Monday, June 12, 2017

Orlando Trip with Kids: Part V - Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure Day 4

Since we kept the kids up late on Wednesday we didn't bother trying to get them up early to make it on time for park opening. We let them wake up on their own before leaving comfortably at 8:36am, and we were in Islands of Adventure playing at the "If I Ran the Zoo" play area just before 10:00am. This shows you how long the parking/entrance/security lines are. On Monday we left at 8:50am and weren't in the park until 11am (though we did have the extra task of picking up our tickets that day), and on Tuesday we left at 8:00am but didn't get in the park until 9:25am. It regularly took around 90 minutes to get inside the park from our hotel, though it was only a 20 minute drive.
We accidentally walked around it at first, but we eventually figured out how to get in. It's very cute! Imagine all the Dr Seuss books come to life! I made the mistake of having Ty wear his Curious George shoes and socks. He walked right into the water. I asked Oscar to have him wear his sandals after coming back from his midday break.
There's this little machine you step up and down on which makes a creature pop up from below. Ty didn't notice him until he was already coming back down and didn't make the connection that it was his stepping that made him go up and down.

 Allison was just adorable walking around the little houses and peering in the peepholes of the whos down in Whoville. Like the previous days, she was most interested in ramps, stairs, and windows.

Ty got to hug and pose with Dr Seuss characters!

From there we went over to the ride one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish. It's one of the very few rides Allison was allowed on. She was pretty indifferent to it, but hey, she got to try it.

Mike's family had planned on paying for express passes that day, so the original plan had been to meet up with them at lunch time and to have Oscar take the kids and mom back to the hotel whenever mom decided her knees were done for the day. While we were playing I got a text from Mike saying dad had decided not to get an express pass and mom had decided not to come into the park at all. Since that was the case I figured it'd be best to take the kids back to the hotel so that Allison could have a nap in a crib, Tyler could have his down time, and he and Oscar could come back to join us as soon as possible.
Dad managed to find us at the play area and I snapped these great pics of him and Oscar holding Allison on Horton the elephant. It was such a great shot with the Seuss trolley in the background. Too bad I couldn't get them all looking at the camera at the same time.

The first thing I wanted to do after the kids left was Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. As you can see from these crowds, it was always busy. Anytime we looked at it on the Universal app it said the line was around 2 hours long, which was why we hadn't gotten around to it yet. I noticed on the website, though, that it had a single rider line, so I figured I'd get through it much more quickly that way. Dad didn't think he'd be able to go on it since he'd been unable to fit in the seats on the same ride in California, so I really had no reason to get in the regular line anyway.

Dad tested himself in the sample seats they had available before we got in line, but he couldn't close the overhead bars enough to get the green light. He went through the line with me, though, since he figured it'd be better to stay with me than get separated in the big crowds. He sat down on the ride and was pleasantly surprised to find he fit in without a problem! Those test seats must be extra conservative.

What a ride! It really is everything you could want in a Harry Potter attraction. I was so mesmerized I didn't want to blink. It's incredibly well done, and even the line is awesome since it takes you on a tour through the castle. I would have liked to take more pictures from the inside, but the single rider line moved too quickly.

Speaking of moving quickly, it only took dad and I ten minutes to do Forbidden Journey in single rider, including the ride. It actually took longer for us to get through the crowds to put our stuff in the lockers. You can see from the top middle picture that the day was no less crowded than the other days we visited, so the line was still plenty long but it moved incredibly fast. This is a constant loader ride where the seats never come to a full stop and you just walk in as they glide by (like Haunted Mansion, Ariel's Undersea Adventure, or Buzz Lightyear at Disneyland). I have a hard time believing even the regular line was ever two hours long since constant loader lines always move so quickly.

Afterwards I was finally able to do some water rides. Dad did the Jurrassic Park River Adventure with me before we met up with Mike and the kids for lunch at the cafe above the Jurassic Discovery Center. We barely got wet, but the people we saw coming off of Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw falls looked soaked, so dad opted out of that one. I got through fairly quickly with single rider and did in fact get quite wet. This ride is conceptually very similar to Splash Mountain at Disneyland but with a different theme.

Dad did decide to accompany me on "Popeye and Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges," the ride Oscar and the kids had accidentally done on our first day. Turns out that was the wettest of all the rides, and we got completely soaked. At least we both had fun!
After the barges dad and I continued making our way around the park where I did Dr Doom's Fearfall. It actually shoots you up fast, not down, so I think fear"fall" is wrongly named. Usually these types of rides only do up or down, but Maliboomer that used to be at California Adventure could do both. I really don't understand why they don't make all of them give you a rush both ways.

