Day 19: The Amber Nectar | Back To The Magic 2013

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[Today’s photographs can be found on my Flickr and the whole collection of days can be found here.]


Universal Studios + Islands of Adventure + Margaritaville
September 1st, 2013

Today we decided to revisit Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure after the washouts we had on our previous visits to it this holiday. It was a chance to re-do some of our favourite rides, and see/do things we hadn’t done before. So, up bright and early, we headed down Highway 192 and onto the I-4 to take us to the Universal Orlando Resort.

Today was Memorial Day in the USA, we wasn’t sure if it was going to mean everything would be super busy, but having spent the day before not doing very much, we didn’t want to waste another day!

We decided to go to Universal Studios first, so around to the right, past the iconic globe – and this time we got some photos of us ^_^ before heading under the arch and into the park.

The first thing I clocked that was different was vehicles from The Walking Dead – getting ready for Halloween Horror Nights I presume. As a TWD fan, I thought this was super awesome!

I would love to go to Halloween Horror Nights, but I really am a big wuss, I’m just above brave enough to watch The Walking Dead!

We decided to walk to the back of the park and work our way forwards, passing Betty Boop on the way to Springfield, USA…

…walking past the Transformers ride, we saw that the line was non-existent, so quickly went on that! Awesome! This ride is amazeballs!

We went via Jaws…had to get a photo of us with this iconic creature!

As we are fans of The Simpsons, we think this new area is fantastic! We went straight to The Simpsons Ride, and this tactic of going to the back of the park was worth it – we literally walked right on the ride and had the ride to ourselves too! LOVE this ride, it’s so much fun!

We then explored Springfield, taking photos of all the things that we see in the TV Show, and then saw Krusty the Clown coming out for a meet and greet, so grabbed the chance to take a photo with him.

We then saw Doc Brown near the Delorean, so had to go and meet him! Just AWESOME! One of my favourite films ever!

We then walked to an area of the park that we hadn’t ever ventured to – Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone. Of course, since our littlun isn’t so little any more, there’s not really much of a reason to go over here, but we wanted to do ET Adventure!

From lining up to coming out of the ride, according to my photo times, was about 40 minutes. The ride seems to take a while loading, but it’s worth it, if you enjoy this classic film! From a plus size point of view, the bike seats are on the small side, but I managed to wedge my bum in them and coped with going around the ride.


We then took a quick look around the area before moving on…

…having missed The Blues Brothers so far on this, and our first trip, we headed to New York and Delancey Street to wait for the show to start. With a warm up first from ‘Aretha Franklin’ singing ‘Respect’, Jake and Elwood then made for the stage. It was a toe-tapping, sing-along, dance in the street show, and I personally loved it! But then, I love that film!

It’s not a very long show. Either that, or, because I was so busy shaking my tail feather that I didn’t realise the time going by, but I was sad when it was all over! The Blues Brothers then make their way off in their police car, and we went around to wait for the start of Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue.

Another thing we were looking forward to, as we love the film, and we all love music! Wasn’t sure what to expect mind you! We sat at the back near the top and got a good view of the stage.

Beetlejuice was very good – a real likeness to Michael Keaton in the film! He introduced us to Frankenstein, his Bride, Dracula and Wolfman, before they are transformed into rockstars ^_^

I had a quick look online to see what the track listing was and it is as follows…

  1. Let’s get it Started – All
  2. Hey Mickey/Superfreak – Hip and Hop
  3. Jump – Wolfman
  4. I Will Survive – Bride of Frankenstein
  5. Dancing in the Dark – Frankenstein’s Monster
  6. Frankie’s Girl – Dracula
  7. You Give Love a Bad Name – All
  8. Hey Ya – All
  9. It’s Raining Men/Holding Out For A Hero – Hip and Hop, Bride of Frankenstein.
  10. You Shook Me All Night Long – All
  11. Finale (You Shook Me All Night Long) – All

I read that they are adding different songs in 2014, so it will be a different show next time we see it!

I thought it was a great show, full of energy and the performers were very good. So glad we got to see this as we just ran out of time on our first trip to Universal Studios in 2011.

Piling out of the auditorium, Liam proclaimed he was hungry, so we bought a slice of pizza at a nearby eatery – Louie’s Italian Restaurant, which is a counter service place. We spent $24.15 in here.

