Among the many things Uncle P loves are theme parks, amusement piers, fairs and carnivals. I must admit that many of my happiest memories involve those things. I adore an amazing roller-coaster; love being scared and surprised and just completely dig the ambiance associated with all of them. It all goes back to spending my youthful summer Sundays in Seaside Heights (before it was a dump) and the once amazing NJ State Fair, when it was still at the Trenton Fairgrounds (now the site of the highly recommended Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ). It probably goes back to the kiddie rides at Cadwalader Park, where you could actually feed live deer and pitiful bears in pits, and walk through the stinkiest "Monkey House" on the planet.
Anyway, my absolute favorite theme park in the world is Universal Studios, Orlando. Of course, it is no wonder that the combination of two of my favorite things in the world would lead to yet another favorite. I've been there three times. Once with K, once with my sister and BIL, and again with sis, BIL and a friend of sis's. Two of my three visits were during "Halloween Horror Nights." Trust me, no other theme park can come close to Universal when it comes to Halloween. I have not been since they transformed one of their Islands of Wonder into "Harry Potter and the Grab for Your Wallet." I priced tickets while visiting sis last April. On that particular day, a one-day two-park pass was outrageously expensive. We chose not to visit.
Still, there are things I very much love about the original Universal Studios, Orlando. The first time I visited with K, I was blown away by "King Kong: The Escape;" "E.T. Adventure;" "The Alfred Hitchcock Experience;" "Earthquake;" "Twister" and, best of all, "Jaws: The Ride." Set up on small lake and surrounded by a fake but faithful village of Amity, "Jaws: The Ride" was both super-corny and super-fun. I say "was," because Universal has 'retired' the attraction to make way for something new. Disney has already announced an "Avatar" themed attraction, so what might Universal have up their sleeves? Personally, I'm hoping for an Aliens/Prometheus coaster of some kind.
I've ridden "Jaws: The Ride" four or five times, and enjoyed it every single time. The queue was entertained by a silly (and sometimes repetitive, depending on the line) "local" newscast and the attention to detail was superb. Also fun was the combination of corny jokes made by the "guides," the surprise attacks and the explosions, which often felt a little too close for comfort and the cheers riders gave themselves at the end for having survived.
I hope that whatever they are planning for the space is done by my next trip to Florida. It's been too long and I am itching for that Universal experience. I'm not particularly sad to see this ride go, but instead excited to see what takes its place.