From there we exited the park and I began waiting at the guest services line to find out if I could add a 6th day to my pass and tag along with Mike's family when they came to the park on Friday. While Allison was getting her marathon nap the previous day, I'd called over to Universal to see if it would be possible to do that. They told me it was for about $20 but that I'd have to take care of it at Guest Services in the park. While I was waiting in Islands of Adventures' guest services line, an employee came walking around asking about our concerns, so I told her I wanted to add a 6th day. She said I could do that but that I'd have to do it at the other Guest Services inside Universal Studios. We crossed the water (where dad even got a decent picture of me), and I wasted 45 minutes in an incredibly slow line out in the hot sun only to be told it was not possible to extend my pass an extra day. I wish they'd told me that from the start. That's why I'd called ahead. Lame!

Oscar and Tyler met up with us then, so we took him on the nearb Shrek 4D. I don't remember clearly the Shrek ride in Hollywood, but this seemed better to me, and Mike agreed that it did have more special effects. The ride exited right into the parade, so we stayed and watched it. The vehicles had stopped to dance and entertain, and we were right in front of the Spongebob float. Oscar held Tyler in his arms until I found a little place for him up front near a man in a wheelchair.

He loved watching the parade and of course, giving the blue fish big hugs and high fives. He really is he best hugger! I hope whoever was in that suit enoyed it just as much.

We missed the Despicable Me float, but we did get to see Dora and Diego and the Secret Life of Pets floats when they drove by.

Ty needed to move after all that standing, so we took him over to the Curious George play area. I'd put him in his Curious George shoes that morning so he could get a kick out of wearing them in the Curious George play area, but that was a poorly thought out idea since it's an enormous splash park. We wouldn't have wanted him in dripping wet socks anyway. Every one of those rooms and windows is just filled with ways to get you completely soaked and ways for others to shoot water at you.
But if you're willing to brave the water, you can get through to this awesome ball room. There were hundreds of balls everywhere, vacuums, guns, you name it. Tyler could have stayed in there happily all day, and he threw a fit when I told him it was time to move on.

He cheered up though once we got over to the character cutouts. He still loves posing for these.
From there we took him over to the nearby ET ride. I think this was the ride he liked the most. He got so excited when he saw we were going to be flying through the stars on bikes. This ride conceptually reminds me of Peter Pan at Disneyland.
After ET we let Tyler play a little more at Fievel's playland before eating dinner in Springfield at Moe's Bar. We then went on the Simpsons ride, which Ty also really liked, and to my surprise he even liked the Terminator show. I thought for sure he'd be scared by it. We then did Transformers, but the ride stopped for about 10 minutes for technical difficulties, so we were a little late for the 9:30pm movie/fireworks show over the water. After that was over Ty fell asleep almost instantly in the stroller and we got home just after 11pm.

We took Friday off since we only had one day left and I wanted to save it for Saturday. Friday had seemed like the best day to skip since Mike and family had to move from one resort to the other that day, and they didn't intend to go to the park until after they'd settled into the new place. They ended up being roomless from 10am - 4:30pm, and then Mike got an important business call in the early evening, so they didn't make it into the park at all. I'd been annoyed that Universal hadn't allowed me to add a 6th day in order to tag along with them, but now I didn't need to. Even if they had gone I was glad to have a break from the park. Their room had a washer and dryer, so I was able to get some much needed laundry done.

Allison had stayed the night at Mike's hotel, so it was just us and Tyler in he morning. I decided to take him to the playground by cutting across the pool area, but he pulled an Allison and walked right on into the pool. He went much deeper than Allison, so of course, I had to follow him in. We both swam and sat in the hot tub in our pants and shirts.

After dryng off we picked up Allison and met the family for lunch at Uno's pizzeria. We were actually supposed to meet for breakfast but both of the breakfast places we went to were super crowded, and Unos was just opening, so we knew it'd be empty. Allison was so active and fussy I had to take her out for a walk until food had arrived.
Allison really wanted the smoothie I'd ordered, which made it difficult for me to eat my own food since I had to spoon feed it to her. Ethan finished up his lunch quickly, so I asked him if he could take over feeding her, which was super cute. For dessert Ethan ordered a make your own sundae, and next thing I knew Allison was trying to drink the sprinkles while Ethan fed Tyler ice cream.

Oscar took mom and Allison home while Ty and I went with Mike's family to go mini golfing. This was Ty's first time actually playing a game and taking turns, which was challenging for him. We were also constantly telling him to keep his putter down and not swing it around. It was a bit rough, but he definitely had fun with his cousins.

Later on we went swimming (in swimsuits this time) before giving the kids a double bath in Mike's HUGE tub. The kids went to bed fairly early so I hung out in Mike's room talking to mom and dad while mom helped me finish up the laundry. Allison woke up fussy after a couple hours when we realized we'd forgotten to feed her dinner and had assumed she'd eaten at the poolside gril with the family. We fed her some late night yogurt before putting her back to bed. This made me feel much less like a terrible parent. 

1 comment:

  1. Another wonderful blog. Loved the read and loved the wonderful picture sweet daughter