Classics Break Down, Springfield Lives, and The Mummy Returns

We all agreed that after the long day yesterday that we wouldn’t try to be at Universal until they opened. So we all got to sleep in until around 8am!

After the morning shuffle we were picked up by our Lyft drive at 9:15am and were at the drop off on top of the parking structure 20 minutes later. This was going to be the dampest day of our trip with some light rain off and on throughout the morning with mixed clouds in the afternoon.

The line for security took a little bit but we were still making good time with a bit of a hybrid start to the day. One ride we had missed out on at Islands of Adventure’s Marvel Super Hero Island was the Hulk coaster. So we planned on hitting it and then rolling over to Universal Studios proper.

Considering the park opened at 10am we were doing great by having the big green guy come into view at 10:04am!

The queue stalled out for a breakdown, but we were still on it by 10:30am

I hadn’t ridden it our last trip so it had been a while, but such a great coaster! The kiddos wanted another go on it, so Roxy and I wandered around a bit. I barely ever ride the teacups so I wasn’t feeling Storm Force.

And Doctor Doom’s Drop would have to wait for another day

We were temped by Hogwarts beckoning in the distance, but it would have to wait as we had other Studios plans.

Soon enough Kyra and Jinx were zooming thru!

The pace of people heading to Hulk was picking up

We gathered together to head out but stopped to take a quick snap of Kyra at the hub – she’s smiling under the mask, really!

We headed back out the gate for Islands and strolled around the lagoon over to the Studios entrance

You may notice Jinx is on an ECV – not because he was hurting or anything. We made the investment for it to be out pack mule and took turns driving it and didn’t use it for line priority, just a point A to point B thing. Sure saves our backs not having to carry our backpacks!

As you can see there were no crowds flocking in, it was just after 11am on a Monday so we were hoping for a pretty chill day hitting a mix of classics and new rides to us.

We strolled in and took a right, heading into Hollywood Blvd. Dig Roxy and Kyra’s Beetlejuice getups! Jinx was doing classic Universal monsters with his t-shirt, and I was doing an homage to Halloween Horror nights with a Chance t-shirt, creepy hat, and Venom mask.

As an aside the Bourne Stunt show was in soft opening but wasn’t taking guests at the time that we walked by.

I wish the Brown Derby was the one at DHS so we could get some grub!

The Schwab’s was tempting, but we kept moving forward for another goodie we had heard about on a couple of Universal VLOGS


Soon enough we were passing Mel’s Drive-In, but that wasn’t our destination either

Instead our destination was Central Park Crepes

Photo courtesy of

We were thankful that they were open, they had been closed leading up to our trip. Roxy and Kyra loved the old school poster art.

We sampled the whole menu between all of us – picking up the Smoked Brisket, the Chicken and Goat Cheese, the Vegan Sausage, the Lemon Blueberry, the Cookies and Cream, and the Strawberry Hazelnut. Good stuff all around and a good mix of sweet and savory between all of them.

That pit stop also helped us sit out a minor rain although finding dry seating was a challenge! From there we headed over to ET and waited in line but it broke down and after a while we gave up and left it.

Next stop was to bypass Springfield and hit up MiB, another family favorite!

Have to wonder if it is Idikiukup or Bob out of the twins from Centauri B working the console down there. I know they both used to be down there, they must have decided to start taking it in shifts.

Love those irreverent little rascals

Lots of gadgets to view of course

I love that they added in the guns the ride uses, nice touch

“Did you use the zappy thing on me K?” “No…”

You can just see the “noisy cricket” on the second shelf, far right. I ended up picking up one of them from the gift shop as one of my few merch purchases.

Always making mischief

Soon enough we were down into the boarding area

We had a fun ride, zappidy, zap-zap!

No idea if this was a good score or not

We decided to take another spin on it, grabbed a couple of random shots on the queue that we hadn’t caught last time

We made it almost to the loading area when it broke down. We strongly considered leaving but stuck it out and they were able to get things rolling again after about 20 minutes

Pew pew pew!

Don’t know what our score was for that one, but we did make the other car spin out several times!

Then we breezed BACK thru Springfield, snapping a couple of pics along the way

In hindsight we should have jumped on The Simpsons Ride as the line wasn’t bad, but we saw on the app that ET was back up and we weren’t going to miss that little piece of nostalgia!

Sorry this shot was blurry, the queue was moving fast and we didn’t want to hold people up.

On Jinx’s first trip WAY back in 2002 at the age of 3 this ride was his favorite by far. He even had an ET stuffy for quite a long time. He doesn’t remember the experience himself very well if at all. But at the time that alien was the center of his world!

We even managed to get a couple of non-flash pics on the ride itself!

It was cool to ride it again and even the smell brought forth some good nostalgia from past trips when the kiddos were little. Kind of sad to see how many elements have been shut off/didn’t work anymore though. Obviously a ride that Universal isn’t putting much time and energy into anymore.

Next was a quick Back to the Future pit stop. For those who have been around a long time you remember the days before Springfield and the Simpsons ride. We got to enjoy the Back to the Future ride way back in 2002, wish the kids could remember the experience.

