CityWalk east coast Florida Islands of Adventure southeast travel Universal

Day 7 Checking things off my list

Today would be our last day at Universal Aventura Hotel and last day visiting the Universal theme parks. Our Annual pass is up in August and I am not sure if I will renew it yet or not. I want to but I have no clue when we will even come back to Orlando. July next year would be the earliest I can think of.

Anyway, we woke up a little later today for us but still earlier than most. Being Universal hotel guest we could enter Islands of Adventure at 8am and that is just what we ended up doing. Well it was more like 0815. We little the big crowd die down a little bit before we pushed through the front gate.

Hagrid’s and VelociCoaster already had long waits and we were going to eat breakfast first. We ending up eating breakfast at the Three Broomsticks which just happens to be one of my daughter and I’s favorite place to grab breakfast at.

The coffee isn’t too good but the rest of the breakfast is pretty good. We really enjoy the croissant. Like that is our favorite part but the rest of the breakfast is very enjoyable.

Plus we always have to get the same table. My daughter always tries her hardest to get it because it was the first table we sat at when we ate there. If she didn’t leave me to carry two trays on my own we probably wouldn’t have gotten our table.

She was thrilled we were able to sit there. Plus she loved to show my mom all the things around. She would point out so many things plus the reason she loves this table. Not only was it the first table we sat at. It is also the table located right by the three broomsticks.

Once we were done breakfast we walked around Hogsmeade and did some magic and shopped. We were just trying to kill a little time before the train started to run over to Universal Studios. The wait for the train is much lower in the morning than it is in the afternoon.

We both wanted my mom to ride it for two reasons. One so she would do a couple of rides even though do you really count the Hogwarts Express as a ride? The second reason was over at Kings Cross Station when you go through the “wall”. We both knew she would love that.

Nine am came and we got in line for the train. We walked all the way around and only had to wait a minute or two before the train pulled into the station. Now we did have to share a cabin with another family but it turned out to be pretty cool.

This family was from western Pa and we live in Eastern Pa. However, that wasn’t the really interesting part. They were from the same area that my Dad’s side of the family is from. Plus my daughter and mother along with my dad and brothers would be going to that area the following week once we got home.

So we rode the train and my mom thought the whole thing was pretty cool with the stuff happening on the window and the cabin doors. We disembarked and headed right to the phonebooth to call the Ministry of Magic again. I guess my daughter called to get us permission to go back to Hogsmeade.

We also checked out Diagon Alley again and looked around again. We didn’t ride any rides yet since we were planning on coming back this afternoon and evening to watch the light show at night. Before you knew it we were heading back to Kings Cross Station and going to platform 9 3/4.

From 2021

As we both expected, my mom really did think going through the wall was cool. I mean, it really is cool. You can walk through, slide, dance, run, jump, or go which ever way you want to. Just remember to have someone in your family stay back to film it for you.

By the time we made it to the platform the train was pulling in. We got on the train and this time had a cabin to ourselves. Again my mother enjoyed the ride.

Once we got back to IOA we headed over to the Raptor encounter. My daughter really wanted to witness it and get a picture. It was already really hot at this point and we had to wait out in the heat. The fans in the line were not really helping.

After about ten minutes the raptor came back out and the line started moving. We still couldn’t see it at this point but we could hear her. I could see my daughter was getting a little nervous.

To be fear I guess I was too. I hate getting jump scared. All the videos I’ve watched had the raptor jump scare people. I was going to stand back and get the picture but the cast member did a great job.

You are only in front of the raptor for 30 seconds maybe a minute tops but they get a lot of pictures. My daughter give him her phone and she ended up with over 30 photos. Plus we did get that dreaded jump scare but it didn’t bother me. Her on the other hand…..

She definitely jumped. I think Bravo the Raptor even got my mom. I do have to say it was a very fun encounter and give me a little confidence boost.

From here we went to go ride Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls but first we rode Kong since the line was short. Afterwards we go in line for Ripsaw Falls. When we entered the line it had a 20 minute posted ride time. After about 10 minutes in the wait jumped to an hour. This was not a great thing for me.

