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Old 09-08-2003, 09:55 AM   #1
mkingdon
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The Williams tour of Florida restrooms - Day Ten - A Shrek of a Queue.

Cast

Me - Craig, only just 33. Rucksack carrier and stroller pusher.
Louise - Wife, 34, slowly becoming addicted to WDW.
Emily - Aged 8. Moody, full of attitude and daddy’s girl.
Rebecca - Aged 6. Comedian, Olympic eater and worrier.

The Williams tour of Florida restrooms, sponsored by VISA.

Day Ten – Saturday 23rd August – A Shrek of a Queue.


Today was to be a Universal Studios day. We were all up around 7.30, no swim (what do you think this is, a holiday?), and we “arrived” at Universal at around 9.30. Take a note of that time, it will be important later.

We parked in Jaws. Judging by the length of the walk to the main gates, Jaws must be just outside Tampa. We rode the various moving floors, and after a day or two we made it to the City Walk bit.

I had bought tickets over the internet, and had printed off the voucher. Well, the good news is that today I remembered to bring it with me. There were big queues at the kiosks, but no line at all at the e-kiosks. Having picked up the tickets, we make it through bag search, and the gates (after a restroom stop) and off to the stroller place. Both parking and strollers are more expensive than Disney I notice.

We are finally ready to have some fun, and it is now 10.20!!! That’s a long time between parking and having fun. Again, Disney do this better IMHO.

The kids are bursting to do Shrek, even though they have no idea what the ride entails. I secretly hope it involves several “big drops” three upside downs and several scary bits, as revenge for their wimpiness so far.

For some reason, I don’t buy the $25 each Express passes ($100 on top of the ticket prices…I should cocoa), and still astounded by this outrage, I forget to get a normal FastPass and join the standby queue for Shrek. There is no sign (that I could see) which says how long the wait is. I take that as a bad sign, and settle in for a long one.

At least they have made some effort to make the wait bearable. They have spray fan things, and an amusing video on overhead screens. As ever though, the wait is longer than the video.

We finally get in after about an hour. The pre-show is very good, but the kids can’t see it, and I’m not picking them up. Those days are long gone.

We file into the theatre, and I’m gutted to see it’s “only” a film and won’t involve the kids being strapped to a fast moving vehicle.

I won’t spoil this attraction for those yet to ride, but it was very enjoyable indeed.

As we leave Shrek and try to find our strollers in the stroller mess outside, we find one of them has been stolen. It’s always us!!!

So I march back to the stroller place, receipt in hand, and get another one. I spend the rest of the day looking at every single stroller we pass, determined to kneecap the culprit if I find him or her.

Louise now wants a coffee. Somehow this happens to involve obscene amounts of cake each, and as we sit there full of sugar and caffeine, it is now 12.00, and we have done one ride. Simon V would be ashamed of us.

We then go across to MIB and get a FP. Whilst waiting for that we see that BTTF has a five minute queue so on we go. It is now starting to rain.

We are on the ride in less than five minutes, and we take the front seats in our car. This was much more jerky and bumpy than I remember, and the kids aren’t too keen. In fact, as we leave the ride Rebecca sheds a few tears. She was fine two years ago when we last rode it.

Despite the mountain of cake consumed only moments earlier, Louise and Emily now want a hot dog. I join a queue at a kiosk, and twenty, yes twenty minutes later I have them and a drink in my hand. We then wander to Animal Planet Live, and take our seats just as the show starts. The girls enjoy this, especially the monkey, but the show seemed a little short to me.

It was now time for our MIB fast pass. We spend ten minutes trying to figure out how to use the lockers as they won’t let us take Ryan on. We figure out how to open the locker, and then spend five minutes forcing the rucksack into the miniscule space they pretend is a bag locker. Now then, as Ryan contains:


Camcorder
Camera
Two twirly fan spray things (full of water)
Autograph books
Two sweatshirts (purchased from MGM for when kids are cold indoors)
Suncream
Bobbles
Ponchos with that nice musty smell

He does not want to go into that small dark space. We eventually coax him in with some brute force and we go onto the ride. We still queue about ten minutes, but it’s better than the 40 minute standby. We all really enjoy this one, and of course I get a fantastic score of 120,000. Our side loses however, and I give everyone a look of disgust for letting the side down.

Next was the Wild West Show. Rebecca has developed a weird fascination with westerns over the last few months, so this was right up her street. I must admit it was better then I thought it would be.

Despite the burning heat, we made our way to “Woody’s ride” as the girls wanted to do that. You are familiar with the expression, no pain, no gain. Well, this ride to me is the opposite. Lots of pain in terms of queue, with very little gain in terms of length of ride. The girls liked it well enough so all was not lost.

We were flagging now, and the plan was to quickly (note my tongue in my cheek) ride ET, and then be off to Boma for our PS. Not that food is an important part of our holiday in any way.

So I go to get some FPs for ET and they have a return time of 4pm. That’ll do nicely as the standby time is about an hour.

We let the kids play in the playground thing, and have various restroom stops. I can’t moan now though as Louise is officially ill!!!

