Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Day 28

Dollar Rent-A-Car - You Only Get What You Pay For

I woke up this morning and went for another run. It was hot and I was tired but you gotta train, don't you? I did the same route as yesterday but managed to find a dirt track around a small park. I did four laps around and stretched the legs a bit, which felt really good. The knees are good again and my form is starting to improve.

When I got back to the gaff, I discovered that disaster had struck again with Dollar. Paulo went to the Sky Cars website to book another car for the month of July and instead of three days notice prior to the pick up they now require four days. That means we would have had to book it yesterday! Paulo got in touch with Sky Cars in the US and the UK and set the wheels in motion to get things sorted. Fortunately, he spoke to some really helpful people who said they would look after things. So we had to trust and believe them - for the moment...

The Universal

There was nothing more we could do about the car, so we left Aido's and went to Universal. One of the lads from the poker game last night scored us free tickets. Winner!

12:00 - we arrive at Universal, park in The Cat In The Hat Lot and leg it inside like a couple of kids. We meet Rob at the big Universal ball and collect our tickets.

We decide to hit Islands Of Adventure first.

Unfortunately for us, the queue at The Hulk is 90 minutes long. Bitter! The same at Spiderman and the other rides.

We decide to walk around the park, going through Jurassic Park.

We go all the way over to the Lost Continent to ride Duelling Dragons.

Wow! What a coaster! The loops, the twists, the floorless carts and the near head-on collision between the two dragons, fire and ice. After a brief twenty minute wait, it got the blood flowing and we wanted more!

We made our way back to the entrance through Seuss Landing.

The queues were still ridiculous at The Hulk, so we make our way over to Universal Studios. More heat, more people and more long queues. We reckon that we'll brave the 40 minute wait at Revenge Of The Mummy.

And it did not disappoint. Another brilliant coaster - indoors and one that follows the theme of the film. It's complete with the mummy, bugs, flames and a cart that goes backwards, does 360 degree turns and takes you down to the 'depths of hell'.

After Mummy, we need to refuel with some pizza and lemonade in Louie's located in 'New York'.

We finish our loop around Universal Studios but the queues in Men In Black, Jaws and ET are still way too long and the time was getting on.

16:00 - We decide to walk all the way back to Islands to have one last look at The Hulk. By now the heat was really taking it's toll on us. We were knackered but both of us were really looking for another 'hit' to feed our coaster habit.

Back inside Islands and the queue for The Hulk is now sixty minutes. Better but still not great. The exact same for Spiderman. Damn! How are we going to get our fix!? I spot a sign for express tickets and decide to ask about them. It turns out that you can buy four express tickets for only $22.00! We could each do two rides without having to queue. What a bargain! The only catch is that you can't use them until after 17:00. No problem. We score the tickets and decide to ring Rob again.

16:30 - on the dog & bone to Rob to see if he has a few minutes to spare. He had offered earlier to give us a quick tour of the studios that he looks after. He's free and meets us by The Blue Men sign. We get a tour of Stage 19 that used to be rented by Nickolodeon to film all of their programs. Now, one half is used for storage and the other half is used to film a local football program and a fishing program.

He then takes us to Stage 21.

This studio is used to film TNA wrestling. The signs all state Total Nonstop Action but we know better. We know that it really means tits and ass.

17:00 - Rob takes us back over to Islands and as we say goodbye we both begin licking our chops at the prospect of two more coaster rides. We decide to hang fire on The Hulk and start with Spiderman.

An express ticket, no queue and the attendant didn't even ask to see our tickets! When you buy single express tickets they are meant to be collected at the ride. We just got an extra ride - free! Happy days!

It's a fantastic ride - in 3D. Very thrilling and with a great finish.

Now, we are all fired up. We had another fix and will get a third ride out of the deal. We run (not walk) over to The Hulk.

The guy takes our ticket and the queue for express was a bit long. But it didn't matter. What a fucking great ride! You start up a ramp like a normal coaster but then it stops for a second. Then you are shot out of a tunnel at about fifty miles per hour and you go straight into a drop and then a loop. Pure adrenaline!

When we get off The Hulk we are buzzing and we still have another ticket left. So, we walk all the way back across to Duelling Dragons. Earlier we rode the Fire cart so we figure we should have a go on the ice cart. And to make it that little bit more interesting we even decide to queue for the front cart. It's a long wait but the attendant doesn't take our ticket! This is unbelievable! We now have the chance to do a fourth ride - for free!

But back to Duelling Dragons. I have to say that once you ride a coaster in the front cart, you will NEVER go back to sitting in the other carts. The drops and loops are ten times better with a front row seat. And the near collision caused both of us to nearly shit a brick.

Leaving Dragons we weren't buzzing any more. We were totally high! A couple of junkies who managed to get way more than we hoped for. But we couldn't waste our last ticket. Oh no. We had to go back to The Hulk once more. The attendant took our ticket, so this was to be our last ride but it was as amazing as the first time. Once again we queued for the front seat and it totally blew our minds.

18:30 - we stumble out of Universal, dizzy with the adrenaline rush of the last 90 minutes.

Back in the real world, we drive about two hours to Vero Beach, find a hotel and settle in for the night.

22:00 - we are both hung over and totally shattered. Paulo gets into the car and goes in search of some food. He comes back with McDonalds. I decide to walk all the way across the carpark to Chili's for a bite. I sit at the bar and order a chicken salad and a Blue Moon draft. I get carded - again! But the salad and beer are nice. I try to relax and unwind, watching Baseball Tonight on ESPN and thinking about the great day out in Universal. Fair play to Rob.

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