Florida - September 2008

Day 8 - Orlando - Islands of Adventure

Monday 29th September

The morning routine is becoming familiar and entrenched and we’re becoming quite efficient at getting ready for the day on the theme park trail. Surprisingly, I’m finding that I’m getting up relatively early and feeling quite refreshed compared to how I might feel if it were a normal working day.

Today’s theme park of choice would be Universal Islands of Adventure but what day could possible be started without first a trip to a nearby Waffle House for our favourite breakfast - and delicious it was again too.

As was the case with the Disney theme park yesterday, we were relived of $12 for the privilege of parking at the Universal complex. I can’t say that I like the idea of forking out $12 per day for parking at the major theme parks but I will at least concede that they have some pretty decent parking facilities that are well maintained and very well organised. This takes the edge off the annoyance, if only slightly.

We’ve done Universal Islands of Adventure several times in the past but we were only concentrating today on those activities that would bring fun and frivolity to the kids. It’s actually quite a different take on things and we found we did things we’d never done before as a result.

Islands of Adventure is split into five distinctly different ‘worlds’ but we wasted no time in deciding where to go first. Seuss Landing is an odd place to say the least. For one thing, there are no straight lines ... anywhere! Even if you consciously go looking for them, you’d be hard-pressed to find any. Our first encounter with a Seuss character was the Cat in the Hat ride. Both kids were absolutely captivated by the whole experience and it was a shame we weren’t able to sit in front of them with a camera for the duration of the ride.

Next up was the Carroseussel, which we did a couple of times. Just to see Joey jumping up and down with anticipation was worth the cost of admission alone.

We took our time progressing around the park. We actually started the day relatively late and had only really planned on visiting a select few areas of the park so that we might return another day but we ended up navigating our way through most of what the park had to offer.

Another attraction that we’ve never done before was the people-mover-cum-flat-roller-coaster that’s on a twenty to thirty foot elevated section of overhead track. Although it was a Sunday, the park was nowhere near as busy as it has been in the past with wait times of five to ten minutes or less for pretty much every attraction we visited. The people mover was nice in that it offered some fantastic vistas out over the park, which I was able to take full advantage of with the wide angle lens on the new full-frame DSLR I bought recently.

Sandy was keen to get a family photo done at the studio photography place that we saw the last time we were here. Unfortunately, we learned that it was only a temporary fixture at the time and no such facility existed anymore.

Having exhausted all the major things to do at Seuss Landing, we next moved on to the Lost Continent, where we thought we’d see if the kids would enjoy Poseidon’s Fury. They did enjoy it but I think it was a little too intense at times for Jennifer, who by now was getting a bit tired anyway.

We moved right on to Jurassic Park next but, unfortunately, Joey slept through most of it. A shame really since I think he would have enjoyed the dinosaur theme. We did spend some time in the Discovery Centre and Jennifer enjoyed watching the dinosaur egg hatch. I think we’ll go back to Islands of Adventure at some point throughout the stay so that Joey can enjoy Jurassic Park. We woke him up in time to experience the Camp Jurassic play area so he didn’t miss out completely.

Next up was Toon Lagoon and we spent most of our time there letting the kids run riot over the SS-Olive play boat there before moving on to Marvel Super Hero Island. Amazingly, the wait for the Spiderman ride was just five minutes so we chanced our luck at taking Joey on. He’d already had some experience with wearing the 3D glasses at the Muppet 3D attraction yesterday so I was hopeful he’d be able to enjoy this ride. In the end, it was only half a success and he declined the opportunity to go a second time around.

We met and had pictures taken with a number of characters as we navigated throughout the park during the day. At each instance, we were lucky to spot them before the queues got too long.

Having completed our tour through the park, we still had a good hour before closing time so we took the kids back to Seuss Landing and repeated the Cat in the Hat and the Carrousoussel rides again. This time around, we spotted the water play area that we’d missed the first time and let the kids have fun getting absolutely soaking wet. I think they enjoyed this more than anything else so far.

We left the park shortly after it closed and enjoyed some Dipping Dots ice cream before making our way back to the car park. Jennifer was asleep before we reached the car but Joey held on until sometime after we got home. It was a really fun day and, surprisingly for us, not stressful at all. I think the fact that we’ve both bought into the idea that this trip is for the kids specifically has helped in that we’re both on the same page with regards to what to do, where to go and according to what schedule. In other words, having no preconceived ideas, no plans and no schedule to keep to has been the key thus far to a successful holiday. Long may that continue.

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