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July 31, 1999
Islands of Adventure

Written on Monday, August 2. I didn’t write anything over the weekend so this is my overview of what I remember. Stu, if you think anything else needs to be added email me about it. Friday’s entry will be updated soon.

What a day! It all started at 6 AM when Stuart and I work up to get ready to leave for Orlando. We didn’t get much sleep on Friday night because the apartment building was coming alive as we were trying to fall asleep. Around 2 AM there were some drunk people outside the apartment talking pretty loud. I got a kick out of it. However, I did get sick during the night too. It wasn’t very fun, but I was pretty much over it by the time we got up.

We left Gainesville a little after 6:30 AM (the time we originally planned to leave). The plan was for everyone in the group to meet in front of the Universal Studios theme park, Islands of Adventure, at 9 AM. We got there early because the drive from Gainesville to Orlando is shorter than 2 hours. Our first surprise came when we saw that the one-day, one-park tickets were $44 (plus tax). I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised because these parks can charge whatever they want and tourists will still come pouring in from all over the world. Anyway, the entire group (13 people that day) finally gathered at the park entrance and we began our day.

Islands of Adventure is a really great theme park. Since I am a roller coaster fanatic I was having a blast. Here is a list of the rides we rode (I looked up the actual names of the rides on the web):
1) Incredible Hulk Coaster
2) The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man (like the “Back to the Future” ride at Universal or the “Star Wars” one at MGM)
3) Dudley So-Right’s Ripsaw Falls (a water ride)
5) Poseidon Fury: Escape from the Lost City
6) Dueling Dragon Coaster (inverted coaster, two intertwining tracks)
7) The Cat in the Hat
8) Caro-Seuss-el
All of the rides were great. I especially loved the Dueling Dragons roller coaster. After we got off the first of the tracks it was hard to keep my balance. I don’t think I have ever had that problem on a roller coaster before, so that will tell you it was quite a jolting ride. The biggest fiasco of the theme park day was the fact that I had left my tennis shoes at home. Wearing my sandals wasn’t that bad, but when they got wet it was hard to walk without slipping. I can’t believe I forgot something so basic. Anyway, the park was fun but those of us who hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before lost enthusiasm around 5 PM. The sun and heat had taken a lot out of us, plus standing in line most of the day had taken its toll on our feet.

After checking into the hotel, and getting ready to go out to dinner, the fiascoes began to surface. Our first idea was to go to the House of Blues restaurant that is located in Downtown Disney, but when we got there the wait for our party of fourteen was 2 hours. We checked a few other places in Downtown Disney, but there wasn’t a better outlook anywhere. So we piled back into the cars and headed to Jungle Jim’s. By the time our car got there another option had come to light and we ended up at Chevy’s, a Mexican restaurant, because the wait was much shorter. I guess we ate around 10 PM or so, and it had been a long time since lunch so some of us were starving.

Stu and I were so tired after dinner that we went back to the hotel. Some others went back also, but the others went back to Downtown Disney for a while. They woke me up when they got back. I really needed some sleep. Our plan for the next day was to go to Blizzard Beach, a Disney water park, in the morning before we went back to Gainesville. Read Sunday’s entry to see what really happened!