Day Nine – 4th September
The fact that I continued to wake up naturally, at times before I need to when back at home and going to work struck me as a weird combination of irksome and pleasing in equal measure. My pleasure was again dampened by the fact that it took two hours from me waking up to us being on our way.
Louise and Emily were very hard to rouse this morning, which was an unsurprising consequence of what was a very tiring day yesterday. I was impressively energetic considering I had spent the night in a hotel room with two women. At just after nine we dropped the cases off in the car…
and then we headed to the water taxi to get us over to Islands of Adventure.
I took the photo that everybody takes…
and made the long walk through the park towards Hogwarts.
The theming was as impressive as I remembered from our one and only previous visit.
There was a fifteen minute wait posted for Forbidden Journey but nobody said this was just to get a locker. To be fair Grandad did struggle to understand the instructions but still, it’s a right faff.
It soon became apparent that I had remembered very little about this ride from our previous visit. This was a good thing and maybe one of the advantages of my fading memory as I get older. I got to enjoy it for the first time all over again.
We went straight on to Flight of The Hypogrif, Hippogryph, Hypogryf…..the next ride.
Quite brief, fast paced and leaving you short of breath. You can put your own version of the usual joke there.
Having only had the two hours between waking and leaving the hotel, clearly breakfast had just not been an option, so now, food was on our minds. The Three Broomsticks satisfied our essential criteria of being open and right in front of us. It is a counter service affair, with your order placed at a till and then you pick the food up.
As we proved at Be Our Guest, co-ordinating an order for a party of seven in this manner is clearly a task beyond me. Our order taker was in her tenth decade on earth which didn’t help her understand seven idiots from Bolton shouting orders at her randomly. Sarah almost pushed her over the edge as she ordered one of the standard dishes, but wanted it without about half of the items. This took much longer than you would believe.
With our order locked and loaded we filled up our trays and found a table. Guess what? My food was missing again. With only a minor sense of humour failure and a decent flounce I went back to the food counter to claim my pancakes.
It was 11am when we left and most of us then rode the old Duelling Dragons ride, which may not have been the best time to do it, with bellies full of food.
With our special passes we walked right to the boarding area, arriving just in time to see the ride break down and spend the next ten minutes awaiting a fix. This was really good fun.
After a brief stop for photos…
Next, Grandad, Sarah, Rebecca, Emily and I decided to do Poseidon’s thingy. This was a grave mistake.
We walked in, but were held behind a rope for almost half an hour waiting for the “tour guide”. Then, with the tour itself taking a similar amount of time Louise and Nana had been sat outside in the burning sun for almost an hour and Grandad and I had all the money, so they couldn’t get a drink!
Now I know why they call it Poseidon’s Fury.
Once we had a drink we wandered through Seuss Landing.
We rode One Fish, Two Fish.
Emily there, regretting forgetting her sunglasses, that I had purchased for her earlier in the trip at vast expense.
Next, Cat in the Hat, which I’m sure has much less spinning than it used to.
We completed the holy trinity of Suess rides with the Carousel thing. I know, somewhere in the world, somebody exists who has heard and understood the spiel the ride operator says before the ride starts, but it isn’t me.
Once the ride was over Louise struggled to dismount. Other less chivalrous chaps may have laughed and watched her struggle. I did too. I do have photographic evidence but obviously I am not stupid enough to post it here.
We continued our journey around the park, with The Hulk next. We had heard that there was to be a major refurb starting a few days later so this would be the last time we would ride it in its current form.
Nana and Grandad didn’t ride and with our Express passes it took the rest of us about ten minutes to do so. As we came back to the loading area we were held in our seats as the attendants dealt with someone’s lunch which was all over the carriage in front.
Sarah, Grandad and Rebecca did Dr Doom’s Fear Fall next. I’ve never ridden that one and don’t intend to. Instead the rest of us browsed some shops before all riding Spiderman once we were all back together.
Somehow, we got the impression that there may be some rain on the way.
With that in mind, it made absolutely no sense to do the water rides now, so we did. Well, most of us did. Dudley Do Right was first and it was as awesome as it always has been. The most impressive log I had seen all holiday.
Everyone leaves that ride thinking they are wet, until that is they then go on the Bilge Rats ride and experience whole new levels of wetness. We did just that. As we left that ride I blew many dollars on the human drier. It made no difference at all to our clothes but crucially we were able to dry out our paper express photo ID things.
I don’t know what it is, but yet again we entered and left the Jurassic Park bit without stopping. The Jurassic River Ride was down due to the incoming storm and without that is there anything else to do here?
This brought us full circle back to Hogsmeade.
We headed for the train station, hopeful of keeping dry.
I captured the natural beauty of my two daughters whilst in the queue.
It was our longest queue of the day at over half an hour and everyone but especially Grandad was feeling the two long theme park days in our legs.
It is safe to say that capturing the ride’s effects on camera is not easy, so please don’t judge the attraction by these poor efforts.
Why that Weasley is giving Rebecca the middle finger I don’t know.
By the time we arrived at our destination the rain had also arrived. We left the station and found shelter in what I think was the exit of Disaster.
It rained a lot for quite some time. Not quite long enough to persuade me to buy any ponchos or anything daft like that.
After about half an hour the rain died away and we made our way to the same Starbucks we went to yesterday for refreshments. Whilst everyone ordered I took Emily to a nearby shop to get her a hoody as she was freezing in all the air conditioned rides etc. Filled nicely with coffee of various types we once again rode The Mummy, this time without Nana and Grandad.
Next, we undertook a first for everyone by riding Transformers. Honestly, now, I can’t really remember much about it but I think it was very similar to another ride.
After the ride we stumbled upon Megatron.
We rode Minions again, ending our Universal experience as we started it.
It was time to leave and we made our way to The Cowfish for tea (dinner).
No appetisers here as we were saving ourselves for the huge burgers we had been looking forward to experiencing here.
The Cowfish Has Offically Left The Building (A.K.A. The Hunka, Hunka), which is, Full-pound beef burger, creamy peanut butter, fried bananas, applewood bacon, brioche bun. Choice of side.
It was awesome. I was so busy indulging in that awesomeness that I didn’t write down what anyone else had.
This was Louise’s (I recongise her boobs in the photo).
This must be someone’s burger. I know it isn’t Emily’s as that is her new hoody on the next seat.
I think this is another view of mine.
It made me happy, fat and blurred.
Astonishingly Emily and Rebecca ordered a dessert. I was close to hospitalisation I was that full so I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
Rebecca shared this with Sarah.
Emily had cheesecake. As my organs were shutting down due to the enormous calorie intake, my photographic skills were poor.
Somehow I dragged my body around some shops for a little while looking for things for people other than me. Before too long sense prevailed and we ambled on to the water taxi and made it back to the car.
Somehow I managed to operate it and get us back to the villa and our welcoming beds.
Till he next time…..