The final day of the wedding celebration brought us to Universal Studios Florida, and in comparison to the previous few days, this would be a far more relaxed day in terms of rides and walking around as there had already been a lot of both the previous five days, but it was great to enjoy one more park with friends before returning home in the evening. It would also be interesting to see the modified Halloween Horror Night Experiences that were available, but before getting to that, we took a ride on Rip, Ride, Rockit, which continues to show a bit of a rougher side when you ride it. While I really liked the ride in it's early years, and there are still aspects about it that I like to this day, it really feels kind of out of place with the rest of the park, and the rougher ride does take away from it a bit. I will say though that it does still manage to have some good airtime moments, but I can't help to think what it would have been like if they had put a coaster more line Hollywood Dream from Universal Studios Japan here instead.
As part of Universal's efforts to help promote distancing and to avoid large crowds, they were doing similar mini-parades to the cavalcades offered by Disney. This one was unique as it centered around the newer animated film franchise "The Secret Life of Pets", with different characters of the movie on the floats.
Normally around this time of year, one may plan to visit Halloween Horror Nights for their excellent haunted mazes and specialty food and beverage options along with special merchandise of the event. Unfortunately Universal had cancelled the event earlier in the year due to the pandemic, but then a bit later decided to offer a modified version that you could experience during normal park hours. It was nice to get a little bit of the HHN experience thanks to two mazes they put together, Revenge of the Tooth Fairy and the Bride of Frankenstein Lives. It was a bit odd with the plastic shields all of the scareacters were behind, but given the smaller spaces and the COVID protections being put into place right now, it was understandable. Honestly, the Tooth Fair maze seemed to be the better of the two as I liked the more unique story, and the scares seemed to be more effective, although Bride of Frankenstein was no slouch of a maze.
It was also neat to see the HHN themed food offerings around the park as well.
We made a point to enjoy one of them as we stopped by the Skeleton Bar, where they were serving HHN inspired cocktails with a more spooky atmosphere. The décor inside was right on par with one of their haunted mazes, and the drinks sounded like they would be pretty tasty. I chose the Vampire's Blood, made with rum, fruit punch and sour mix. It wasn't made very strong in terms of the amount of rum, but it was a nice drink to have on a beautiful sunny day, which was a bit strange to say about a Halloween based location.
Another change the park had in place due to COVID was for their characters. Because of distancing measures, many of the characters were in locations that were away from visitors, but they were placed so that you could still have them in your picture. In some instances, they had them on an elevated platform so it would be easier to include them in the photo, or like Homer from the Simpsons below, in a themed vehicle to add to the photo.
We did a few rides around the park like Transformers and Men in Black, but what I was really curious about was the new Bourne Stuntacular show that replaced the old Terminator 2 show. While the name is a bit clunky, the show itself is a really cool concept! I like the way they blend the use of video, moving sets and live actors to make a full scene throughout the show. It was a bit funny to see the live actors with masks on while the people that were in the video didn't, but it makes sense given the current circumstances. This show seems like it could be an inspiration for future shows to help give their sets a more elaborate feel when combined with the video screen.
After the show, the time had unfortunately come for my return home to the Seattle area, meaning another flight with trusty old Alaska Airlines. I really appreciate that they have so many direct options out of Seattle to different cities across the country, and often their prices are competitive with other carriers, but without the need for a layover somewhere.
The flight gave a chance to enjoy a bit of the sunset, while also giving a passing by of the Magic Kingdom, which was cool as I believe this was the first time I was on a plane as it flew over Disney like this. It was a nice look back at the week that had just happened as I made my way home.
And that was the end of the Florida Theme Park Wedding Celebration! Again, I'd like to congratulate my friends Andrew and Britany, and hope for nothing but the best as they continue their lives together! Thank you for the invitation to join in your celebration, and to join you for the ceremony as well! I look forward to getting to see you both again, hopefully sooner rather than later!
Thank you all for checking out this look back at the trip to Florida for a wedding celebration. I hope you enjoyed it and that you'll be back for more soon here on Coasting with Culture!
Take Care, and Safe Travels!