Sunday, December 21, 2008

Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure

WOW!!! We just got back from spending a whole week in Orlando, Florida. We were invited to spend the week with our good friends, the Rosales family, at their beautiful condo in Orange Lake, a resort just outside Orlando in Kissimee, Florida. It was SO MUCH FUN!!! Jason was only able to be with us two days, but they were great days. Best of all, Santa brought us an early Christmas present of tickets to Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure for a WHOLE WEEK!!! And we had FABULOUS luck...the theme parks were practically empty...and we never had to wait more than 20 minutes to get on a ride. Plus, my kids got to meet and greet all their favorite characters...from Wolverine to the Grinch, without any pushing, shoving, or long lines. We rode some GREAT rides, and saw some fun shows, and got to see the Macys Thanksgiving Day parade, re-created on the streets of Universal Studios New York set, complete with falling snow!!! Not bad for an 85 degree Florida day!!! It was definitely a vacation to remember!!

On Monday, we went to Islands of Adventure. We rode their new coaster, The HULK (it's a kick in the head), and saw every show and ride we could. In fact...we ran out of time, and had to leave before fully exploring the kids area, Suess Landing. My favorite memory of this day happened during the afternoon. We had stopped by Doctor Dooms Fear Fall to have a snack, and were sitting on the street curb...all except Brigham, who was standing in front of the group in the street, trying to get everyone to hurry up. Suddenly, out of no where, Spiderman came running around the corner. He looked at Brigham and said: "Hi, buddy!" and jumped over some boxes to disappear in an alley way. Brigham turned and looked at us, his eyes BUGGING out of his head, and said: "Mom!! That was SPIDERMAN!!! Spiderman said Hi to ME!!!!"
On Tuesday, we hung out at the resort...we swam in one of the gorgeous pools with an ENORMOUS lazy river and water slides, and played miniature golf at one of the 3 mini golf courses. When evening fell, we went to a campfire and roasted marshmallows, and then went on a hayride. It was great. My favorite memories were the looks on the kids faces as they tumbled out of the slides, and getting to relax through the lazy river. I needed that!!
The next day, Wednesday, we hit Universal Studios. Again, we started early, and made it all the way through the park. We did EVERY SINGLE ACTIVITY the park had to offer, some multiple times (I think Kaitlyn and Joshua Rosales must've ridden the Mummy at least 8 times), and still had time to catch the Macys Parade. My favorite memory happened on a show/ride called "Disaster". We were all crammed into this tram, and Nicolette was squished right up against me. There was a gentleman seated behind us, and he had a long white beard, round spectacles, and was wearing a red t-shirt. Plus, his wife was next to him with a matching shirt and tight grey curls. Nicolette kept turning her head to stare at him, and when he would look back at her, she would swing her head around forward and just peek out of the corners of her eyes. After a few minutes of this (there seemed to be some delay in starting the ride), the gentleman leaned forward and whispered to her: "Santa needs vacations, too." Nicolettes eyes bugged out and she turned turned to me and whispered: "We won't tell anyone, will we, Mama?" I smiled and assured her we would not. She still couldn't stop looking at him, but now she was all smiles and her eyes were full of light.

Later that day we were front and center for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and at the end Santa comes down in this beautiful sleigh. They even blew snow over the whole set as he approached. My kids were going nuts, after such a great day, and then seeing this AMAZING parade up close with all the balloons and performers, and since the parks were so empty, the cast kept coming up to my kids and giving them high fives and hugs and candy...their pockets were BULGING with peppermints. Anyway - as Santa passed by, he looked right at Nicolette, pointed at her, and winked. She went CRAZY...waving and blowing kisses and yelling: "It's HIM!! It's Santa!!" I don't know if it was the same gentleman we saw on the ride (it could've been...they looked alike)...but it was just perfect and she is a BIG believer.
On Thursday we went back to Islands of Adventure. We convinced Joshua to ride The Hulk and Dueling Dragons...the two fastest rides in the park. He had previously been afraid of being upside-down, but seeing Joseph go on all the rides, and Savannah WANTING to go on and being denied because she is 2 inches too short, plus a lot of conniving from his mom, was just too much, and he caved in. Wouldn't you know he LOVED it? We even got one of those pictures of him on the ride to prove his bravery. The kids got to see superheroes again, and I thought for sure the boys would make a bee-line for Spiderman, but Joseph wanted to shake blades with Wolverine, and Brigham wanted to meet Captain America. Their wishes were granted, and one of my favorite memories is Brigham marching up to Captain America and giving him a military salute. I think tears actually welled up in my eyes... We also spent several hours in Suess Landing, the only area we were unable to see on our first day. We rode all the rides, played in the water area, and saw the show "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". It was great, and once again, with very few people, my kids were able to sit up front and then got to join the show for the finale. We also met up with a group of Who's, who were walking about, and they were happy to pose for pictures, and give us a tour of Suess Landing. They especially liked Nicolette, and played with her in the "If I Ran The Zoo" playground. It was very cute.
On Friday we went back to Universal, and again, we worked backwards through the park. We skipped the shows and went on all the rides again and again, and then ended up in the Curious George playground. We had put the kids in swimming suits, since it is a water playground, and boy!! did they get wet!! The boys had a blast in the Ball Factory, where you fired foam balls from cannons and guns at other people. We finished by dinner time and were able to ske-daddle home and relax. On Saturday, Michelle (our gracious host) went up to Tallahassee to pick up her mom and nephews to take back to Miami for Christmas. The kids stayed with me, and we made gingerbread houses, and watched Christmas movies, and put together a puzzle. I also took them for another round of mini golf. Later, when Michelle had returned, we took everybody swimming. It was a great way to end our trip, and we had SO MUCH FUN!! I was sad to leave...but excited to get home and be with Jason again...
Now that we're home, I have 2 days to unpack and finish any and all Christmas preparations before we head off to go camping for Christmas....yeah, I know... gluttons for punishment...

See ya Later!!

1 comment:

Julie said...

Speechless, just speechless and maybe just a little green with envy! Wow, what an awesome vacation!