We’d decided to go back to Universal today rather than use the Fast passes we had for Disney. That means that it is Disney 2 – Universal 2 so far in the battle of the parks.
We got there for park opening at 9am so that we could make our way straight to the new Harry Potter ride “Escape from Gringotts”. Getting through the park gates at Universal is always an excruciatingly slow experience as you aren’t trusted to scan your own ticket, this has to be done by an attendant. I guess that this is to speed up the process but in our experience it does anything but. Then you have to wait while your fingerprint is scanned and checked. It’s all a bit of a palava.
Anyway, that done and out the way we made straight for the Escape from Gringotts ride. Having never ridden this before we were a little apprehensive about what it would be like. The lead up to the ride was fabulous as you walk through the upstairs area of Gringotts bank before being taking to a very realistic lift which takes you “down” to the vaults. It is all beautifully done.
The ride was described as a roller coaster but turned out to be a mix of short roller coaster and motion simulator, which Universal does so well. You were seated in small cars and an overhead harness came done to pin you in place. It is the most restrictive ride I think I have been on. I won’t spoil the ride itself for others but it was short but very good.
When we came out the lines were still very small so we immediately went round and rode it again. That’s one of the great things about a. going early and b. Universal – the lines are short anyway and almost empty first thing. We were able to tick off: Gringotts, Men In Black (which is looking pretty dated now), Transformers and Shrek. After lunch we went in to the other park and went on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and then got the Hogwarts Express back to the first park and out.
In the evening we went to Chilli’s, a restaurant we used to love when it was still a going concern in the UK. The food is great and Mat loved his Jalapeno Margarita until I knocked it all over the table!