Thursday, June 15, 2017

Orlando Trip with Kids: Part VI - Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure Day 5

On our last day at the park Oscar and I finally got some child free time to go on all the thrill rides. A friend of mine moved out of the Orlando area a couple years back, but she was able to put us in contact with some teenage babysitters from her former ward. They arrived at 7:30am and watched Allison all day and both kids until around 11am when Mike and family picked up Tyler on their way into the park. I'd been able to go child free for a few hours on Monday and Thursday, but Oscar hadn't yet visited the park without needing to worry about little ones. He was happy to finally get the chance to ride some roller coasters.
We left around 7:45am, and we actually got in the park by 8:40am. It didn't take 90 minutes this time! They let you enter the park before opening, but all of the rides are blocked until 9:00am, so we took some time to enjoy the scenery and take some pictures. You've got the Me Ship Olive play area on the far left, then the Jurassic Park Discovery Center, then Poseidon's Fury, and Seussville on the far right.

The first thing we did was walk as quickly as we could over to Reign of Kong. This paid off since we were able to walk right on without any lines. This was an awesome ride! You're in a big jeep with screens all around that make you feel like you're really in the middle of the jungle. It's very well done. It only had a 36 inch requirement, so we could have brought Tyler, but it always had a 60-120 minute line whenever we tried to. It was our original plan to ride it with him on Tuesday when we left the hotel at 8:00am, but it already had an hour wait by the time we got in the park at 9:25am.
Next we went over to ride Forbidden Journey at the castle. We did single rider, of course, and got through super quickly again.

The Wizarding World was always so crowded that week that we could barely move through it. I had a particularly difficult time navigating the stroller there. You can see from these pictures that the crowds were considerably reduced on Saturday, and it was a good deal cooler with some clouds in the sky. We never imagined that Saturday would be less busy than the weekdays, but I guess most visitors coming for Spring Break have finished up by then and are driving/flying home over the weekend.

The line for Dueling Dragons wasn't very long, so we were able to ride each dragon once. We even waited an extra 15 minutes for the front of the blue one, which was completely worth it! The blue side is more intense while the red is faster. In the front I enjoyed the blue more, but otherwise I preferred the red. I hadn't enjoyed the blue one much when I went on Tuesday since I had just spent a long line wrangling Allison while worried about Oscar and Tyler. This time I enjoyed it thoroughly. Being in the front was amazing! There was so much wind and so much speed that my hair was voluminous for the next hour.

After the dragons we did Dr Doom and Hulk single rider before walking over to the other park. We wanted to ride the Rip Ride Rocket coaster, but it was temporarily closed, so we went over to Men in Black single rider instead. This is exactly like Buzz Lightyear at Disneyland but with an alien theme. It's too bad Tyler was an inch too short since I'm sure he would have loved it (again, Buzz has zero height restrictions, so I really don't understand why Men in Black has such a stringent one). Oscar usually annhialates me in points on these types of rides, but he only beat me by a little bit.
By then we'd done everything we wanted to do that we couldn't do with Tyler (minus the closed coaster), so we walked over to Diagon Alley to ride Escape from Gringotts again but single rider this time. On the way we stopped to take pictures at the Knightbus and #11 Grimauld Place (#12 where Sirius Black lives had a huge line, so  we just took pictures at #11).

For Gringotts I actually recommend waiting through the regular line once since it takes you through the bank, which is just so jawdropping that it's worth the line. The single rider line skips all of that, so I was glad we'd already done it our first day. There was a small delay where we were stuck in line for an extra 10 minutes, but it got going again. By the time we got out Mike and family had arrived with Tyler, and we met up with them at the Red Oven pizza restaurant out on the CityWalk. Yummy!

From there we walked over to Islands of Adventure and everybody went to see "The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad" show. Tyler was a bit clingy and didn't want to walk or ride in the stroller, so we had to carry him most of the way there.

