Jessica's Adventures

From the UK to Thailand, from Spain to America. Come and take a peek inside my blog and follow me through all my travels and adventures.

Christmas lights at Sea World

Our visit to SeaWorld was one of the highlights of out 2011 holiday to Orlando. Visiting at Christmas was pretty cool as we got to see all the special seasonal shows and the amazing lights.

Come and meet the Disney Stars at the Magic Kingdom

Disney's Magic Kingdom is one of four main theme parks on the resort and was the first on we visited. As you travel through each land you can't help but be amazed by this enchanting park.

There is so much to see and do at Flamingo Land

Flamingo Land is one of the UK's most visited and popular theme parks and zoos. There is something for everyone here, from white knuckle rides to small children's rides.

Photo time with Lightning McQueen

As you travel through the Disney World parks you never know who you will meet.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Wet'n Wild Water Park

The Wet'n Wild water park is part of the Universal which owns Universal Studios and Island of Adventure. It is situated on the crossroads of International Drive and Universal Boulevard which just happen to be where out hotel was situated.
Surf Lagoon
This water park was included on out 14 day park entrance ticked so it would have been silly not to visit. The previous year we visited Aquatica water park, which is part of Sea World, so it would be good to compare the two.

The first few days in Orlando was only moderately warm weather wise, so we waited until it warmed up prior to visiting. However we are told if the weather is cold the water is actually warmed up here, but I think this is the case for other parks of this nature too.

The attractions the park has to offer are similar to those of other water parks. We spent most of our time at Blastaway Beach and Surf Lagoon with occasional ride on Bubba Tub.

Blastaway Beach is designed for younger children in mind, just like Jessica. There are a maze of slides, splash pools, water soakers, ladders, water jets, cannons and waterfalls, everything to keep the youngster amused.

Surf Lagoon is a beach type pool which starts at zero depth and extends to 6ft deep. Every so often the siren sounds to denote the waves are coming, this has everyone making their way into the water. The pool is surrounded by a sun deck with loungers, tables and chairs so you can relax when your not enjoying the lagoon.

The Bubba Tub is a huge slide with a three large dips as you descend to the bottom. Once you've climbed the six flights of stairs you simple grab one of the large inflatable tubes, climb inside it, grab the handles and you are on your way down to the pool at the bottom.

There are many other attractions in the park to suit all types of thrill seekers and as with all water parks there are lots of life guards to ensure everyone is safe.
Blastaway Beach
Although there isn't a lot to choose between Aquatica and Wet'n Wild, we still preferred Aquatica but both parks are great fun with loads to do, and both are highly recommended.


Orlando Water Rides cont....

Splash Mountain (Magic Kingdom)
Splash Mountain
This was our first water ride in any of the theme parks in Orlando. Splash Mountain is right next to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in the section known as Frontier land which is influenced by the wild west. The ride takes it theme 'Brer Rabbit and the Tar baby' storyline and is built into a large mountain. We only went on the ride because the waiting time was very short, but ended up going on it countless times.

The vehicle used on Splash Mountain was a long log flume, with riders sitting in pairs. We discovered the further forward you sat, the wetter you got, as the water would splash over the front of the flume.
We're about to get wet
Splash Mountain features many inclines & descents and twists & turns, sometimes in darkness and at great speed as it travels in and out of the mountain. The steepest drop takes place right in front of the viewing area, where people can take photos of the flume as it plunges right in front of them. As you plunge down there is a fixed camera about half way down to capture the horror on peoples face. The photos can be viewed and purchased when you exit the ride, many people just took a quick snap of them selves on the overhead monitors.

Kali River Rapids (Animal Kingdom)
Kali River Rapids
This was one of the gentler water rides in the theme parks, however you could still get soaked, especially if you were sitting in the wrong seat. It is situated in the 'Asia' section of the Animal Kingdom. Again the queues were relatively short as we made our way to the boarding area and the raft with virtually no delay.

The Animal Kingdom focuses on conservation quite heavily and this ride is no different as it highlights the illegal logging trade and the adverse effect it is having on the environment.

