Tuesday afternoon was quite cloudy, and by the time we returned to the Islands of Adventure the air was quite a bit cooler. Bearable. Not cool, mind you, but not scorching. We parked and made the long trek to the Port of Entry, where we showed our tickets once again. It’s an easy process to get back to the fun stuff at Universal!
Speaking of fun, PJ decided she just had to get one more ride in on the Hogwarts coaster. This time, though, we were armed with more information that was likely to speed things up. The secret: Declare yourself to be a single rider! We didn’t know about that the first time. Even though she was a single rider then. This time she identified herself to the house elf guarding the entrance, and right away we were whisked into a different part of the castle.
The projected wait time was 45 minutes or so, much less than earlier in the day but still too long for us. We had to get through Harry Potter’s realm and on over to the Mythos Restaurant for our dinner reservation. So the single-rider option was a better deal all ‘round.
As it turned out, Paula Jo was being seated on the ride just 11 minutes after we started into the castle. Sweet! I walked through the Child Swap area, but I didn’t see any little ones I would trade Jess for. (And that’s even knowing she’s a physics major.) So I smiled, waved and went on out the back of the big room to watch the unloading of the satisfied riders at the end. This time the Dementors didn’t manage to derail her, and the house elves working the station didn’t misplace her either. She arrived right on schedule, her
silly grin smile now a permanent fixture.
We had plenty of time to go around once more, but I didn’t bring that up. I wouldn’t want her to get addicted or anything. Besides, given the morning’s bad scare, where she didn’t get back on schedule and went completely MIH (Missing in Hogwarts), I didn’t want to ruin our batting average. Which was now at 0.500, good enough to get most batters into the Hall of Fame. A good place to retire and see what else the Islands of Adventure have to offer.
It was a bit early to go to Mythos and check in, so we strolled into the Seuss area again, taking photos in the nice evening light. We also got some nice snaps in Lost Continent. It wasn’t raining, but the clouds low sun angle made for great shadows and angles.
Then it was time to dine. Off to Mythos Restaurant!
This facility is fairly small; in the front that is. Not a large waiting area. I thought maybe that meant the dining area was small. Silly me. Once we were called to follow the seating steward we went through a narrow passage and into a huge space; a kind of dome, made to look something like a sandstone cave. Not a dark place, though! Good lighting through windows and indirect fixtures, among other sources. Lots and lots of tables and booths! And of course they were pretty much full. Good capacity management and a good reputation help keep the place hopping.
I could see into the kitchen, a bit, from where we were seated. Lots of tall white hats working diligently on food. No chaos (good), lots of plates going up onto the order pickup shelf (also good). There was a distinct flow and pattern to the work, mostly unnoticed by the diners.
Our waiter was a pleasant young fellow, energetic and talkative without being intrusive or chatty. He was working several large parties and showed no signs of stress. A trouper! and he knew the menu well. We ordered soups for starters, and we had some nice rosemary-garlic bread to keep us busy while we waited. The cool air and pleasant company sure had PJ relaxing nicely.
Paula Jo had chosen the cream of mushroom soup, and that stuff clearly had never been near a can. Not any of it! Including the sherry wine used to give the soup a sweet hint and a clean finish on the palate. I had the creamy tomato bisque, and it was very tasty. Close your eyes and forget you were in an amusement park and you might think you were in a special restaurant somewhere else in the world. Not your typical theme fair food, not by a long shot!
For entrées we picked the risotto of the day and the Roman Panini. (Being the Real Man, I had the sandwich. Of course.) The risotto was a creamy mix with a hint of tomato in the sauce, and plenty of steak and onions on top. Plentiful and tasty, PJ declared. (Note: She also said it wasn’t quite up to Jessi’s home-cooked risotto. I’m assuming she wasn’t simply being polite, since Jessi was a couple hundred miles away. That gal can cook risotto, though! So I still say the Mythos dish had to have been quite good to even be compared to daughterperson’s.)
The Roman Panini was a very good sandwich. Shaved roast beef, roasted red peppers (sadly, all of them mild), onions, grated Mozzarella cheese and more, on a long sub roll. It was thoughtfully cut into four portions so you could eat it in a relatively non-messy fashion. The fries were hot and well prepared. As you know, fried potatoes can be tricky. You want crispy outsides, creamy-hot insides, and no obvious grease. That takes a double-frying method and careful attention by the cook to times and temperatures of the oil used. These were the best I’ve had in a park setting.
We were so full we declined dessert, and we didn’t miss it. This time. I’m not betting against next time, though. We relaxed a bit more with our iced tea (we must have consumed a gallon between us) and then settled up and sauntered out the side exit. Into the dimming evening.
We went back near Hogwarts Castle for some artsy dusk shots from the river bridge, and then we continued on around the rest of the park. Through Jurassic Park and along the River Adventure, carefully avoiding T-Rex and some velociraptors; on to Toon Lagoon where we saw a lot of favorite characters and an amazing water plume ride (Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls®); to Marvel Super Hero Island. This is where we slowed down and shopped, as we were nearing the end of the park loop and it was also getting close to park closing. Now or never for gifts and plunder!
We bought some family gifts, some trading pins for PJ, and a family set of Dr. Seuss “Thing” shirts. We got Thing 1 and Thing 2 for when we’re out together. We got a Thing 1 bandanna for Sonia, and a Thing 3 shirt. Not for Sonia; for me, as I was informed. So when we go to the farmers markets, Sonia is Thing 1. (Only one guess on who wears Thing 2 under those conditions.) With our sun hats we’d made a sizeable haul, about all that our suitcases would hold. We were set.
A last stroll through CityWalk and we were done with our short, intense visit to Universal’s Islands of Adventure. It was fun, and we could easily have spent a couple more days in just that part of Universal’s park alone. It’s now gotten to where it would take a couple weeks to see most everything at Universal and Disney; large places! Entertainment overload too, I guarantee.
Maybe next year…
Mythos Restaurant, part of the Lost Continent area inside Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando, FL. Open seven days a week, lunch and dinner. Reservations pretty much required. (You can check, but it’s unlikely they have immediate seating.) Reasonably priced theme park fare (American style food) in an unusual setting. Kid friendly (naturally).
If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Then Eat Indoors in the Park!