One of the only good things about living in Florida is the fact that the local water parks are open year round. They may have shorter hours in the off-season, but they’re still a blast to go to, even when it’s only 84 degrees and there’s enough wind to freeze your little behind off when you get out of the pleasantly heated water.
Anyway, Aquatica! One of the Anheuser-Busch family of amusement parks (Busch Gardens, Sea World) it is definitely a great place to go in Orlando. Since Hottie and I decided to buy 2-year passports to all the parks when we moved here, we go whenever we’re able. I’m pretty sure we’ve more than made up for the cost in visits.
We decided we’d go this Saturday when my kids were visiting two weeks ago, so they had two weeks to look forward to it. We actually managed to get there very shortly after the park opened so not only did we have great parking, the one ride that usually has a long line didn’t have any at all. Of course, the weather probably had something to do with that – it was still overcast and a little windy when we got there.
The ride we’d been wanting to try out was the Dolphin Plunge. When you first look at it, it really seems like a neat concept. It’s a water slide that goes through a tank with a couple of Commerson’s Dolphins, and the advertisements show happy, smiling people looking in awe at the dolphins as they slide through. In reality, however, the ride is more like a black, soul-sucking tube of death that shoots you at high speed into a 3-foot-deep splashdown pool. Thank God I rode on it before letting my daughter go down. I forbade her from riding it. Hottie went down first, and then I had to go try it. I almost wish I hadn’t.
It’s not a slide, it’s a tube, and the only light is the little airholes that are in the upper portion of the tube. Unfortunately, just before the tube goes through the dolphin tank, the airholes vanish, leaving the air in the tube stale, hot and humid. Have I mentioned I’m a teeeensy bit claustrophobic? I was okay until the air vanished and water started splashing my face. I spent the remainder of the ride hyperventilating and praying for it to be over. I didn’t even register the dolphin tank as more than a bright area in an otherwise dark tube. I will never go on that ride again.
After chilling ourselves with that, we all went over to the big kid area and turned my elder two loose. We slathered on the sun screen, and I decided I’d take Little Man into the shallow area. We grabbed a baby life jacket and tried to get him into it. He, of course, complained mightily so I took it back off. I noticed that the water was a little cooler in the kids area so I decided to take him over to the entrance to my favorite thing in the park.
The ‘ride’ is called Roa’s Rapids. I could literally spend hours just floating around in this river. Come to think of it, I did spend hours in it, but I’m getting ahead of myself. I brought him back into the water and little by little got him into deeper parts. By deeper I mean 6 inches or so. Then I got him into the life jacket. He didn’t complain quite as much and was soon smiling as I floated him around.
Soon enough, I brought him into the actual fast water portion. He had a lot of fun as I bounced him up and down in the water while we floated around. He doesn’t like water being splashed on his face either, so at times it was like a game of “dodge the geysers”. We went around that a couple times before the kids and Hottie joined us, and then we went around a couple -more- times until we decided it was time to eat.
The rest of the day was spent eating, splashing and floating. Little Man was the only one of us that didn’t get sunburned. I got sunburned on the tops of my feet, which is almost the WORST place to get a burn. We closed the park down in Roa’s Rapids. I think we were the last ones in there. All in all it was a fantastic day.
Sunday we decided to go get Hottie’s hair cut, and maybe check K-Mart for bikes (HA!). As we were eating lunch, this conversation took place:
Me, to my other son: Do you want a hair cut?
MOS: Yes, I want a hair cut.
Hottie: Do you want a hair cut, or do you want ’em all cut?
MOS: What’s a mall cut?
I about died laughing. I love Hottie’s accent.