Friday September 10, 2010
After a 2 hour drive to the Kississimee area from South Florida, my brother and I went out for an early breakfast. We had a large southern style meal at the Cracker Barrel across from the giant orange on US 192. After breakfast we headed toward Walt Disney World, specifically Epcot Center. Before we entered the park, we stopped to see if we could upgrade my brothers weekday only ticket to a seasonal pass, but due to insuffient funds we opted only to buy the much more important ticket for the weekend. We bought Night of Joy tickets for the event tomorrow night, (thus still receiving the advance ticket price due to buying the tickets 1 day early).
At Epcot's opening we headed towards the Imagination pavilion and Captain EO. As we were walking through the Innoventions gateway, we noticed that the character greeting had no waiting, so we stopped and had our pictures taken with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy. After that we went to the Magic Eye Theater and the revival of Captain EO. While we waited for the show to start, we were the only people in the lobby until about 3 m inutes before showtime. The movie starts with a weird behinds the scenes making of the movie. The movie itself, starring Michael Jackson, was probably best left back in the 1980s.
The only other attraction we experienced at Epcot was the Land's boat ride, Living with the Land.
After Epcot we headed to our hotel to check-in. This hotel was one of the most pleasant check-ins I have ever experienced in the greater Orlando area. It was then on to Universal Orlando and the start of Rock the Universe. Before we went ot the studios park we headed to Universal's Islands of Adventure. We only went on one attraction here, the new Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. While I had been on the attraction once before, with an incredibly long wait of over 1 hour, my brother had not since he was unable to fit into the seats. Because my brother thought he wouldn't fit again, I was able to ride in the single riders line and wait for the ride in under ten minutes. Whilst my brother waited at the entrance, he was informed that just starting that day, Universal had added larger seats and my brother was also able to ride. (My brother had been losing weight with one of his goals being able to fit on thsi attraction, and even though there were larger seats, he was able to fit in the regular restraints).
Now, we headed to Universal's Studios Florida for the start of Rock the Universe. We arrived at the park just before 1:00pm. Walking down Hollywood Blvd, we were stopped and asked if we would like to be part of the Family Fued's studio audience. Since the next available taping was at 1:00pm we were just able to make the next show. The Family Fued was a great show to watch being taped, especially with its new host Steve Harvey. Mr Harvey was a great host, interacted while with both the contestants and the audience. During one of the episodes we saw one of the worst answers ever given during the game. The question was what holiday is associated with football. The Answer that was given by the contestant was September. Immediately after saying his response, the contest said "September aint no holiday." This led to Steve Harvey going into about a 30 minute minute comedy bit just about what just happened. It was great.
After the taping it was nearing 4pm and time to get the wrist bands for Rock the Universe. We went to the front of the park to exchange our tickets, but there as told by one of the cast members, we would have had to exit the park fior the exchange. The in park wristband exchange was over near Mel's Drive In. We check the performance schedule and as opposed to other years at Rock the Universe the first concert was not scheduled until 6:00pm. To pass the time, we went and had a pint at Finnegan's. There we sat and watched a local musician entertain the crowds. Interestingly, there was a few advertisments around the bar for people to stay for Rock the Universe. After Finnegan's, I went to watch the horror make-up show. It had been updated since the last time I had seen it with clips from the Wolfman movie now being used to illustrate computer graphic imaging.
After that we decided to just sit and wait for our fisrt concert of the night which was Kutless on the Hollywood stage. Kutless started their set my playing mostly praise and worship songs, playing covers of other bands like Third Day and Casting Crowns. During this part of the performance it started to drizzle a little bit. The rain created a most spectacular rainbow above the Pantages Theater (where the make-up show and the youth leader lounge were located). Many people saw the rainbow, but since it was actually opposite the view toward the stage Kutless did point it out to those in the audience that might have missed it. Around this time Kutless started playing some of their own hits, more of the heavy rock songs they are know for. Unfortunately, the rain then started to really pick up. While Kutless continued to play through the rain, lightning started to be seen in the area. Kutless themselves would have continued their performance but Universal's powers that be shut them down.
Since the rain was not letting up, and we had not eaten since that morning, we went to get dinner. We opted to go to the International Food and Film Festival, the counter service resturant near the SImpsons Ride. There we both ate the asian orange chicken. I was glad I had an annual pass to Universal as it did give me about a four dollar discount on the meal (it was still pricey though). After the meal, we went and checked out the merchandise booths at Battery Park. The only thing I usually collect were guitar strap pins, but none of the bands seemed to have those this year. I was interested in the drumsticks from the Newsboys, but the price was beyond what I thought was reasonable.
Since much of the crowd was gone due to the rain, we decided to wait for the next show at the Hollywood Stage. Before the next music performer came out, a speaker, Will Tant, a professional surfboarder, came and gave his testimony. His testimony was about losing his brother due to an aortic anerism. Due to this loss, he decided to have both himself and his parents checked out. He found out that both him and his parents had the same condition. He was told by his doctors that he could not surf for at least a year. Although this was some of the worst news he said he could have heard, he did eventually accept the fact that he might not be able to surf again. Thankfully, he listened to God's plan for his life and was blessed even more by going through his suffering and eventually was able to continue doing what he loved.
At the conclusion of Will Tant's speech Hawk Nelson was supposed to take the stage. Unfortunately, the rain and the lightning came back in full force. And while we stood by the stage, getting more drenched than I had been in my life, we decided to wait out the weather. It was about an hour before the weather cooperated enough for Hawk Nelson to take the stage. Even though I had never seen Hawk Nelson live before, I did really enjoy the show they put on.
Next up on the Hollywood Stage was professional NFL kicker Matt Stover. The testimony that he gave was about letting God's plan take its own time. He said he had oppertunies to play on differnt NFL teams such as the Browns, the Jets, and others but refused to take away positions held by other NFL kickers he was friends with. In the end he ended up on the Super Bowl winning Indiannapolis Colts. We became the oldest NFL player to appear in any Super Bowl, thanks to his patience and allowing God to work in His own time.
The Newsboys then took the stage. Thanks to the rain we were able to get within about 3 rows from the front of the stage for this performance. The Newsboys with their new lead singer, Micheal Tate, formerly of DC Talk, put on a great show. However, due to the delays they had to cut out a few songs from their set list. It was the Newboy's cover of the old DC Talk song "Jesus Freak" that seemed to be the most enjoyed by the audience. We stayed after the end of the Newsboy's concert and while we missed our chance at one of the drum sticks thrown out to the crowd, by brother was able to get one of the set lists. On the set list it was obvious that the Newsboy had cut out at least 3 songs from their performance.
We next headed to catch the end of Skillet's performance on the Universal Music Plaza Stage. Skillet's show was quite the spectacle due to the use of rising platforms and different colored pyrotechnics. Due to the fact that we had watched all of the Newsboys show , the closest we were able to get to the stage was near the Monster Cafe drink stand. Still it was a great end to a great Rock the Universe.