Doing Disney with an Infant. Our April Photo Trip Report.
Hi everyone. I just got back Saturday from our fabulous vacation and i'm excited to share with you all how it went. My trip reports turn out to be very in depth, Long, and Very photo filled (I took over 2,600 photos this trip). For an Idea of what you can expect from this trip report take a look in my signature for past trip reports.
Our trip took place from April 19th-28th 2012. We stayed off site and in addition to the 4 Disney Parks we also did the 2 Universal Parks as well. This was our first "Family" vacation since our Son was born last year and also the first full Disney World vacation that I've been on since 93 and my wife since 97. We were so excited that we finally made it happen.
Anyways here is an introduction to our family and who you will see on this trip report. My wife and I are from Utah and we have been married now for 4 years and 2 months. We have always loved to travel and try to do a large vacation each year.
I'm Jeff and i'm 28 years old.
And this is my wife Kiera who is 24 years old.
Coming on his first vacation ever and first time to Disney is our 7 month old Son Daniel.
And lastly joining us for the Universal portion of the trip our my parents. They live in Charleston, South Carolina so they drove down for a weekend to see us and there grandson. They are my Mom Jenny, Step-dad Kieth, and my two Younger brothers Tanner (16), and Kory (12). They actually came in a day earlier then us and were crazy enough to do 3 disney parks in 1 day. But thats a story I won't be telling today.
With that said Let let this trip report officially begin with the first report posted in the next day or so.
Thanks to all of you who take the time to read and follow this recap.
Table of Contents:
Thursday April 19th
Day 1: Travel to Florida (Post #5-6)
Friday April 20th
Day 2: Islands of Adventure Pt 1 (Posts #10-11)
Day 2: Islands of Adventure Pt 2 (Posts #14-17)
Saturday April 21st
Day 3: Universal Studios Florida Pt 1 (Posts #18-21)
Day 3: Universal Studios Florida Pt 2 (Posts #27-29)
Sunday April 22nd
Day 4: Universal Orlando Resort Pt 1 (Posts #32-35)
Day 4: Universal Orlando Resort Pt 2 (Posts #40-43)
Monday April 23rd
Day 5: Epcot Pt 1 (Posts #48-51)
Day 5: Epcot Pt 2 (Posts #52-55)
Day 5: Epcot Pt 3 (Posts #59-62)
Tuesday April 24th
Day 6: Hollywood Studios Pt 1 (Posts #68-71)
Day 6: Hollywood Studios Pt 2 (Posts #74-76)
Day 6: Hollywood Studios Pt 3 (Posts #81-84)
Wednesday April 25th
Day 7: Magic Kingdom Pt 1 (Posts #85-87)
Day 7: Magic Kingdom Pt 2 (Posts #92-94)
Day 7: Magic Kingdom Pt 3 (Posts #98-100)
Day 7: Magic Kingdom Pt 4 (Posts #102-105)
Thursday April 26th
Day 8: Animal Kingdom Pt 1 (Posts #106-109)
Day 8: Animal Kingdom Pt 2 (Posts #112-115)
Day 8: Animal Kingdom Pt 3 (Posts #119-122)
Day 8: Downtown Disney (Posts #124-125)
Friday April 27th
Day 9: Epcot Pt 1 (Posts #127-130)
Day 9: Epcot Pt 2 (Posts #131-134)
Saturday April 28th
Day 10: Travel Home (Posts #137-138)
Past Vacation Trip Report Links (Posts #140-141)
I am here...:wave2: to follow along!:surfweb: Your DS is adorable!
I'm in - it seems a lifetime ago since my two were that size :)
Day 1: Travel to Florida
Our trip began the morning of April 19th, 2012. It had been nearly a year since our previous vacation and the first we've had since the birth of our Son Daniel. It was a rocky road to get to this point with date and even vacation changes at least 4 times but the day finally came when the vacation we had been hoping would happen for nearly a year would finally begin.
Typically I like to travel early in the morning. The sooner we can leave for vacation the better in my opinion as that gives you extra time at your actual destination. However traveling with an Infant that wouldn't be happening this year. The choice came between an 8am flight or a 2:20pm flight. We decided to choose the later since we would have that extra time in the morning to get the baby ready and we could take our time getting to the airport.
