Day 3 of The First Time 2011, the first of my Disney Trip Reports, is here! Today we head over to Islands of Adventure – our first Orlando theme park ever!
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Day 3: Islands of Adventure
Lunch at Mythos Restaurant
6th August 2011
I found the first few days of being in Orlando, that we were waking up at around 4:00 am and being wide awake.
I’d get on my iPhone and check in with Facebook (the wireless internet in the villa was great!) before forcing myself back to sleep.
When we (re)awoke, it was off to Islands of Adventure (and not Universal as planned yesterday!)
Still full of cold, I was struggling to breathe too, which was making me feel really miserable, and to make it worse, I could not even remember when I last had a cold, so why did I have to get one now?!
A beautiful sunrise greeted us, and it was lovely to see all the hot air balloons in the distance – what a sight to wake up to!
With Homer telling us where to go, we soon found the Universal Orlando Resort and were driving toward the car park.
Having Homer Simpson as our sat-nav guide was brilliant – he got ever so excited when you joined the interstate!
Feeling grotty and not knowing how far the car park was from the theme parks, we did pay $20 for preferred parking.
There was no direction of where to park once inside (looking into the future now, unlike Disney which is military precision when parking!), so we just chose a space, took a photo of where we parked so we wouldn’t forget and made our way down the escalators and along travelators to the bag check.
There was a booth to make dining reservations, so we booked into Mythos for 12:45 pm.
It was great to walk through City Walk and see the things we’ve read about online and in guidebooks!
We stopped off to buy me a cap as the sun was beating down, and I forgot mine (left it in the UK, whoops!) and then had to exchange the vouchers that we got from Virgin (a great freebie!) for real tickets, which thankfully didn’t take too long.
Grabbing a couple of maps, we were fingerprinted and through the gates.
The first port of call was food and drink as we didn’t have breakfast. I’m such a responsible mum – Liam had popcorn, while Steve and I, had a corn dog.
I have no clue what the time was, but hey, we’re on holiday!
With an “oooh, that’s yummy” from the pair of us, and a tick off the “foods we must eat in Orlando” list, we decided to move anti-clockwise around the park.
We hit Seuss Landing first, which I thought was fantastically themed and I took plenty of pictures here. Liam got a wet surprise when he tossed a coin into the fish’s mouth!
The wait time for The Cat in the Hat was just 10 minutes on the sign, but we pretty much walked on.
It is a quirky little ride that whips you around quite forcefully in some parts! Little ones hold on tight!
We continued with Seuss Landing (with me still marveling at the theming) and then went on the High in the Sky ride, which again said 10 minutes, but was a walk on. It was cool to see the park from a different view.
Plus-size rider guide: There is a lap bar which was enough room for me (UK size 24/26, with most weight around my middle).
Nothing else must have taken our fancy in this part of Islands of Adventures, so we moved through into the next land – The Lost Continent.
We located Mythos for our reservation later on…
…and then went to queue for the Jurassic Park River Ride. The official wait time was 15 minutes, but it felt like only 5.
We hopped aboard our river boat, which had a shared lap bar across the bench of 5 or 6 people.
No problems from a plus size point of view, as there was room.
But I did feel bad for the thinner people (i.e., everyone else) in the same row, as of course, with me sitting there, the bar wasn’t as close to them.
I did ask the staff as we got on if this would be okay and he said it was fine.
It was a nice gentle ride…until the big drop!
Great surroundings, but Liam, horror of horrors said he didn’t really like the noise!
I was SHOCKED – he LOVES dinosaurs!
The wicked mum that I am, made him go on again – just to make sure that he really didn’t like it…he complained even more!
I was dumbfounded, if not a little upset. He’s not really been on rides, so maybe the big drop was a lot bigger to him than I imagined.
After that adventure, Liam wanted to go into the Discovery Centre and explore in there.
It was pretty empty, so he could pick and choose what to interact with.
It was lovely and air-conned in there, so Steve and I just sat and chilled – literally!
We were led to our table to sit down…the chairs were H-E-A-V-Y! So just a heads up on that!
Our server, Laura, presented us with menus which we perused whilst she brought us drinks and some delicious rosemary bread.
But, as with Paradiso 37, all she did was take our order, bring us our drinks (and bread) and present us with the bill at the end.
It feels weird to tip someone who didn’t do the whole service, but perhaps this is the way things are done in the US. It was only our second dining out experience.
Since the corn dog we shared a few hours ago had done its duty of providing energy and was now used up, we were all pretty hungry so we ordered both starters and mains.
From my diary, the starters were the highlight of the meal, as the mains weren’t as nice as it would seem.
Liam chose to have a Cheese & Bacon Burger ($10.99) and finished most of it (that kid can eat, he doesn’t get his slim genes from me, I can tell you that!)
I actually slipped most of my wrap onto Steve’s plate of food and he ate it all (don’t know where he puts it either!).
Although to be fair, his main course of Crab Sliders ($12.99) was pretty small for a main dish, which he was less than impressed with.
Again, our mains were brought out whilst we were still eating our starter which was really annoying, and my chips were on the cold side of warm.
Normally I would complain, but it was quite busy in there, and trying to get the server’s attention proved difficult, so I didn’t bother.
