Saturday, August 25, 2012

Our Adventure at Universal's Islands of Adventure

Written by, Bernadyn Nettles

A week ago before my son started school, we decided to go on a trip to Orlando.  One of the places we visited was Islands of Adventure.  It was my first time there and we all loved it!  My son had a blast and we stayed from ten to close.  Yes, we were exhausted!  My kids left the park passed out and my feet were sore.  I wore sandals...bad idea!

Hanging out at Marvel Super Hero Island


Calypso Cay Resort in Orlando, FL

We decided to finally use our four days, three nights vacation stay at the Calypso Cay Resort in Orlando which I purchased from  several months ago.  We had to attend a ninety minute presentation and they gave us two free tickets to any Disney or Universal theme park of our choice.  Yes, it was FREE! We were originally going to choose the Magic Kingdom tickets but instead decided on Islands of Adventure.  We still had to purchase a child ticket for Brody since he's four.  Those free tickets really saved us a lot of money considering the expensive price of two adult tickets. 

Downtown Disney

The first day we arrived, Thursday, it was raining during the day so when the rain let up we visited Downtown Disney which was still fun. 

In front of the LEGO store.  My little girl is trying to pet the LEGO dog.

LEGO Store, Downtown Disney
Sleeping Beauty's Dragon
Cinderella, Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney
Cinderella's castle

Downtown Disney, Cinderella's Castle

We got Lyla the Queen of Hearts to add to her Alice in Wonderland decor in her nursery.
Buzz Lightyear

Downtown Disney
Brody always manages to find the water which may or may not be actual splash grounds. ..

Mickey and Minnie Mouse

Uh-oh, I wonder what Daddy did this time?

LEGO, Downtown Disney
Some of the LEGO Brody was building

LEGO, DOwntown Disney

Downtown Disney, LEGO
Cool LEGO set-ups they had on display

LEGO, Downtown Disney

LEGO, Downtown DIsney

LEGO, Downtown Disney
No, that's not a real boy in there.

On Friday, we spent some time at the water park, Aquatica, and went to bed at a decent time so we would be ready for Islands of Adventure.  No pictures from Aquatica, I never bring my camera there but maybe next time. 

Lyla playing around before dinner

And then...Saturday, finally arrived at Islands of Adventure!  

Islands of Adventure

                                  Universal, Orlando
Let us in!


Marvel Super Hero Island

Marvel Super Hero Island
Hubby and son in their fantasy world!

Marvel Super Hero Island

Brody flexing his muscles with Dr. Doom.

Green Goblin

Brody's hero - Spiderman

Universal, Captain America
Captain America

Spiderman, Universal

Marvel Super Hero Island
Super heroes making their exit...

Super Hero Island, Marvel

Spiderman Ride, Universal

Now entering Comic Strip Lane/Toon Lagoon

...where the water fun begins


It really was stressful bringing the kids on this vacation...and pretty much every vacation! This sign is so true, I do need a vacation after this vacation!

Marmaduke, Toon Lagoon

Toon Lagoon, Marmaduke

Jurassic Park, Universal
We didn't get to hang out much here and Brody wasn't able to get on the rides

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

 Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Harry Potter

Harry Potter

About to enter Hogsmeade at Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  This is where we  drank some Butterbeer was  good!

Harry Potter
Inside Hogwarts...where the pictures really could talk..they were very talkative!

Harry Potter
It started raining while walking around Hogsmeade so we drank some delicious butterbeer.

Harry Potter

Harry Potter
Hogwarts Castle

Flight of the Hippogriff ride
Flight of the Hippogriff


Harry Potter

Harry, Ron and Hermione

Harry Potter

Talking fountain at The Lost kept teasing Brody and  eventually just started spraying him with water

My silly boy, Brody...he's definitely NOT camera shy

Poseidon's Fury
Poseidon's Fury

On the Caro-Seuss-el ride at Dr. Seuss Landing

Sneetches Trolley Ride, Dr. Seuss
View from Sneetches Trolley Train ride 

Dr. Seuss
View from the top of Sneetches ride as it overlooked Dr.Seuss Landing

Dr. Seuss, Sneetches
View from inside the Sneetches ride 

Dr. Seuss

We stopped for lunch here.

The Sneetches Trolley Train ride goes through this restaurant.

Brody knocking on the Onceler's door

Strolling through the Lorax trees

Lorax, Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss
Brody had some chocolate fudge covered with M&Ms here

The Cat in the Hat
The Cat in the Hat's Hat

Thing 1 and Thing 2, The Cat in the Hat
Thing 1 and Thing 2

Waiting to get on the Cat in the Hat ride...yes, Lyla was able to ride it and she did such a good job!

Toon Lagoon
Another splash ground

We were able to go around the park twice since we stayed until closing ...what a tiring but fun day!


About Child Swap

One of the great things we discovered while riding the rides was the "Child Swap" they have where parents can take turns riding while the other one watches the kids in the waiting room.  This way, we didn't have to go through the line twice and we didn't miss out on riding any rides just because the kids couldn't ride...perfect!

Another amazing thing I discovered while there was how much of a big boy my little boy was...I was surprised, a bit sad but very proud of him for not being scared at all on the rides.  I was actually nervous and had my heart beating fast at times on some of the rides while Brody sat there so calm.  I would ask, "Are you okay?" or "Do you want me to hold you?"  He would reply, "No, I like it, it's awesome!"  Oh, my brave boy.

The last day of our vacation, Sunday, we had breakfast at the hotel as usual (hot breakfast everyday there) and relaxed at the pool and hot tub (they had three) before heading home.  

Lyla loves to she is seen eating bacon, one of her fave foods
Inside Calypso Cay Resort
Outside the hotel

The baby dancing begins...

This is the Crab of three pools at the hotel

We all loved the slide...even Lyla!

There was a mini golf area, too but we didn't get to try it out

...and there was a splash area behind the pools next to the mini golf
After swimming one last time and checking out from the hotel, we stopped to eat lunch  at this McDonald's
There was an indoor play area for toddlers.

Aww...she rested her little head on the giant crab.

Crawling through the get to the other side...of the tunnel

This was not your average Jacksonville McDonald's.  I don't usually like eating McDonald's but they had more variety of food hereI had a Philly cheese steak that wasn't too bad and Ryan had a hot pastrami sandwich.  There were fish tanks to add a nice touch.  There were also games on both floors (it was a two-story restaurant), kind of like how Adventure Landing is set up.  

Lyla got to play, too, in the infant/toddler area.  It was a nice lunch/play time before heading back home to Jax.  I have been to other McDonald's outside of Jacksonville and they usually are two floors with a wider selection of food including things like pasta and different sandwiches but this one seemed to be more entertaining for the kids and more party-friendly if you wanted to have a party here.  

Overall, we had an awesome time on our vacation.  Although vacations become tiresome and more stressful than just staying home once you are a parent, it's still nice to get a  change of scenery!

We look forward to returning to Universal's Islands of Adventure again and I highly recommend it if you haven't been!

Have you been to Universal Islands of Adventure or plan to go?  

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