By 11am we were leaving our house. We would be meeting Kieras aunt at 11:30 at her parents house (where we would be leaving our car while we were gone) to take us to the airport. The car was packed and everything locked up and we were soon on our way to the start of our vacation.
We made one last stop by the mailbox in hopes that the extra camera battery would be there. I had ordered it 5 days earlier off ebay. The reason I bought the one I did was because it said it would arrive before we left on vacation. That day had come and gone and still not battery. We arrived at the mailbox as our delivery person was sorting the mail. Would there be a miracle and would the battery be there? Unfortunatly no it wasn't. Looks like I will be using the back up camera if the battery dies on our normal camera.
We soon meet up with Kieras aunt and after swapping all the luggage into her vehicle we were on our way to the Salt Lake Airport where our vacation would officially begin. Its amazing how much extra luggage we had to haul into the airport having a child. In addition to a bag for each of us we also had an extra bag for Danny in addition to a carry on duffle bag with his stuff, Kieras breast pump/diaper bag, his stroller, and finally his car seat. Luckly for us Kieras aunt was kind enough to help us haul all of our crap to the airport until they were checked in.
Traveling with an Infant requires additional check in at the airport counter as we would have to verify his age as he would just be sitting on our laps. I read many places online that if a child is clearly younger then 2 years old then they wouldn't ask for additional ID to verify the age. That wasn't the case in SLC though as they still asked for a birth certificate. They handled our boarding passes and checked in our bags and we were soon on our way to proceed thru security and on to our flight.
Going thru security with and Infant turned out to be easier then we thought. I read online as well that some airports require you to go thru a special line when traveling with a breast pump but that wasn't the case here. It just went thru the x-ray machine like everything else. Make sure you fold up any strollers and car seats beforehand as they have to go thru the x-ray machine as well. Kiera then held Danny with her as she stepped thru the metal detector. We did get flagged for a moment though as the diaper bag went thru the machine. We still had a half filled bottle of breast milk that Danny had been eating. They told us they had to do a taist test on it to verify if it was really milk. We told them that was fine and felt bad for whatever TSA agent had to do the taist test lol. Needless to say it passed.
Once thru security we finally felt like we could relax and vacation was really starting. We quickly found our gate and then decided we should find something to eat since we really wouldn't have a layover (we would stop in Denver but wouldn't change planes). We decided on a Sandwich place called the Boar's Head. We laughed as its name and logo and simularitys to the Hogs Head from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter which we would be visiting the next day. The sandwiches were good but kind of expensive but what can you expect from Airport food.
Not long after finishing our sandwiches they announced that we would soon be boarding. We would be flying on Southwest Airlines. We usually do and we really enjoy flying with them. Plus we have there Rapid Rewards credit cards so my ticket didn't cost us anything. Although we were now traveling with and Infant and that would entitle us to use Family boarding between the A and B boarding groups we still tried to check in as soon as possible. And it worked as the previous day I got our tickets in the A group. Southwest allows you to gate check a car seat and stroller for free. However when you get to your gate have the attendant check it prior to boarding. We didn't know this so we held up the line for a moment as they tagged them.
We were soon on the plane and our trip would begin. Honestly the flight was the thing we were most worried about with traveling with an Infant. Nobody likes a crying child on a flight and we were hoping that wouldn't be our child. Kiera made sure that Danny was sucking on a binky during take off to help so his ears wouldn't hurt as the altitude changed. We would be traveling to Denver where were would have as short stop before continuing on to Orlando. Danny did great with no issues at all during take off or even the landing. He just chilled and played with some toys or his Mickey Mouse Plush. About an hour and 15 minutes later we were landing in Denver.
As I said although we stopped in Denver we wouldn't be switching planes as ours continued on to Orlando. I don't know what it is about Denver but last time we passed thru Denver we did the exact same thing. Its kind of nice though as after the plane emptys and they take a count of the remaining passengers then we are free to move around the cabin and change to whatever seats we would like before the new passengers boarded. We took advantage of this by moving the very front row of the plane. We chose these seats because they have significantly more leg room. It would also make it much easier to get out and change diapers if needed to.
