actually see the wreck, but knew it was bad from the amount of emergency vehicles we saw going there. We all waited patiently and said a prayer for the people involved in the wreck. After the delay, we drove until we hit Bunswick GA and spent the night, on Sunday we countined on and we arrived at Royal Pacific Resort around 12:30. Check-in went very smoothly, I asked for tower 2 (later wish we'd asked for tower 1, as tower 2 was the farthest away from the boat tranportation). We got two rooms, one for my family and one for my sister and my nieces. We asked for adjoining rooms, they checked us in and sent us immediately to our rooms!!! As I've already stated we were in tower two, on the sixth level almost at the end of the hall, it was very quiet and we loved that. We checked out our rooms, very nice, very clean, and yes kind of small, but for three people it was fine. The only thing I had trouble with was the sink area is so small for women with make-up, hair dryers, a curling iron and a flat iron! But still it wasn't that big of a deal, we give RPR 'the Great'

Okay, it was around 1:30 and we decided to eat lunch at the Island's dining room, I just got an appetizer, egg rolls which was very good. DH got some sort of a chicken dish with pasta, I can't remember the name---sorry, but he loved it! Sister got the turkey club which was huge and piled high with turkey she really enjoyed it. I can't remember what the kids got, but we all enjoyed our meals. Islands dining room on our first time there, we'll give it 'the great'

We bought the tickets separately, so we headed to redeem ours at the will call ticket kiosk, oh I must add that my sister won one of the super bowl tickets so she headed off to guest services to redeem hers. The Kisok printed out our paper tickets and we went right in....well, everyone else did, me on the other hand had trouble with my finger prints and it took about 10 tries to finally get me in, it was kind of embarrassing! But the guy at the booth was very nice about it.


Now onto the parks, we chose IOA and decided to start with Suess Landing, we rode one fish, two fish, the train trolley ride and Cat and the Hat, they were all fun (especially Cat and the Hat!), but we decided we were really ready for some of the big rides! We give Suess landing 'the good' Next, we headed for DD, and although I'm usually not much of a loopy, go upside down kind of roller coaster girl, a few years ago in Disney I rode Rock N' Roller coaster and LOVED it, so I decided 'what the heck, I'm going to ride it, we got on ice and I thought before the ride was over, I'd DIE!!! Okay, stupid, stupid, stupid idea, I will never ride it again! My sister (who remember will ride anything) was even very dizzy when she got off, wasn't sure she loved it or not. My DS said he loved it though! That was good, because it used to be he wasn't very brave on rides (guess he takes after me in that catagory!). Anyway, we didn't rate DD yet, the rest of the family decided they would try it another day and ride Fire before they rated it. Next onto Spiderman (my family rode that back in 2000 when it was new and loved it then), we all LOVE, LOVE, LOVE spiderman! What a great ride, we rode that many, many times on the four and a half days we were there. We also rode Jurassic river ride, (another ride that was new in 2000) and we love that too! What fun, especially when you get to the top and just as you start down the big drop, look up at the t-rex and watch him bend his head to try to get a bite of you. Luckily, he missed everytime! So we all give Spiderman and Jurassic park 'the great'!

By now it's around 5:30 and we all all starving, so we decide to eat at Thunder Falls, I've read good things about this place on the boards, but when we got there it was closed! The parks stays open until 8:00 and the restaurant closes before 5:30, we'll call that 'the bad'! So we decide on Bubba gumps at Citywalk, mostly because my son loves the movie, we get there about 6:00ish and got a table quickly. We order the garlic bread YUM (the great), sister got the fried fish sandwich, it was huge and really good, DS got the shrimp po boy, it was just okay, too much bread, not enough sauce, the fried fish sandwich was better. DH had some kind of cajun type Maui-Maui and shrimp over garlic mashed potatoes (can't really remember the name of it ), it was really good though, he really liked it. I can't remember what I had, I know it was another type of Maui-Maui dish, but mine was served over rice, I really liked mine too! We gave Bubba Gump's 'the good, very close to 'the great'. The service was very good and several of the servers stopped by to see if we needed anything. And when my DS dropped his fork and asked for another one, our server said he'd have to answer some questions about the movie first, she asked him about 10 questions and he only missed one!

After that we headed back to our rooms, we were very tired, but had a 'great first day'!

