Day 21 ~ Thursday October 9th
Probably as a reward for my perseverance with the shopping trips I`d endured over the past couple of days, after breakfast my DW suggested that we go to Universal Studios today as it has been a while since our last visit there.
We arrived at Universal shortly after 10.00am and immediately we noticed the difference in the organisation compared with WDW.
True the car parking facilities [under cover from the effects of the sun] and the organisation of this aspect were excellent, but actually getting into the park…oh boy!! Only half of the ticket booths were open and I stood in line for well over 45minutes before finally getting to pay for the tickets. After this we stood in line for a further 20 minutes or so just to get through the turnstiles….there was a problem with the finger print scanner and the US employee at the turnstile didn`t seem to have a clue how to sort things out!! :mad:
Finally, well over an hour since our arrival, we entered the park and immediately noticed how quiet it seemed despite all of the queuing to get in the darn place!!
Having made our minds up to walk around the attractions in an anti-clockwise direction, we walked along Hollywood and Sunset Blvds. and as we noticed that we could walk straight into the E.T. Adventure, we went in to lend a hand in saving his planet!
Having being thanked by E.T. for our help [those who have done this ride will know what I mean], we then had the urge to zap a few of the more un-desirable aliens at the M.I.B. attraction, where we were told that all bags and cameras etc. had to be stored in an adjacent locker for which there was no charge for the first 30 minutes or so. As the wait time for the attraction was only around 15 minutes, this gave us ample time to do our duty to help the human race before retrieving our possessions.
We wanted to try out the new attraction, The Simpsons Ride, however the wait time was too much and we hadn`t bothered to pay for any Express Plus [fastpass] tickets on principle….why are these not f.o.c. as per WDW??? :mad:
We did, however take in another attraction which was new to us [Disaster] which is basically a re-working of the Earthquake attraction which had obviously passed it`s sell by date and thus upgraded. The wait time was around 30 minutes and the attraction concludes with the tram car ride which from memory is exactly as it was in the “Earthquake” days.
After a snack lunch by the lake from one of the fast food outlets, the rest of the day was spent just walking around the park taking it all in.
To be honest this is one area where US does score over WDW. The "streets" of the various American locations are far more realistic than those at Disney`s Hollywood Studios IMHO.
Walking along Hollywood Blvd. for the second time I went into “Theatre Magic” where a demonstration was just about to take place. The guy did a few amazing tricks, and seeing as I`m always on the lookout for some novelties as after dinner entertainment back home, I ended up purchasing a couple of mind blowing tricks. One of these is a levitation “trick” where a playing card [or a dollar bill or coin borrowed from the audience] literally hovers and defies the laws of gravity. [No I`m not going to reveal the secret of how it`s done! ].
I then saw a very realistic Marilyn Munroe on the side walk and asked if I could have my picture taken with her. After posing so that my DW could take the shot I thanked her and in a very Marilynesque voice the lady whispered in my ear “Anytime”, which sure made me a very happy chappie!
The rest of the day was fairly boring really. Arrive back at the villa at around 4.00pm, my DW does some ironing, then we go to Key W Kools again for dinner.
Day 22 ~ Friday October 10th
It finally hit home today that our vacation was coming to an end because [apart from shopping], one of my pet hates is doing the packing before we return home. However needs must so first of all we had to decide which clothes we were going to leave at our villa ready for our next visit and top of the list was my tuxedo as I`m fed up with lugging it to and fro just to look the part of the formal night of the cruise! I took some photos of those items we were going to leave behind as a reminder for when we pack again before our next visit.
It appeared that our neighbours had gone out for the day so a chill out day by the pool seemed like a good idea.
At around 6.45pm we left the villa and drove up to Sand Lake Road where we were to meet Ray & Jill [our property managers] at Seasons 52 restaurant for dinner. Due to a torrential downpour, both of us arrived late but as Ray & Jill are regulars at this place it didn`t cause any problem and we were soon seated at our table.
This is a really nice restaurant and apparently a lot of local folks dine their which says it all. It is located in a very nice area [Dr Phillips] and we believe that Tiger Woods has a house nearby.
Over dinner Ray & Jill casually mentioned that they were on the lookout for someone to employ in order to ease their workload and that ideally it would suit a retired couple. At this stage my hand shot straight into the air with a cry of “ME,ME”, however due to my wife`s family commitments back home, sadly this will have to remain just a pipe dream right now [although I`m working on it! :p015:]
Seasons 52 is in a lovely setting by a lake [although it was pitch black and raining outside so we have to believe what we are told here], and we must make a return visit one day to have a good look around….my DW noticed several shops nearby! :rolleyes008: