Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Spencer's Wish Trip Day 3: Universal Studios!

Everyday we thought it couldn't get any better....then another day would roll around and amazing things just kept happening.  It's no exaggeration when I tell you that every single one of us thinks this is the best vacation we have EVER taken.  There is no way to describe everyone's love and compassion for Make A Wish Kids.  On day 3 we decided to do Universal Studios...none of the kids had ever been.  This park was a DREAM for Spencer.  At all the parks, they give you special treatment, and you usually don't have to wait but just a few minutes in a line to ride a ride or meet a character.  At Universal it was so much more than that.  Spencer owned that park.  Anytime we walked up to any park employee to ride a ride, they immediately radio'd in that they had a special VIP guest and a park representative came and got us and took us through secret entrances, RIGHT onto the ride.  And they put us there first, and in the best seats.  Sometimes they even went beyond that.....

To get to Universal you have to walk through CityWalk.  We stopped here and made a reservation for dinner at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, and then took a right turn to Universal.  (Citywalk is in the center and Universal Islands of Adventure is to the left.)  We weren't expecting much from this park and though it would be a quickie...we were so wrong.  Mike and I had both been there years ago and hadn't liked it.  They have done so much more since then and I think it is now one of our favorites.  (Islands of Adventure is top of the list too....don't skip these parks if you ever get down that way, you just might like them better than Disney!!)  On the way, my husband HAD to have his picture taken with something he found in front of the Nascar Cafe.....

Once we got in the park, we rode the shrek ride, and headed over to become a "minion" on the Despicable Me ride.  When you come off of this ride, you end up in a room where there is music and dancing and it projects you up on a big screen dancing with the minions.  We stopped to do this because everyone knows Spencer LOVES to dance.  As the room started to thin out we started getting ready to leave and we were stopped by two park employees who asked us to wait because.....Stuart wanted to meet Spencer!!!!  We waited for the room to clear out and then Stuart came in arms wide to dance with the kids and give Spencer hugs!

This was actually Madi's dream come true, as she is a HUGE minion fan!  Spencer loved that Stuart wasn't much taller than he is.

We worked our way on down the street after that, and ended up at the Twister movie simulator.   We knew we had to take Spencer to see that, as he's been watching that movie over and over again for the past few weeks.  A really cool gentleman took us in the back way and set us right up front.  It's basically the scene from the movie where they are at the drive in and the big twister comes through.  They even added a flying cow.  (Spencer was yelling "It's a cow!!!")  When it was over the same guy came back and told us to stand right where we were....he said once everyone cleared out the scene would reset and go backwards.....which was pretty darn cool and something most people don't get to see.  Tornado's times two....Spencer was in heaven.

As we were leaving, we passed this tourist who just kept getting in everyone's way!

From there we were off to ride the "Disaster" ride.  It was already in progress and we had to wait a few minutes.  They put us right outside this special door, and it had started to rain.  People had croweded under a small awning that was there and we were just outside of it.  This really awesome lady came out from under the awning with her umbrella and stood with us the whole time we were waiting and HELD HER UMBRELLA OVER SPENCER'S HEAD.  A random act of kindness from a park visitor who didn't know us and will likely never see us again... We must have thanked her a dozen times.  And it still probably wasn't enough. There was no way I wasn't taking a picture....

And if you're not crying by now, you probably will be before you are done reading today's blog.  (Just a warning, get your tissues...)  This ride by the way was pretty cool, but not as cool as who we met later.  Spencer's one and only.....

It's hard to tell it in the picture, but Spencer is running.  Spongebob was happy to see him!

When we left there we were headed to the E.T. ride.  Aspen had been looking forward to this one all day, as  E.T. is her hero.  On this ride you ride bicycles through the sky with E.T. in your basket...and end up on E.T.'s home planet.

On the way to the Terminator Ride (which was Madison's favorite show the whole trip) we came across some stars in the pavement.  This star was for Jerry may know him as the spokesman for the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon.  It deserves a place in my blog.

After the terminator ride it was time for our Dinner at Margaritaville.  The food here is AMAZING.  The atmosphere was AMAZING.  The people were AMAZING.   Dinner has an island feel with lots of singing and dancing.  Entertainers are walking around (on stilts) singing and making balloon hats for the patrons.  The kids thought this was the bees knees, and they got hats and swords made for them.  (Spencer ended up on the elevator with the girl on stilts later and she simply dropped off her stilts right by him and her legs just shrunk....he thought it was hilarious!)

After we finished our meals, everyone (except me...I was stuffed) ordered dessert.  Spencer loves chocolate icecream, and couldn't even be bothered with a spoon....

By the time we were finished we had probably run up about a $250 tab.  The food, while excellent, is pricey and they had all had huge desserts.  As we were waiting for our bill to come, a manager walked over to us to  ask how our meal was and if everything was ok, and then told us that we were free to go and didn't owe a thing!!!  Our bill was completely taken care of.  If you are ever in Citywalk, eat at Margaritaville.  The food and atmosphere are phenomenal and the staff has a heart of gold.

Once we got over the shock of hundreds of dollars of free food, we were headed into Island's of Adventure to find Spiderman.  It was 8pm and they were closing at 9 so we ended up being his last visitors of the day.  He took pictures with us and gave us this one to take home...

Spiderman is a great character and one of the few characters that can talk, so Spencer had a merry time with him and then we were off to ride the Spiderman ride.  It's a 4D ride that travels on a track through a building.  It's probably one of the best 4D rides we've ever ridden and it's Spencer's favorite.  In addition to putting us right on it, they also allowed us to ride it a few times in a row.  Spencer immediately asked to "do it again".  By that time, the park was closing and after a quick stop in the spiderman gift store, where spencer got some toys and a tshirt, we were headed back to our villa for some much needed rest.  We were exhausted!!!

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