After about 30 minutes the plane started loading again. And we started to find it very funny how many people avoid sitting by a baby like the plague. person after person after person would see the empty seat next to us, move to sit there, see the baby, and move further back in to the plane. The person who finally did sit next to us it was pretty much the only option left lol. On the flip side of that though 3 kids when seeing the baby jumped right in to the seat as they wanted to sit with the baby. Of course there parents would rather them sit with them though. It was pretty funny.
We were soon back in the air and on our way to Orlando. This leg of the flight would obviously be longer then the first leg and the flight took just over 3 hours. We passed the time playing with Danny, Reading our books or playig games on the Kindle Fire, or just trying to relax. Danny had his dinner and soon crashed out asleep for part of the trip. We really enjoyed having the front seats as it made if very easy to get access to the restroom. But it had its downfall too such as not having trays for your drinks and snacks. Oh well we made it work. Overall Danny did excellent on the plane never crying once.
As the daylight slowly turned to Dark we knew we would soon be landing in our destination of Orlando. And sure enough we soon did. We were here. We made it. Let the awesomeness of this vacation begin. After a bathroom stop we made our way to the baggage claim. I love the Orlando airport. I don't know what it is but since a kid i've always liked it. Something about the trams and the hotel in the airport itself just seems so cool to me.
We soon arrived at the baggage claim and quickly realized that it would be very difficult to haul all of our bags on our own. So I bit and rented one of those carts to load all of our luggage on to. It cost $5 to rent it but it made life so much easier then trying to haul all of our luggage around the airport and to the rental car on our own. I joked that it was like I was hauling all of our luggage to Hogwarts.
Before leaving the airport we needed to make one last stop and that was to get our rental car. I don't remember what discount code I used but I got a very good deal on a Compact car thru Budget. Last year when we came getting the rental car was rediculous as it took 45 minutes. Today I walked right up the counter. The agent was very helpful and nice and unlike the agent last year didn't make me get there insurance when I told him my personal coverage covered it. Although if you do this make sure you bring your own proof of insurance. I didn't have mine and could have got in trouble had I been pulled over. We soon had our vehicle assigned and made our way to it. Our 10 day rental only cost us $245.
Our rental was a little Suzuki SX4 Hatchback. It actually turned out to be a decent little car. I was also really suprised to find it was the All Wheel Drive model that was pretty loaded. The car worked out great for us although it felt smaller then a compact car. We had to put the stroller in the rear seat as it wouldn't fit in the trunk area.
With the car loaded up we did a quick walk around to make sure we noted all dents, dings, and scratches as we didn't want to be held liable for something that was already wrong. We made note to the attendant of what we found and we were on our way. Remember when in Orlando especially when leaving the airport that there are toll roads so bring some quarters with you. Luckly for us the airport tolls would be the only ones we would encounter on this trip. However if you head out to Port/Cape Canaveral there will be many more that you come across.
We had to make on stop before getting to our hotel and that was a Walmart. We decided to wait and buy some items until we got to Orlando so we wouldn't have to travel with them. We went to the Walmart located on Turkey Road by the Universal Orlando resort. I ran in quickly while Kiera stayed in the car to feed the hungry baby. What were we picking up? Not much. Just a box of Diapers, Wipes, Popcorn, and some toiletry type items. After grabbing some Wendy's for Dinner we were on our way to check in to our Hotel.
Just after 11pm we arrived at the Hotel we would be spending the next 9 nights in. The Baymont Inn and Suites Celebration. We stayed at this hotel last year and really enjoyed it. Yeah its not perfect but its also not a dump. We also got it for only $35 a night booked thru hotwire.com so you can't go wrong with the price ether. In all the room only cost us like $360. You can tell the hotel was built in the 70's but the rooms and common areas are all recently remodeled and pretty nice. Our room was on the 3rd floor and turned out to be great. We love that for the low cost we got nice beds, a large flat screen tv, a seperate vanity area from the toilet/shower, plus a fridge/freezer and a microwave. The hotel also offers a free complementry breakfast each morning until 9am. Its not the greatest thing but it taisted better then last year and it saved the cost of an extra meal most days. Our only complaint about the hotel was that it doesn't have a hot tube. What we thought was a hot tub was just a kiddie pool. Still we enjoyed it especially for how close it was to all the Disney parks (Animal Kingdom 5 minutes, Hollywood Studios 10 minutes, Epcot 13 minutes, Magic Kingdom 18 Minutes). You can even see Everest from the top floor of the hotel.
