Our final day of the Family Forward conference was spent at Islands of Adventure. We started the day by splitting up. Brent and the boys stayed at the hotel to keep Ben cooled off so the girls and I could head over to the park and ride some of the rides Scott’s not big enough for.
We rode Spider-Man, Bluto’s Barges and Rip Saw Falls before we met up with the boys for lunch. Elli absolutely did not love simulator rides and was rather terrified of all the villains in Spider-Man. She made me promise her that she would never have to ride that ride again. Which was rather disappointing to Sammi who would have loved to have ridden it multiple times.
We got thoroughly soaked on Bluto’s Barge ride but left with smiles and pleas to ride again. I didn’t bring a bag or anything to protect my phone and I was worried it wouldn’t survive another trip. Instead we decided to follow it up with Rip Saw Falls, a log ride where, you guessed it, we got wet. But not so soaking wet on my pocket. Elli loved this ride, which has a lot of turns and drops but more comic strip cartoony and much more her style. We road this one twice and they wanted to go again but it was time to meet up for lunch.
Side note, the only reason we were able to ride so many rides in less about an hour and a half is because we were gifted Express Passes. So totally worth it. I don’t think I will ever do a theme park again without them. Our young children would not have survived the heat or the length of lines had we not had those passes. They even meant that Brent and I both got to ride the Hulk and it took us less than 20 minutes each to wait in line, ride it, and meet up again. Simply a blessing when you’ve got 4 kids to contend with in a hot amusement park.
We decided to try out the meal deal the park offers. It’s a one time price ($25 for adults, $13 for kids 9 and under) for unlimited trips through the cafeteria style food courts in the parks. It was definitely a good deal for the kids, especially since we didn’t have to buy a pass for Scott because he’s only 2. Brent and I ate more than we probably needed to just so we felt like we got our money’s worth. The Comic Strip Cafe was our favorite.
After lunch we headed through Jurassic Park on our way to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Brent to the girls on the Jurassic River ride while I took the boys to the Jurassic Park Discovery Center where we played with Dinosaur eggs, watched a baby dinosaur hatch, and got out of the sun and heat. Scott loved it! Sammi and Elli also enjoyed exploring when they returned from their ride. Sammi even got to name the baby dinosaur she saw hatch. Of course she named her Rosie. That’s the name she had picked out for Ben if he had been a girl.
We got to Hogsmeade and rode the Flight of the Hippogriff taking turns so all three kids could ride it. After that the rain started. And it rained and rained. And rained and rained. It was a light to medium sprinkle so we bucked up and headed over to Seuss Landing. By the time we got there the medium sprinkle turned into buckets and buckets. We dug out our complimentary ponchos–so glad Brent put those back in the stroller basket–and made our way to the Caro-Seuss-al. It was one of the few rides still operating in the rain. We were so sad that we finally made it to the area with lots of rides for all our kids and it was all closed down because of the rain. But the carousel started to make up for it. While I nursed the baby Brent took the other three to the Cat in the Hat ride. They all loved it and rode a couple times while Ben ate.
After they came back we decided to eat one last thing and call it a day. We were kinda sad about the rain and all the closed rides, but also full of happy memories of all the rides we had been on. As we were eating, the One Fish Two Fish ride started going again. We got over there and were able to ride it a whole bunch of times. Then the girls and I went on the High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train ride. After that Brent left us at Mr McGrew’s Zoo so he could ride the Hulk. The kids were disappointed that Brent was finished sooner than they wanted to be done. But we packed up to go meet him and that’s when I snuck away to ride the Hulk.
Okay, to this point I had ridden every ride with at least one child. Sammi and I did Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, both of which I was sure would terrify her but they didn’t. She loved them and wanted to go on them again, just not right away. So there I was on the second row of the Hulk and we’re propelling toward the top of the first fall and I was terrified. Then I remembered I didn’t have to worry about if a child was doing okay and enjoying the ride. I was able to just enjoy it for me. And I LOVED IT! I literally shouted “I love this!” at least four times during the ride. The rest of the time I was screaming or laughing. I’m sure those around me were thinking,”Man, this girls doesn’t get out much!” And I don’t, at least not all by myself. Man, I love roller coasters! I was on such a rush I had to call Brent and my mom to tell them how much I loved it.
We ate one more time and bid farewell to the park. Our last ride was the water taxi back to our car at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort. We ended up staying four hours longer than we planned and didn’t get as far on our drive home as we had hoped. But it was worth it. Scott has been asking all morning if I would drive him back to the Cat in the Hat. He’s been telling me everything he remembers about the rides and the water taxi and the pool and anything else that comes to mind. He’s quite the storyteller and this trip definitely gave him lots of stories to tell.