Oh, what a long and wonderful week it has been! I’m struggling to find a starting point to talk about our vacation. I guess that, for now, I’ll just hit some of the highlights. Tomorrow I’ll try to tell you about some of the goofy stuff.
So, we arrived in Orlando Wednesday evening. Thursday morning we were up and on our way to Islands of Adventure at Universal Studios. I’ll be honest, the first day there I thought that we made a mistake by not going to Disney (I still think Disney is the most magical place on earth). We spent Friday at the Universal side of the park, and Sunday back at Islands of Adventure.
We did end up really enjoying Universal. But I found that, just because the park feels the ride is safe for a certain height limit, doesn’t mean the kid is ready for it. They are way more liberal about the height thing than I’m used to with Kings Island. There was one ride that C~ (the two-year-old) was tall enough for. It ended up being an honest-to-goodness roller coaster. Thankfully, Sean had taken the other two on first and could nix the idea of him getting on it before it was too late. The Spider Man ride ended up being the same for N~. Way too intense for him. Half-way through, he was reaching for me and saying, “Mommy, I’m scared! I’m scared, Mommy!” Of course, W~ thought it was great and was totally ready to go again when we did the child swap with Sean (great thing–each ride has a child swap area, where one parent can wait with small kids while the other rides with bigger ones, then they swap out–the kids got to ride each ride twice, but only wait in line once). Honestly, Spider Man was a bit intense for me, too. It was very realistically 3D and ended with us very realistically falling off the side of a building. Spidey catches you right before you go splat. It was intense. N~ also opted out of a second go-round on the Jaws ride. And he was visibly (and audibly) relieved when I made it off alive (“The shark didn’t eat you!). Again, W~ was all about riding it again. They have totally different personalities.
We sweated buckets every day at the park. It was in the mid-nineties with that famous Florida humidity. That part was miserable. S~ made the comment, as we waited in line for the Jaws ride, that they should spend less money on tv’s for the lines, and more on fans. Too true.
Overall, though, it was great. The kids had fun. Sean and S~ got their ultimate desire on the last day, when I finally agreed to keep four crabby kids by myself so they could ride the Hulk Smash roller coaster. I don’t think that I have ever seen a coaster that looked that stinkin’ insane. Sean had a headache for hours after riding it. And I made him pay for the experience–I went back and bought the Betty Boop bag I had been eyeing while he stood in line. 😉
We were supposed to do Aquatica on Saturday. Word of warning to anyone going to Orlando: Aquatica stops letting people in once they reach a certain number in the park. It doesn’t matter if you have already bought a ticket. Your options will be to fight your way into Sea World to get a refund (what we had to do), or wait until 4:00 pm and try to get in again. After loading up five kids and driving there, I was pretty annoyed with the whole thing. Of course, it might have helped if the guys in the parking lot would have been slightly more polite about it all. We spent what remained of our time on Saturday at the huge hotel pool. It was actually really great.
Our last evening there was the big company dinner. I can’t even imagine how much they spent on that (especially when you consider they were feeding over 2,000 people). The dinner was served in courses over a couple of hours, with awards and entertainment interspersed. They served a spinach salad with candied pecans, amazing bleu cheese, and a white truffle vinaigrette. Then Harris Ranch filet mignon (aparrently, the Harris Ranch part is some big deal, and very expensive) with mashed potatoes and veggies, covered in a red wine reduction. It ended with a chocolate pyramid with Kirsh cherries. (It turns out that Kirsh is obviously some sort of alcohol–I ate one cherry and about gagged since it tasted like cough syrup. I thought that was the only one. I was wrong–I got a sneak attack from one hidden in the center of the pyramid. My stomach was turning for almost an hour after that–I so don’t get the appeal of alcohol.)
They had all kinds of entertainment going, too. And the whole thing was emceed by Wolf Man Jack. The Wolf Man Jack. Who is very hard to understand. But still, it was cool that they had him.
The four days that we spent in the car (two down, two back–although not a full two either direction) went surprisingly well. Thank heavens that we did get those cigarette lighters fixed. I don’t know what would have happened without DVD players.
Overall, it was a great time. I can’t believe how quickly it went, but I’m glad to be home. I have had a ton to do since I got back, but that is a subject for another day.