Monday, January 28, 2008

Universal Studios

I will start my great orlando adveture blog report with a post about the reason i ended up in Orlando 2 days earlier and that is of course media day at Universal Studios Florida for Disaster! A Major Motion Picture Starring YOU. The day began with me on very little sleep driving my rental car (which was kinda neat driving a different car for once) to the massive Universal Parking structure. I was there real early as i hoped to check in and get a few rides in before the media festivities at 1030. While i was checking in I met with Garret from Universal Ignited who was a cool guy and ended up hangin with me all day.

First ride of the day was one of three trips on the mummy. Which is still a very cool ride and by far the best attraction in the park. Garret being a universal expert pointed out a certain point in the ride where you could still see some of the kong track hanging from the ceiling.

Then it was about 45 minutes til ceremony so we headed over to Disaster for the media festivities. And this was my first time at a media day (i normally don't like to tell parks about the show or ask for free tickets or media day passes cause i don't want to feel abliged to "whore out" for there park, this is what i really feel killed the excellent coasterradio podcast). But the ceremony was outside disaster and was very breif, Bill Davis said a few words and introduced a family that blew up a wall and out came the great one. Rock came out spoke for about 45 seconds before wrapping up the ceremony. Personally i really think The Rock should have gone on a little longer, I mean he had fans that waited an hour and a half for the ceremony and only got 50 seconds of rocks "it was a great oppurtunity i hope you all like the ride".

Then as far as the ride itself, EXCELLENT REFURB. They did a fantasic job taking the tired old attraction that earthquake was and turning it into a fresh new experiance. The Christopher Walken effect was excellent and very well done. The live hosts also made the 3 preshow rooms very enjoyable time. Then the ride itself, nothing has changed and really feels dated after the awesome Walken effect. The Rock portion comes in on the ride back to the station in a hilarious movie trailer that splices in clips of the crowd from the ride and preshow, the trailer really pulls the whole attraction together and was enjoyed by all.

Next up was the interviews and this was really cool. First off it was kinda fun before the internet folks got there chance, the print and tv media got to go. So I got to chat and trade stories, opinions and banter with the likes of Erik Yates from Theme Park Thrill, William Bernstein Junior from Coaster World News, I forgot his name from RCPro and my personal favorite the great Ricky Brigante from Orlando Attractions Magazine & the best podcast on the internet Inside The Magic. It was fun to finally meet people after talking to them and listening to them on the internet for years, although I do wiah that my buddies Clint Novak & Will Holder could have been there with me, cause they woulda loved it.

Right back to the interviews, finally the time had come I got to meet The Rock. Now Rock is by far my favorite wrestler of all time and my 2nd favorite celebrity besides a certain Yankees Shortstop. So this was really quite a thrill, The Rock turned out to be an extremely nice guy in person and nothing like his outlandish WWF persona. Next was interview time with Bill Davis the CEO of Universal Orlando and Mark from Universal Creative. The two did add some truth to the rumors by saying that Potter wasn't the only thing coming to the resort in 2009.

Well after all the media formalities were done it was about 1230 and the parks closed at 6, so i had 5.5 hours to tour all that universal orlando had to offer. So me, Erik Yates, Mrs. Erik Yates, and Garret headed off to ride the mummy. After that it was off to Amity to take a voyage on Jaws, which although outdated was indeed fun. Also i managed to get soaked on Jaws, and i was the only one on the boat to get soaked, which makes me believe I was probalby set up by my Universal Expert amigos. Then it was off to MiB where I got beat big time in points and this is one place Universaly really beats Disney, MiB is heads and tails above Buzz Lightyear over at MK. Also the parks were absolutely empty on this day we really didn't wait for anything at all. The last ride at the park for the day was E.T. where we all gave fake names (I was Ricardo) and lemme say E.T Adventure would really blow your mind if you were on some sort of drugs.

I also passed by the simpsons construction and was still a little mad they removed my back to the future. They have a Kwik E Mart store set up which was neat, as well a squishee cart (i had to buy one). There is also a simpsons meet and greet that was popular and i found it interesting that they still had the old Doc Brown face character walking around in the area. When Doc was interacting with the simpsons costumed characters it was an interesting juxtaposition of old ride and future ride.

Well IOA is next.................stay tuned

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