We then decided to call it a day at Universal Studios and make our way over to Islands of Adventure.

We walked past the Hard Rock Café which hubs really wants to go and eat in one day – will have to be trip after next now!

So far, the weather had been kind and no rain yet! So we walked into Islands of Adventure and our first port of call was to walk through Seuss Landing. Not to ride anything, but to just look at all the colourful scenery!

We had bought a refillable mug – CocoCola Freestyle – when we’d bought pizza at Universal Studios that you could refill at certain places at both US and IOA, and one of those was at Circus McGurkus Café Stoo-pendous, so in we went to top up! There were 100+ drinks to choose from, so it was always a battle between us all as to which drink to fill up with!

We then walked through The Lost Continent with the view to watching The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad Stunt Show, but once again (like our first trip in 2011) it was shut due to some technical problem….

…so we carried on walking into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Just to have a look around, drink some Butterbear, buy some bottles of Pumpkin Juice and take everything in! It’s so wonderfully themed in Hogsmeade, and if you’re a fan of the films/books, it’s so brilliant to see everything brought to life!

It’s so strange to see snow covered buildings! And snowmen!

We didn’t bother with Forbidden Journey as I didn’t fit in 2011, and certainly wasn’t going to fit this time, and it was so busy in Hogsmeade that we eventually bade farewell and walked past Hogwarts towards Jurassic Park.

Again, we didn’t really do much here, the line for Jurassic Park River Adventure was super long, by now it was late afternoon, and everyone must have descending on the theme parks! We just chilled out in this area for a bit before carrying on around the park.

If you just stop and look around, you’ll see what a beautiful part of Islands of Adventure, Jurassic Park is – I could quite happily sit here for an hour!

Once again, we completely bypassed Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls…next time!

However, we did line up for The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, because, quite frankly, it’s one of the most amazing rides EVER! There’s no way we could leave IOA without going on it! And similarly, there’s no way I can visit IOA without taking photos of The Incredible Hulk Coaster! One day I WILL go on this!


We waved goodbye to Islands of Adventure for 2013, and made our way to City Walk…I so wish I’d bought one of these vests for my niece!

Dinner this evening was to be at Margaritaville, so we went to see if we could get a table. There was to be a bit of a wait, so we were given some pager bleepy things and sat on the benches outside, as there wasn’t really anywhere for us to wait inside.

Eventually, the bleeper went off and we were shown to a table near the bar.

It was very busy in here, and the waitress was flapping about all over the place! Steve ordered, of course, a margarita, whilst I stuck to something non-alcoholic.

We looked through the menu and decided to have a spinach and artichoke dip starter – which was our new favourite food this holiday – ate it several times! The one here was much nicer than that at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

Liam had, surprise, surprise, a burger! A Cheddar BBQ Burger (Topped with cheddar cheese, Applewood-smoked bacon, fried onions, lettuce, and BBQ aioli. Served with a roasted jalapeño on the side)

Steve chose Chicken Teriyaki (Marinated and seasoned with our special blend of spices and topped with mango salsa. Served with island rice and fire-roasted corn.)

I had Jimmy’s Jammin’ Jambalaya (Cajun rice loaded with shrimp, chicken and Andouille sausage simmered in a spicy broth.) which I wish I hadn’t as it had celery in it -_- but I could just about manage it because it was very well cooked.

The food was okay, nothing special, and the service was a bit pants, we ate up (sorta, I left a lot of mine) before paying the bill of $95.69.

We didn’t bother with dessert because we wanted to get a Cinnabon! Which we bought extras of to take back to the UK with us (don’t judge!)

We sat and shared a Cinnabon, before deciding to make a move…the sky was turning that dark shade it does when the rain is going to fall, so we walked back to the car and drove home.

Another early start tomorrow with a day at Discovery Cove – to give it another chance after our first not as amazing as I thought it was going to be visit in 2011.


Read about the previous day: Day 18: Island Hopping – Rest Day + Lunch at Bahama Breeze + Take Out from Bamboo Wok

Read about the next day: Day 20: Finding Dory – Discovery Cove (Non-Swim) + Dinner at Olive Garden

Read ALL the days! Back to the Magic Trip Report Index 2013