Day 13 of The First Time 2011, the first of my Disney Trip Reports, is here! Today we go to our first waterpark – Aquatica!
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Day 13: Aquatica Waterpark
Banana Beach Cookout
16th August 2011
Liam had been asking for a few days now if we could go to Aquatica, so we decided on a half day there and then mini golf in the afternoon.
We loved it at this water park so much that we ended up staying all day, and never made it to mini golf!
With swimming costumes on and towels packed, we were on our way.
Homer couldn’t find the place, and from the way we came from, it wasn’t well signposted at all.
Luckily we had our Mapman map in the glove box and that came into play.
We eventually found Aquatica, parked in Kiwi 12, and walked to the entrance.
We grabbed a few sun loungers and paid for a locker – $5 plus a $5 refundable deposit.
Liam and Steve went on a few slides at Whanau Way before the crowds started to build up, whilst I just lay back to catch some rays.
We all then walked over to dip into the wave pool.
Cutback Cove was closed due to water quality, but Big Surf Shores was fine and we had fun in there leaping over the big waves.
As a plus-size lady, I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all. I am a size UK 24/26 at the moment and wore a swim dress.
I had a thin pair of shorts underneath as we were walking around the park all day and I didn’t want any nasty chaffing going on!
There were people of all shapes and sizes in various states of swimwear, so if you are conscious of yourself, please, please don’t worry, people are too into having a good time with their friends/family to notice you.
And as my mum always taught me, if someone is having a gander or a chin wag about you, then you’re pretty special!
I saw some large blokes wearing shorts and t-shirts to do the rides, so if that is comfier for you, go for it.
We also brought aqua shoes with us which we wore all day – a great buy from Sports Direct for £2 each!
I can imagine the concrete floors getting pretty hot and these save our tootsies!
We took a walk over to Kata’s Kookaburra Cove which Liam decided was too babyish for him, before hopping into Loggerhead Lane, the lazy river.
It was disorganized chaos in this area! The entrance to the lazy river is also the entrance for Tassie’s Twisters (a water slide), and there are two different coloured innertubes for each ride – blue for the lazy river and yellow for the slide.
People were just grabbing any colour – ignoring the lifeguard’s requests to take only the blue ones for the lazy river…
Eventually, we managed to get an innertube each, but it was impossible to plonk my butt in to lie on top so I went from underneath and just hung over the edge.
Liam did manage to clamber on top though and lounge!
The ride takes you through a tunnel where the Dolphin Plunge ride goes through the Commerson’s dolphin tank.
We were lucky enough to see them swim by which was nice.
You can also pass by an aquarium filled with colourful tropical fish, but I couldn’t work out how to get into that part without going against the flow of the river.
Getting out of the lazy river was another big chaotic mess as the exit goes through the entrance and it was very crowded!
We then walked around to find Roa’s Rapids. I decided I was buoyant enough not to need a life jacket, but both Liam and Steve wore one.
This ride was SO MUCH FUN!!
We must have gone around it about 20 times that day…partly because it was quite hard to actually exit the ride owing to the force of the rapids and also because it was such great fun to be propelled along by the water.
Our aqua shoes really did help on this ride as my feet scraped the bottom a couple of times and I would have cut them.
Steve also got walloped by someone who had been jetted along and couldn’t stop and scratched up his arm, so be mindful of people around you!
By now we were all feeling peckish and having so much fun too, so we decided to stay all day.
We went and bought the all-you-care-to-eat bands at Banana Beach Cookout.
It is described as a “variety of pizzas and pasta with a bountiful array of fruits, sides, and desserts”.
A little bit over-described I think!
The bountiful array of fruit was watermelon, and desserts were banana cake, banana pudding, and cookies.
There were I think three types of pizza and two pasta dishes.
I think there was pulled pork too and some chicken legs, maybe a salad?
I didn’t jot it down in my diary, so my memory is sketchy.
We all enjoyed the food though and made 3 visits there throughout the day. At $15.99 each, we thought it was very good value!
You were not allowed to take food out from the eating area, but you could take drinks out with you, so cheap drinks all day! (Sorry, no photos from here at all today!)
After our lunch, we sat down for a while to allow food to settle before going back into the wave pool which, by now was considerably busier
We saw that there was a multi-person ride – Walhalla Wave – which we decided to line up for.
It doesn’t tell you until halfway up that the combined weight must not exceed 600lbs, so if there are four of you weighing more than 10.5 stone then all 4 can’t ride together!
I did a quick addition of our weights to make sure we were okay to ride together (would have helped if that sign was at the bottom of the line!) and we were soon sitting in the dingy.
It says to hold on…and that we did!
I think owing to the weight of our dingy we had a very slip-slidey ride inside the tube!
I remember seeing Liam lurch forward and screeching out to him to hold on really tight – I believe I kept shouting that out to him between squeals of delight as we rushed through the tube!
I was so worried that he was going to fall out…but it was such a fun ride, even though I was petrified for Liam!
Steve rationed that they wouldn’t have let us ride together if they thought it was a problem.
As much fun as it was, I didn’t want to risk doing it again for fear of Liam going flying!
After calming down, we went back to the lazy river – it was even more chaotic now!
We eventually grabbed some innertubes and had quite an amusing time with the park photographers taking pictures and throwing down wristbands so you could view the photos later on.
Despite slapping on suncream, I was starting to feel the burn, so went to lie down in the shade whilst Liam and Steve went back out into the wave pool.
The lines for the slides were huge and they just couldn’t be bothered to queue.
Eventually, they came back and woke me up and we all went back to Roa Rapids for a few more circuits before changing to go home.
I just air-dried and threw a maxi dress over my cossie as it was too much grief to find a spot in the changing area.
We grabbed some dinner from the buffet before heading towards the exit as the sky was starting to darken.
We viewed our photos and ended up purchasing a couple – yeah we’ve been sucked in – but hey – it’s our first visit! There was a lovely one of Liam which for reasons unknown, I didn’t buy and now regret.
On the drive back we spotted some nasty fork lightning and then later saw on the news about a strike at Discovery Cove with eight people needing to go to hospital – frightening stuff.
Back at the villa, Liam asked “can we have a relax day tomorrow?” to which we all agreed.
He crashed early, whilst Steve and I planned our last week (boo hoo!) and watched the ever-so-dramatic US version of Masterchef on TV.
I have read mixed reviews about Aquatica, but for us, we loved it.
Granted we didn’t do either of the Disney water parks, but even so, I’m sure we would have still enjoyed it just as much as had we done either of them as well.
All photos from this day can be found on my Flickr!
Read about the day after:
Day 14 – We Hop Downtown
IHOP, Downtown Disney, and Earl of Sandwich
Read about the day before:
Day 12 – On Safari
Busch Gardens, Serengeti Safari Tour, and Zambia Smokehouse