Click here for Days 4 & 5......Prime Outlets and Magic Kingdom
Click here for Days 6 & 7.....SeaWorld and Magic Kingdom
Click here for Days 8 & 9.....Aquatica and Animal Kingdom
And finally, today is the last Disney post for Days 10 through 14.
Saturday (Day 10) - Universal Studios Islands of Adventure
Today was sooooo fun! Nathan & I and Shaun & Linsay left our kids at the house with grandma and grandpa (5 kids in total) and went to Universal Studios Islands of Adventure for some adult roller coaster fun! I'm not sure who was looking forward to the day more - us or the kids :)
We made sure to get there early so we'd be there for park opening. We started off with the Incredible Hulk Coaster which was probably the best of all the coasters, except I found it to be a bit jerky and my head kept hitting the restraints. Then we headed to The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman which is a cool 3d ride that we really liked. I had to close my eyes at one part so I wouldn't get dizzy - I'm not good with that kinda stuff. Then it was off to Doctor Doom's Fearfall - I gotta say, the anticipation of this ride was better than the ride itself, and it was really short and not as scary as we thought it would be. Then we trekked across the park to Dueling Dragons which is actually two coasters - Fire Dragon and Ice Dragon - that run simultaneously! At two points during the ride you actually come to within 18" of hitting the riders in the other coaster. It was pretty cool.
The good part of getting there so early was that we hardly had to wait in line at all. The bad part, was that we managed to knock off all 5 of those rides within one hour - and we paid for it. We totally had to sit down and get a drink and rest for a bit to regain our completely destroyed equilibrium!
After a rest, Linsay and I were tempted to go on the Jurassic Park River Adventure ride. We didn't really want to get soaking wet though, so we watched several of the boats come down the ride and noticed that as long as you sat in the very middle of the ride, it looked safe. So we went and it was really fun, and we did not get wet at all! Well, our hair did slightly, but not our clothes. Linsay actually got "spit" on by a dinosaur right in the face, it was funny. Anyway, we got off and managed to convince the guys to go with us (cause they wouldn't get wet), but when we got there the ride had stopped working. We waited for awhile and they ended up giving us a fastpass type ticket good for any one ride in the park.
Our one mistake was our lunch restaurant choice. We had seen a Hard Rock coming in, but we thought it would take too long to go out there, eat and then come back to the park for a couple more rides. So we stopped at the first restaurant we saw which was in the kids area - Circus Magurkus - what were we thinking?! Yeah, it wasn't great food, but thankfully it wasn't too busy either.
After lunch we saw The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad stunt show which was quite good. We walked by the Jurassic Park ride again on our way out but it still wasn't working, so we went back to the Incredible Hulk coaster and rode it one more time using our fastpasses. What a great time!
Here are our superheroes!
Not that we need any :)
Spent a bit of time in the shops and then headed home to swim and then go to Uno's for supper.
Sunday (Day 11) - Disney Studios
Today our "little" family headed off bright and early to our last Disney theme park - Disney Studios.
And Emma & Sophia went on their very first upside down rollercoaster!!! I was so proud of them! We headed straight for the Rock n Rollercoaster and I got a child swap pass while Nathan took Emma on the ride. The rest of the kids and I headed straight to Toy Story Mania to pick up fastpasses to use later, and by the time I got there there was a 15 minute wait just to stand in line to get fastpasses! (55 min wait for the ride itself) Crazy how popular that ride is.
Anyway, I texted Nathan to find out how Emma had liked the ride. I was a bit nervous because it's in the dark (neither girl is a fan of dark rides), and you can see the scary takeoff while waiting in line to get on. But she loved it! That was great because I could reassure Sophia while we were heading over there that Emma had liked it and she would too (I hoped!). Right at takeoff I heard a scared voice yell "MOM!" and so I put my hand on her leg and yelled "You're OK!" over and over for most of the ride. When the ride ended Sophia looked at me and asked "Is that it?" She didn't want it to be over! I asked her if she was scared, or if she had yelled for me, and she said no. Must've been some other kid :) oh well! ha ha.
Then we went to see a bunch of shows - the timing of which was perfect! We headed for the Little Mermaid show (waited maybe 10 mins), when we got out of there the High School Musical outdoor musical had been underway for maybe 2 mins so we watched that.
Then I took the girls straight to the indoor American Idol Experience while Nathan took Jacob to see the Cars characters (which he absolutely loved! He threw a fit when they had to leave, so he didn't get a souvenir there).
The girls LOVED American Idol - Emma was just sorry she was too young to try out to be a contestant on the show. I texted Nathan to go get us seats for the Beauty and the Beast show (like Rainbow Stage theatre production, just shorter) and we headed right over as soon as AI was over. I think we missed the first 30 seconds of that one.
Everyone was tiring out by this point, but we went back to Toy Story Mania to use our fastpasses to get on that ride and we were glad we did - the kids loved it! (Jacob too). It's like a 3D midway ride where you shoot at different targets as you move to different stations in your car. It was fun, but I sure wouldn't stand in line for an hour for it!
After that we headed home for one last afternoon swim and then to Olive Garden for supper.
Monday (Day 12) - flying back to Minneapolis
In the morning Nathan took the kids to IHOP so I could pack. They came back and I think they swam for a little bet yet. Then it was off to the airport. At which point we realized that we couldn't find one of the ipods and 6 of the girls ds games. We eventually figured out that I had left them on the airplane on the way down already. Yep, almost $400 down the drain. Not impressed.
We got to the airport, returned our rental vehicles and went through security. We were waiting at a different gate because it was emptier and I guess we just weren't paying attention to the time, or to the people at our gate. All of a sudden I thought I heard our names being called. We went to go check and sure enough - they were calling our party cause everyone else had already boarded and this was our last call or they were going to leave without us! But Nathan, Emma and Sophia weren't even there, they had gone to pick up something for us to eat on the plane! I immediately texted a frantic message to Nathan that we had to leave right now! Thankfully they were already heading back when he got the message and they were there in the nick of time. Ack!!! WAY too close for comfort.
We checked into the Staybridge Suites (so thankful we changed to a hotel with extra bedroom suites after our disastrous night at LaQuinta on the way down) and headed to Chili's for supper, then came back and swam for a bit.
Tuesday & Wednesday (Days 13 & 14) - driving back home
Tuesday we stopped in Albertville quickly where we realized that Nathan had left his credit card at Chili's in Minneapolis (I phoned and the mailed it back to us). After picking up a few things at the UnderArmour store (runners for $35!! Nathan checked and the same ones were over $100 here) we headed for the City and went to McDonald's for lunch. Nathan's parents and Shaun & Linsay drove straight home that day, but we stayed another night - did more shopping and relaxing and generally just delaying the end of the vacation. Oh, and Jacob got to "ride" a tractor.
We got back Wednesday to a freshly painted house! We decided to have our complete main area redone while we were gone - easy for the painter and for us. Nathan's other sister had gotten in from Alberta the night before, so we went to Nathan's parents for supper (I still didn't have to cook!) after getting a bit of the house put back together and stuff unpacked.
Home sweet home!