The ride begins with a short journey up a ramp before reaching the main river. Once on your way there are geysers, waterfalls with the sound of various animals and birds in the background. This tranquil setting soon changes as the sound of chainsaws drown everything out. The lush vegetation is replaced by burning wood and charred tree stumps. The ride then plunges down a steep ramp into the river below, before tossing and turning in the white water rapids.

As the ride reaches it climax you a squirted by guests using water guns as you pass underneath a wooden bridge.

Journey to Atlantis (SeaWorld)
Journey to Atlantis
The final water ride we went on was at Sea World and was aptly called Journey to Atlantis. The boats used for this ride are in fact boats with wheels on the bottom. The ride starts with a siren beckoning you into the city temple, after a while the boat exits the temple. Soon emerge outside the temple as we face a steep drop, which plunges into the water below, the boat makes a right turn in front of the viewing gallery with people squirting water cannons at the passengers as they pass by.


After another short drop we got absolutely soaked, as were sat at the front of the boat. We then headed up another ramp, returning into semi darkness. As we wind our way through the tunnels the ride speeds up as it takes on a roller coaster form on wheels. Finally it plunges down into another pool and after a short while we arrive back at the start where we get out, all soggy and wet.

Orlando Water Rides

During our 2012 holiday in Orlando we got our first taste of the various water rides on offer at the theme parks.

As we walked passed the entrance to Splash Mountain in the Magic Kingdom the wait time for the queue was 5 mins, so we decided to give it a whirl. About 10 minutes later Jessica was hooked and the water rides at the various theme parks became a big part of our holiday this year.

Jurassic Park River Adventure (Island of Adventure)
The entrance to the River Adventure
As you probably guessed this is a dinosaur themed ride, in keeping with the Jurassic Park movies. Like most of the water rides, the wait times were virtually non existent, you could virtually walk straight up to the boat and get in. This was surprising as it was the week leading up to Christmas and it was supposed to one of the busiest times of the year. Once you board the boat you are soon on your way, but beware! There is a hungry T-Rex on the loose. As you enter the park a pair of large gate open as the Jurassic Park theme music plays in the background.

First dino up is an Ultrasaurus, a huge plant eater, so no danger there we are informed. The next sighting are a couple of Psittacosaurus, I've never heard of them either. As we head deeper into the park there are a couple of Stagasaurus eating some plants and leaves. As we travel slowly through Hadrosaur cove these dinos emerge suddenly from under the water. Still no sign of the elusive T-Rex.

On to the raptor containment area. We go past a boat wreckage with two Compsognathus fighting over a blood stained shirt. As we push onward a large crate can be seen above, inside it sounds like a snarling raptor and it nearlly falls onto the boat.

We enter a dark tunnel with a steep climb, we can just make out some raptors moving at the side of the boat. As the boat continues on through the darkness, several Dilophosaurus are jumping up a spitting venom (water actually) at the passengers.


Whats that up ahead, it looks like a large carnivore, Yes its the T-Rex, roaring and snarling at us. Just as we approach him he lunges downward to take a bite, just then the boat plunges down a near vertical drop before splashing into the water below. Nearly everyone gets wet, however after several goes on this ride we figured out the further forward you sit, the wetter you get.


Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls (Island of Adventure)
Duddly Do-Rights Ripsaw Falls
From a spectators viewpoint this has to be one of the most dramatic water rides as the flume plunges down through a shack and then some rapids. As you make your way to the ride entrance you notice the sign 'You will get wet, possibly soaked'. Another thing you notice are the people dryers adjacent to the ride. I guess we really are going to get soaked on this ride.

The walk to the flume seems endless, maybe it seemed a long way as the queues were so short. Once we strapped ourselves into the flume we are soon on our way. The setting for the ride is the Canadian North Woods. Whats happened here is the villain Snidley Whiplash has kidnapped the maiden Nell Fenwick and it's up to our hero Duddly Do-Right to rescue Nell and save the day.

As the ride slowly twists and turns and goes up and down the story gradually unfolds with the predicable outcome, with Duddly Do-Right saving Nell. The climax of the ride is the steep drop into to the shack full of explosives and through the rapids as it reaches 45mph (see picture above).