I'll post day two tomorrow.
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Old 06-22-2009, 10:06 PM   #2
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Looking forward to reading more.
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Old 06-23-2009, 06:22 AM   #3
f86sabjf
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anxiously waiting
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:15 AM   #4
phamton
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I'd rate your trip report as "the Great." Looking forward to reading the rest of it.
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Old 06-23-2009, 02:22 PM   #5
jewell
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Before I get to the rest of my trip report, let me say something I forgot to mention before, Express entry is the bomb!!!! If anyone has any reservations about the money it cost to stay on site, it is SO worth it. Almost anytime of the day after 10:00am, there were anywhere from a 30 minute wait to a couple of 75 minute waits in the regular lines, the longest express line we had was 7 minutes (well not counting the shows, those lines are longer for everyone)!!!! Most of the time it was five minutes or less!!! Express entry is definitely 'THE GREAT!'


Day 2, Monday morning. We get up around 7:15 (without setting our alarm clocks, we are just sort of early risers). We leave the room by 8:30, walk to the elevator, punch in the Lobby, exit there, walk through the large (but beautiful) lobby, get in tower one's elevator punch in ground floor, walk out, past the Islands restaurant, past Tchoup Chop, past the gift shop and another maybe five minute walk and we were at the boat docks (that is why I wish I had asked for tower 1), we enjoy the boat ride to city walk, and decide to eat breakfast there, some of us had the pecan cinnamon buns at Cinnabon (right across the street from pastomore). Some of us got the breakfast pizza at Pastomore, both the cinnamon buns and the breakfast pizza were very good, although I couldn't eat a whole piece of the breakfast pizza, unless you are a big eater, I really think you might be able to share this. Breakfast gets 'the good' rating.

Anyway, onto Universal today, I was dying to ride Mummy so that was the first ride we did, we even did the regular line so we could see the amazing themeing, but we were all walking too fast, we should have slowed down, we did stop at the scab and pushed it down, but no one was in line so that was a bummer. Seems everyone stops at Simpsons, JN and Shrek first, so the mummy line early in the morning was a walk through. Anyway, I got put on the last row with DH, the ride was so short and so fast, I wasn't even sure if I impressed it or not, one thing I didn't like was that I don't think I got my lap bar down far enough and being in the back row I got some major air time and I could've sworn I was going to fall out. I was so excited to ride The Mummy (I'm a HUGE fan of the first two movies) and I knew most people on the board loved it, maybe I had built it up so much that it just didn't meet my expectations. But don't worry, we rode it again later in the week and I changed my mind about the ride (more on that later).

I can't remember what rides we did in exact order, but I'll tell you what we thought of the ones we rode. Simpsons, we all LOVED it, it definitely gets a rating of 'the great!!!!'. My son could impersonate the teenager in the preshow exactly, it was so funny, we made him keeping saying 'don't worry, you are in the capable hands of us teens' over and over. I think this ride is a little bit smoother than BTTF, my DH thought so too. Anyway, I must admit we (DH and me) liked Simpsons even better than BTTF, and we loved BTTF. Universal did a great job with Simpsons!

Jimmy Neutron, we all rode it, none of us got sick and the chicken dance part wasn't as bad for us as a lot of people complain about, actually that was my favorite part of the ride. BUT, we really didn't like it, we couldn't understand hardly a word they were saying, we liked the old Hannah Barbara (spelling???) ride much, much better. I don't know how to rate this, I guess I'll say between a 'barely good to bad' ride. We even rode it another day, but it was still just the same.

Shrek, I had high expectations for this ride, we love Shrek, It wasn't bad, just not what it could have been in my opinion, we were all just a little disappointed, the line to get in is always long because of the large audience it takes in at once, so I'm not so sure that express helps much with Shrek, T-2 and Horror make-up show. We waited in line for about 20 minutes for this. We also did this show twice, once on Monday and once again on Wednesday. Even though it's not on my rating scale that I came up with, I'll just give this ride/show an 'just okay' rating.

We then did ET, (of course DH, DS and myself had rode this before, so it wasn't new to us), but with express entry we were in our bikes to help ET to get to his home planet within five minutes! My niece who is ten LOVED this ride, during our 2 days we spent in Univeral Studios, I bet we did that five times, and she would have ridden it more, but we finally said enough! My 13 yr old niece thought it was kind of lame, DH, DS and I are kind of sentimental about this ride, so I'm giving it a rating of 'the good!'

