Travel@HamHamFarm - The World, Here We Come!
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The Bahamas, USA (East Coast), Canada 2013
(20 Sep 2013 - 15 Oct 2013)

 

Day 8

Orlando - Universal's Islands of Adventure (27 Sep 2013)

 

 




Good Morning Orlando!

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This is the day that “Hairy” meets “Harry”!
[My Hairy Porter (aka Vance whom is really hairy) is bringing me to the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Why Porter? Cos he’s the one in charge of all luggage whenever we’re travelling… Hence he’s “Hairy Porter”!]

Vance: Ah, well said, well said :|
 
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We’re visiting Universal's Islands of Adventure (The 10th most visited theme park in the world) today [For 2012]. We booked our stay (Accommodation, Admission Tickets & Express Passes) with Universal Studio Vacations as onsite hotels guests gain early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, one hour before the theme park opens to the public. This is crucial for us as the Express Plus Passes (that we’ve brought) are not available at the ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is by far the most popular section of the theme park. So be there early unless you are prepared to queue.

Vance: Of course its good to be earlier too, we would want to maximize our time there!

Holiday Inn & Suites Across from Universal Orlando (located in 5905 Kirkman Road) does offer shuttle bus from the hotel to Universal Studios Orlando (that is shared between a few other hotels), but we decided to walk in order to get there a little earlier before the onsite hotel guests arrive (Typical Kiasu Singaporeans). A 15-mins walk takes you from the hotel to the front gates of CityWalk.

Vance: And there's nice stuff to look at (Halloween Season, so there's lots of nice deco), well trimmed greeneries, cool refreshing air to breathe and friendly fellow Parkies greetings!

For Universal’s Islands of Adventure (or better known as the "Harry Potter Theme Park"), guests ‘depart’ from the main port (Port of Entry) to visit six other distinctly themed islands. Photos for this blog entry are arranged according to their respective themes.

Port of Entry

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We wasted close to 20 mins just to collect our admission tickets & express passes at the Universal Studio’s counter. A better idea that Universal Studios could have adopted would be for partner-hotels guests to collect the tickets etc at their respective hotels when they check-in (Just like what Walt Disney World did when we visited Disney’s Art of Animation Hotel on Day 10).

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Going minions crazy at the main store! B-a-n-a-n-a-s!

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

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Be transported to the World of Wizardry and witchcraft for real! The whole Harry Potter area is really something to behold. The Hogwarts Express was there of course, as well as the conductor, the train station next door. Each building is breathtakingly beautiful and the entire area had a great Harry Potter feel. You really need to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter first thing in the morning. Queues for most rides build up really quickly and the place becomes swamped with people, which is really bad for taking photos (unless you want to include strangers in your pictures).

Vance: Good thing we arrived pretty early in the morning and have got some clear shots of the area and yes, this place looks and feel like in the HP Movie! If you are a big fan, you MUST visit this place! :)

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Despite the early admission, we queued close to 20 mins for the signature ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Can you imagine how long the queue would be when the park officially opens? Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is not a roller coaster but rather a scenic dark ride (no sudden drops). Before the ride, guests are required to put their bags into the lockers (that’s FOC for 30 mins). There’s lots of familiar items from the movies to keep guests entertained. Harry Porter fans will recognise objects like the Dumbledore's office, the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, the Gryffindor common room, the Room of Requirement, Talking Portraits, Sorting Hat etc.

Vance: I thought the stuff along the queue line is more interesting than the ride itself! :P

As for the ride, the experience includes scenes such as flying around Hogwarts castle, encountering the Whomping Willow and a horde of Dementors, and being caught in a Quidditch match. Expect lots of spinning, twisting and turning around. Upside down experience excluded but I remembered there’s a short moment when riders are actually flat on their backs. Check out the below video to experience the ride.


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All the little quaint shops mentioned in the movies are there too. Yes, you can buy Butter Beer too! Universal Studios has really paid much attention to each and every single detail.

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The Wand Shop demonstration inside Ollivanders : Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC (Just exactly like the movie where Harry got his wand!).

Vance: Its actually a queue into the shop for this Demo, but worth the wait. Get your butter beers before you queue and enjoy it while waiting! :)

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The shop really made us feel like buying those wands right away!  

Vance: And why didn't we bring Hedwig home?!?!?!?

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Vance going for the Dragon Challenge rollercoaster ride (Definitely way too scary for me)!

At the time of this writing (Dec 2013), The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is scheduled to open in Universal Studios Japan in 2014 and Universal Studios Hollywood in 2015/2016. Certainly hope that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will come to Universal Studios Singapore too (but I seriously doubt it will since our Universal Studios is so small compared to the rest).

