Stacey woke me up early asking if I’d seen the news, I hadn’t as I’d been asleep so she told me to check my phone. My first thought was Trump had launched some nukes but it turns out Christopher had asked Laura to marry him. Funny how I thought the nukes was more likely news! A great start to the day, love a wedding to look forward to.
Our 2nd day at Universal today. We grabbed bottled water and cream cheese bagels from the food court and ordered our uber. Rogerio was our driver, he was efficient enough but not very chatty, he was from Sao Paolo in Brazil and moved to Orlando for a better way of life for his family. He got us to our destination without any fuss and we headed in to the park. Stacey again had worked out a plan for the day with military efficiency. We were to head towards Diagon Alley for the Harry Potter rides, on the way we passed the Transformers ride and the advertised queue was only five minutes so we went off plan and jumped on. Jacob, Leila and myself went on first whilst Stacey and Flo Bo waited in the parent swap area. Best ride so far for me. 3D simulator mixed with a moving cart type thing….. great fun. We swapped over and Stacey went on with the big kids, they all came off grinning as they loved it too. Back on track we started to head to Potter again, Stacey saw Jaws hanging up on our way and regaled us with a story of her having her photo done there when she came with Pat & Gill previously, she took photos of the kids there and again we were on our way.
We arrived in Diagon Alley, it was better than any of us thought. The detail was stunning, all the shops were there exactly as per the films. We went in Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes joke shop and had a quick browse before heading to Gringotts for what we’ve been assured is one of the best rides in Orlando. The queue said it was 75 minutes so we jumped in, we got to the front much quicker than 75 minutes, I think it was around 25 minutes and Stacey suggests 45 minutes, it matters not and the time we’ve spent discussing it is pointless! We did the parent swap and I waited with Bizzle whilst Stacey and the big two went on. Stacey and Jacob came of saying it was great, Leila came off crying saying she wasn’t going back on it again no matter what! Jacob and I went on and whilst it was decent it wasn’t as good as the other Potter ride and not a patch on Transformers in my opinion. He who must not be named featured in the ride a fair bit, I realised why Leila hated it so much now!
The parents made an executive decision that we would come back later on to browse the shops and and look around Diagon Alley and we would go find some more rides on Stacey’s list. Men in Black was next and Jacob was extremely excited, not because the ride was meant to be especially good but more because of his recent obsession he had with Will Smith down to the fact that the entire back catalogue of Fresh Prince of Bel Air was on Netflix and he was rapidly working his way through them (thanks Pat!). We queued for about 10 minutes and did the ol’ parent swaperoo again. The ride was similar to Buzz Lightyear’s alien shooting one but MiB themed instead. Jacob was annoyed that I got a higher score than him but pleased he beat his little sister. As with seemingly every single ride at a theme park they make you exit through a gift shop and this was no different. Jacob was insistent that he spend some of his money on a “neuroliser” which was essentially a plastic toy made to look like a memory wiper from the movies. We had the old “it’s just a piece of plastic rubbish that will break before we get back to England” chat but he wasn’t having it and kicked off accordingly. We walked out the shop ignoring his ranting and went straight for the Simpsons ride. I waited with Flo first on a bench by the queues and the others went on. They really liked it when they came off and then it was my turn. The Simpsons ride is a simulator and it made me feel incredibly sick after about 30 seconds! I spent the rest of the time not enjoying it in the slightest and trying to think of anything but vomiting. I couldn’t get off the ride quickly enough and out to the fresh air. Stacey could tell I didn’t like it so suggested we sit down and had our cream cheese bagels and mini cheddars. We found a suitable spot on a wall located opposite the Delorian and alongside Moes Tavern.
With luncheon devoured it was time for E.T. Stacey was looking forward to this as she wanted to go on it when she came as a child but didn’t, she thinks it was closed for some reason but couldn’t remember for sure. Flo was allowed to ride this one and we were all on the same cart, the ride was nice and peaceful, Flo not knowing anything about E.T was not massively bothered especially as most of the ride was in the dark but she didn’t kick off. Stacey told us that Shrek was next and led the way, there was a hold up, thee parade was going on blocking our path! As luck would have it we could get right near the front and further to that the float going by was Minions so Flo was in her element. We eventually got to the queue for Shrek and the wait was around 20 minutes so we tagged on the end. I had no idea but Shrek was a ride but a 3D theatre where the chairs moved around at the same time as well as you getting sprayed with water every so often, it was a lot better than I thought it was going to be in truth as well as it lasting longer than expected.
With all the rides done that we wanted to go on we went back to see what Diagon Alley had to offer, whilst walking there it decided to rain, not normal rain like we get in England but huge great drops that formed their own puddles when the hit the ground. Us being used to such weather ploughed on and continued as we would as if it was glorious sunshine, everyone else seemed to be running for the nearest cover they could find which included all the shops we wanted to go in! Jacob and Leila bought some sweets from the pick n mix and we looked through all the Potter merchandise we could, none of us bought anything though but it was fun to browse. We decided it was time to slowly make our way for the exit, we wandered in and out of shops and looked at various memorabilia from popular films we all had varying knowledge about. We got near the exit of the park when I all of a sudden saw someone I recognised, racking my brains of who it was I soon got to realise it was Kurt Angle, I was in shock, I took a photo and told Jacob who was also shocked. For those that don’t know who Kurt Angle is he is an Olympic gold medalist in profession wrestling, he was a massive WWF superstar back in the day and literally the night before was announced the new General Manager of Monday Night Raw. We went in to the final shop of the park and I regretted not going up to him and chatting so Jacob and I ran back out to see if we could and he was being whisked off somewhere with his family so our chance of a lifetime was gone. I don’t have many regrets in life but that was certainly one of them. We made our way to our uber and the kids took photos with the Universal sign along with loads of other people, it was still raining!
Our uber driver was named Efren and drove an old Honda. I tried to strike up some conversation but he informed me that he didn’t speak any English so I didn’t waste my time further even trying! He got us home safely enough and we dined at our resort. It was till relatively early so we had a wander round and the kids found a caricature artist, Jacob asked to have his done, we thought it was a great idea and he sat down and told the lady what he wanted. He chose to have himself as the Rock, he sat there chatting to the lady about wrestling and whatever else she asked him about and then she revealed the finished article, he was blown away and absolutely loved it. We left to wander round and Leila announced that she wanted a caricature doing so I took her back to get hers done whilst the others went to the play park. Leila asked to be Minnie Mouse and the lady obliged. Leila told the artist all about her friends and how crazy they are and what they get up to as she was having her picture done, she showed her photos of them all dressed up and with makeup on, she thought it was hilarious and was very entertained whilst creating her masterpiece. We went and found the others at the park, Jacob was playing with some lads from Kentucky and Flo was on the climbing frame type thing. The Kentucky boys went home so we let the kids play a bit more, Leila and Florence put on a show for us whilst we sat on a bench, it was very entertaining but Leila kept wanting to restart as Flo wasn’t doing it right! We got back to our room and everyone fell asleep almost instantly after a long days of rides and walking