Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Universal Studios, Island of Adventure....Day 4

The next morning we woke up and stuff over selves with a huge breakfast at the Gingerbread House. When I mean huge, I mean things like waffles with all the toppings, cold cereal, donuts, eggs, bacon, potatoes, fruit, biscuits & gravy, yes....every single morning. It was crazy and good too! The only thing was, Jeffrey hated the jello covered bananas that James made him try. Look at this face...Serious nastiness! After getting that look off of his face, we all loaded up into the van and headed to Universal Studios Island of Adventure. This park is quite a bit smaller but has some amazing roller coaster rides. I was nervous because we had had such a great experience so far with Disney, I wondered if the customer service would equal. For the most part, it did. Although the kids didn't hear the words, "You're money is no good here" anywhere in this park as well. We walked in and decided to head over to the Seuss Landing. Julie was in heaven because she is quite the Dr Seuss fan. We went on a few of the smaller rides in that area and then headed to The High in the Sky, Seuss Trolley Train Ride. This ride takes you over the Seuss Landing on a roller coaster high up on a track in the sky. We took an elevator up to where you have to get on the ride. Here we met another fantastic young man who worked on the ride. He made sure we had cart with a wider opening so James could put Jeffrey in easier. He made sure the kids knew what fun stuff to look out for on the ride, he even went so far as to ask us if when we got done, we wanted to switch sides on the ride to make sure we got the full effect. We declined, but it was so nice. We seriously felt like celebrities! Jeffrey loved the ride and Julie couldn't stop smiling. It was wonderful!
We get off the ride and who should pop out, THE CAT IN THE HAT himself! We were all so excited. He came over and let Jeffrey rub his fur and posed for pictures and suddenly we were joined by...THE GRINCH! If you have ever called our house and listened closely to our answering machine, you know how big of a fan James is of the Grinch. In fact, we often tease James that he is a lot like the Grinch in the fact that he doesn't like to "feel" things. After James wiped the silly smile off his face, we headed over to a experience called Poseidon's Fury. You go and stand in an enormous building and this explorer comes in and tells you that the place has had bad things happen in there but to just wait for the professor and he would lead us out. At this point, the lights go off and you are off on a journey to get out of the building alive. You walk through rooms while there is a lights, lasers, fires, holograms, and special effects that are truly impressive. You could feel this fire on your face and the water would splash and land on your arms. While we all that it was pretty cool, Julie was freaked out and couldn't wait to get out of there. That is one of the only things she hated about the entire trip. Here is part of the building as we are walking out. >Just as we walked around the bend, into view popped the magical world of Harry Potter. Look at the buildings behind this picture and you can see what an incredible job they did on recreating this magical world. The Harry Potter Series is one of the only sets of books that James has shown any interest in reading since we have been married. He read one book, I believe, and then listened to the others on CD. While we are not psycho crazy fans, we do love the books and movies. The only problem with this part of Universal was, it was PACKED with crazy fans. The line to get into Ollivanders wand store was a 45 minute get into the store and shop. No joke! To really put this into perspective, you have to realize that we were in Orlando during one of the slowest times of the year. It is crazy nuts! Needless to say, we didn't go in. We did go get in line for the Dragon Challenge. Once again, we were the recipients of some great customer service. As we walked in, the cast member who was showing us where to go asked us which dragon we wanted to go on. She explained that the ride is 2 different roller coasters: the Chinese Fireball or red dragon OR the Hungarian Horntail or blue dragon. James asked her which one was more exciting, she smiled and said, "You are going on the Chinese Fireball, you are going to love it!" The only glitch was that Jeffrey and Jackson couldn't go on the ride and Jackson was NOT happy about this. But like the trooper he is, he didn't complain too much. When Julie and I went to get on the ride, the cast member asked us which sets we wanted. When I said I didn't care, he smiled and put us in the front row. Our feet were dangling in the wind as we went on one of the best rides we experienced in Orlando! At one point, it felt like you were going to crash into the blue roller coaster. It was really neat and we loved it. In fact, Julie was lucky enough to be able to go again with James in the front seats once again! I highly recommend it. Then we went and got in line for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. There are signs all over this ride saying that if you got motion sickness, to not ride this ride. James DOES get motion sickness but wouldn't have skipped out on this for anything. We were to the point where we were getting on the ride and the ride broke down. Yep...once again! We waited for awhile hoping that the ride would start back up again. While we stood there we became friends with a set of twins from Brooklyn who were celebrating their 23rd birthday. They were really cute and it was fun talking with them, especially since their accent reminded us so much of James' little twins brothers accent. After deciding that we would come back later, we headed to the Jurassic Park area and ate some way overpriced and waited too long for hamburgers and fries. It was nice to sit for a minute though. As we left, Jackson REALLY wanted to go on the Jurassic Park River Adventure. Here's the deal, there was a good chance that we would get wet. James and Julie really didn't want to get wet so they took Jeffrey to change his diaper and Jackson and I went on the ride. (I felt bad that he didn't get to go on the Harry Potter ride. I didn't really want to get wet either.) The way they seated us, Jackson couldn't see a single thing on the ride and didn't get wet so he was still bummed. Poor kid! Then we still had a few minutes before we had to meet with the other 3 so we went on the Pteranodon Flyers. Which was a fun ride for littler kids but it is way too short. We met up with the rest of the family and then Julie and James went on the ride. At this point, we decided to head back to the Harry Potter ride. This time, in the line, they split us up. James, Jeffrey and Julie went and got on the ride