Florida 03/22 – Universal Studios Florida
Universal Studios Florida
I never knew that the divide in quality between Islands of Adventure and the Studios park itself was so great. While much of that is down to Islands of Adventure adding Hagrid and VelociCoaster recently, even without those 2 monsters I still feel that the Studios park feels incredibly lacking when compared to its neighbour. I can now absolutely see why the park removed Jaws to add Escape from Gringotts, because without it, it really does feel like you’d only ever visit the Studios park out of courtesy.
Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit
Thankfully though, the park is home to Rip, Ride, Rockit, and that’s where we headed first.
This coaster really has no reason to be as good as it is. The queueline is bad, dirty metal switchbacks under a slightly rusting roof, I suppose it isn’t much worse than Hulk’s queue though. The presentation is bad, with dated queueline videos telling you how we are going to create a totally awesome music video dude. The station is bad, it doesn’t even really have one. The coaster model, if my maths are correct, has a 1 in 3 chance of being God awful.
Yet despite all of that, the coaster itself is extremely good fun, helped immensely by the on-board audio.
Hauling around this intense coaster, getting ejected out of my seat on entry to every block brake (of which there are many), while rocking out to Limp Bizkit’s Rollin’ was amazing and I’m more than happy to be in the minority of people who are proud to say they like Rip, Ride, Rockit.
After triple R we went on a walk to find the kiddie coaster (naturally) and on route discovered that the Studios park being not as good does have its advantages. You can comfortably walk between rides without having to dodge around thousands of people, it was a nice change after yesterday.
Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster
Would you look at that, a Vekoma Junior at a Universal Resort that doesn’t have a 90 minute queue, I could get used to this.
Next it was time to go see E.T., or go save his friends, or something like that.
I’d heard a lot about this dark ride over the years, from it was one of the scariest things in the World (unintentionally of course), to it’s one of the best dark rides ever I can’t believe they got rid of it at the Hollywood and Japan parks.
It was alright, definitely showing its age though, which is fair enough when it’s even older than me.
The one thing I will never forgot about my ride on the elusive E.T. Adventure though is the key moment being ruined.
So as pretty much everyone will know, you give your name to a ride host when you enter the attraction, this all comes full circle with E.T. himself saying your name at the end of the ride. Well in our case, just as E.T. began to say our names the ride operator started shouting at someone for filming, completely cutting off E.T., it was hilarious.
The Simpsons Ride
From a proper “old school” dark ride to the first of the park’s many slightly different motion simulators.
I wasn’t a huge fan of The Simpsons Ride if I’m honest. Jiggling around while some video played that wasn’t very Simpsons in either tone or animation just didn’t do it for me. The best part of the whole attraction was the clips from the actual show that they showed in the queueline, but we’ve got those at home.
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
Then it was time to enter the only part of the park where you couldn’t walk freely, the Harry Potter bit of course, in order to ride Escape from Gringotts.
Not a criticism of the ride, but my God the queue for this thing never ended. Endless switchbacks in 1 location outside (must be near the front now), queuing in the bank foyer (I reckon we get on just through that door), queuing in a corridor (think it’s just at the end there), going down a lift, queuing in another corridor (I think I see the end now) and then finally going down lots of stairs, this ride loves teasing you.
As for the ride itself, I really enjoyed it. More so for how impressive it is on a technical level though, than as a story driven experience.
That comes down to me being a Harry Potter fan and them taking characters already portrayed rather poorly in the films and going even more off the rails with them in order to make some of the gimmicky stuff play out.
Then it was time to experience the trio of terror…
Fast & Furious: Supercharged
Starting with Fast & Furious.
While it certainly deserves the awful reputation it has recieved, and I fully stand by the Universal high ups calling it the biggest mistake of their careers, I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would. All those on board and all the staff members on route kind of gave off the same impression of, it’s bad, but let’s try to enjoy it, which I can get behind.
Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
Jimmy Fallon was worse, way worse.
After, for better or worse, skipping 90% of the preshows and set up, we entered the theatre room, all atmosphere left the building, and it never returned.
71 people bouncing about infront of a screen in silence while Jimmy Fallon delivers awful one-liners, and an ex-employee of the ride explains aloud “it used to be better trust me, they used to spray the smell of pizza in”.
To regroup we visited CityWalk and had the best Panda Express of my life. I can’t stress enough how much I like the setup of Universal Orlando. The ability of launch out at any time, recharge at one of the many CityWalk restaurants then launch back in is fantastic.
Despicable Me Minion Mayhem
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but, Minion Mayhem, was, alright.
I thought the story was quite cute and heartfelt, which I really wasn’t expecting from Despicable Me. Then the simulator stuff was nothing special but slightly more than I was expecting.
Yeah, was alright that.
I’ve just read that it replaced Terminator at the Hollywood park though, and that’s not alright.
Men in Black: Alien Attack
With the trio of terror out of the way, it was time get back on track with a dark ride that I’ve wanted to ride since I saw it on TV 20 odd years ago, Men in Black: Alien Attack.
Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, the ride coudn’t live up to 20 years of hype, and much like E.T. felt like it was really showing its age it parts, I did still enjoy it though.
Transformers: The Ride
The answer to the question asked yesterday of does Spiderman or Transformers use the ride system better is, Transformers, by far.
While Orlando’s Spiderman had us coming off doubting ourselves about how good the Japanese one was. Orlando’s Transformers kicks exactly the same amount of ass as we remembered it doing on the original in Singapore.
Frantic, brutal, a fun story, huge set pieces and tons of special effects, Transformers really is a real gut punch of an experience from start to finish and I love it.
With that we were done, so while Heartline’s wife enjoyed the Mardi Gras parade, it did sound quite fun actually, me and Heartline went for another lap of Rip, Ride, Rockit.
This time we both tried to access the hidden song library and both failed to get what we wanted. The guide I read was wrong so I got some trap beat with a man repeating the same 2 words for the whole ride, and Heartline yet again was unable to lock his song in before dispatch, leading to him once again getting a song where a man repeated “I guess I didn’t know” for the whole ride. This only helped add to the experience and once again we got a great ride on triple R.
That was Universal Studios Florida, and despite it not being anywhere near as impressive as Islands of Adventure, I still had a great time there.
Thanks for reading, click here for day 8 of my trip report, where we visit SeaWorld, before riding the absolutely insane Mine Blower.