As we got settled in to the room I called my mom to find out the plans for the next day. They arrived a day earlier and today the went to Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and the Magic Kingdom hitting only the major attractions. Needless to say 3 parks in 1 day made them very tired and exhausted. Islands of Adventure would be opening at 8am the next day but they knew there was no way they could get up for that. Not wanting to go without them we decided to wait and would head around 9:30ish instead and hope for the best crowd wise.
We quickly got ready for bed as we knew the morning would come very quickly. We also didn't know yet how Danny would do adjusting to being 2 hours ahead of Utah time. Only time would tell. We were very excited to be returning to one of our favorite places tomorrow. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the rest of Islands of Adventure.
Great first day and didnt your little one do well on the plane? Looking forward to more :)
What a doll your DS is on the plane sleeping! And I love the look on the face of the woman coming onto the plane! LOL! You hotel is lovely! Great job so far!
Anyways thanks for the kind words so far.
Day 2: Islands of Adventure Part 1
Although the alarms would be going off later then I originally planned it was somewhat of a relief after the short nights sleep as we adjusted to the time change. What was 8am in Florida would only be 6am back home. Kiera and I got up and were ready fairly quickly to begin our day and grab breakfast down in the hotel lobby before 9am.
Little Danny was the one we were most curious as to how the time change would effect him. And you could totally see that "Why am I up so early" look on his face when we started getting him dressed for the day. He did fine though and fell back asleep as soon as we put him in to his car seat.
The time was quickly approching 9am so we quickly went down to grab breakfast and made it right in time as they cut the line off not long after we got in it. Last year we thought the breakfast was pretty bad. This year though I thought it had improved. It was still the same stuff as before but it just seemed to taist much better. As soon as we had sat down the staff had started cleaning up and in no time everything was closed up and put away. They aren't kidding around here when they say breakfast ends at 9am.
After breakfast we returned to our room to apply some sunscreen and wait for my family to meet up with us. Do to there long day at Disney the previous day they wanted to take there time getting ready for the day. We were really excited to see them though as we didn't the night before when we got in. My mom had only seen Danny in person once before when he was 2 weeks old. He is now 7 months. My step dad actually saw Danny for the first time when he was passing thru Utah about 1 1/2 months earlier. My two brothers though had never had the chance to meet there Nephew though. Thats the bad thing about them living on the opposite side of the country.
After conversing for a minute we decided it was time to head to the parks. My parents drove there larger Durango down so we were able to take just one vehicle to the Universal parks to help save on parking costs. We loaded up and were soon on our way. It was after 9:30 now and with the parks opening at 8am this Friday morning I was kind of concerned with how crowds would be. Looking at the undercovertourist app added to my fears as all the headliners were already showing 60+ minute waits.
After around a 20 minute drive we finally arrived at the Universal Orlando Resort. A place that Kiera and I have come to love just as much as Disney over the years. The addition of the Wizarding World only made our love for Universal even better. This however would be my parents first time visiting the resort (well my Mom did take us when I was little back in 93). I figured with all the thrill rides though my brothers would enjoy the resort for sure. Dispite all our previous visits we had never parked in the garages before though. Our previous trips had been Universal only trips so we stayed at Hotels that were in walking distance of the parks. So the gargaes were new to us. We were directed to park on the very top level of the south garage. Which offers a great view of the parks.
The stroller was unfolded, the diaper bag was loaded, and we were soon on our way to the park. My family headed to the escolater while Kiera and I headed to the elevator to go down with Danny and the stroller. There was no line or wait though for it so we got to the bottom before my family did. We made our way thru the garage and to the rotunda where we would experiance something new. The Bag Check. This was new as we would typically travel lightly in the past and not bring any bags. That obviously changes with a baby though. The line moved quick and we were soon thru and on our way to Citywalk.
The first thing we noticed while going in to Citywalk was the new Hollywood Drive In Mini Golf. I've watched this thing be built over the past few months Online and its much larger in person then I thought it would be. At it looked like so much fun. Unfortunatly we never got the oppertunity to play on it as we were way too tired at the end of each day. Citywalk seemed more packed then what we were use to. Again adding to my fear of big crowds awaiting us all day long. And as before the majority of the crowds were heading in the same direction as we were. Islands of Adventure.