at a different point than we did. Jackson and I went on first and during the ride, I felt like we had made the biggest mistake ever on letting Jeffrey go on this ride. You flip around, make sudden movements, and it is intense. Pair that with the fact that spiders are spitting water at you, snakes and hissing in your face, and Deatheaters are breathing cold fog in your face and I was sure bad things were going to be happening for Jeffrey at the end of the ride. I seriously was praying he would be alright. It was a very true rendition of the books and I loved the ride itself but Jackson closed his eyes halfway through because it was a little too much. And Jackson doesn't usually get scared. We got off the ride and there was 2 girls throwing up in garbage bags. That set off my worry meter even more because I thought, "Great, now James will be throwing up and Jeffrey will be in a full on seizure!" We ran to meet them and I was shocked to see Jeffrey laughing and clapping with Julie in his lap. I was so relieved! James, on the other hand, looked really white. He said it did a number to him but is glad he went. After that we headed down to another area and once again, Jackson wanted to go on another water ride. James and Jeffrey opted out (it gave his stomach some time to settle down) and Julie and I went unwillingly on Popeye and Plutos Bilge Rat Barges. He really had to talk us into going on this ride. It was a fun ride, very similar to Rattlesnake Rapids at Lagoon. The only problem was that we got SOAKED! We got off the ride and Julie was showing James how wet she was when Jackson leaned over and said to both her and I, "You're Welcome!" with a huge grin on his face. Little Stinker! We explored the comic book area of the park and loved all the little places for photo opportunities. As we headed to the superhero area of the park, who do we see....Wolverine! When we got up to see him, he noticed James hat and said, "What's up Brigham Young?" James was thrilled but shocked because the entire vacation people had been asking us where we were from. When we said Utah most of the looks we got were confusion because they didn't know where that was! One lady even asked Julie and Julie told her we were by Wyoming. She knew where Wyoming was though....shesh! It was exciting that Wolverine not only knew where Utah was, but he knew about BYU. As we walked away, Jackson noticed Spiderman! We asked him if he wanted to go see him and in an excited voice he answered yes and then stopped. He said, "I don't want to have to make everyone else wait because I want to see Spiderman. This trip is for Jeffrey." I love this little guy, he melts my heart. We assured him it was alright when a worker stopped us and said that if we would follow him and wait 10 minutes, we would be in for a treat. So we followed him to this back area of the park and waited. 10 minutes later on 4-wheelers pull in, Spiderman, Captain American, Cyclops, Rogue, Storm, and Wolverine! They jumped off their 4-wheelers in true superhero fashion and came over to us. Captain America grabbed Jeffrey's wheelchair and started playing with him, without any hesitation. He gave him his shield and let Jeffrey play with it while he wheeled him around. Rogue and Storm had Julie to one side telling her how much they loved her hair and playing with her. Spiderman had Jackson practicing his web throwing abilities. Cyclops and Wolverine were talking with James about something, it was a moment in time I will never forget. These wonderful people made my family feel so special and comfortable. It was something out of a dream and Jeffrey loved that shield. They were honestly bigger superheros because of their personalities rather than their costumes.>After this experience, we headed over to the Spiderman ride. This was definitely a favorite for the entire family! It is a 3D action ride that takes you on twists and turns with Spiderman as he battles all of is different nemeisis. The car you are in shakes, rattles, and rolls with different villians attacking you along the way. Jeffrey laughed the entire ride! It was great fun! We had heard a lot about the ride, The Hulk. People kept saying how we had to go on it and we would love it! When we went to get on the ride, we noticed that once again, Jackson wasn't tall enough so he and Jeffrey couldn't ride. Julie looked at me and said, "Mom, this trip is about Jeffrey and making him happy. Maybe we shouldn't go on it and do something Jeffrey can do." I held back the tears of gratitude for such a great daughter and James told her that we were so glad that she was aware of that and grateful that she would be willing to give up a ride she was anxious to go on. BUT, we were going because Mom and Dad wanted to. And we did! It was really fun but honestly, we liked a few of the other coasters on we went during our stay in Orlando better. At this point, Jackson saw another spinning ride called the Storm Force Acceleration ride which is a faster version of the teacups at Magic Kingdom. James was still feeling yucky from the Harry Potter Ride, Julie said the Hulk made her tummy feel weird and didn't want to go on it, and Jeffrey doesn't do well on spinning things. Even though at this point my stomach wasn't 100% either, I couldn't let him down and we went and spun and spun and spun around making my stomach feel even less wonderful but the smile on Jacksons face was worth it. At this point, we had done what we wanted to so we headed home. First we purchased the kids these great shirts that say Thing 1 for Jeffrey, Thing 2 for Julie, and Thing 3 for Jackson, in reference to Dr Seuss' The Cat in the Hat. It was getting late and so we ordered dinner from a place in Give Kids the World called Katie's Kitchen. They provide you with food, right to your villa, from Bostons Market. We had roasted chicken, meatloaf, potatoes, green beans, cornbread, and it was all so good. After that, we went straight to bed because we knew we had a lot of walking in store at Epcot the next day!


Janae said...

Yay! What a wonderful trip for your family. it sounds like it was fabulous and your family definitely deserved it. Jeffrey truly is an amazing kid. I loved the part about Jackson saying he didn't need to see Spiderman because it was Jefferey's trip. What a sweetie. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. what a wonderful thing for your family!

Tim said...

It sounds like you guys had the most amazing trip pretty much of all time! I am so happy your family was able to go do this. There is no other family as deserving as you guys. I LOVED reading about your adventures so far, it sounds like you guys had a lot of fun.

Amy Alvord said...

Are you burnt out blogging yet? I hope not, because this whole vacation has been pretty grand, and I'm looking forward to day 5. Thanks for being a great friend. I love you, Jenni.