Vacation Week: Friday Universal Studios

The week was busy enough, but we had to end it with a lot more excitement. We went to Universal Studios in Orlando. Yes, again, we got free tickets. My sister-in-law works there and she got the whole group in free. Thanks Sis!

A pleasant surprise was that there was hardly anyone there. I guess this is low season and the economy isn’t helping. We were told that Disney was pitifully empty too. It is a great time for people who are interested in riding rides instead of excited about standing in lines. The longest wait we had all day was about 15 minutes.

Stunt 1 at Fear Factor LiveWe jumped on a couple of rides as we made our way to Fear Factor Live. If you want to play Fear Factor it is best to get in on the early show (I think they do 3 a day). There are fewer people auditioning for the show in the first hour. My older brother and I wanted to play. He had played before, but got knocked out in the second round. We were determined to go all the way this time.

Since only 6 can play at each show, we had to eliminate a few extras to start with. As outgoing as I am perceived to be, I am not one to perform well for strangers. I save my best work for my friends. But, to move on it was all about how much they thought you would make an excitable participant. I was as excitable as I could be, but was still afraid of getting cut. However, we both made it through.

ScorpionsThere were a lot of neat behind-the-scenes bits that I will cut out, but just suffice it to say that getting ready to play was actually quite entertaining and informative.

When we made our trash talk videos one of the other contestants said that he would not let a couple of old guys beat him. My brother and I at 40 and 39 years old, respectively, were twice as old as everyone else playing. They were 18, 19, 19 and 20 years old. I guess we were the old guys after all. Not only did we want to win, but we had something to prove to the young punks. There were 3 guys and 3 gals chosen as the final 6.

The first stunt involved hanging onto a bar at 40′ above the ground. The bar was made in such a way that you could not hold on easily. The record was just over 2 minutes. There was no way to keep from falling. But you could not be one of the first two to fall or you would be eliminated. I was the 3rd or 4th to fall. My brother was the 5th. Two girls were eliminated and the 3rd girl was the one who held on the longest.

Grabbing bags from an eel tankSince she held on the longest she got to make her pick for her partner in the second round. Fortunately she picked her boyfriend and that left my brother and I to be partners fighting against them.

Between stunts 1 and 2 my sister-in-law got a bunch of scorpions dumped on her head. As an interpreter for the Deaf at Universal, she had seen this done many times. She was not afraid of them harming her. Though she did say it was an eerie feeling when they walked on her face. They had what felt like spikes on their feet.

The second stunt for us involved carnivorous eels and dead octopus.

In the first part of the second stunt my job was to fish around, with my bare hands, in the tank of eels to find bean bags which I would toss to my brother holding a bucket while suspended from a rope. We won that half by 2 bags. The second part had my brother swinging around from said rope tossing octopi that I had to catch in a bucket. We may be old, but tossing stuff into buckets is not overly challenging for two guys who have excellent hand-eye coordination. Those years of video gaming paid off.

Dad and brother eating wormsBetween stunts 2 and 3 our younger brother and dad got involved in the game by playing in the eating gross stuff challenge. They were going to compete against one another, but another couple volunteered too, so they made 2 teams of 2. When it comes to eating, not too many things crawl off my brother’s or dad’s plate. They won despite the earthworm breath they had the rest of the day.

Since we won the octopus toss we eliminated the rest of the young people and it was just us two left to fight it out against each other in the final stunt. We had to climb a ladder while stepping across window ledges and pulling flags off the wall. Then we had to scale out one of the ledges and jump onto a fireman’s pole while grabbing a flag with a key attached. With the key in hand we had to run to a car and insert the key to be hoisted 20′ into the air. When the car got to the top, we had to climb out onto the hood and knock off 3 flags then jump back into the back seat of the car, grab a gun and shoot a target. All done while industrial fans were blowing wind and rain onto the whole set.

Climbing the ladderNone of it was quite as easy as it sounds. For example, the ladder was not a real ladder. It was 2X4s nailed to the wall. There was no real way to grab it, you just had to hook your fingers on while a steady stream of water was rushing down the wall.

My brother got his car started about 2 seconds before I did. We were pretty much neck and neck up to that point, but I had trouble getting my key into the ignition. With those two seconds lost, I never caught up. When I finally found the gun in the back seat and got it oriented to shoot the target, my brother hit the mark and won the game.

I took second place, but it was great that we could play the final round against each other. Between us we got 6 free tickets to Universal. He got a T-shirt and I got a hat that said “Fear Factor Live.”

It was all very fun.

Climbing out on the hood of the carThe rest of the day was spent riding coasters and running between 2 parks trying to catch different shows at certain times. About half the conversation the rest of the day revolved around the fun we had playing Fear Factor.

My grandmother had to catch her plane back to Texas that day so Mom and Dad took her to the airport while we were eating our picnic lunch on the ground in the parking garage. They came back for a short time in the afternoon and then headed home for some much needed rest.

We got home exhausted. We probably went to bed earlier on Friday night than we did all week.

3 thoughts on “Vacation Week: Friday Universal Studios”

  1. Per your email… yes, I am behind on reading (and writing) blogs, but I am glad that you sent this.

    That sounds AWESOME. I think that being on the set of FF that I would be pretty relaxed with what was going on (“when in Rome…). And really, if someone as OLD as you could do that, my youth would pay off!

    Glad that you had a great time. I guess I better go back and start reading where I left off… before Christmas.

    1. I can tell you are behind on your reading since my number of visitors has gone down from 100+ visitors a day to about 60 the last several days.

      It really was a lot of fun.

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