Gold Coast Sep 2015 – Day 2 – Dreamworld

With yesterday having been a busy travel day, filled with more stress than was originally anticipated, we had resigned ourselves to the idea that today would be a rest day. In the end, it turned into a full-on day and I’m just now starting to feel the effects of it all.

It’s often the case that when I’m on holiday, and not paying too much attention to the time, I find my body clock getting me up and active much earlier than I would expect. And so it was today, with a surprisingly early start for me. Sandy is very often up and out of bed before I’m awake but when I heard the kids stirring this morning, and noticed she was still in bed, I decided I’d get up and go through the morning routine to give her a bit of a break. In actual fact, she had already been up and gone back to bed at least once before anyway but I thought it would be nice to let her lay in for a bit more just the same. Joey has been uncharacteristically cooperative since we arrived and even agreed to go with me this morning for a stroll around the Ashmore Palms complex. It was only a ten minute stroll but just the fact that he agreed to go along with me was really quite a nice surprise for me. When we both arrived back at the cabin, I whipped up some eggs and bacon, cereals and, since Joey asked, a pineapple sandwich. Don’t ask!

After eating their fill, both kids wanted to go for a swim in the resort’s swimming pools, so I got them into their new swimmies and off we set. Along with a couple of other kids that we met there, we had a really good half hour of fun in the heated pool.

Since everyone was now well and truly alert and revitalised, we decided we’d head off to do a theme park today after all. It was by now around ten o’clock, so by the time we got there it would just be a half day and that aligned well with our original plans to take things easy today. After some discussion, Dreamworld was chosen as today’s destination. We actually have tickets to all the major theme parks here on the Gold Coast, so we can pretty much come and go as we please to any of them for the duration of our stay. After I bought and paid for our 7-day family passes through the Dreamworld web-site a couple of weeks ago, someone pointed out that we might be eligible for some sort of discount due to the Carers Victoria cards we both have. I called Dreamworld last week to ask about this but there was some confusion about different types of concession cards and it wasn’t entirely clear whether ours qualified. They didn’t for Seaward, so I just assumed they wouldn’t for Dreamworld either. Nevertheless, we thought we’d show our cards at guest services when we got to the park today anyway just to see what they said. This turned out to be a rather fortunate thing for us to do. The staff at guest services were just brilliant. As it turns out, not only do they recognise the Carers Victoria cards we both have, but these cards actually grant the adult free entry when the child purchases a ticket. This apparently applied equally well to the 7-day pass and resulted in a net savings of $160. Sweet! The only downside was that we had to buy the new children’s tickets now, and request a refund for the previously purchased family tickets. We should get the money back in a week or two. Since it’s $160 that I’m saving, we went ahead and did as they suggested and purchased two 7-day children’s passes. I will have $340 coming back to me in a week or two, but [note to self] I mustn’t forget to request the refund!

Once inside the park, everything was exactly as we remembered it from 2 years ago, and we instinctively knew exactly where to go. Jennifer and me made our way over to the Buzz Saw ride, one of the more thrilling attractions, whilst Joey and Sandy went over to the kids rides area. One of the highlights of the day for Joey was when the Puss In Boots character came out to entertain the crowds. He took Joey with him onto the carousel ride, which made his day (and probably Joey’s too).

Being the adrenaline junkie that she is, Jennifer was keen to go onto the Tower of Terror ride. Sadly, when we arrived at the ride’s entrance, a sign greeted us that was somewhat deflating. “Closed for annual maintenance.” This was always going to be one of the most anticipated attractions for Jennifer here in Queensland and this bad news certainly took its toll on he for the remainder of the day. Shortly after we visited the Tiger enclosure and marvelled at Kai, the new tiger cub, we all went onto another rollercoaster ride. Whilst in the queue for this ride, I called Dreamworld and inquired as to when the Tower of Terror ride would be back in action again. As it happens, the maintenance is scheduled to be complete by this Wednesday and open again on Thursday. Hopefully, we’ll be back here later in the week and Jennifer and me can round things off with a couple of rounds of this attraction – lucky me!

Energy levels were now staring to dip, so we parked ourselves somewhere under shade and topped up on some snack food and snow cones. The positive effect this had on everyone’s demeanour was immediate and clear. Soon full of energy again, we headed over to one of the water rides and, with a little human engineering and playing dumb, we somehow managed to score a front-of-the-queue pass to bypass the forty minute queue onto the ride (probably the longest queue [we didn’t experience] during the whole day). As theme parks go, the numbers of people here today was quite small and the queues all very amenable – one of the reasons we chose this week, the week before school holidays, to come up here.

Jennifer always enjoys all the rides but Joey has previously been much more skittish. It has been a breathe of fresh air, however, to see him also enjoying himself so much this time around. He’s still not keen on some of the more thrilling rides, so he and Sandy headed back over to do some more of the gentler attractions, whilst Jennifer and I went for another spin on the Buzz Saw – lucky me! Jennifer’s thrill seeking needs were still not quenched after the Buzz Saw, so we went and did another couple of major attractions – including one that I had to let her go on her own, as I would surely have vomited. Fortunately, both kids are now over that magical 130cm height, which permits them access to all the attractions in the park.

The odd movie character popped up every now and then, and we partook in the obligatory photo opportunities each time that happened. After a few snaps with Shrek, the kids (everyone except Sandy, that is) spent a bit of time in the ball pit play area, where air canons blast little foam balls all over the place. After that, it was into the theatre for brief 3D movie – a How To Train Your Dragon short. At just 20 minutes long, the movie was just about the right length and it was indeed just about the right time to bid farewell to Dreamworld for the day also. We picked up a couple of t-shirts from the clearance rack on the way out of the park (and even paid for them) and collected the car to make our way home. Sadly, just about the only type of cable we did NOT bring with us was a cable to charge the phone from the car’s cigarette lighter socket. The upshot of this was that the satnav app (TomTom) on my iPhone all but drained the remaining battery from my phone just as we got close enough to Ashmore that I could remember which way to go unaided. We stopped at a SubWay, which the kids had been asking for since yesterday and took our subs home for dinner. Kids are just about ready to nod off now and it’s time to relax. Tomorrow is another day. Perhaps it will be the rest day after all.