This was the third and last day to enjoy a real vacation; I know we travel all the time, but rarely is it the throw-your-money-away-let-your-hair-loose type of trip. We normally end up walking around at the free downtown festivals, gold panning, and seeing all the national parks and such; pretty much anything educational we try to do. It was nice to know that we had this much time/money to enjoy a few days honestly enjoying ourselves doing whatever we pleased with no schedule except our stomachs. This was the day we were visiting Hogwarts again and riding the water rides, we saved the best for last. Our plan was to ride the water ones at the very last so we could head out to the truck, put on dry clothes and drive the three hours back to home.
The hubby and I decided to try and get a funny shot on the Hogwarts Castle ride, we had an idea of where the camera was hidden after riding it twice before. Of course we went with the football teams our home is divided with, Alabama and Florida State Universities. The lil one enjoyed the idea of sneaking something in on the ride and displaying it while riding, any reason to ride it again was a good one in that lil brain. It worked pretty well, the cashier got a kick out of it; even showing it to a co-worker before letting us get out of there. We already had the wand from the previous trip so we didn’t need to carry too many trinkets and gifts this trip.
We rode everything we had missed the previous day, even the smaller ones we hadn’t planned on riding. I wanted to ride the Hulk roller coaster but the lil one was a bit short, we had to do the parent swap and ride it solo. It was still one hell of a rush! I would have rode it a few times had the lil one been begging to get on with it and hit the favorites on our way to the water rides that we had waited so patiently for.
This day being the last, for some reason I went a lot lighter on the pictures; I may have went heavier on the videos though, as I think about it. We were fully enjoying ourselves to the point of not wanting to stop and take pics; our plans were to leave shortly after lunch for the boring ride ahead of us.
As we made our way around the loop of rides we had ridden, we found ourselves staring at the entrance to the first soaker; Popeye’s and Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges. It wasn’t long before we were stepping aboard, trying to find the driest seat to start in and tucking the camera in the dry covered cubby hole in the middle. We were quickly shoved away from the safety of the dock to rush down the river and be soaked with waterfalls; not to mention and mean little kids standing on the bridge arming the water cannons aimed at our barge. The lil one squealed and tried to avoid the downpours and waves that seemed to be around every corner. You tried not to laugh at your neighbor knowing that at any moment with the right turn, you could be next to be laughed at as the cold water rushed over you. After this ride, the lil one was ready for the next one and looking for the quickest route to it on the map.
Just around the corner we found the Jurassic Park River Adventure, this one we had to lock everything up in a locker; you knew it was a good ride if you couldn’t carry anything on it. The lil one had started watching the movie but we decided after watching the first body being ripped in half that it was just a little too soon for this flick. The ride was awesome with a few spots that made you jump if you weren’t prepared. The very end of the ride received the epic response we were looking for, the gut wrenching screaming on the edge of your seat drop that totally soaked you; the lil one absolutely loved the thrill of the plunge. As we were exiting we heard the ever pressing question, “Can we ride it AGAIN?!?!?!”
Next on our list and the last of the water rides was Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls, the tallest of the plunges and the one that was most anticipated as the lil one watched them scream all the way to the bottom. The lines were moving relatively fast in comparison to the 2 hour wait times in the dead of summer, for this reason I didn’t mind taking a few days off from school to enjoy vacations during the off seasons. On this ride we all sat in a single file row, with the lil one in front, me in the middle and daddy holding down the anchor in the back. This one wound us around and around in circles and over small drops in the dark, uphill. Yes, I said uphill; through the windows we got a sneak peak of how high we were climbing, the lil one started getting nervous the higher we went. There was no getting off and turning back point, there was only hold onto to what you could and enjoy the adrenaline rush that was building within our brains. As we neared the top and saw a small waterfall ahead the lil said “Hold onto me”, I clutched the small shoulders in front of me as we went over the first fall. Soon enough I heard “HOLD ON TIGHTER!!” as the lil one saw the huge drop off in front of our hollowed log. I squeezed as hard as I thought I could without causing pain, wishing I could hold onto the bar in front of me but knowing that I was the rock and security as we plunged over the edge and got the full split second view of how far up we were before gravity drug us back to Earth into the frigid waters. We only thought we were soaked after the last two rides, the last plunge was definitely the best and wettest. I had to take the opportunity to find a photo pass person and get our drowned rat look recorded for future laughs. Luckily since me and daddy had been there 15+ some odd years ago, they added driers just outside of the rides; I never thought I would pay for hot air to be blown onto us but we did, just this once.
A bit drier and still floating on cloud nine we began to make our way to the gift shops at the front of the parks. This had been a wondrous vacation, as I’ve mentioned before; we may travel a lot, but it is mostly educational and budgeted. Never have we thrown money into the wind for a good time, but this was one birthday that ended up being magical and well worth it. Granted we were a week early in celebrating but this only meant that we got to do it big and then a second smaller family dinner on the day of the birthday, that made it extra special (or so we thought, but that is for a future tale). We wandered from shop to shop, knowing that we wouldn’t be back to Disney or Universal for a couple of years at least we made very smart lasting purchases as reminders. The lil one and I had made sensible clothing purchases that would last a year or two, and we splurged on a few 8 x 10’s printed for us; especially the one with our Roll Tide and FSU signs in Hogwarts. Because we had already gotten a pearl necklace and the SpongeBob jacket there wasn’t much left that the lil one wanted, only as many memories as we could cram into the last hour at the park. It just so happened that in one of the gift shops, Spiderman was greeting guests and taking pictures. You know we had to have one last one. In classic Spidey form the lil one got the fingers just right, and Spiderman posed all around. The issue here was my cheap camera and being indoors, I could not get it to focus for the life of me; a new camera is going to be added to my wish list for a future extravagant selfish purchase.
We made our way out to the truck, and out of the gates; waving a sorrowful goodbye to one of the most rushed but happy places on Earth. I say rushed because it is just a bit expensive for my blood most of the time to stay 10 days, the needed time to actually see and do everything within all of the parks. I’m still hanging on to the dream of hitting the lottery and living nearby one day. I’m holding my breath and waiting patiently on this to happen; NOT! But one can dream can’t we? We stopped at the first available gas station that had diesel, after having to push Ol’ Blue on the last trip from Disney a couple of years back we had definitely learned our lesson; fill’er up when you can. This trip thankfully was uneventful, no flat tires or any unexpected emergencies that seem to hit us at the worst possible time. We stopped and had dinner on the road and made it home just a little past bedtime. The vacation bliss soon ended when we remembered that we were to move in just a couple of days to the new job/town in a new state. We were slowly adding them one by one to our USA sticker map to show where we had been.
Until next time……
There are seven days in a week and 'Someday' isn't one of them!
There are seven days in a week and 'Someday' isn't one of them!