Frost and Nixon. Torvill and Dean. Morecambe and Wise. Ali and Fraser.
Over the years there have been many momentous moments were two legends met each other, forever changing the shape of history. Today would see another such event, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There’ll be time enough for epoch shaping meet ups later, first, I’m still asleep.
However 4am rolled around again, and in came another work call. I didn’t even answer this one and fought my way back to sleep till 6.30. Like all experienced Dads I made enough noise and created enough light in the room to make sure that Emily was awake not too long after. I showered, dressed and packed and we were out of the room by 8.40. We left our case with the folks in reception, bought some $20 painkillers from the gift shop and then Emily and I went to the Starbucks for breakfast whilst we waited for everyone else. I had a breakfast burrito and a latte and Emily’s veggie options were limited and resulted in a portion of breakfast potatoes and an Iced Macchiato.
We found a table in the courtyard area.
Rebecca, Tom and Freddie came down around 9.30 and joined us there to eat their breakfasts. It was a lovely spot and a really nice way to start the day and end our stay here.
One thing to note at Universal. I had persistent issues with my Caxton card. Everywhere I tried it on Universal property it didn’t work. It may just have been me and my card, but it worked everywhere else for the whole trip.
We made our way down to the water taxi by around 10am.
I have had worse commutes.
We disembarked and made our way to Studios.
It did not look any quieter today.
We rode Minions first, bypassing a grim queue with our specialness.
Those who could rode Rip, Ride, Rockit next. It was still early in the day and I was not ready physically or mentally for this experience. Rebecca’s inability to ride meant we bypassed the horrors of needing a locker and we were on within five minutes after going through another full airport style metal detector. Despite endless signs, announcements and videos telling you that riding with anything in your pockets is not allowed we still waited behind some chap who got to the detector with his phone in his pocket. Sigh.
Top tip: At Universal, if you can travel light, without bags and the like it will make your life so much easier. Clothing with zip pockets are a real bonus here too to hold your park ticket/front of line pass and of course your credit cards.
This, without doubt is the toughest ride physically. The initial climb almost induced a revisit to my breakfast burrito and I was in full rollercoaster Tourette’s mode for the entire ride.
We walked over to Transformers next for a first time ride for almost all of us. Freddie was very excited. We all enjoyed it but I would say it is basically Spider Man with a different film. When you’re four though, that doesn’t matter.
He was extra happy as his Dad had treated him to a couple of Transformer toys in the exit gift shop. We then spent the next half hour trying to get them out of the packaging.
Once we’d finished that and lost half of the small plastic bits that came with the toys, this appeared across the street, so we watched it.
So that Rebecca could take part in something we decided to do the Make Up Horror Show next. Outside was this chap….
This is always good fun but it does have the odd scene that a four year old may not be totally Ok with! It was more the film clips that are played rather than anything that happened on stage.
You will have been quite worried that we had not eaten for quite some time, so we rectified that in the ice cream shop over the road.
It was at this point that Rebecca went for a wee and Emily then spotted Tim and Jen Tracker across the street doing some filming.
When they had finished, they walked across the road towards us. I waved as if I knew them and they kindly waved back before walking up the street to film some more stuff with Scooby Do I think. We thought nothing more of it, but when they were done they walked back to where we were sitting and we had a lovely chat for a few minutes.
They were genuinely lovely, asked about our trip, previous trips, the weather and just general chit chat. Of course they must chat with idiot strangers who wave at them all the time. I felt it inappropriate to mention that he is clearly a long term reader of this here blog as he has commented on at least two posts. I didn’t want them to feel intimidated in my presence.
It was indeed a coming together of two Disney internet giants and they were suitably humbled to have this honour I am sure. They left us just as Rebecca returned. If you watch their video from Universal Studios, filmed on January 12th, Tom features in it for about half a second!
Having made the Tracker’s day, we wandered off towards ET.
I do wonder what sort of deal Spielberg struck when this was built as it is literally untouched since we first rode it. Yes they still collect names as you enter and yes of course they are inaudible as you finish the ride. Freddie did say, when he asked what he thought of ET, that he was adorable which made us chuckle.
Tom took Freddie on the Woodpecker ride….
before we headed over to The Simpsons Ride. Naturally we stopped off to pick up a couple of doughnuts.
In light of my Caxton woes I drew out some cash on it at the ATM here.