We were hoping to see Doc Brown out and about but he wasn’t around any of the times the family came thru although Kyra did branch off in the afternoon and saw him! Still, there was the train to see.

Wish we could get a bit closer to it, but oh well – we could get right next to the DeLorean! And it has a self-service Photo stop! Finally a better look at our outfits for the day ;D

And finally, we actually experience Springfield!

Kyra noticed this little detail on one of the gates to backstage

I kept working my way around taking pics and selfies

I was tempted to stop in at Moe’s but didn’t

But at least stopped for a shot with Duffman, I think courtesy of Roxy, but it might have been Kyra. At least the Venom mask helped me pull off the grin!

We had a quick service lunch in the Fast Food Boulevard – mostly unremarkable but it put food in our stomachs. We breezed by the Kwik-E-Mart.

But no shlushies as we were finally heading on to the Simpson’s Ride.

Tickets please!

Is this better or worst than the Wheel of Fish?

It was good to make it inside, the covered queue outside was very breezy and a bit cold as you can see with the layers being worn by the rest of the fam.

This was the longest wait of the day, 40 minutes from entrance to ride entry. I know I can’t complain for those who ride during peak seasons and wait a bunch more. But we are spoiled with a 10-20 minute average ride wait. Still a fun ride experience and the ride length makes it worthwhile.

From there we were going to make our way around to Diagon Alley for some more exploration in there. But first I got some shots of the lagoon. As you can see the day had brightened up quite a bit!

But still some looming clouds here and there

We decided to take the route to the left around the lagoon to get to King’s Cross/Diagon and ran into King Louie’s Dance Party

And Doc Brown as promised!

We made it to the other side of the lagoon and checked in on the House Elf peeking out of the window where Harry rented a room to get away from the Dursleys.

On into Diagon Alley for some goodies and butterbeer. Hello owls!

I stopped into the gift shop at the exit of Gringotts to get a better look at all of the cool astronomy-based props they had in the rafters

And one of us managed a shot of the side of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes without people standing in front of it

We had all been exploring and met back up to move on to Transformers, after all we had one more day at Universal and were sure to enjoy more Harry Potter goodness.

Out we went and down thru San Francisco to New York

I do enjoy the subtle Christmas touches on this street

And on to our destination!

This was our first time on the ride, they did a decent job with the queue/backstory for it.

This means something!

The ride was okay, themed on the much older Spider Man ride but somehow not as good as Spider Man itself. Part of it might have been that they seemed to work harder to throw you around in this one, which seemed unnecessary. It is one of those “glad we rode it, probably won’t ride it again” situations.

Back out onto the streets of New York to take in the architecture and decorations as the sun began to set.

Always hard to catch flags in the perfect roll with the wind, this was the best I could muster before I gave up.

Off in the distance, ye ole grand tree!

It is a big’un!

Say Cheese!

We were a bit bummed that there would be no Macy’s parade while we were there, it had been cool to see during our 2012 trip. But for now on to The Mummy!

Bummer that they didn’t have the camera set up to just take a shot of each car individually, but there we are in the peanut gallery in the back!

Kyra wanted to ride it one more time so off she went!

Meanwhile I took a couple more “New York” scenery pictures.

And then we checked out the Tribute Store

When Kyra returned we started heading for the front of the park, all of our ride time done for the day. So here we have the fam walking (and riding) into the sunset

We decided to give Fallon a pass today

One more touch of Christmas in the square

Love those Classic Monsters!

Looks like the Monsters Café was shuttered for the night

I of course had to do the obligatory electric chair pic

Transformers really dominates the space behind the Cafe now

Down to Shrek and Minions, both of which were now closed. We had skipped them today but planned on hitting at least one of them tomorrow.

Is it just me, or does it look like those two are conspiring?

Now Hollywood Boulevard was properly lit with Christmas goodness

The flags were flapping perfectly for a pic here!

We then headed into the Universal Store and Studio Sweets and picked up some more merch and goodies. I came back out and caught some early evening shots of the area.

After that pic the family came back together and we headed out of the entrance gate, which was vacant as we were some of the last ones out. Yay for closing the park! And it was only 6pm so we weren’t dragging into late night.

Of course we had to stop for some shots with the globe

The obligatory perfectly-framed shot with sunset background.

The lagoon was looking pretty cool with the last of the light disappearing from the sky

Even caught one of the resort boats chugging thru.

On to City Walk and some dinner

No, not Bubba Gump. Actually, since it was a Monday our options were pretty limited. We tried a couple of the upscale places but they were all closed. So we decided to go for cheap and quick with the food court and a mix of BK, Panda Express, and Wasabi.

We finished eating and headed out with me ordering our Lyft as we headed back around the walking bridge. Pick-up at 7:03pm and back at the resort before 7:30pm! I had us planned for an 8:30am pick-up the next morning for our last Universal day, so we were able to kick back and relax and get some good rest.

Tomorrow was going to be a bit more involved one with having to choose the things we hadn’t caught yet along with the things we wanted more time enjoying between the two Universal parks.

Plus I had an extra event for Roxy and I to experience that evening. Something I had been looking forward to experiencing for years now – and it wasn’t a theme park!

Tune in to tomorrow’s adventure to see all of the fun and special magic!