We got up bright and early to head to Universal Studios. Walker had been there before, once, a long time ago, but my mom and I were Studio virgins. To get to Universal, you park in a ginormous parking ramp and walk through an area called City Walk, which is a collection of shops, bars, and restaurants. They had some great music pumping through the speakers. We were definitely in the mood for some fun by the time we got to the gates.
Universal has two parks: Universal Studios, and Islands of Adventure. You can get tickets to one park or both, for one day or multiple days. My mom was the one who chose Universal, and she wanted to see things at each park, but she didn’t want to go on any “thrill” rides, so we figured one day, two parks would be the ticket for us. I waited in line to purchase them while Walker escorted my mom up to the gates. When you know what you want, the process goes pretty quick. I was at the window and on my way before the folks at the other windows had decided on their purchases.
When it comes to theme parks, Walker and I have nothing in common. He loves the thrill rides, the faster, the better. He loves the rides where you get wet, and the ones that make you want to lose your lunch. Me? I like taking photos. I like the shows. I like the landscaping. I like the characters, the parades, the fireworks, the music. I love the shopping. And I love any place that encourages you to have ice cream for breakfast. Thrill rides? Not so much.
So our routine worked itself out pretty quickly: we’d choose a show for my mom and me, then Walker would dash off to a roller coaster or something, and when the show was over, he’d be waiting for us outside the exit. It worked pretty well. We watched the Blues Brothers, we danced with Dora and Diego, we visited the exhibit that celebrates Lucille Ball. We walked all the way down to what we thought was a Ghiradelli ice cream shop, only to discover that it was a storefront, not an actual store. Most of the “shops” at Universal were like that.
One thing that cheesed me at Universal was a couple of climbing walls that were charging $5 for a climb. I mean, we paid $122 each to get into those parks for the day. I didn’t think it was appropriate to charge additional money for an activity, even if it was only five bucks. I mean, what about the families with four or five kids? But I’ve heard that Busch Gardens in Tampa is worse.
Anyway: we planned to stay for the fireworks, but late in the afternoon the winds picked up and the rains came down. They didn’t let up, either, so we made an early night of it and went to Walker’s favorite steak joint in Orlando, a place called Logan’s Roadhouse, for dinner. Then we went home and soaked in the pool before settling into the home theater for a showing of “The Help”. Gotta love vacation!