I loved this ride when I was younger. Now I’m not a huge fan of big drops so I was unsure of wanted to get on this ride. However, my daughter really wanted to get on and I felt bad that a couple of the rides I just didn’t think I would be able to handle with my heart.

Having a long wait just adds to the unpleasantness. It ended up taking us just under an hour till we got loaded into the log. Now since I’ve been bad and gained most of my weight back I knew I would have trouble getting out of the log.

Till than I was going to enjoy this ride. We got loaded into the first two seats and my daughter was a little scared. I just kept telling her that she wanted to do this and most people want the first seat. Plus you will probably get the wettest. Now the ride was over pretty quickly. I remember it being longer but I guess I was wrong.

When we hit the big drop my daughter was screaming her head off. I handled it pretty well and helped me check something off my list of things to do before I turn 40. The problem was getting out of the log when we returned.

I had sandals on since I didn’t want soaking wet shoes. Trying to get out of the log with sandals and being fat made it a bit of a challenge. I did get out just took a little longer than I would have liked.

From here we headed over to the other water ride at Islands of Adventure. We both love Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges but boy do you get wet. Like soaked from head to toe.

The wait time was around a half hour and it took about that long to get loaded onto the barge. We were the only two on it that was not a part of the family we rode with. This was this families first time at Universal and a couple of them didn’t think they would get wet.

I told one of them that they will get soaked and probably going to want to put their bag under the plastic in the middle. Luckily they listened. Oh, and the family along with us all got soaked. Good thing it was really hot out. It didn’t take us too long to dry off.

From here we headed over to Universal Studios to get my Scotch Eggs at the Leaky Cauldron. My daughter has the things she likes to do on every trip. This just happens to be mine.

After my quick snack we got ready to leave the park for the hotel. We did stop at a couple of the shops to grab some things. I ended up getting a couple of pins for my pin board back home. It just stinks I couldn’t find a pin for our hotel.

Once back at the hotel we hit the pool. The high was 98 today and you could really feel it. There was no doubt in my mind that it was that warm out today. I even spend a good half hour in the pool.

After the pool we had an early dinner at the resorts food court. I really wanted a brick oven pizza but they were not open yet so I settled for a burger. The burger was pretty good and well above your average resort/theme park burger. My mother got her buffalo chicken sandwich and my daughter got a noodle bowl.

We were all happy with our food yet again. The food court at Aventura is the best around. No other hotel is even close.

After we ate, I started to pack the car up. Tomorrow would be another early day and our first day at Disney. We check into All Star Music resort tomorrow and have a reservation for Animal Kingdom. As resort guest we get in a half hour before regular guest which means we can get in at 0730.

View of Sapphire Falls from Bar 17 Bistro

In between packing up the car we decided to check out Bar 17 Bistro. This is the roof top bar at Aventura Hotel. Let me just say this. The views are amazing. I am glad we remembered to come up here before we left. The last couple of days I kept forgetting to come up and check it out. Night time would offer specular views.

The car was pretty much all backed up and we headed back to Universal Studios. We figured we would maybe ride a couple of rides but really wanted to watch the nighttime show. My daughter and I watched in back in December and loved it. We knew my mom would enjoy it too.

Once back at Universal Studios we checked the wait times. Most of the rides had a decent wait but ET was pretty low. We rode ET and I was also able to talk my daughter into riding Men in Black.

She ended up loving Men in Black. Not really sure why she hasn’t wanted to lately. She rode it a couple of years ago when she was younger but at least she did now.

It was almost show time down by the water. The park closes at 9pm and the show starts at 9pm. The sky was getting very dark and the lights were on all around the park.

We made our way down to the water and found a decent spot. We took a seat on the wall and waited for the show to start. Right at nine the show started and it was amazing. It doesn’t have many fireworks but it doesn’t need them. It is just really cool and if you visit Universal Studios Orlando you need to stay one night and watch it.

Afterwards we headed back to the hotel to get ready for our next day. The next couple of days will be crazy at Disney. If I thought the crowds at Universal were bad. Disney will be way worse.

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