Here we were. Finally we had returned. We were about to step foot in to not only would be Daniels first Theme park, but it is also my 2nd favorite Theme park out there (2nd only to the Original Disneyland). We had already bought our tickets from our local Costco so we wouldn't be waiting at the ticket booths or will call machines this year. With the tickets we could go strait thru the gate. After a ticket scan and finger print scan we entered the park.
Awe the Port of Entry. Easily one of the best themed enterances of ANY theme park. It is seriously underestimated by how many people quick pass thru it get to the major attractions in the park. There are so many amazing little details that I always seem to find something new each time we enter it.
At the end of the Port of Entry you can see beauty in the distance that is Hogwarts Castle. We had returned. However would going to the Wizarding World now be our best option? I've read many times that if you can't make it to the Wizarding World at park opening to wait until later in the day when crowds die down. With fearing large crowds today I decided to heed that advice and figured we would start out Day in Marvel Superhero Island. Besides with the drool coming out of my brothers mouths upon seeing the Hulk Coaster I didn't think we had any other option.
Into Marvel we went and of course we went strait to the Hulk where we would get our first idea of how crowds would be. An idea that I will tell you now would set the tone for the rest of the day. Walking up to the enterance we expected to find the 45 minute wait that the Undercovertourist wait was now showing. So needless to say I was completly shocked to find the Coaster with a posted 5 minute wait. Thats right. 5 minutes for the Hulk. My brothers quickly ran and got in line while I waited for Kiera to use the restroom. While waiting though the wait time did end up changing for the Hulk from 5 to 15 minutes. Being still to early in the morning my Mom decided to not do the coaster and would wait outside with Danny.
I've said it before that I love the Hulk. It is hands down the best extreme coaster i've been on (I really need to make a trip to Six Flags). I love everything about it. The slow incline into the launch immediatly followed by 4 inversions. This thing is awesome. And short waits only make it better. All in all the new wait time was fairly accurate as we waited about 12 minutes to ride. There was of course a longer line for the Front Row. I've never actually rode the front row on the Hulk but I can say that i've never had a bad ride on this thing no matter where I've sat. And this ride was no better. The Hulk is still rough in many parts but its still an incredible coaster. It even looks great now thanks to that paint job last year.
After the ride we met back up with my Mom and made our way thru the rest of the Island. The next ride we would come to would be Dr. Dooms Fearfall. A ride that i've never actually done on previous trips because we have similar (and taller) drop/shot tower back home. Because of that we bipassed Doom again and made our way to the ride I was most excited for then anything else on this entire trip. The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman.
Spiderman has always been a favorite of ours. We dare say we even liked the old version more still then Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. I knew about the changes and updates and read all the reviews. I was very anctious to see the new Spiderman for myself.
This would also be the first ride where we would actually use the Child Swap option on. Universal does it completly different then Disney does it. At Universal the child who is too small to ride still waits in the entire line with your party. Near the load plateform there will be a small room where the person (people) waiting with the child go to while the other people in your party go and ride. Once there done they come back to the room and those who waited out first then go and ride while the others watch the child. Pretty simple concept that works well. I don't want it to compare to Disney quite yet though as I will do so at a later time.
Spiderman had a wait time posted of 35 minutes. Not too bad considering it was the newest updated ride in the park and typically one of the busiest. We got in line and were suprised to see how fast it was moving. The line itself of the Spiderman updates was still the same. They just dusted a few things and touched up some paint. The que video is also still the same which is my only complaint about the update. I wish they would have updated the que video as well as some of the villans no longer look the same on the ride as they do in the que video (I'm looking at you Doc Oc). The Line may have said 35 minutes but within 20 we were at the load plateform. Kiera, Danny, and myself headed to Child Swap while the rest of my family boarded the vehicle for there adventure.
I tried to not tell my family anything about the ride before hand so that I could see there reactions to it. As they all walked off all 4 of them had huge grins on there face and all agreed that Spiderman was the most amazing ride they have ever been on. I was so excited. The moment had come. My parents took Danny while Kiera, Myself, and my 2 brothers went back to the load plateform. We were soon in the Scoop and with the new 3d glasses we were on our way into the attraction. OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The new animation truely is amazing. My one complaint about the previous version was that the video was too cartoonish. Not anymore. Seriously everything looks real now. You seriously can't tell where the live sets end and the screens start. The animation mixed with the new 40k HD projections are just incredible. The ride was a none stop thrill ride. It was better then I ever remembered it being. Especially since all the effects were working correctly now. Seriously this is the Best Ride EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! After Spiderman we would continue or way thru Marvel Island.
