The last of an epic 6 part Universal/Disney Bitterness Series. As long as this is to read, you will want to stick around until the the very end.
Remember when you were young and, after toiling for 9 long months in the slammer (school) you were able to experience the first day of summer? You and your friends decided to go to some park and play baseball or hang out in your secret hideout? You got to run around without any responsibilities and could wake up whenever you chose? That feeling of the first day of summer when you just don’t ever want it to end? This blog series(the Disney/Universal part) is not like that. I do want it to end. And probably everyone on earth wants it to end too. Or at least those who actually read it do. It has now been two weeks since this park happened and I can’t wait for this last installment to be over with. I know how sitcom writers feel when they have to write 22 episodes every year. Except for the funny part. And the 22 episode part.
On that bitter note, we entered Universal Studios Florida, not to be mistaken for Universal California. If we were in Universal California, I would have been a little worried about the drive home. This park didn’t have a theme, other than it was similar to every other park that I had been to in the last six days. Same amount of people that were getting in my way, same gift shops that sold the same things, same minor thrill rides in 4D. Also, I was telling the same bad jokes as I told my family the whole trip. This is one that I told them two days earlier when I found out there was a Shrek 4D ride. (4D refers to any film that has not only 3D glasses and 3D effects, but also spews water at you whenever someone spits in the show, or you see water on the screen. Yeah, fun.) So I would mention that Shrek was in 4D and I was going to be 4D next year. Get it? Yeah, I know. Sign me up for my own Comedy Central half hour special.
We were excited to see that the Despicable Me ride/ film/experience was newly open. We had spent at least five minutes looking forward to this ride. Since it was early, we were excited to see that the wait was only 70 minutes and looked forward to seeing the wait time later. I’m sure the two minute mini-ride would be well worth the wait.
Now that we didn’t have 70 minutes to plan our next place to go, we decided to be a little crazy and move around the park in a counter clockwise fashion. Sure enough, we moved backward in time. There was a Terminator 3D ride (you know like in the 80’s when they only had 3D). There was a restaurant from the 50’s that sold milkshakes and had servers that wore rollerskates. They had classic cars, that had actual metal and no onboard computer so I figured they were either from the 80’s or the 50’s. Or another decade. They even had less people like they did in the 50’s, so the bathroom didn’t have a line around the block(it also helped that it was well hidden).
We continued our journey to the past by going to a Barney themed area to get a toy for a kid that we babysit who loves Barney, then to a movie themed area based on ET. Does anyone remember ET? And no I am not talking about Entertainment Tonight. I’m talking about the one that Drew Barrymore was a kid in. Well, of course, my kids had never heard of it, so they didn’t know what to expect from this scary alien ride. It was in the dark and noisy after all. After the ride, my kids wanted to see the movie. But it was only on Blu-Ray. Now my kids finally know what we are talking about when we say, “ET phone home!” I think I was just as desperate as ET to get home, but the hideous plane ride home is a story for another day.
We met a weird family from a place called Springfield. They had almost cartoonish, yellow skin. Their last name was the Simpsons. They wanted us to play those really expensive, silly carnival games. They were telling us about an annoying neighbor named Ned and about a creepy clown and a show called Itchy and Scratch that they watched. The dad worked in a nuclear power plant. They ended up destroying a roller coaster, so we just skipped that place.
Universal is a lot better at representing a town than Disney. We got to the San Francisco themed area and there were authentic seagulls pooping on our heads and scaring our kids, a crappy fish smell from all the piers, overpriced housing, and of course Mummies. Also they had authentic San Francisco pizza, which is like regular pizza, but it is placed on a trolley and rolled down a steep hill.
There is a phenomenon at all the Disney and Universal Parks. You know how in Glee or any musical, people are saying words to each other, but then all of a sudden they start singing and nobody reacts like this is a strange thing? Or in Scott Pilgrim where the same thing happens but with fighting? Disney and Universal have the same thing with parades. We were walking down Lombard street (a famous San Franciso road), enjoying the Irish back alleys when all of sudden people started lining the streets and a parade broke out, like a flash mobs. Just like a flash mob, it ended just as suddenly as it started. I felt like I was being run over, but in slow motion.
Luckily, my kids were getting as sick of this place as I was, so we headed out, past the Despicable Me ride to see how long the ride line was now (90 minutes now!) and something caught my eye. A T-shirt of Gru that said, “Evil Genius”. I of course had to stop and get that, no matter the cost. On the way in, though my kids found their favorite souvenir of all. A fart gun. Yes, that is right. There was no way I was getting this, but my wife insisted that we get it for my son for Christmas, because he only had 46 presents already and he definitely need 47. So, she finally convinced me to get it. I was so bitter that I had to pay for a gun that my kids used to not only annoy me, but that I had to smell. Yes, it smelled too.
So, what did we learn on our last day of Orlando? I’m almost like Shrek because I am going to be 4D, Universal is much better at representing cities than Disney, and even in the last moments of your bitter trip you can find souvenirs that you actually want (the T-shirt, not the gun).
So long from Orlando and so long to these bitter posts about amusement parks. It’s a new year so back to regular bitterness!
P.S. You probably don’t want to know that when we went to get our bags inspected at the airport the next day, I was holding the souvenirs. All my bags went through with flying colors…except for the souvenir bags. I was about to leave when my wife said, what about the souvenir bag? I went to grab it, when a TSA told me to stand back. They needed to inspect this one more closely. That’s right, our fart gun that I didn’t want to buy, was a supposed threat to our national security. Because it was a gun. That gun made me so bitter.