So many people helped me with advice - that I wanted to give a run-down of what i finally ended up doing. Realize that I was on my own (I was there for the International Reading Association conference) - and therefore I didn't have to be swayed by what a travel companion would have liked to see or do. It was lonely - you like to experience this with others...yet, I enjoyed seeing what I wanted. I usually had a kid near me in any lines that i would encounter - and being the teacher i would strike up conversations with them. Testing their powers of evaluation and prediction <-a teacher to the end. ___ Universal – in a day (8-6pm the park was closing early for an event for Orlando-area graduating seniors) I upgraded my ticket (that I held already – 1 day left on a multi-day, no expiration pass) and bought an express pass, which let me go directly on most rides (and pass the waiting lines on all rides-unlimited). At the beginning of the day I wondered if I hadn’t made a bad decision there – but it was quickly made clear that it was well worth it. I brought my own lunch (stayed at a hotel with a kitchenette – and brought in a lunch bag with a number of ice packs) and water bottle – these stayed in a locker at the opening to the more interesting park. Looking at the prices? That was a BIG Savings. Here is a list of the rides I went on. Remember that I don’t like roller coasters, so it was easier to walk past certain rides that many people would have died to ride. I also didn’t go on certain rides that I remember from my last trip (10 years ago) – the more CLASSIC rides. Starting in the Islands of Adventure Park – Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (rode this ride twice …and wished I rode it more and more, but couldn’t take that time out of my trip. This is the ride they show on the Universal Studios commercial where they say – come ride with Harry – and hold on tight! – I would be SUCH a chicken if I was riding a broom. It was INCREDIBLE! And I would actually vote it the best ride of ALL the parks – including Disney World. I also should mention… I never read any of the books- but have seen the movies. I followed the ride’s story well.) Dragon Challenge (a twin roller coaster in the harry Potter area – more than enough roller coaster for me! When I jump from screaming with glee to gritting my teeth- then it’s too much.) Crossing over to the other park – Universal Studios Revenge of the Mummy (EXCELLENT indoor action ride – would have ridden it again- but was limited by time) By this point – I was SOOOO happy I had bought the Express pass!! The Simpsons Ride (LOVE the Simpsons – so I followed the story perfectly. But more importantly – you could tell the Simpsons people in the audience. We were the ones GETTING the jokes. The ride? WONDERFUL! Your car does not leave the room – but the 3d screen and the gyrations of the car make you think you were on a wild roller coaster of a ride. I sure held on tight at times.) Men in Black (Just OK ride – it was like Disney’s Buzz Lightyear ride – but with all aliens. Had I not had the express pass- I wouldn’t have ridden it.) Disaster (I LOVE Christopher Walken! So I was thrilled that his hologram image hosted this experience. Made it worth it.) Twister (remembered this from before and did it again – the experience was better the first time. Once in a life time was enough) Shrek 4D (a motion movie. I am not a real Shrek fan – and as strange as it might seem with the volume and the motion – I slept through this. It was cool in the theater and I was exhausted from the night of traveling and settling in the night before. The only thing that woke me up was the water that sprays on you twice) E.T. (This was a re-run from 10 years ago – but it was a classic that I wanted to see again. ET is suppose to say good-bye to you – personally- at the end of the trip. Last time the speaker was broken – so I wanted to hear ET say my name. Well, if he DID, I sure couldn’t understand him. ) Back to the Islands of Adventure – Eating my lunch. I was starving by now! Spiderman (along the lines of a Simpsons ride. Enjoyed it) Saw the parade of the Xmen and Captain America on UTVs. Jurassic Park River Adventure (imagine the River cruise from Disney with dinosaurs instead of Safari animals – but then at the end it ends up with a semi-frightening indoor coaster- turning into a flume ride at the end before the T-Rex bites you. VERY fun.) Pterodactyl Flyers (I couldn’t ride this because I didn’t have a child…DANG IT! It looked fun. ) Popeye and Bluto Blige-Rat Barges (This was the typical white water rafting ride that we have up near Chicago at Six Flags – but it was SOOOOOO hot in Orlando that I wanted to cool down!!!) The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (just went back to drink in this area and see a few shops. This portion of the park IS really beautiful- and you DO believe you are in a Hogwarts village. At the Ollivander Wand shop, there is a wand matching ceremony that IS worth the wait in line to see.) At this point, my blister and the clock said there was not enough time to ride any more rides. – I needed to get home and rest up for Disney-in-one-day. Later today - I'll write about going through 3 Disney Parks in a day - INCREDIBLE!!!