The next Island we would be coming to would be Toon Lagoon. A section dedicated to the crazyness that can be found in the Sunday Comics. Toon Lagoon is alot of fun. From the many bubble sayings to its two amazing Water Rides found in the Popeye Rapids or the Duddly Do Right Log Flume. That is of course if you want to get wet because these two rides won't leave a dry spot on you. With that in mind you might want to wait and ride these at the end of the day. Duddly isn't the best overall Log Flume ride there is as Splash Mountain takes that title. However Duddly does have possibly the best drop as It is taller, steeper, and faster then Splash Mountain. Hands down the Popeye Rapids is the best of its kind in my opinion though. Unforunatly we wouldn't be riding ether on this trip though as we didn't want to get very wet this early in the day and we unfortunatly never made it back before the park closed.
Back in the Day (which was probably a Wednesday) in a time before Harry Potter came to town the next section of the park was my favorite section. That section is Jurassic Park. I have always loved the movies/books (not the 3rd movie though) and even today I'd say the movie is in my top 3 favorites. I just love how lush and tropical and perfect everything is (minus the Forbidden Journey Show building). Plus the area also holds my favorite Flume type ride ever. The Jurassic Park River adventure (or Jurassic Park the Ride for you Hollywood folks). That ride would be where we would be heading next. Kiera however would be sitting this one out. Danny was hungry and needed feeding. So while Kiera went to find a quite private place to feed Daniel the rest of us got in the posted 15 minute wait line.
The wait was basically a walk on and not 15 minutes. The whole walk thru the line my mom was worried about getting wet. Having rode the Orlando version only in October the previous years I assured her that as long as you sit in the middle then you shouldn't get we. Hey we never have in the past anyways. And so we boarded our boat and our journey began. As I said I love this ride and I was happy to see some of the effects were working and the dinos looked better then the last time I rode in 2010. It was in really poor shape then and looked much better. The time soon came for the climax of the ride as we rushed 85ft down and into the splash pool where to my suprise we got wet. And not just a little wet ether. We were all soaked (but not drenched). Needless to say my mom was not happy with me as I assured her she wouldn't get wet. Now I don't know if they turn on additional water effects or if the splash pool is more full in the spring but I was in just as much shock. The ride was still a blast though and looked great. However its still not as good as the Universal Studios Hollywood version which is much better and holds my favorite spot for this type of ride.
After the River adventure I called Kiera to find out where she was. She was still feeding Danny and was down in front of the Discovery Center and so thats where we headed. Upon seeing how wet we all got Kiera was very happy that she decided to skip out on the River Adventure as she really dislikes being wet. As she finished up feeding I took in the views from the Discovery Center of the rest of Islands of Adventure as the park looks great from basically any angle.
By this point in the day we were all getting pretty hungry. So we decided to go in to the next section of the park to see if there was anything to eat there that my family would like. That next area is our favorite location in all of Orlando. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
The area was just as we remembered it. Yet to our suprise not nearly as busy as it was in October 2010. We made our way thru what crowds there were to the Three Broomsticks so that my parents could see not only what was on the menu but also what the prices for everything were. They decided after looking though that they didn't want to spend that much money for lunch (rather they would for dinner) so we decided not to eat there at this time. What we did decide on though was it was time to get the best taisting drink every created. Butterbeer.
We freaken love this stuff. So much that Kiera and I had a gift card dedicated only to buying Butterbeer on this trip. Although both versions are good we prefer the Frozen version the best. My parents bought one of each as well to try and they also agreed that they liked the Frozen the best.
At this point you'd think we would do all the attractions that the Wizarding World has to offer. But you would be wrong. As shortly after getting our Butterbeers we exited the Wizarding World and made our way back in to Jurassic Park. Remember we were hungry still and looking for food. So we went back to the Jurassic Park Discovery Center and got some food at the Burger Dig which has now become a tradition for Kiera and I as we have ate lunch here every time we've come. Kiera and I tried to save money on food whenever possible so we typically split a lunch each day. We found by ordering a double hamburger that it was plenty for the both of us so we would each take one pattie and dress it as we would like. It worked well for us.