We rode The Simpsons ride after Freddie played a few of the carnival games outside, winning more quality items. This time it was a 4 foot inflatable alien which we left in the villa. Matt, you are welcome!
I realised that we had never ridden this before…
and even wondered how long it had been there as I’m sure I have never even noticed it before. We still didn’t ride it.
Men in Black was next.
We avoided both a queue and the lockers again thankfully and it is always a fun ride. I do always feel that it lacks some “feedback” as to when you are actually hitting stuff you should be. It’s all a bit manic and random with no way to know if you are hitting any targets.
Our loop continued onto Diagon Alley. The crowd levels were worse here but that is always to be expected.
It’s a shame as this is one of those places where it would be lovely to stroll around taking in all the theming and detail, but with the crowd levels today our focus was on not bumping into people.
On our last visit, Gringott’s was not a Front of Line ride, so again we had done it once after a lengthy queue. We were pleased to be able to miss the 60 minute standby line and board quite quickly….twice.
Tom was apparently too large to fit into the row we were allocated and we had to disembark and wait for the next one and get loaded into the “Fat Lad” row at the back. This is another very clever ride with lots of detail and it merits multiple rides to take everything in. I did feel that it never seems to “get going” concentrating more on a story line that personally I couldn’t hear or follow very well. I did enjoy it of course. It is very impressive but I do know that both Universal and Disney wait for my weekly posts to get their steer for their future plans so I need to express my thoughts.
We tried our best to have a look around but didn’t stay too long as it was too busy.
Our next ride was Fast & Furious. It was fast and I was furious. It is an awful, awful ride. Granted, I have never and will never watch the films so maybe it was lost on me but the whole thing was horrible. It is an incredibly poor and weak story and concept shoe horned into a previous ride’s infrastructure. I will try not to spoil it for those yet to ride, but the concept of a party bus doing stunts is the main premise. Endless bangs and crashes for endless bangs and crashes sake on an uncomfortable ride vehicle riding through a story that makes less sense than Brexit. Perhaps I was just over the whole simulation thing. There are lots of them here.
On our way over to Fallon, I stopped to get four packs of crisps. $8. Kerching. We sat and inhaled those sat opposite Fallon waiting for the upcoming parade.
We then entered Fallon (in previous years, when I was less mature, that would have been the set up line for a hilarious gag) and rode without any wait. This is another simulator, but one of the better ones.
At Freddie’s request we rode Transformers again.
Followed by a browse of a memorabilia shop.
That was said to be the guitar from Back To The Future. Freddie got a slightly cheaper Slimer toy from Ghostbusters.
It was 6pm now and Tom forced me to do Rip, Ride again. I girded my loins and steeled my body for the battering to come, just like Fallon did not long ago! Boom. That level of comedic genius is why you read this dross.
I was spent as we headed for the exit and the boat back to Royal Pacific. We were back there in no time, collecting our cases from Luggage Services before heading back to the van. Technically, I walked to the car park to get it and then drove it back to the hotel entrance to save Rebecca more walking.
Tonight’s dining plan was….
and we got there in about fifteen minutes. It was very quiet and we were told just to pick any table. It may sound strange but our server was a bit odd and it stuck us that he maybe wasn’t a regular server as he was a bit all over the place.
Anyway, we ordered appetisers.
A Mediterranean trio for me.
Mozzarella Bricks for Rebecca and Emily
Pretzel Rolls for Tom
Our server only took our appetiser orders and we waited an age after finishing them for him to appear and clear them away. As he did he asked if we wanted the bill! Very strange.
We pointed out we were fat knackers and wanted entrees too so he took our orders.
Emily and I had the Jack Knife burger, with a suitably non meaty patty for Emily.
It was OK but I instantly regretted venturing away from my usual Donut or Cronie Burger. I had chosen this one as it was said to come with Hollandaise sauce. If it did, I could not taste it.
Tom had The Pig
Rebecca, the Bolder Betty
Freddie had the burger from the kid’s menu.
Overall, this was probably our worst experience at Teak. It was not bad at all, just not as we have experienced it previously. How quiet it was meant there was none of the usual buzz and atmosphere and our server was bobbins, bless him. The bill was $175 including an overly generous tip and we were all very, very full.
A tired drive home saw us back at the villa and in bed by 10.30.
Till the next time……