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Universal Orlando

June 18-22, 2024

Beginning somewhere in March 2024, Jay tried to arrange Karen and her family plus Robert and his family for some vacation time together. Unfortunately, Braden, Skyler, and Daylin all have a myriad of summer sports, camps, and other activities that generally fill their schedule, and made it almost impossible to predict when they might have three or four days free for vacation time

So, reluctantly, Jay elected to get together with Robert and his family, who did have some time free, and to hopefully come up with some dates that will work for Karen and her family later on.

Therefore, Jay and Robert conferred and agreed that a Universal Orlando vacation would be nice. Jay then purchased park tickets through the MacDill Travel Office and resort rooms at the Royal Pacific. A major factor in selecting the Royal Pacific resort is that it is one of the three Universal Orlando properties where one's room key is also one's Express Pass. (Note that Express Passes can be purchased independently for those not staying at one of the three Express Pass resorts, and these passes have a floating price. When Jay checked on Wednesday of their visit, an Express Pass was being sold at $226 which does not include park admission.) Between the two parks, there was only one ride that did not have an Express Pass line. It was Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure. Typically, it had a waiting time of between 70 and 120 minutes.

The arrival and check-in went smoothly and everyone was in the park by about 10:15 AM. Because Alice and Thatcher are about 2 1/2 years old, Robert and Natalie brought their double stroller along to help the twins move through the park. As a side benefit, that stroller also became the receptacle for all kinds of bags, food, medicine containers, drinks, extra clothing, snacks, and a pile of other stuff that would otherwise have to be individually carried around the park. Since some rides do not allow persons to bring on their cell phones, sunglasses, car keys, or similar loose matter, the stroller also became the holding spot for such items.

On Day One, Tuesday, everyone got to sample some rides. There was a bit of rain, but no one's spirits were dampened, and everyone got lots of exercise moving from attraction to attraction. When you have children with ages between two and 15, there are not many attractions that the whole group can be happy riding. And when you have attractions that are known for rapid acceleration, tight turns, and 360o twists, they are only for the older people in the group. But we managed just fine. On a number of the rides we used their Baby Swap rooms and took turns watching the twins and - in some cases - also, Luke and Charlie. Robert purchased two plastic cups with lids that had all day free refills at drink stations around each park and we must have gotten 30 refills. He also bought a popcorn bucket that had refills at a very reasonable price, and we must have eaten 10 buckets worth each day. We returned to our rooms Tuesday night to a dinner of pizza - a good day!

On Day Two, Wednesday, we got up early and got into the park with the other people that were authorized and early admission. Once the gate was open, we were moving smartly and sharply toward Hagrid's. But when we got there, we learned that there had been a mechanical problem, and no one was willing to say how long it would take to fix so we moved other things. There was also a smattering of rain again - that hardly stopped us, though a few of the rides, such as the large roller coasters, had brief weather holds. We returned to the resort and took some downtime between one and five and then returned to the park which was open until 10 PM. Another fun day ending with good food from Moe's and Panda Express.

Day Three, Thursday, began with a later start time and again had a mid-day break, this time for a swim at the Royal Pacific pool. After the pool time Robert volunteered to stay back at the resort with the twins so the older children could experience more of the rides that they liked. For those of us inside the park that night, we made a decision to try Hagrid's, and found that the line wait was only about 55 minutes, and the ride was well worth the wait. It would probably win the vote for the best-liked ride. Dinner was more goodies from Moe's.

On Day Four, Friday, we were back to the parks for a brief visit before departing, and visited Hagrid's ride to let Robert experience the fun. Yes, the wait was again worth it.

Another good time at Universal Orlando.

Click on any picture to enlarge it

Ready to hit the parks for a lot of fun!


Spinning on the Storm Force Accelatron

Loving our Butterbeer and our Creamsicles!

Jurassic World VelociCoaster was recognized by the USA Today 10 Best Readers' Choice as the Best New Theme Park Attraction of 2021 and the Best Rollercoaster of 2021. At that time the Jurassic World VelociCoaster was the fastest and tallest launch coaster in Florida.
The pictures above show it doing a 360o twist just 20 feet above the water.

Good times on the Caro-Seuss-el (Merry-Go-Round) in Suess Landing




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