After lunch and restroom breaks we were done with Jurassic Park for the day and would be heading back to amazing Wizarding World.
But thats gonna have to wait and be continued next time I post.
Awesome report. Can't wait to hear how the trip in Disney went. My wife and I are taking a trip in June and our son will be almost 9 months old then.
Did you think taking your stroller through the airport was beneficial? We are debating on not taking ours and renting one while we are in Orlando. I just wasn't sure if having one was handy or not in the airport.
Day 2: Islands of Adventure Part 2
After a filling lunch we made our way back across the bridge into Hogsmead and turned to make our way to Hogwarts castle. On our last visit to IOA the Forbidden Journey quickly became one of our favorite rides. The question is with the Spiderman upgrades could the Forbidden Journey still be the top attraction?
We entered what was posted to be a 35 minute wait que. This was the first time we had done the entire standby que since our original ride as each ride since then had been via the single rider line. I love how absolutly detailed the line is. However my biggest complaint from our last visit is still present. And that is how the line moves. You basically rush thru the dungions, get held up forever in the greenhouses, and then sprint thru the rest of the castle to the load plateform. I wish the long hold up would be in the parts of the castle that are interesting. You never got to hear all of Dumbledors speach or even the Kids dialog as you are constantly being pushed to the loading area. Unfortunatly I don't think theres anything that can be done to change this. I guess thats why you can take a castle tour afterwards.
My family are not Harry Potter fans at all but they still really liked the que. They were all pretty amazed by the projections of the Kids and Dumbledor as well as the moving portraits. I have to say too that while waiting for the Forbidden Journey that this is when we noticed the horible looks some people were giving us. I assume the looks were because they assumed we were taking a 7 month old on a big thrill ride. Seriously are people really this uneducuated? Do they really think we are just going to hold the kid on our lap? People really should become educated before passing judgement.
We waited in line for less then 20 minutes when we reached the Room of Requierment. Kiera and I were directed to the Child Swap room while the rest of my family boarded the ride. I couldn't believe how packed the Forbidden Journeys childswap room was. You could barely move. We did like how they had the movie playing though. As I watched out the door I immediatly started feeling bad for my family as the load plateform was stopped. Which means the entire ride was stopped. This happened 2 more times over the course of my familys ride. When they got off they told me that 2 of the stops were right when you entered the screen domes and so they never saw what happened. The domes are seriously the worst place you can stop of on this ride. I told them to ask if they could ride again because of all there stops but they decided they didn't want to. My brothers came back with Kiera and I on our ride though.
Our ride started out great until we hit the first dome and once again the ride stopped. We were about halfway thru when this happened. Again being in the worst place possible to stop. But we quickly got going again and the rest of the ride was great. I never noticed so much movment in the Dragon before. Also the Dementor scene seemed much darker and scarier with what seemed like more Dementors then before. Unfortunatly though the "Soul Sucking" Dementor wasn't working but nether was the effect. It also seemed like the projection on the domes were darker then usual as well. Overall dispite the minor breakdown it was one of the better rides i've had on it and its still one of the best rides in the world. However I can honestly say with the new Upgrades that Spiderman is better.
When we exited Hogwarts we found the sky to be very dark compared to when we entered the line. It looked like it could start raining at any moment. Still we weren't going to let a little rain ruin our fun. We saw Flight of the Hippogriph only had a 5 minute wait so we made our way over there to find it closed. This was kind of odd we thought. So next we walked down thru Hogsmead to go to Dragons Challenge which was not only closed as well but people were coming out of the enterance. At the time I figured it must be because it looks like its gonna start raining any minute. Upon looking it up later though Universal will close all outdoor rides whenever Lightning is present within 5 miles of the park. Which makes sinse.
With the thought of this rain/lightning storm coming quickly we decided maybe it would be best to do a long indoor attraction next. So we left the Wizarding World and made our way to thru the Lost Continant and to an attraction that Kiera and I had never done before. Posidens Fury. We found the stroller parking to be under a thick area of trees that should hopefully would protect the stroller well enough incase it rains. We also thru a blanket over it just in case.
