I bet you thought I was going to leave you hanging with what else ended up having on my family vacation, didn’t you? Well, I’m sorry to say you’re not that lucky, we haven’t even gotten to going to the parks yet! It was decided long before we went on vacation that we would go to three parks while in Florida: Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure, Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formally MGM Studios) and Disney’s Magic Kingdom (which you cannot pass up if you’re going to Orlando). We started off with Islands of Adventure.
Now if you’ve never been to Islands of Adventure, it’s a lot of fun. It’s the park that has different “islands” for people to go to like the comic book island, Cartoon Island, Dr. Seuss Island, and their latest addition Harry Potter Island (which I go the opportunity to go to BEFORE it was even open, but was excited to return). We went to the park with a plan: we’d swing over to the Harry Potter area for me because I’m obsessed, do things over there and grab something to eat. No one told us it was going to be 100+ degrees outside so that we’d be sweating so much you could be a source of water for the ocean for a year.
Plans then got changed, which was the first cause of stress for the day. My family wanted to go on a water ride to get cooled off, meanwhile, my husband’s family was trying to figure out something they were going to do. We eventually decided that we would, instead of going right to the Harry Potter section, head over to the Cartoon Island to hop on a water ride. Well, as you probably know, water rides mean you get wet and if you have stuff with you, that stuff also gets wet, so we then needed to find lockers.
Let me tell you, if you ever go to Universal Studio’s Island of Adventure and you need a locker you will probably want to pull your hair out by the time you’re done using it. First off, it’s not like a traditional locker (at least from PA) where you put in some money, you get a key and off you go. No, it cannot be that simple—especially on a hot day when you have a nine year old with ADHD who does not want to stand still for more than two minutes. You have to put in the money, try to determine how long you’re going to be in line for so you can decide how long your stuff will be in the locker, figure out a code, that’s right a code that you have to remember for as long as you’re gone and then stuff all the crap you decided to bring into a teeny-tiny locker they decided would be sufficient enough for people bringing backpacks. Good move Universal…good move.
After wrestling with the locker, getting into a fight with the husband’s family to the point that they wonder off to the ride on their own and then fighting some more with my husband, we finally got onto the ride, which was a lot of fun. We were all smiling and laughing, which all came to a screeching halt after the ride was done and we went back to the locker. Yes, the locker, the bane of my existence that day. Turns out if you don’t go back the time you said you’d be back, they won’t let you access the locker in which you put all of your belongings (including your money to pay the additional fees). So, then you’re stuck with no money, no belongings (which in my case included my glasses so I was officially blind), no nothing. Thankfully, though we were still fighting, the hubby’s family was still close enough that we could borrow money off of them to get our stuff. Of course by that time I felt like I was going to pass out from the heat and stress of everything. And this was all just the beginning.
The day pretty much continued on like that for the most part with the fighting and the stress of things not going the way as planned. We eventually split up into three groups, which was probably for the better in the long run; though, my husband was rather distraught that he hadn’t gotten to spend time with his family to do things around the park. We did eventually meet up with his family a little while later in the Harry Potter section of the park to have lunch, which was another interesting experience. Imagine trying to order for seven people in a place no one has ever been when there’s a line forming behind you…yeah, not fun. But lunch was good and then we went our separate ways again.
As the day went on, it did get better and we got to do a lot of fun rides and shows. It did start to rain at one point, which was a downer, but that’s pretty much Florida. We knew it was going to rain pretty much every day for at least ten minutes because that’s how it was when we were there on our honeymoon. So we had our trusty ponchos and just waited out; though the problem came when we were trying to find my brother and his girlfriend because we had grabbed all their stuff and was supposed to meet them somewhere at a certain time, which did not happen. To be fair, my brother is kind of time illiterate so we knew we would probably have to wait at least ten minutes more than what time we had all decided on, which was fine. We did eventually find each other and from that point on all hung out minus the husband’s family for the rest of the day.
We had fun at the park despite being separated from one another for the most part, but the real fun came when we went to dinner. We had decided to go to a restaurant called Bubba Gump, which if you saw the movie Forest Gump know that it’s a seafood place based off of the movie. We had a great time there and the food was fantastic. We were all so stuffed, but very happy afterwards. So, all in all, though the day was stressful, it was also a lot of fun. Of course, this was all just day two.
What I Learned:
- Going to a theme park with nine people is not an easy task
- Keeping to a plan when going to a theme park with nine people is virtually impossible
- Children need constant entertainment
- There are ALWAYS loud tour groups stalking you when you’re in the park (you’ll hear more on this later)
- There is always several ways to keep cool when at a theme park; you just have to find them
- The Harry Potter section of the park is still as awesome as ever and I must go back…again
Tell me a bit about your experiences going to theme parks with your family.
Posted on July 30, 2012 by Felicia