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BOTCON SAN DIEGO
(griffin's 2013 BotCon adventure)


- SUNDAY JULY 23RD - PART 2 -

CONTINUED FROM PART 1

Returning to Universal by about 5.40pm, there was still a fair bit of sunshine, but I wanted to cover the second park before it got dark.  I think I had about 3 hours until sunset, since it was middle of summer here.

Walking back along the over-pass from the parking lot to the CityWalk, I saw that there was a mini-golf park below it, on both sides.  It looked like fun.

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The CityWalk... again.

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While I was here, I went to see what the BK Whopper Bar was all about.
Sure enough, it was basicly just a "create-your-own" Whopper outlet, with different toppings available, as well as some set combos on offer.

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I asked when they closed, and they said after midnight, which was well after the Studios & Islands park closed, so I had time to come back here on my way home... but while I was there now, I decided to try one of the odd ones anyway - the Black & Bleu whopper (with black cajun sauce and bleu cheese).  It was definitely the most unusual tasting burger I've had, with the bity coppery taste of the blue cheese.

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Off towards the Adventure Islands park...

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A bar with a plane stuck out the back...

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The entrance to the Islands...


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Once inside I went around anti-clockwise.

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Looking across the lake in this Park isn't as impressive as the other one.  This one looks more swampish.

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Starting with the Dr Seuss land... which was really trippy.

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It just went on and on and on....

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Finally to the next section, which was called The Lost Continent.

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The ride in this section sounded interesting, but I overheard a couple of people coming out of it saying that it sucked... so was going to leave this one as a low priority if I had time for rides later.

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This fountain here would interact with people, by talking to them, and spraying them from different parts of the head. (it would talk people into getting closer, or move to a particular spot, just to spray them - obvously it was a hit with the kiddies)

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A stage show that was in this section, to do with Sinbad... but I didn't have time to watch it on this occasion.

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And now, the world of Harry Potter...

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With platform 9 & 3/4.

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One of three rollercoaster rides, in addition to the main ride inside the Hogwarts castle.

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It was the middle of summer, so it feels weird being surrounded by a town that looks to be covered in snow.
The vendor there was selling Butterbeer and Pumpkin juice.  The Pumpkin juice was just applejuice with pumkin flavouring, while the Butterbeer was like a vanilla creamy soda softdrink, with a frothy sugary meringue on top (they pour both in separately to the cup).

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Of course I had to try one... but I wasn't sure it was alcoholic or not, as I didn't see any kids getting any.  It wasn't. But it was really delicious... I got a second one.

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A screaming mandrake bush inside the window of this building, that would randomly scream at you.

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There was a store that sold wands, like the ones in the movies. And a candy and gag shop, similar to the one in the movie (just nothing magical about the candys and gags they were selling though).

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This one was taken later, as the sun had just gone down.

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Towards the castle, and one of the rollercoaster rides.  I didn't get time to ride any of them, but did do the one inside Hogwards though.

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The castle is big because of how big the ride is inside.  You get strapped into a chair, which is suspended from a rail system, and you get flung all over the place, with giant screens that project scenes on them as if you are flying around the world of Harry Potter (as if you were on a broomstick I think).  There was no express-pass line with this ride, but the single-riders line was only a couple minutes wait, which was good. (really though, if you are part of a group, on most rides there's no advantage to being on the same unit/car with those other people, as most are too intense or noisy to speak to your friends until it ends anyway - so if there is a big line, just go on the single-riders line to save time)

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Iin the gift-shop, I saw this sleeping cerberos dog...

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Awwww, it's so cute... and ready to bite your head off.

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Next was the Jurasic Park section, which was probably the biggest section of this park. (and I managed to miss one bit of it, that I only just noticed now by looking at the map - an interactive "Visitors Center" like in the Jurassic Park movie, which sounded like it would have been interesting)

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A photo opportunity.

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The water ride, which is also at the Singapore and California Parks. (I've been on both of those other ones, so didn't go on this one)

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The hanging ride, similar to what is at Singapore, but in this instance, it was only for kids up to 4 & 1/2 feet tall.

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Another photo opportunity.

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Toon Lagoon was another surrealistic section, like the Dr Seuss section, with odd shapes and bright colours.

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This ride looked good, but I ran out of time to try it.

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This area had things named after vintage newspaper comic strip characters.  See how many you can recognise.

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Popeye's water ride.

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Olive's tugboat, which you could go up onto...

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...and man the water cannons to shoot at the people on the water rapids ride below.

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Out across the lake.

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The Hulk rollercoaster ride, which looks like it plunges into the water, but is just jets of water as it passes down into a "dry dock" in that part of the lake.

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And into the last section of the Islands Park - Marvel Superheros.

