Thursday, August 20, 2015

Vacation Day #2

Saturday morning we just had to sleep in. There was no way we were going to be hitting up the theme park early in the morning, but we didn't want to get a late start because rain was in the forecast. Surprise, surprise. 

We ate breakfast at the Bayliner Diner at Cabana Bay and walked out to the bus stop in front of the hotel. They have it done so well. The bus stop is covered and a bus comes every few minutes. 

These buses are so cute! I love the colors, there is plenty of room to sit and stand, and it literally took 3 minutes to get to the gate from Cabana Bay. 

When we got on the bus it was about 9:30 (park opens at 9) and there were maybe 7 of us on the bus. It was never packed. 

The wait to have our bags checked at the entrance was less than 2 minutes, and we walked right on in. 

We grabbed a snack and immediately got in line for the Shrek ride. We purchased the Express Pass for Saturday and Sunday, and even though it was expensive up front, it was super worth it. That line, early in the day for regular ticket holders was 70 minutes. Our wait was 10. 

We then went to the Transformers ride...another roughly 10 minute wait. 

Then we moved on to the Minion ride, which was over 100 minute wait time for the regular pass holders and 10 minutes for us. 

We then walked down the "Hollywood" road because the ONLY thing I wanted to do was to visit the Lucy Tribute for Lucille Ball. We stopped to watch a quick magic show, then took a few pictures of some Hollywood Walk of Fame stars

, and then came to my favorite place. The sign was down, but there was a small sign that said to enter at the Betty Boop entrance. When I walked in, I was super excited and giddy, and then my dreams were dashed. 

This is what I saw....

So I asked an employee, "What's going on with the Lucy exhibit?" The employee replies casually, "Oh it closed two days ago." I say, "Permanently?" She says, "Yes." I lost my mind. I said, "are you shitting me?" Obviously she was not. But I was beyond pissed. It was like a Griswold vacation to Wally World and finding it closed. 

So I sulked for a bit but still took pictures of what I could...

and then we went to Mel's Diner for lunch. 

Then we went to the Men in Black ride, which was extremely packed, but we went right to the front and waited less than 5 minutes. I loved that ride. 

We walked around for a bit and found the ET ride. Super cute!!!

Shopping at the SpongeBob store was fun...

and then we ended with the Disaster experience. It was entertaining. 

Josh wanted to ride one of the really big rollercoasters and the kids were not down for that. So I took the boys to look at souvenirs while he went for that ride. We took a few pictures....

We grabbed a drink and sat underneath a tree to get a break from the heat and then the weather started to turn. By this time it was 3:00 and we were ready to leave. 

A bus was waiting at the stop so we were able to immediately board and return to the hotel. The guys went downstairs to float the lazy river while I tried to sleep off an overheated, slightly dehydrated headache. 

When the guys came back, we all took showers and hopped in a cab to go to the Hard Rock Hotel and eat at The Palm, one of our favorite restaurants.  By this time, it was pouring raining and my kids were quite scared. But they calmed down once our food came and we enjoyed a really nice meal.

The manager came by to ask how our meal was (incredible as always) and Jansen made the comment that it was the best steak he ever had. Josh told him that Jansen was an aspiring chef, so the manger gave him his card and encouraged him to give him a call once he graduates culinary school. Jansen was on cloud 9! That kid was so excited!

After dinner we walked around that hotel and did a little souvenir shopping in their shops. As we walked out front to go back to our hotel, we found out that the on-complex hotels have a free dinner shuttle that we could have taken there, but were able to take back!  Bonus!

Even though it was still raining when we got back to our hotel, it was still so beautiful!

Josh suggested that we wake up early the next morning so that we could go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. When you stay in one of Universal's hotels, you get 1 hour early admission to that, so it opens at 8 instead of 9. You can't use the Express Pass on the Harry Potter rides so you have to go early. 

Stay tuned for Day #3!

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