Friday, June 9, 2017

Orlando Trip with Kids: Part IV - Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure Day 3

After the stress of the previous two full days and my running on three nights of terrible sleep, I did some praying and realized my attitude towards this trip needed to change. I had to give up my eagerness to do the attractions that interested me most and focus on what would make the kids happiest. That meant no more full days like the previous day, no more adult rides with kids in line, and that Allison absolutely needed to get her nap back at the hotel in her pack and play. Doing kids' stuff with the kids was fun for us too, particularly watching them have a blast in those amazing play areas, but waiting in long lines with Allison was not worth the stress. I was done with that!

First matter of business was taking some time off from the park and just letting the kids explore the hotel grounds. Mike and family decided not to go into the park at all that day, though they still went down to CityWalk in the afternoon to catch a movie, do some mini-golf, eat an early dinner, and see Blue Man group. They invited us to join them for as much of that as we wanted, but the only one of those I was willing to do with kids was dinner. I wasn't willing to shortchange Allison's nap again and wanted to make sure she got it in her pack and play at the hotel, so I got her nice and worn out first by taking her out to explore the hotel grounds. She'd gotten a bit too cold the last time we took her swimming, so I hadn't planned on taking her in the pools. I just figured we'd just walk around the pools while Allison climbed on some beach chairs. She had other ideas...At least she was cute!

I let Allison play there for about 15 minutes until I had to rescue her when she tried to go down a step and fell into the pool. Then we left the pool area and walked around the grounds until we found the playground. I hadn't even realized there was a playground at our hotel! Oscar and Tyler were already there, having found it on their run that morning. I let Allison entertain herself sliding and climbing until the things she was doing were simply getting too dangerous and required too much hovering from me.

The quickest way back to our hotel room was by cutting through the pool area, so naturally, we did that again on our way back. Allison once again decided she needed some water play. This time she got in the hot tub and was just adorable splashing around. These two girls and their mom were thoroughly entertained by her cuteness. It made me wish we knew some teenage girls in the area who'd be willing to babysit her while we were in the park.

After Allison was all splashed out (and had fallen in again, though this time rescued by one of her admirers), I took her back up to the room for lunch. We'd intended to go over to Mike's hotel for nap/quiet time since they had a two bedroom suite where Allison could have her own room to sleep in and Ty could have his own room to play in. This didn't work out, though, since she was completely melting down as I was getting her changed into some dry clothes. We ended up just putting the pack and play inside the tent before turning off the lights and kept Tyler out of the room while she slept.
Oscar took Tyler to lunch then let him explore the grounds. They discovered a fun activities center with painting, coloring, reading books, and a TV.  I stayed in the room with Allison and even got in some good R&R myself.

Unfortunately Allison's huge nap meant Tyler couldn't have quiet time with his Legos and that Oscar was extra busy keeping him occupied when what he really needed was down time. It all worked out in the end, though, since he immediately crashed in the car on the way to Universal. Allison ended up sleeping over 3 hours. I guess that's what happens after two days of car and stroller naps. I actually had to wake her up to leave the hotel at 4:15pm to go meet up with Mike's family for dinner.

Tyler was still out cold when we arrived, so Allison and I met up with the family for dinner and ordered food for Oscar and Tyler. They stayed back in the car until Tyler woke up before joining us (very groggily...).

We hadn't originally planned on going to the park at all that day, but I couldn't resist the allure of going in as long as we were already driving and parking there for dinner. With Allison getting an amazing nap at the hotel and Tyler even getting a decent nap in the car, it was the perfect day to test their evening park endurance. It was so much more enjoyable for the kids to vist the park with cooler temperatures, shorter lines, great naps, full bellies, and only going on attractions they could enjoy with us.

After our tasty dinner at Vino we ducked out of the restaurant before everyone else so we could catch a 6pm Animal Actors show. Tyler loved it, and even Allison had fun climbing on bleachers and around the arena. For awhile she just kept climbing up and up all the bleachers until she wore herself out and took the stairs the rest of the way. She was so happy that I was actually able to enjoy watching the show while I followed her around. They take the actual animals that star in their Universal films and have them do tricks. It's really neat!
At one point Allison even sat herself down on the stairs and happily watched the show. This lasted until an employee gave me a dirty look and I took her back to the seats. From there she climbed more bleachers before stopping for a break at this girl's feet. Everywhere she climbed she found admirers and people telling me how much they miss when their kids were that young.

After the show I took Tyler over to ride the Woody Woodpecker coaster. This always had a slow moving line, so it was never worth riding earlier in the day when it was twice as crowded. Oddly enough the Universal app said our line was 75 minutes long, though it took less thn 30. Ty made friends with the 3 year old girl in front of us. The two of them had fun playing with the ropes and giggling at each other. Her dad told me she kept calling him "primo" (cousin in Spanish).

Meanwhile Allison spent 10+ minutes walking up and down a ramp and just being super cute playing in the Curious George play area.
Man she's cute! That little smile peeking through the bars on the far right is exactly how I picture her.

These 2 videos are for you die-hard Allison fans (I'm talking to you, grandparents) that just delight in watching her walking around being cute.

After our coaster Ty came over to play for a bit before we decided to take the Hogwarts Express over to the other park. The scenery is a bit different on board since you're traveling the opposite direction. I like it a bit more than the other way since you build up to the magic instead of leaving away from it.

Once we arrived we checked out the walking tour show - Poseidon's Fury. This was nice for the kids since they had more freedom to move around instead of needing to stand in one place like most of the other shows.

There are some impressive special effects in the show (I really liked the water wall as we walked into the sea) and lots of eye candy, though the filler leading up to the grand finale is kind of boring. There were also some points where it got pretty dark, so I got some good cuddles in from a sleepy little Allison.

The kids were getting really tired by then, so we headed out of the park but hit up the Caroseussel along the way at 9pm. I'd hoped they could last until closing at 10pm, but even with great naps my kids jus aren't night owls. Allison was too sleepy to enjoy being on a moving character, so we just rode on a bench.

The kids were pooped and fell asleep almost immediately once we made it back to the car. We learned our lesson from the previous day not to attempt to bring them in from the car at the same time. First I brought Allison in and got her into her pack and play and settled before Oscar brought Tyler in. The transition was flawless!

Thank goodness we had a 5 day pass! There's a big limit to how much you can get done in one day when you bring little kids during Spring Break! In 3 days I still hadn't gone on the ride that was most important to me from the very beginning - Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at the Hogwarts Castle. I was determined to make it happen the next day.

1 comment:

  1. Such a fun blog stacy and the kids looked like they were really enjoying all the fun in the parks as well as the shows, and particularly Ali playing in the pool water and splashing. You did a wonderfl job of capturing such adorable pictures