It was fun to do watch the show with our entire group. It had lots of neat tricks and special effects, and Tyler did a pretty good job of remaining seated and engaged in it. We all laughed at the supposed "splash zone," which got maybe a drop or two of water. We hadn't sat there since people didn't want to get wet, but we should have since it had a more open view of the stage.

After the show we split up again and took the train over to the other park to ride Minion Mayhem with Tyler. It had an 80 minute wait and always had at least that long the whole week, even at the end of the night. We figured we would just have to grin and bear it. Mike's family didn't want to come with us since they didn't want to wait that long and had just done it on Thursday with their Express Passes. We gave Tyler a phone to play with, which entertained him reasonably well while we waited. Fortunately the line ended up being much closer to 45 minutes, not even close to 80.
He loved the ride, but he was even more excited to meet and hug a minion. He ran fast and plowed into the charcter so hard he nearly knocked him over. You can see whoever was in there was shorter than me, so they couldn't have been very large.

By then there was nothing else we were attached to seeing, and Mike and family were busy doing roller coasters, so we looked up a few shows to see. We wandered over to Diagon Alley to watch the Tales of Beedle the Bard puppet show, "The Fountain of Fair Fortune."

Since we still hadn't heard from Mike after the show was over (phones have to be locked up while doing roller coasters), we took Ty to the Kids Zone area of the park. On the way we stopped off for some treats, including a minion cupcake for Tyler. That sweetshop is so tantalizing! I wanted to buy one of everything in the display cases.

We arrived just in time to catch the Barney show. In spite of never having seen "Barney" on TV, Tyler absolutely loved it. He was completely rivited and happy to participate in the songs.
I even appreciated the "Down on Grandpa's Farm" song. They had inflatables blow up in front of you as they were mentioned in the song. It looked pretty neat!

And at the end he got to meet and hug Barney. My sweet boy just loves hugging characters. Barney even stamped an artificial leaf for him to take home.

After you come out of the show, the kids can play in Barney's Backyard, an indoor play area that closes at 5. Ty loved it there, especially playing in the sand and the water. After about 20 minutes he said he had to go "potty," so we took him out to  Barney's restrooms, which have small toilets for little kids to use. He went running back to Barney's backyard afterwards, and almost cried when the doors were locked. Since he was so sad I took him back to the big ball room in the Curious George play area since I knew he'd be happy there.
At 5:30pm we dragged Tyler away (kicking and screaming) so we could see the Fear Factor show. We remembered it being really cool when we saw it in Hollywood in 2008, but it turned out to be really disappointing. All they did was drink up a disgusting concoction of blended up bugs. I was sad I'd taken Tyler away from the play areas for that.

By then Mike and family had come over to see the Animal Actors show where Sophie got called up as the child volunteer. We left Tyler with them while we ran over to ride the Rip Ride Rocket coaster that had been closed earlier. That line was a bit long, even in single rider, so they took him on ET at 6:30pm before meeting up with us in Springfield to ride The Simpsons. I'd bought a big lard lad donut and we all enjoyed it's deliciousness together before hopping on the ride.
The kids wanted to play some carnival games, so we let them have some fun winning a few stuffed animals. Ty doesn't have the motor skills yet to actually compete in these, but he still really enjoyed playing with his cousins.
Ethan won a Scratchy doll and gave it to Tyler, while one of the girls won a Maggie doll. Ethan came so close to knocking down all the cans! He barely missed it. Ty had fun throwing the bean bags at the balloons, and he won an inflatable alien since he managed to pop one. Too bad it got torn as I tried to pack it up a few days later.
By then Tyler was getting super tired, so we decided to head on out of the park. We enjoyed the sunset as we walked out after a truly wonderful day. Tyler fell asleep quickly in the stroller on the way, and Oscar took him right up to his tent in the hotel where he stayed asleep for the rest of the night.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I can't believe all the wonderful rides, park's etc with Tyler and Oscar. You must have really had a lot of fun. Loved the blog and loved picture's sweet daughter