The ride then heads back to the start (with us absolutely wet through). The spectators also have had chance to squirt you with water cannons, as you pass under the final bridge back to the boarding area.

Popeye & Bluto's Bilge Rat Barges (Island of Adventure)



Just a stones throw away from Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls in the Toon Lagoon area of the park, this is the final water ride in the Island of Adventure. Once again the wait times were very short as we made our way to the raft. However the queues did get progressively longer during the afternoon period when it got very hot.

Once you have strapped yourself in you are on your way. This ride is very similar to the Kali River Rapids ride in Disney's Animal Kingdom. The raft used for this ride is very similar, however this ride is quite a bit faster and bumpier as the raft churns and bounces it way through the white water rapids.

Of all the water rides we went on during this holiday, we probably got wetter on this one than any other, maybe were we just unlucky, or lucky. It's quite amusing watching people hopelessly trying to remain dry as the water splashes into the raft. Many people buy a poncho for these type of rides to keep themselves dry, but as the weather was nice and warm most of the time we didn't bother with them, as it didn't take long to dry out.

The ride is of course based on Popeye, Bluto and Olive Oil, the highlight being a large 18ft Octopus Grotto with 10 tentacles.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Island of Adventure

Island of Adventure is part of Universal, which also includes Universal Studios, City Walk and Wet'n Wild.
This park is more ride orientated than Universal Studios and quickly became one of our favourite theme parks in Orlando.


The park is split into six themed lands:

  • Marvel Super Hero Island
  • Toon Lagoon
  • Jurassic Park
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • The Lost Continent
  • Seuss Landing

Click to enlarge images below



Monday, 28 January 2013

Universal Studios

Universal Studios was our first stop on our Christmas 2012 holiday. As we missed it out the previous year we were really looking forward to visiting this time around. We were lucky that it was only 15 minutes walk from the hotel, however it took about an hour as we headed off down the wrong road. Anyway we were soon put on the right direction as we finally reached the entrance.


Like all theme parks there is a bag inspection prior to entering the park. Universal Studios is divided into three section, City Walk (which is free to enter), Island of Adventure and Universal Studios. As the weather was a bit cool and drizzly we decided on Universal Studios and we would go to Island of Adventure later on, during the holiday, hoping the weather would improve as it is full of rides.



Universal Studios is split into six themed areas, these are:

Production Central - This area is close to the park entrance and includes Shrek 4D, which is a short move and Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket which is a large roller coaster. It also includes the new Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride which is a fast moving 3D adventure.

New York - The rides here include Revenge of the Mummy and Twister, which we skipped due to the height restrictions. One of the highlights of New York is the Blue Brothers Holiday Show. The Blues Brothers can often be seen driving around the park in their car.

San Francisco - There are three attractions in San Francisco - Beetle Juices Graveyard, Fear Factor and Disaster.

World Expo - This section seemed to very popular and is home to the Men in Black ride where you can test your alien zapping skills. Another favourite attraction in this section is the Simpsons Ride.

Woody Woodpeckers Kidzone - Tucked away in its own corner of the park, this was Jessica's favourite section and we seemed to spend ages here as it was aimed at younger children. there is the Woody roller coaster and The Barney holiday song and dance show. There are also a couple of interactive play areas which include water slides, climbing apparatus, swings and more, everything to keep the youngsters entertained.

Hollywood - The final section in Universal is Hollywood, home to the Terminator 3D ride and the Horror Make-up show. We also saw quite a few stars here including Scooby Doo, Marilyn Monroe, Betty Boop & Shrek.

As you make you way through the park there are numerous street shows. Our particular favorites we the Spongebob Squarepants and the Despicable Me shows, both drawing are large gallery of people. Pictures of these two shows are in the gallery at the bottom of the page.

There were also two large parades at Universal Studios:

Universal Superstar Parade - This parade includes Dore the Explora, Despicable Me & the Minions and Spongbob Squarepants.

Macy's Holiday Parade - This parade features lots of large inflatable balloons and animals. It also included many family favourites including Shrek, Scooby Doo, The Simpsons, Betty Boop, Woody Woodpecker and of course as it was Christmas, Santa put in an appearance.


Click to enlarge images below