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The Spiderman ride.
It was about 7.30pm now, and I had just about covered the entire Islands Park, so decided to start going on some rides. I started with this one, using my express pass, as I had heard that it was a good one.
As soon as I hopped into a car that looked very familiar, and handed 3D glasses, I realised that it was almost identical to the Transformers Ride.  The Transformers Ride had just copied the format of the Spiderman Ride, right down to the size and shape of the car.
It was a good ride though, so as soon as I got off, I hopped into the single-rider's line and did it again.

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Inside a comic shop nearby.

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Doctor Doom's dropping ride... I didn't go on this one.

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Or this one, the Hulk rollercoaster.

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It was almost 8pm and the sun was now setting, so it was lucky I'd managed to get all the photos taken before the light faded too much.

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I headed back around the park clockwise, because I wanted to do the Harry Potter ride, but it was right on the opposite side.

It was getting late now, and with only a little more than an hour before the night time show at the Studios Park, I decided to head back over there to see if I could get one more go on the Transformers Ride first.

It took about 15 minutes to walk all the way from the Hogwarts School to the Transformers Ride, but when I got there, it was just packed. There was an 80 minute wait on the regular line, and the single-rider's line was full to the door, which would be about an hour too.

I decided that it would just be three times this time, which would mean at least a dozen between the three Transformers Rides... so it wasn't like I was missing out.

I went around to where the giftshop was located, and saw the Optimus Prime (person in costume) nearby.  I took some photos of it and went back to the giftshop to have another look over the merchandise.
When I came out, the Bumblebee was there, so took more photos (on the Transformers page).

It was about 9pm now, and there wasn't any time to do any other rides before the show started in 45 minutes, so I went and looked for some food instead.
The Diner was still open, so went inside to get a burger and onion rings. They serve the burger half made, so that you can decide on what you want to have on it, and you can put on your own sauces as well.
That meal below cost US$14.

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I constructed the burger, with sauce, and ate the onion rings in the Diner.  I took the burger with me in the cardboard tray, and went outside to get a spot nearby to wait for the show to start (while eating the burger).

Out on the lake there are three stages set up, with a frame on each. I was near the one closest to the Transformers ride, but you can see a second one past it.

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At 9.45pm the stages were lit up and with some music and fancy lighting, the frames were actually waterfalls... that would release water in patterns and shapes (like a certain car commercial a couple years ago).

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At one stage, the water was continuous and lit up in a way that allowed for short films to be projected onto it... including a promo for Dispicable Me 2, and a look back over the 100 years of Universal Studios.

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More patterns in the water...

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Culminating in a fountain and light show at the end, with a couple small fireworks.

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You can probably just make out the start of the Universal pre-credits clio on the screen (which has the word revoving around the Earth before the movie starts).

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And the logo as it ends on the screen (of water), and the last of the fireworks.

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It was about 10pm now, and I joined the exodus of people making their way out of the park and back home.

I waited half a minute for the globe to turn around to show Australia on it...

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Instead of heading out to the parking lot for a taxi, I headed upstairs of the City Walk for some BK Whoppers.

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I bought four to take back with me to the hotel - a Bourbon Whopper, a California Whopper, a Mushroom and Swiss Whopper, and I think an Angry Whopper.

I walked over to the taxi rank (as quite a few people were just arriving for the nightlife of the City Walk), and we headed off to the Florida Hotel. (it was about 10.30 by now)

On the way I asked the driver if he knew about the Walmart just before we got to the Hotel (because the bellhop had told me that it was open 24 hours).  Fortunately he knew about it, so I said that we'll stop there first.

We got there after navigating through a maze of roadworks, and when I went inside I made my way to the toy section.  I got a bit excited to see a Hun-Grrr toy, but it was in really crushed packaging. I should have taken my camera in with me, as no one would believe how crushed this toy (and the others from its case) was.  It was as if someone had jumped on the side of the box, as the card backs and plastic bubbles were barely wider than the toy itself.
I took it with me to the register, along with a couple bottles of Diet Dr Pepper Cherry (to help wash down the burgers), and asked if the toy was eligible for a discount.  A manager was called over, and she said that it would only be discounted if the product itself was damaged.
I wasn't prepared to pay full (American) pricing if I didn't get the packaging (bio) with it, so decided to leave it... and just hope I find another store with one before I get back to LAX (which had the expensive, last resort option).

Back in the cab, and at the hotel at around 11pm... I went to my room and ate while looking for something on TV.
There wasn't really anything on, so I was asleep by about midnight.


Go to next day - Monday June 24th

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***All pictures in this convention report are mine unless noted. Any that are borrowed, have the source credited/noted.  If you want to use/borrow any of my photos, all I ask is for you to please credit the source as well. I try to take as many of my own photos as possible, and usually only resort to using others if I failed to get something, or my photo wasn't clear enough.

OZFORMERS - The Australian (and Asia) Transformers Fansite for News and Interaction (started way back in 1996 - try to find a Transfan community that's older)
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BotCon website - The official Collector Club and Convention website
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To contact me --> griffin @ otca.com.au