We took a trip to Orlando, Florida, this year during the kids’ spring break. We flew to Orlando on Sunday, taking a direct flight on American Airlines. We stayed at a time share, the Polynesian Isles Resort in the city of Kissimmee, which was just 15 minutes from the Disney theme parks. Actually, everything in Orlando is pretty convenient to get to. We had a nice two-bedroom unit that was roomy and comfortable. The pool was very warm, and open late at night so the girls could go swimming after a long day at the theme parks.
On our first full day, we went to Universal Orlando. More precisely, we visited Universal’s Islands of Adventure, which is more of a roller coaster-type park than the Universal Studios Florida, which we heard was very similar to the Universal Studios Hollywood that we were already familiar with. The rides were awesome, and we started right away with The Incredible Hulk Coaster.
It wasn’t very crowded, since most everyone else’s spring break was earlier than ours. We probably didn’t spend more than 30 minutes in any one line (except for The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman, when the ride broke down for about 15 minutes while we were waiting). The Wizarding World of Harry Potter wasn’t open yet, except for one ride, the Dueling Dragons, which is being converted to the Dragon Challenge. Dueling Dragons is two separate roller coasters, one Fire and the other Ice, and each coaster starts off running side-by-side, but then come at each other during several points in the ride.
On our second day, we did some shopping at a nearby outlet mall because the girls needed some jeans. After some shopping, we went to DisneyQuest, a five-story indoor theme park. The kids got to build their own virtual roller coaster and ride it in a simulator. There were other virtual rides throughout the complex, where you could raft through a jungle river with the entire family paddling with oars, ride a flying carpet in an Aladdin-themed adventure, shoot at pirate ships in a Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, and rescue stranded spacemen using a spider-like craft. One of the funnest attractions was a bumper car ride where the cars were equipped with cannons that fired bowling ball-size balls. If you hit another car in the target spot, that car would go spinning around and be disabled for a few seconds. Lots of different arcade games as well. We probably could have spent a lot longer time there. Afterwards, we had dinner at nearby T-Rex, a restaurant owned by the same parent company as Rain Forest Cafe. The decor and atmosphere was very reminiscent of Rain Forest Cafe, but with a dinosaur theme.
On our third day, we visited Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Ron and Iris were excited to see attractions that used to be at Disneyland, like the Carousel of Progress and Country Bear Jamboree. Iris was especially excited to see the Hall of Presidents. We noted a few differences between the Magic Kingdom attractions and the same attractions at Disneyland. Space Mountain, for example, had riders in a single line instead of two-by-two seats, and there was no music during the ride. And Big Thunder Mountain Railroad didn’t have a water feature at the end. And there weren’t any rides that compared to the Matterhorn Bobsleds or Indiana Jones Adventure in Disneyland.
We visited Disney’s Epcot on our fourth day. We enjoyed riding inside the big “golf ball” in Spaceship Earth. It was also fun zipping around Test Track Pavilion (although Ron’s not sure the relatively short ride was worth the long wait). In the World Showcase, the girls had fun doing the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure while Iris enjoyed some of the readily available alcoholic drinks. At the end of the day, we had dinner at one of our favorite places, Fuddruckers.
On our final full day, we went to Typhoon Lagoon, one of two Disney water parks. The girls enjoyed the huge wave pool. The whole family went down Gang Plank Falls and snorkeled through Shark Reef. Ron & Iris mostly lounged around and spent a relaxing day reading while the girls explored the rest of the water park.
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