Vance: Well, Singapore can always consider reclaiming land to expand USS? (tongue-in-cheek)

Meanwhile, on Facebook...

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Marvel Super Hero Island

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Find the Incredible Hulk Coaster here at the Marvel Super Hero Island. This ride has a total of seven inversions and two subterranean trenches during the 2-mins 15-sec ride. Definitely not my cup of tea!

Vance: I enjoyed it very much and there's a section that gets all mist up, which is fun!

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While waiting for Vance (whom was yelling and screaming his lungs out at the Incredible Hulk Coaster), I catch hold of this little fellow having lunch J Looks like he/she has been well fed by the visitors of Universal Studios!

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Doctor Doom (The Fantastic Four's arch-nemesis)'s Fearfall

Vance: I just wished the free fall could be taller... before I could scream, I have already reached the bottom and the end of the ride?!?! :S

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The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
(Simulator ride that’s available in high-def-3D now)! We took this ride back in 2008 in Universal Studios Japan which we couldn’t really understand anything since everything was narrated in Japanese. Glad that this ride is available here.  

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Checking out the Marvel Alterniverse Store… From character t-shirts, toys, collectibles, mugs to souvenirs … They have almost everything here… Lots of interesting (aka expensive) stuffs to check it out…

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Jurassic Park
 
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Lunch at Thunder Falls Terrace located within Jurassic Park. Sizzling BBQ Ribs & Rotisserie Chicken Leg.

Vance: And they have pretty good ribs and roasted chicky leg!

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Visited the nursery located inside Jurassic Park Discovery Center and had fun examining  “Dinosaur Eggs”.


We’re “lucky” enough to catch sight of baby Velociraptor hatching!


The Lost Continent
  
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Churro is a must for HHF when visiting theme parks!

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Poseidon’s Fury is a live-action show where Poseidon is having a showdown with a baddie. The exterior looks so extravagant that it makes you want to go into deeper. Some moving stage pieces as you dig deeper into the tomb with some special effects, but the whole thing feels dated and dorky. Be prepared to stand throughout as guests need to move from one section to the other. Part of the show has a video projected onto a wall of water which you can barely see it. There is a circular wall of water that guests have to walk through. Once you realise its real water in a powerful vortex inches from your head, the effect is admittedly pretty coolz!


Seuss Landing

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Seuss Landing is based on the works of author Dr. Seuss with several Seuss-themed rides and attractions. We love the colourful backgrounds which makes us feel cheerful at all times J

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The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train ride take guests through a journey high above the colourful attractions of Seuss Landing, including the inside of Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoo-pendous (a restaurant located in Seuss Landing) i.e. you can actually wave at the guests dining inside the restaurant. What an interesting & fun concept.

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Merry Grinchmas! It's Christmas here all year round!

Toon Lagoon

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On a hot day, you may want to make a pit stop at Toon Lagoon in Universal Studios, excellent for those with kids.


CityWalk


 Universal CityWalk is the entertainment and retail districts located adjacent to the theme parks of Universal Parks. CityWalk can also be found in all Universal Studios (Hollywood, Orlando and Japan), except for Universal Studios Singapore.


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"Mama always said Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get." - Forrest Gump

Don’t miss the chance to try on plaster casts of Forrest’s running shoes at the famed bus bench in front of The Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant & Market (that’s inspired by the 1994 film, Forrest Gump). This is definitely one of our favourite Universal Studios theme restaurant (We visited the same in Universal Studios Hollywood in 2012 too). Too bad, Universal Citywalk’s concept has not been brought over to Universal Studios Singapore (i.e there’s no Bubba Gump restaurant here). Can someone pls bring this theme restaurant into Singapore?

Vance: Of course, if we have the dough, we will surely like to bring this restaurant into Singapore!

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Have fun flipping the charts…. “Run Forest Run” (aka Do Not Disturb) and “Stop Forest Stop” (Service from restaurant staff required).

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Drinks : Secret Mango Sparkler (on the left) + CoronaRita (If you like both beer & margaritas, this is the drink for you. The upside down beer flows down only when you slip the margarita in the main cup – Absolutely brilliant idea!)

Vance: "brilliant idea" sounds so English and Harry Potter, Fiona, are you ok? *wink*

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Mains
: Shrimp New Orleans (Lots of tender Shrimps broiled with butter, garlic and spices, and served with Jasmine Rice) + Captain’s Fish & Chips (Traditional beer battered).

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Desserts : Key Lime Pie is an American dessert made of key lime juice, egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk in a pie crust.

We have definitely overestimated our appetite!

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Looking forward to tomorrow where we'll visit Universal Studios Florida!

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Travel@HamHamFarm - The World, Here We Come!