The kids loved their trip! There were only a few incidents of bickering – and this was among the adults! 🙂
90 degrees humid heat was a good stamina challenge for all of us moving around each theme park. I love high, dry temperatures with sunshine, but even I was wilting and losing my sense of humour at times under the unrelenting blazing heat. The baby sat sweaty with half shut eyes as she was pushed around in her new stroller through the colourful and noisy walkways.
Charlotte had been a little star on both 9hr flights – contentedly sitting on my lap or standing between my legs at my chair. She didn’t sleep once on the flight over which was tough going on my right wrist which is now very painful (and feels continuously swollen and tender) and managed 3hrs sleep in my arms on the flight back.
We spent 4 glorious days by our resort pool throughout the 2 weeks and the rest in a frantic dive from ride to ride at each theme park – we chose Universal and Disney parks. And the parks were busy, busy, busy for most of the time we were there! Some rides had between an 80 and 130 min wait! Really! Who wants to wait in line for that long?! Some fast passes for specific rides could not be booked for love nor money e.g. Avatar. We hadn’t realised you could fast pass book weeks in advance for Disney. Note to self: read the bloody bumff sent with the holiday details!
However, noting its popularity (said 130 min wait!) we chose to stay on late one evening at Animal Kingdom and experienced the Avatar simulation at 9 pm (only 35 mins wait). So glad we did. A wonderful surreal sensory journey, sat on a motorbike, through a paradise-like landscape! Bliss. Of course, this had to be done via the rider switch option which meant hubby had to wait outside with the baby whilst myself and the older kids enjoyed the ride, then it was my turn to wait with the baby (by this time 9.40pm). If you have a child who cannot/ will not ride, then the Disney rider switch option enables one adult and two children to use the ‘fast pass’ line if an adult has already queued prior. However we have 3 children, so each time we used rider switch we had to choose two out of three to enjoy the experience – nearly caused World War 3 each time. Disney take note!! Discrimination against the larger family!
After a few days we got into the way of things…. Child swap/ rider switch at Universal was really helpful as their facilities enabled us to wait in line as a family unit which was not possible with the Disney child swap option where we had to line up separately with one adult and baby killing time in the heat waiting for the others to finish their ride. This disappointed us as Disney markets itself as being very family orientated!! We had to carry the baby in our arms in each long line on every ride (as, no matter what the predicted line length, every stroller had to be parked) to the top of the queue then one of the adults would stay in the family room to let the other take the ride then swap over with the kids to have their go without waiting in any other line. This usually enabled the kids to have at least two rides one after the other. Each family room had a baby change facility which was thoughtful and essential, at times!
The Universal family rooms enabled us to swap over a few times if the ride was good and so the kids could have as many as we would allow them! I must recommend the Hulk rollercoaster (my favourite ride) where you could go straight to the family room without waiting in any line and swap over when it was time! We had quite a few consecutive rides on this squeal fest! It’s such a buzz! The Harry Potter simulator was brilliant too!
Some of us mastered the single rider concept to speed through the lines – although my 8yr old was too young to do this!
We had Charlotte on some of the slow rides – Pirates of the Caribbean, Finding Nemo, Haunted Mansion and a couple of short shows e.g.Monsters Inc and Muppets 3D. It was bliss to be inside for the air conditioning! Again, a little star, sitting patiently looking around her (probably wondering what the heck was going on). She was in and out of her pram at least a couple of times every hour – and we spent an average 6-8 hours at each park.
Towards the end of the holiday we ditched some of the rides to line up for up to 40 minutes to meet a character! Had to be done. You can’t go all the way to Disney and not meet some famous characters, including the main man! Mickey. Tick. He was very good with Charlotte and came over and gave her a hug when it was our turn to step forward to have our picture taken with him. Charlotte, who is teething, immediately reached out (as if to return the hug) and promptly bit his nose! Ha!!ha! A proud moment for us parents.
We’re back under the grey clouds of Scotland, but the sunshine of Florida still burns in our memory. The children keep asking when we can return. Ideally next summer, but in reality, in about another five to ten years time when Charlotte can stand in line independently and my now-eight year old should be tall enough to get on ALL the rides he wants, and, of course, when we’ve saved enough to go back and enjoy the whole experience again 😊