Oh, Islands in the Sun! DAY 12 A day of two parts Sea World and Islands of Adventure. We are up early today, just after 6-45, and we have relays of having breakfast and getting showered so that we can get on our way. I decided that it may be a good idea to take some sandwiches, crisps and fruit with us, so that we can eat on the run and save even more time. We finally leave home about 8-15 and make our way to I/Drive for Sea World. It is one of Emmas dreams to swim with the dolphins, so she will definitely be going back for Discovery Cove at some point in the future. Today, we hoped that she could just try and touch one at Dolphin Cove. There must have only been about a 2 dozen or so cars in the Parking Lot when we arrived, so we were in the very first area for parking and right near the entrance plaza. We went straight through the turnstiles with our Orlando Flexitickets (which I think are a real bargain especially during the warmer weather when you can also get further use of them at Wet n Wild) and picked up our map and park planner. Now we only had a short while to stay here because we wanted to be at IOA by about 11-30 (ish) so that we could have a good few hours there. Our plan of action: Visit Dolphin Cove until the first performance of Dolphin Fest. Then head to Terrors of the Deep just had to walk through the glass tunnel with James! then back track to Tropical Reef, as we have Tropical Fish at home and then a sad farewell to Sea World for this trip. Okay so we know where we are going and what we are doing! We were the only visitors around Dolphin Cove for quite a while that morning, all standing dutifully with our hands just under the surface of the water nothing. The dolphins cheekily come right close and you just think youre going to touch the shiny skin, and they swim sideways over and away they go. We had a lot of fun just watching and trying to interact with them. It soon became very busy and there was quite a crowd gathering we noticed a gentleman who was just standing almost in the middle of the walled area, with his hand in the water. All the dolphins, without exception, came close to his hands and were playing with him. It was amazing that out of all the people now standing with their hands in the water, they picked this man out. We later discovered that he does not work at the park, but is a regular attendee, and yes, the dolphins recognise him as an old friend! We were beckoned on to the show, which will always be one of my favourites at Sea World. I love to watch the Dolphins swim and jump and entertain the way that they do. I was especially pleased that my crew also loved this show. The little boy that was brought out to pet the Dolphins was from Britain. After the show, we made our way to Terrors of the Deep. We did not want to rush through this because there is so much to see, and we spent a little time watching the sharks and stingrays swim in the pools before you enter. We wound our way through the dark, stopping briefly to read the illuminated information boards about the different species and habitat of these creatures. We then arrived at the walk through area, where Sharks, Moray Eels, Barracudas and other terrifying creatures surround you. I must say that James and Ian really enjoyed this area must be a male thing, I suppose! We then carried on round looking and reading, and we were heading for the moving conveyor belt, that takes you through another tunnel, where you literally have the creatures swimming all around you and yes, youve guessed it was closed for rehab. What another disappointment. Never mind, I think the boys got the feel of terror that was intended and we left Terrors of the Deep. At this point, Emma and James decided to go back to Dolphin Cove to still try and touch the elusive dolphins and me, Chris, Katie & Ian headed for Tropical Reef. If you have never been to this area of Sea World, do try and give it a look in next time you are there. It is really, really lovely. The Marine and Tropical fish amongst the Corals are beautiful. The colours are amazing and we had a lovely relaxing wander around this area. We had arranged to meet James & Emmylou on the seats by the exit gate and we all got there at about the same time. We made our way back to the car, and decided to sit and eat our picnic lunch in the car before we headed off to Islands on Adventure. Emma had not managed to touch a dolphin, but James did, and he has promised to take Emma to Discovery Cove at some point in the near future although they have already booked this years holiday to Cuba and maybe she may get the chance there I dont know. ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE We finished our lunch and drove the short distance between the two parks about 20 minutes or so and as we had already paid parking at Sea World, we did not have to pay for IOA. Another bonus of the Flexitickets. Now this afternoon is new for us all, as this is Chris and mine first visit to this new Universal Theme Park so we are all quite excited. We move along all the walkway escalators up to the City Walk area. We have a slower walk through this new area, trying to take in all the ambience and magnificence of it all but I am afraid that when I am on a mission, my little legs just keep on going till I reach my destination and today the destination was in sight! I have read so much about this new park that I am eager to see and experience it all first hand. We knew we had to try and do as many of the rides in quick succession as we could, as we only had till 8 PM, and it was now just past midday. I had read about the long lines and horrendous queuing times and thought we were going to be in for a lot of waiting today. So, we head through to Port of Entry, after depositing our bags in the lockers and turned left into: Marvel Super Hero Island. The first thing that struck us was the amazing colourful building, walkways and facades here. We did try to take as much in as we could but we only really had this afternoon and evening to do this so I am sad to say that WE WILL HAVE TO GO BACK (Yippee) at a later date to check all the finer details out! Phew! Right-ho; first up Incredible Hulk Coaster. Who Dares Wins, eh Rodney! We all did this yep, even Chris and this ride has got to be one of the best ever. We queued for about 15 minutes and would have loved to go again in the front seats but we restricted ourselves, with a promise to come back if we had time. What a thrill. Next, round the corner to Doctor Dooms Fearfall. This is where Emma and Chris bottled out so it was just me and the other 3 that was okay, the seats go four across, I can handle that. This was the longest queue, the whole of the holiday. We must have been in line for about 1 hour, or just