This is the 6th of 11 posts (10 travel days plus final thoughts) adapted from e-mails I sent to friends and family. This was my 3rd trip there, the previous two being in the early 1980s and 1996. My dad came with me this trip.
It turned out I did have a cold, though I managed to repress a lot of the symptoms until AI got home. Mixed in were possibly allergies from feeling the furthest most effects of Hurricane Ivan. No winds, but sky was brown in the morning.
Today we went to Universal Studios. In order:
* Simpsons (first time for me on this one per se, but it's largely a reworked Back to the Future, which I went on in 1996). You're still in a car which is really a motion simulator giving the illusion of a very rough flight, in this case at a theme park. I quite liked it but my dad didn't care for the fact that it felt like a real roller coaster
* Revenge of the Mummy (first time): Intense but pretty quick roller coaster. Dad skipped
* Jurassic Park (revisit): Flume ride with great robotic dinosaur effects, including spitting water at you.
* Universal Experience (first time): Cute but nothing special short walkthrough; it replaced Lucy: A Tribute
* Backdraft (revisit): Simulates a fiery scene from the movie. Nice effects
* Special Effects Studio (revisit): Three sections show how various effects are done. Interesting and more fun than my last visit, where the narrator was pretty sarcastic; the new narrators are more people friendly
* Studio Tour (revisit): The classic tour through the studio backlot, with various effects along the way. We saw where the recent fire was, a stunt rehearsal apparently for an actual shoot, Bruce the shark from Jaws, Desperate Housewives' Wisteria Lane, etc.
* Terminator 2: 3-D (first time): Show combining a 3-D movie with live action. Unsurprisingly I liked it more than Dad.
We had lunch at Doc Brown's (a good chicken place) then:
* Blues Brothers (I'm pretty sure I saw part of it in 1996 but didn't see the full show): Amiable live musical
* Waterworld (revisit): Incredible live stage performance on an elaborate watery set. It has to be seen to be fully appreciated; essentially even though the movie bombed in the early 1990s, the stage show still draws in a packed crowd.
* Universal's House of Horrors (I think it was there in 1996 but this was my first time visiting it): elaborate playful walkthrough based on the early monster flicks
* Shrek 4-D (first time): Cute 4-D movie where you get squirted for real a lot (but not too wet)
* Animal Actors Studios (revisit): Live animal celebrities do their thing.
I quickly looked in the Marvel Shop, and then we exited the park. While my dad waited for the bus, I explored the CityWalk area outside the park proper, buying a trade paperback at the comic shop Things from Another World (I visited another branch in Portland but didn't buy anything there).
Upon returning to the hotel, my dad and I watched the fireworks again (I shot some videos) and I bought some Nyquil from the hotel store, which helped quite a bit.