Truth be told, I had no plans to take my children to Universal Studios before they were 10. Preferably older - like actual teenagers. At this stage in life, we are at a Sea World pace - nice & relaxed, with shows, a couple of rides (including a GREAT roller coaster) lots of animals, and a huge children's playground. Not to mention the best part - it's free for teachers, we had a pass for Husband, and then his office had a great deal so we could get a pass for Bird. (i am extraordinarily cheap!)
Anyways, this year Universal had a special deal for teachers - a free 1-day, 2-park pass for the teacher, and a discounted pass for family members. So we decided to go before the time ran out. We picked a Wednesday because it is June after all - prime tourist season - so at least the locals probably wouldn't be there too.
We started off our adventure at E.T. (Even if I haven't been here in many years, I still know enough to go to the back of the park first! 5-10 minute wait early in the morning is much better than the 30-60 minutes you will wait in the afternoon)
They are still celebrating the 20th anniversary, so the ad posters are all still up, in all sorts of different languages. We tried to explain to the kids what we were going to see, but I don't think they got too much from the poster!
In the end, Bug really liked the 'bikes' and all the wonderful creatures, but Bird was not super impressed.
We then went on Jaws & Earthquake. I'd like to say that my children weren't traumatized, but that wouldn't be entirely true. Now, to be fair, Bug never really saw the shark on Jaws; the only part that really freaked him out was when they blow up the oil platform & everything is on fire. Fortunately, the driver was a little slow and it was cleaned up before we moved on; seeing that & hearing mommy explain that calmed him down fairly quickly. Same principles worked on Earthquake - which is broken into 3 parts, and only the last one is the potentially scary one. (Bird was okay on both rides, by the way. Not thrilled, but she did enjoy herself).
After a quick lunch (you should bring your own if you don't want to sell your children in order to eat!), we went to the Beetlejuice show. I was extrememly disappointed here - I remembered it from years past - lots of singing, dancing, and great music. My main issue is that the park maps NEVER mention the PG-13 rating!! (although it is there on the website that I didn't check ahead of time because i've been there before!! grrr....). And wow... this newer version is full of sexual innuendos, and all the curse words are left in the songs. Personally.... I still liked the show, but I would never have brought my 2 & 4 year old with me. I'm just thankful that all of it was over their heads.
At this point we needed some time to run around, so Husband & I decided to split up. He took the kids to the Kid Zone (a fantastic place that the kids didn't want to leave - pack bathing suits!!) while I went through the single rider line at the Mummy and the Men in Black rides. (if you ever decide to go - combine Parent Swap with Single Rider line & go through them so much faster!!). The Mummy is one of my new favorites - it was AMAZING!!! Husband went on it after I got to the playground, and he loved it too.
At this point, the kids were wearing out and it was HOT, so we took about an hour to walk our way over to Islands of Adventure. (Bug was sleeping - most people could probably do it in 10 minutes). The main kiddie stuff here is in Suessland, but since it was mid-afternoon, the lines (except for the carousel) were all long. So we left this area for another and in our quest we did run into this fountain:
The fountain is run by a remote DJ who pretends he is the stone idol in the middle of the fountain who likes to squirt kids. Lots of water to cool everyone off!!!
It's also right outside the Sinbad stunt show (great stunts, lousy story - horrible writing!), which just happened to be doing its final show when the daily thunderstorm hit.
By now, the day was kind of over for us, even though the park was still open for a couple more hours. We'd done everything that we'd really wanted to do, and we were all tired & hungry. There were a few things that we didn't do, and if I was a visitor, I would have been sad that I missed them (though I would have made sure to ride all the roller coasters!!!)
Overall though.... a wonderful summer day!!! (Even if we don't get back for another 10 years!!