over, and I must say that the queuing area was quite good. I am afraid that none of us were over enamoured with this ride we felt it was a lot of hype and queuing for very little at the end of it. Admittedly, that first thrust up 150 feet in the air is quite something, and the drop something else but then nothing. Sorry but maybe we are getting choosy now that we have been on nearly all the rides but give me Tower of Terror anyday! Toon Lagoon Quick coffees now and then round to Dudley Do-Rights Ripsaw Falls. We bypassed Spiderman because the line wait was about 75 minutes and thought we would catch that later. Chris and I opted out of Dudleys because he was still not 100% and my voice had almost gone, and my throat was quite sore. As this was a wet very wet, ride, we decided just to stand on the bridge and watch and watch and watch. This is so much fun just to watch as the riders come down and drop into the water. The crew loved this and they all got soaked to the skin. The weather was really nice today so they dried off fairly quick but not before we talked them into (sort of) going on Bilge-Rat Barges. They all had a whale of a time and we took a walk around the area where Me Ship, The Olive is and just people watched for a little while. Jurassic Park The first thing you hear is the music as you walk through the arch and head into Jurassic Park. This is one of my favourite Soundtracks and have it at home, and I get the tingle down my spine when I hear it as you walk through the Car Lot let alone here in IOA! We head straight for Jurassic Park River Adventure, planning on coming back to Pteranodon Flyers afterwards. The wait time for Jurassic Park River Adventure is shown as 60 minutes, but we are in fact loaded into our car within 30. We had no idea what to expect, but I had a feeling that it might be advisable to sit myself in the middle of my lot. I can be a wise old bird when I put my head to it you know! Well, this starts off fairly slow and lame but I must admit the themeing is really good and the models are frighteningly lifelike! We go through the ride admiring the scenery and then into the big building which is like some sort of experimental area? I cant quite remember, because you cant help but notice the huge incline in front of you. Now, it stands to reason that what goes up, must come down, right! Right. And boy, do you ever! This was the unexpected element of this ride and it was real good. I did right to sit in the middle by the way they got wet!! We all thoroughly enjoyed this ride. Time for a snack and we head into The Burger Digs and have the usual Burgers, Fries and Beer. I had some sort of Chicken Nuggets and Katie had popped to Pizza Predattoria and got herself an individual pizza. Now this meal cost us about $80, which we thought was rather expensive, and to be honest was not overly impressed. But it filled a hole and we pressed on. Back to Pteranodon Flyers, as Chris wanted to do this. No can do buster this ride is for children and Adults must be accompanied by a child. We all thought this was rather funny and Chris took a lot of stick over this, I can tell you. So we hastily head back to Spiderman and join the queue. This was posted up as 90 minutes but there was no way we were not doing this so we queued. 45 minutes later we were into the last area of the pre ride build up. Now this queuing area is the best I think I have seen. You meander your way round the Newspaper building, and there is so much to see and look at, that you really do not notice the time you are spending in a line. Before too long we obtained our 3D glasses and were in the last phase. Chris had decided not to ride this as we had checked it out and the attendant had said it was a simulator ride sort of but I really wished he had because this has got to be the most single best experience of theme park rides ever. It has it all. I would not wish to spoil the element of surprise that this ride has but be warned that you will miss a spectacular ride if you choose not to do this ride. It was fantastic and got all of our votes overall for the best thrill of the theme park rides even Chris gave it a thumbs up as we all came out buzzing! Seuss Landing We excitedly cross Port of Entry for the second time and head into Seuss Landing. This is probably the most colourful area of the whole park and looked truly marvellous and this was in the dark! This I understood to be mainly a young childrens area, so we just passed through, admiring the brilliant themeing and colourful layouts. The Lost Continent. By now, time was catching up on us and it was fast reaching 7 oclock. We had an hour left so we had to head straight for Duelling Dragons. We walked, and walked, and walked my life, does this have a long queuing area or what? and eventually we reached the end of the line. But, there was no wait we were in the final section ready for boarding. We chose Ice well, it chose us really, as we had no idea where we were going! and just as we got the front of the line Emma started to feel short of breath and as if she was going to have an asthma attack. We waited for a while and she sat in the baby swap area bless and insisted that we all ride, she would be fine. Well we really did enjoy this, and the boys wanted to go a 2nd time, riding up front. I went back to the little lockers with Emma to get her inhaler and Chris and the others went back on for a 2nd time. Yes, Chris went on for a 2nd time!! The first time I have known him to ride something twice in a row, it was that good. Well, Emma and I waited by the gift shop and then we saw Chris coming towards us. I said oh, here they are and Chris said its only me, they have gone onto Fire now So, we waited a little while longer and they all came out. I was a little disappointed because I had wanted to ride Fire as well, but we also had made our minds up to try and get back for another go on Hulk so it was a quick visit to The Lost Continent one to return to another time. We made a mad dash through the park back to Marvel Super Hero Island and got to the entry for Hulk just as the attendant put the rope across and said, Sorry, this ride is now closed for the day! We slowly and dejectedly, made our way back to the lockers to get our belongings but decided that today had been a real great day. We were worn out, tired with throbbing feet, but excited at all we had done. We spent about ¾ of an hour in the shop looking for the inevitable souvenirs and then joined the throng back to the car parking lot and made our way home. I think we managed some toast and tea when we got in, and we all showered or bathed and then fell into an exhausted sleep. Tomorrow we go to our first Water Park Typhoon Lagoon. Bring them swimsuits out of mothballs!