Florida parklife (and breaking the rules)

Of all the many fun-filled, wallet-emptying attractions that Orlando has to offer, there were two my boys really wanted to visit: Legoland and Titanic: The Experience.

The latter was unsinkably brilliant, and I really recommend it; the former, we didn’t do, because they’d literally just been to Legoland in Windsor. But, kids, they have a short memory, don’t they?

Obviously, you can’t bring children to Florida and not take them to Disneyland, so we knocked out Animal Kingdom, and, because we used to live near Orlando and always enjoyed SeaWorld, we spent a day there, too. And it was here that Son1 experienced his first white-knuckle rollercoaster – completely by accident.

SeaWorld was heaving with visitors, and after deciding we didn’t fancy waiting 90 minutes to see some penguins (albeit in a whirly saucer thingy), we bankrupted ourselves further by purchasing two fast-passes.

"It's only gentle. Really!"

“It’s only gentle. Really!”

We wandered over to the famous Kraken rollercoaster (guess what? No queue anyway! You should have seen DH’s face) and went to the fast-pass entrance, where we were told there was a short delay as the ride was experiencing a technical fault.

The staff were distracted. All no more than college age, they were busy testing the floorless, sea serpent coaster and not paying the waiting visitors much attention. So, when it was ready to go again, Son1 and I walked on and took our seats.

For a panic-stricken moment, I felt like the worst parent ever, because just as the ride was unleashed, Son1 decided he wanted to get off. “You can’t,” I hissed, imagining the scene I’d have to create to stop the ride mid-roll. “It’s very gentle,” I lied.

He went quiet, and the rollercoaster hurtled round at break-neck speed, flinging us down a 144-foot drop, through two loops, a dive loop, a zero-G roll, a cobra roll and a corkscrew.

“You okay?” I asked as we clamboured off, clutching each other’s hand and wondering which way was up.

“Yesssss!” he replied, eyes shining. “Can we go again, pleeeeeease!”

A little later, DH took him back, only to reappear shortly afterwards with a disappointed Son1 – who, this time, had been turned away by more-attentive staff for being quite a bit too short.



About Circles in the Sand

Sun worshiper, journalist, mother, pilot's wife and distracted housewife living in the land of glitz and sand
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3 Responses to Florida parklife (and breaking the rules)

  1. I have yet to pluck up the courage for Kraken, despite being perfectly happy to go on Manta (which I think is supposed to be more white knuckly than Kraken), but we did visit the penguins. What a totally underwhelming experience it was. We kept an eye on the queues during the day and finally went about half an hour before the park shut and only had to wait 15 minutes. I am sooooooooo glad we didn’t wait a moment longer than that because it was really poor. The only good bit was seeing the penguins at the end, but because we were wearing shorts and t shirts and the temperature was appropriate for the Antarctic, we didn’t hang about for long. In fact, I don’t think we were encouraged to spend long looking at them before we were moved along to a slightly warmer underwater viewing area. Apparently there is no other way to see the penguins other than joining the queue, although you can always do the walk through rather than the ride, but not without joining the huge queue. We much preferred the old system of viewing them either from the moving walkway or just standing in the building and looking at them.

    • I’m seriously impressed that you went on Manta! I didn’t pluck up the courage to go on that one! It did look worse than Kraken! And I agree, the Antarctica ride was really disappointing. The first time, we picked the ‘mild’ option, which I almost fell asleep on – so we went back to see if the ‘wild’ option was any better. Not much! I read somewhere that the cold is a deliberate tactic for keeping the crowds moving along – and I also heard that when it first opened, the queue was four hours long!!!!

      • We were at SeaWorld a couple of years ago just before Manta was officially opened. They were having ‘soft’ openings and the day we were there was a staff day (risk your staff and their families before you let the public loose on the ride!). As we were walking towards the park exit, just before it closed for the night, we noticed a sign which said the ride was available for the public. I decided that as we were on our way out anyway, if I felt ill after it, my day wouldn’t be ruined, so decided to take the plunge! It was great – I kept my eyes open the whole way and coped fine with the twists and turns and 360 degree loops. I think it’s because you are ‘flying’ that I found it fine. It’s very thrilling, and occasionally my heart was in my mouth, but on the whole I’d recommend it.
        Four hours for the penguins?? Good grief!!

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