At 4pm on the dot, we join the Express queue for ET. Ten minutes later we are still there. After five more minutes we finally make it into one of the holding bays near the doors. Another ten minutes after that we get in to the pre show. It was so hot at this point that the queue was getting genuinely agitated, and a round of applause broke out when the doors opened.

We watched the Spielberg bit, and filed through to the next holding pen. Now, I’m sure in the concept meeting for this ride, getting ET to say goodbye to everyone by name was a cracking idea. In fact, I’ll bet someone got promoted on the back of it, but it is the most pointless, ineffective waste of time on any ride, anywhere in Florida EVER. Am I making myself clear Mr Universal owner??

It took a further ten minutes for the crowd to get through the name gathering shambles. I was really tempted to give my name as “Mug who queued too long just so I could say your name, which no-one hears anyway”, so ET would say…

“Goodbye Rebecca, Goodbye Emily…Goodbye Mug who queued too long just so I could say your name, which no-one hears anyway”. But I didn’t. I was brought up too well!!

We get into the next queue in the forest, where at least it is cool, and somehow get into a conversation with a British family in front of us, who “know everything” about Florida. I suss them out as Florida numpties in about five seconds, and leave Louise to do small talk as I pretend to show the kid’s stuff in the woods.

I think they lost me at “ We don’t do Disney anymore, as they don’t do any decent rides”.

They then proceeded to tell us (even though I wasn’t listening) what we should do for the rest of our holiday. Luckily, we are soon on the ride (about 30 minutes after joining the Express queue I might add) and off on our ride.

We don’t hear ET say our names as the ride (as it always does) stops and starts throughout and we are out of sync at the end. AAAAGGGGHHHH.

After that we make our way to the exit. Having not learned our lesson from our Sea World day, we join the I4 at around 5.30. We find a nice parking spot and wait our turn to move.

We get to AKL at around 6.30!!! I smile politely at the guard, who obviously knows I’m far too poor to afford to stay there, but I convince him that between the four of us, we may be able to scrape together enough to buy a meal, and he lets us in.

We have a quick look round the place, try a couple of viewing stations, and the camcorder captures some animals. (not literally).

Whilst I book in at Boma, Louise goes to the bar. Now this is an event of national importance. In all the years we’ve been together, I think this is the third time Louise has been to the bar. You can tell how keen she was for her red wine.

I return from booking to find my beer waiting for me, and not much change from $20!! I think the guard may have been right after all!

I take a swig of beer and my thing vibrates…not a normal reaction to beer I’ve found.

We are taken to our table, and unleashed on the buffet. The girls stick to the safe stuff, and enjoy it. I try as many different things as I can, including some lovely soup, lots of cracking salads and lots of delicious cuts of meat.

We are of course very quickly full, but I manage to soldier on and force down a selection of desserts. I don’t know what I was expecting here, but somehow I thought it would be smaller, quieter and a little less rushed.

Having said that we always tend to rush when the girls are with us, as they have their main meal whilst we eat starters and so are finished before we eat our main course, and then get bored.

Next time they stay at home. They won’t do the rides anyway.

We then took a longer look at the animals this time from outside. Overall this is a very impressive place, and I’m sure it’s lovely to stay here. Our favourite remains WL, but the two are quite similar I think.

We left at around 9.00. On the way home, we needed to stop at a Pharmacy (I can sense your surprise). The kids had been given a crayon each and an activity sheet in Boma, and had brought it with them.

As we waited in the car for Louise to return from the pharmacy, they started to squabble, and despite several warnings, reached that inevitable point of tears and shouting, and that was just me!!

So, my delightful girls were sat in the middle of Orlando, having just sampled one of it’s finest dining experiences, in one of it’s premier resorts, in the middle of a holiday costing more than some terraced houses not far from our home town (well not quite).

Taking all that into consideration, I was mildly upset that they chose to start fighting over a black crayon!!!! Louise returned to the car to be informed that I had had enough of HER children, and she was to despatch them to bed upon our arrival home.

They did go straight to bed, but the punishment element was slightly wasted as they fell asleep in the car.

We did a bit of reading and went to sleep at around 10.30

Tomorrow – Sea World and A N Other Park
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Trip Report 2003 - The Williams Tour of Florida Restrooms Sponsored by VISA

The Sunshine, Moonlight, Good Times & Boogie(board) Tour August 2007


Last edited by mkingdon; 09-08-2003 at 10:12 AM.
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Old 09-08-2003, 10:05 AM   #2
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Quote:
I take a swig of beer and my thing vibrates…
Classic!!
You are so funny Craig - your trip reports are fantastic!

Cath :D
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Old 09-08-2003, 12:53 PM   #3
KayleeUK
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Great report
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Old 09-09-2003, 04:53 PM   #4
AlisonB
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I can sympathise SOOOOOO much with you about your daughters - we've taken ours at the ages of 3 & 5, 5 & 7 and this year at 8 & 10, and each year we've said at least once 'We've come half way round the world - now be grateful!!'
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Old 09-10-2003, 03:28 AM   #5
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Another fun filled day:D

How was Ryan when you uncrammed him from his cell
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Old 09-16-2003, 03:09 AM   #6
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Wonderful trip reports ~ Thanx for sharing!!
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Old 10-05-2003, 05:54 AM   #7
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A real fun packed day.

Excellent:D
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