What a Carry On! Part 10 – Tuesday 26th August 2008 I don’t normally sleep terribly well the first night in hotels, but after the long day and a ‘couple’ of drinks last night, I manage to stay comatose until 6.30am. Amanda is already up, and browsing the room service menu… for pets! Adam soon wakes, and the three of us head out to the Orchid Court Lounge, where a modest breakfast bar is open every day. We choose from a mix of orange juice, coffee, muffins and pastries and initially take our selections outside to sit by the ornamental lake, …but the surfaces are all damp and we retreat back inside. The weather seems to have settled down again and it looks like the start of a decent, sunny day. Back to the room at 7.45, without seeing the other three, we shower and pack up. We’ve not used the ‘free’ toiletries, but they expect you to take them, don’t they? I pop them into our bag. We are back in the lounge at 8.30, waiting for the rest of the bunch, who turn up a few minutes later. After taking our bags to the car, we walk back to the parks in time for Universal Studios opening at 9.00. Straight to Krustyland, and walk-on at 9.10 (which is fortunate, as a sign proclaims that the UE line doesn’t open til 10.00! I am appalled!) We all enjoy this revisit, and I see more detail than on the first ride yesterday. I remind the kids that they have been failing to call their mum at home, and after they perform this duty, we head across to Men In Black to see if Mike can still whup everyone else’s backsides! Yep, he can! We complete two rounds, and I score 200,900 and 199,750. After recovering our bags from the free lockers, it’s round to The Mummy. Once again, Dad and Adam look after the gear while the rest of us enjoy the attraction (there’s a modest standby line, but we are UE-admitted straight on and are back with the boys in less than 10 minutes!) Amanda discovers that a tube of sunscreen has decorated the inside of her bag.. she cleans up and then we head towards the exit, stopping briefly at the Betty Boop store for Beth to have a browse. We walk over to Islands of Adventure, arriving at 10.45. Amanda and I separate off from the others (Beth is a bit grumpy this morning and doesn’t want to do the coasters) and march over to Duelling Dragons, hoping to get a few rides in before the crowds reach the area. We have arranged to meet the others at 12.00. Bad tactic… they are just adding a train as we arrive, and we waste 20 precious minutes before settling for just one mid-train ride on Ice. I am not now in the best of humour, so we leg it back to Hulk, where amends are made with two Universally Expressed tours of the track. All too soon it’s 12.00 and we walk round to the Croissant Moon Bakery to find the family. To be honest, Amanda and I would have hammered both parks for the rest of the day, taking full advantage of the Express access, but our older and younger relatives are made of lesser stuff and want to slob around the villa pool. But, first, we need lunch. I’m not exactly enamoured of the fast food offerings around Universal, and suggest Sweet Tomatoes as an alternative. This is ‘universally’ well received, and we walk back to the Royal Pacific car lot in 90-degree heat to collect our transportation – the inside of the car is appallingly hot, and it’s a few minutes before I can safely touch the steering wheel! The short journey to Sweet Tomatoes only takes a few minutes. We tuck into the fresh salads and some of us (ok, me!) eat less of the extras this time! The damage is $63, and we are on the way ‘home’ to Sunset Lakes at 1.20pm. The outside temperature settles at 94 degrees as we travel along I4 west. I make the usual stop at Winn Dixie for wine etc. It’s 2.00ish when we arrive back at the villa. We sort some washing from the last couple of days away, and I do a bit of ironing, before going for a nap in our room while Amanda tries out the new lounger on our balcony. My parents and Adam are around or in the pool below, and I presume Bethany is asleep in her room or on the pc for a change! I awake, refreshed, after a couple of hours and we go down to the pool to chat with mum and dad over a beer and a sandwich. They are happy to stay at the villa tonight, as are the kids, but Amanda and I wouldn’t mind getting out, so we shower and change before abandoning ship at 7.00pm. I drive us to Downtown Disney – it’s still 89º outside! Traffic is moderate, and we park up behind Cirque at 7.25 before wandering off to browse Westside. We visit the usual stores, including Magnetron (where, as ever, I hope to find a maggotball like Steve/mapman used to have!) and the collectibles shop. We continue through to Pleasure Island (I can remember a time when this area always seemed to be closed off) and into the Marketplace section. I check the jewellery at the Disney store, looking for a decent quality Mickey themed watch, but nothing appeals. None of the shops hold our attention for long. We turn back towards our starting point, taking in the lovely dusk skies along the way. It’s a pleasant evening, remaining very warm and busy enough to give atmosphere without feeling crowded. Reaching the car at 8.30 we set off for the Ticket & Transportation Centre, parking close to the monorails by 8.45. There’s no rush – WISHES starts at 10.00pm and we don’t expect to do any rides – so we elect to travel across on the Ferry. Standing at the rail, enjoying the views across Bay Lake, we see fireworks going off, even though it’s only 9.00pm! Odd! Either we are late or there’s another show in progress somewhere in the park (I think it could be a stage show near the castle.) The ferry is virtually empty, but a good many tired families are waiting to make the return journey as we dock. And the monorail must have brought more guests in for the fireworks, as the security checkpoints are busy. After passing through this, Amanda enters the turnstile ok, but my ticket is refused. The CM on duty can’t make it work, so Amanda has to exit and we walk across to Guest Relations. They reckon that the ticket has probably been wiped by being close to a magnet or cellphone, and replace it without a problem. However, when we re-approach the turnstiles, a female security guard stops us and asks to look at our bags again. As we haven’t left the site, I question this and the guard, now accompanied by a larger, male co-worker, turns a bit stroppy. Well, Mike does stroppy better than most people and I suggest to the guard that she is a bit of a jobs worth and should maybe think of getting a career more suited to her people skills, like perhaps a traffic warden? And, while I’m on the subject, if they are bothering to do security bag checks, then why don’t they do them properly? Because if they are just for client appeasement, to add an illusion of safety concern, then what the hell are they doing, wasting my valuable time doing a second pointless check when I haven’t left the site? On that happy note, and just before they decide to eject us from the park (you can tell I’m hitting the spot, as they are starting to call me ‘sir!’) we exchange addresses in order that we can send each other cards at Christmas and birthdays, and Amanda pushes me through the turnstile. All is well, for about 10 seconds, when her card is refused, because (and I can read this on the inboard screen) it has only recently been used! I seem to remember a noise like the sound barrier being broken inside my head, and I start to advance upon the hapless CM in charge …I must look pretty scary, (purple usually does that for my complexion) and she shrinks back, pressing a button to let us pass through without further hindrance. This park will never be ‘magic’ for me, I’m afraid… every visit seems to be tainted by something. We restroom and head up Main Street. All the aggro outside has made me peckish, so we stop at the Bakery for sticky cakes (I have a ‘proper’, hand-built, ice cream/cookie sandwich, weighing in at about 2lbs – Amanda is more restrained and has strawberry shortcake) and coffees. The sweets are dealt with in the dining room, before we walk our coffees through to the Tomorrowland bridge ( a favourite viewing spot last trip) to wait for the show in about 10 minutes. I’ve calmed down properly by the time it starts, promptly at 10pm. It’s truly excellent (I must admit, we’d forgotten just how good it is!) and I am applauding at the end! Superb. Joining the sweaty masses, we mass sweatily towards the exit, … and walk straight onto a ferry at 10.30. This is an area in which Disney excels – moving (or removing!) large numbers of people in the shortest possible time scale. We experience no delays of any sort and arrive at our villa by 11.00pm. Time for bed. Goodnight dear readers. Mike & Amanda Tomorrow: Sheikra! ‘Nuff said!