We did T-2, DS hated it when we were there last (but he had just turned six, and it was way too loud for him), but I knew he would be excited to watch it this time since he now loves all the T-2 movies. We all watched the show (including my sister and my nieces who has never seen any of the movies), with express entry even though we all go in at the same time, we got pretty good seats about 4 rows back on the left side where a lot of the action is played out. We all love the show, probably my family more, but my sister and nieces said it was good too. My DH, DS and myself give it a rating of 'the great!' Especially if you are a t-2 fan!

Next we did 'disaster', they changed it up a bit since we were there, we had a really good host (don't know what they really call them???) and he was so funny. Anyway, we really enjoyed this show/ride, enough to do it again on Wednesday. We gave it the rating of 'the good.'

Next up was Twister...No... just no. It was old, boring and you could see the strings holding the cow up, it is not worth the time waiting in line, we did not do this show again. It was rated 'the bad'!

We wanted to do the horror show but couldn't seem to meet up with the times, but we knew we'd be back later in the week.

We ate lunch at Finnegan's, we ordered the appetizer of fried shoestring potatoes and onions, OMG, it was DELICIOUS!!!! We all agreed 'the great! My sister ordered the burger, my DH and shared a sandwich of cornbeef and cheese and sauteed onions on a petzel roll, DS got the Irish stew (which I found odd since it was SO hot outside), Nieces almost always either got the grilled chicken or fried chicken tenders off the kids meals. So, we get our meals, mine and DH's sandwich was pretty good, sister gave me a bite of her burger, best burger EVER! I didn't think an irish restaurant would know burgers, but this was SO good!!! DS offered DH and me a bite of his stew and let me tell you, we were heaven!!!! If you go here order the stew it was amazing! DH, DS and I hoped we could go back to this restaurant again, and we all planned on ordering the stew (but sadly we didn't make it back). We give Finnegan's 'the great' rating! The service was also very, very good even though they were very busy. Oh yea, we also ordered a couple of the shot glass desserts, these were good too.

Okay, that night we went to Mamma Della's, it takes awhile to get from tower 2 from RPR to City Walk, then wait on another boat to Portofino Bay hotel and then to the restaurant, it took us about 45 minutes from the time we left our hotel to get there. The restaurant is pretty, we get seated and DH and I decide to get the antipasto platter for us all to share, it was very good and the bread they serve with the butter and roasted garlic was good, also the salad was fine, but for my family that is where 'the good' ended. DH and I decide to split an entree of the frutti di mare, which is shrimp, scallops and some kind of fish in a roasted tomato sauce. I ask my server if it was large enough to share and she said 'well there is plenty of pasta, but you might want to add some shrimp'. I 'thought' she said you get 3 shrimp for 3.00 more, so I say add 3 for me and 3 for hubby. Then my DS ordered pasta with alfredo sauce for his dinner, he then adds 3 shrimp with his. Sister and nieces got the lasagna, all of us loved the lasagna, it was so saucey, which we love (okay, yea we are family and we always share bites when we go out to eat--more fun that way!), but DH and I were very disappointed in our meal, the scallops were overcooked, the fish tastey fishy, the shrimp were okay, but nothing special. The sauce seems more like alfredo sauce (which I really don't like) and there was one roasted roma tomato on our plates, the roasted tomato was the best part of the dish! When we got our bill, they charged us $3.00 per shrimp---add that up! On top of our meal that DH and I ordered which cost about $30, we ended up paying $28.00 more dollars for shrimp!!! Our bill (which was just for me, DH and DS) came to $113.00 and DH and I had iced tea, DS just got water!!!! We (just DH and I) had planned on going to Tchoup Chop later in the week, but after that bill, we decided to cancel our reservations. I did forget to mention the singers that came around, they were very good and we did enjoy that, but for my own rating I'd have to say 'the bad', but my sister and my nieces gave it 'the good'. I'd never go back, just too expensive for average food.

Okay, that was the end of the full second day we were there. Hope you enjoyed, I know I go into a lot of detail, but when I read trip reports, I love details. Hope I don't bore you guys too much!

Next up the pool and back to IOA for the rest of day!
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Old 06-23-2009, 02:57 PM   #6
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Pleeeaaassee, don't spare the details. We've never been to Universal (except for CityWalk). We will be taking our first trip in Sept. and we will be staying at RPR, so for me the more details the better!
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