We weren't the only ones who thought this would be a good ride to take cover from the rain in as the line got long very quickly and it was one of our longer waits of the day. We were finally in though and the show soon started. To our suprise it was actually a pretty cool show. It had some very cool effects and the Water Vortex was one of the coolest things i've seen. My only complaint about the show was that the videos need to be updated. They really show there age and are pretty bad. An updated video could take the attraction a long ways. Its not the best thing on the property but if the wait is short its something thats worth checking out. It also will always have a special place with our family now too as it was the first attraction that Danny actually got to do the whole thing with us.
As we exited Possidens Fury we found everything soaking wet and it was also still lightly raining. My family ran for cover while I went and got the stroller which to my suprise was still dry. The tree coverage protected it. The rain was light enough that it wasn't annoying or bothersome so we walked thru it to the last area in Islands of Adventure that we hadn't been to yet. Suess Landing.
Dispite the light rain it seemed like the only people out were wearing ponchos. They must make a killing on these things when the rains starts in the parks. Since the outdoor rides were still closed we made our way the only indoor ride in Suess Landing. The Cat in the Hat. And it only had a 10 minute wait posted. Unfotunatly we would end up not riding what I consider to be one of the best Dark Rides on this trip. As shortly after we entered the line for Cat in the Hat the ride broke down. And it broke down to a point where they cleared out the standby line as they didn't know when it would be working again. Well that sucks. We never made it back on this trip to ride it again.
By the time we left the Cat in the Hat line the rain had stopped and blue skys were showing. Not only was 1 fish 2 fish being tested but so was the High in the Sky trolley which ment if they were testing they were getting ready to reopen them. Which was also likely true for all of the Outdoor rides. With nothing left in Suess Landing that interested my family we made our way back to Wizarding World in hopes to get on Dragons Challenge before the park closed early for the day at 6pm.
As we walked back thru the Hogsmead Arch there was already a decent crowd gathered near the Dragons Challenge enterance. In the distance you could see the empty trains running which ment that it would be reopening soon. Not even 5 mintues had passed when finally they reopened the line and the attraction reopened. We followed the crowd in and made our way to what was at one time the greatest suspended coasters ever.
I say at one time because Dragons Challenge is now just a shadow of its former greatness that was Dueling Dragons. The first blow came to the ride was when its former amazing que was removed during the Harry Potter overlay. The second and worst blow came late last year when the Dragons would no longer "Duel" do to multipule people being hurt on them. Now all you have is 2 good suspended coasters but nothing great anymore.
Our first ride would be on Ice, wait I mean the Horntail as I think its the better side. My family went first and thought the ride was awesome (they would never know how much better it use to be). Kiera and I went next with my brothers. This was the first time i've ridden not being in the front row. I must say that if you can wait for the front row. Seriously its the only way to ride a suspended coaster as its so much more exciting. The only thing fun about not being in the front was that you never knew what was coming.
Daniel was getting Hungry so after our ride Kiera and most of my family left the ride so that she could find a place to feed Danny. My brother Kory and I though stayed behind as we were gonna go ride Fire, my bad I mean the Fireball. This time though we were gonna wait it out and ride the front row. Although the wait was much longer the ride this time was much better as nothing beats the front row on a suspended coaster. My brother couldn't belive we were going the same speeds as he thought the fireball was much faster then the horntail. The ride was great and we soon exited to meet my family.
Kiera had actually found a quite spot to feed on the trail between the entry and exit lines for Dragons Challenge. By the time she finished the park was just about to close. We headed back down into Hogsmead to find my family at the Owlry waiting for us. Now was as good of time as any to grab some more Butterbeers. This time we bought a 2nd refillable mug as we knew we would end up using it. I filled one up with frozen for Kiera but I had our new mug filled with Regular Butterbeer for myself. The regular is still very good but I have to say I still prefer the frozen over it.
The park had now officially closed by this point. But before we left we wanted to look around some of the shops. To our suprise though they weren't keeping them open longer like usual though because of Grad Nights. They were doing whats called a Hard Close to get people out of the parks quickly to prepare for the incoming Seniors. We briefly looked in the Owl Post and the different wands before having to leave. We also barely made it into Honeydukes and Zonkos and were able to look around quickly before having to leave as well. On our way out the the Hogwarts Express conductor was still out so we grabbed a quick photo and then started to make our way towards the exit of the park with a line of security people already forming a line to sweep the park and push people out.
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