We didn’t bother with desserts as we thought to get something sweet whilst walking around the park a little later on. From what I recall, there wasn’t much choice anyway.
The total bill was $65.72, and I think we left a 15% tip since we didn’t really see our waitress at all.
All in all, aside from the yummy warm rosemary bread and the sushi, from our point of view it was a bit of a letdown food-wise; although Liam enjoyed his starter and main.
The service was a bit meh. For a restaurant that’s won all these awards, we were expecting something a little bit more.
We left feeling a little deflated really, which was a shame.
The price, for a theme park, wasn’t actually that bad, so they do have the cost thing going for them, and the interior design was lovely.
We made our move out of the restaurant and went to see The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad, but the show had been cancelled due to some sort of technical problems, so on to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
This part of the park was noticeably busier than everywhere else, but it wasn’t unbearable.
We were able to walk around the shops in Hogsmeade without too much jostling.
Hogsmeade was just wonderful. To see all the things you read about in the books (and then later saw on the big screen) come to life was fantastic!
The snow looked a little out of place in the blazing sunshine with people striding around in shorts and t-shirts, but oh well!
Into Honeydukes next to look at the sweets and then discovered that pumpkin juice was a dollar cheaper there!
I guess because they add the tax on at the till inside, whereas it is already added outside?
We knew a Chocolate Frog wouldn’t survive the day in the heat whilst walking around the rest of the park, so hoped they’d sell them at a store near the exit.
We went into Zonko’s for a quick look around before Liam decided that he must have a wand.
The queue outside Olivanders was hideous. There was no shade cover whatsoever, and I absolutely refused to wait in line!
The wait would have been horrible and I hear that the shop is tiny, and didn’t fancy being squished in there.
It was a very, very hot afternoon, so we ducked into The Three Broomsticks for a mug of Butterbeer (which could also be purchased outside).
Having remembered that the two kinds of Butterbeer were very different, Steve was under instruction to buy both, whilst Liam and I bagged a table.
It wasn’t all that busy, so it was an easy enough job.
Interesting, yet strange, yet scrumptious is the only way I can describe butterbeer!
I definitely preferred the frozen one, but both were very sickly sweet, and I think on top of our earlier meal, we over-did it!
The price for both was $7.50, which I thought was quite reasonable as they were pretty large (plastic) glasses. You could buy souvenir mugs, but we didn’t.
And then came Forbidden Journey with its test seats outside. I knew that there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of me fitting in this ride, but Steve insisted I at least try.
I did, and getting my behind into the plastic seat was fine, however, the over-the-shoulder restraint wasn’t having any of it.
I had pre-warned Steve that this was likely to happen and had psyched myself up for not riding this ride, and insisted that they both go on it…but they didn’t want to without me.
Instead, we walked through the castle which was impressive. The queue for the ride itself said 45 minutes.
You exit the castle into a gift shop where we bought a fridge magnet.
We then reached the Flight of the Hippogriff which showed a 25-minute wait.
Wanting to ride something in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (WWOHP), we queued up. It was only about 10 minutes before we were at the front of the line.
This ride went a LOT faster than I was expecting, and as I was sitting in a car on my own, I did get thrown around a fair bit! Fun and would recommend it!
We had planned to do Islands of Adventure and WWOHP on two different occasions, but having visited Hogsmeade and done the rest of the park in a day, it had now freed up a day to do something else.
By now, late afternoon, Liam was waning and didn’t want to do the two water rides in Toon Lagoon that we had planned – Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges and Dudley Do Rights Ripsaw Falls…
…so we made a mental note to come back and do them another day was made and we moved through Toon Lagoon and into Marvel Super Hero Island.
Seeing that the Spiderman ride was just a 15-minute wait, we went through the queueing system and grabbed our glasses. We sat in the front row of the vehicle!
Plus-size rider guide: There is a shared lap bar which was enough room for me (UK size 24/26, with most weight around my middle).
The ride started in all its 4D glory and was AMAZING! We LOVED this ride. Words cannot describe how awesome we all thought it was!
We made plans to make sure we come back and do it again.
In hindsight, I don’t know why we didn’t just go around again – maybe the line time jumped up or something. Oh well!
By now, we were all waning and started to make our way to the exit.
This part of the park (according to my diary) felt a lot hotter as there wasn’t very much shade.
But as with the rest of the theme park, I thought the theming was fab and took pictures of the Hulk Coaster which looked stomach-churningly awesome, but which I knew I wouldn’t be able to go on.
We picked up a Cinnabon (another tick on the “foods we must eat in Orlando” list) on the way out to take home.
And we walked in and out of the shops and their wonderful air-con!
Having recalled where we parked from our earlier photograph, we started the drive home.
It was very nice to be able to get into our own private pool and relax our muscles after our first day at an Orlando theme park.
Still stuffed from Mythos, we didn’t bother with dinner, we just had some tea and toast (how British!) and crashed out for the night!
All photos from this day can be found on my Flickr!
Read about the day after:
Day 4 – The Three Ps
Ponderosa, Publix & Pooltime
Read about the day before:
Day 2 – Our Second Wedding Anniversary
Downtown Disney & Paradiso 37
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