Tuesday, May 6, 2008
This weekend Josh, Lauren, Jenna, and I went to Aquatica in Orlando. Although they need a lot of improvements to make the park great, we had a blast. When we first arrived the traffic getting in was just awful. There is one lane in all directions getting into the park. We were in the one right-hand-turn lane and it took us about 45 minutes to get in. The parking lot was already in overflow by time we got there which was like 10:45am. Even though we didn't get preferred parking it was not all that bad. It was a very short walk to the park. We had print outs to get our new season passes so the line at the kiosk was very quick. The other line was ridiculous. Once we got into the park we wanted to get a locker but the line for the first section of lockers made us want to turn around and leave it was so bad. So we got a map to find another section and walked to the back of the park. We stopped by the back lockers to get some food at the Mango Market. The food there was like airport prices, just absurd. But they did have Bud Light Lime which made it all seem a little better. That beer is delicious. The food was ok, not really anything to brag about. After that we headed to the lockers and there wasn't a single key in any of the doors so we figured they were all sold out. We turn around to head back to the front to go to a different section of lockers. As we were walking we went by the original section and the line had died down. We get in line and come to find out there's a desk you have to buy your key at. So we bought our key which was 8 friggin dollars and began searching for our door. After much searching by both couples we find out that you have to walk to the other lockers throughout the park. What a pain. So we're finally ready to go on a ride. We're close to the Dolphin Plunge so we get in line. Omg what a nightmare. It took us about two hours to get through the line. This ride is a definite pass. Do not waste your time. If you do want to rough it out cause you don't believe me, there is a section of the line where you're gonna think "Someone in front of me puked and/or crapped in their swimsuit." That's not the case. There's a large fish tank below one of the bridges that is part of the Loggerhead Lane lazy river that needs to be removed for sure. You will see the dolphins while in line that look strangely like shamoos. We were calling them sholphins the whole time. Once you go down the slide the part you waited for this entire time, seeing the dolphins while going down the slide, will not happen. It's not that they're not there cause I'm sure they were, it's that the slide is angled such during that part that you get a fire-hose like spray of water to the face so you can't see anything no matter how hard you try. All four of us had the same thing happen so it's not just me saying this. Since we were so incredibly thirsty after standing in that line for so long we stopped and I grabbed a water and everyone else grabbed a beer. Then we headed over to the Whanau Way where you grab either an individual or double inner tube and ride it down a twisting water slide. We figured we were in for another long wait so we got in line. Nope, only took maybe 10 minutes so of course Lauren and Jenna weren't done with their beers yet. They both handed them to me to finish off, which was not a good idea cause I now had a full bottle of water and about a full beer sittin' in my stomach. It didn't end how I thought it was going to but my stomach definitely hurt. So up at the top another planning mishap by Anheuser is that there are no trash cans at the top, and we obviously couldn't go down the slide with our beer bottles. So we look around and sure enough there is a pile of bottles in the corner that we added ours to. Jenna and I get on our double inner tube and start down the slide. We notice a pattern forming. Pitch black tunnels in the beginning which you think would be fun but they're more of a nuisance because you don't know which way to lean in the tunnel. We come out the bottom to two large jumps which were fun. But then we hit the water. The front end of the tube goes down into the water and so does Jenna. I did not. I'm still up on the slide for a split second longer so Jenna is slowed down by the water and I come flying into the back of her head and flip and twist like a train wreck at sea. Jenna loses her sunglasses and starts lookin for them when she comes up. The life guard starts yelling at her to "Get Out Of The Water!" She does but tells her she lost her sunglasses. The lady is really rude and basically says "oh well." We stand there and wait for another life guard to come over. He tells us that were gonna have to go to the main gate and file a report. We move on and decide we will file the report as we are leaving the park. We go to the Loggerhead Lane lazy river and grab a double inner tube per couple and go around a couple times. Lazy rivers are always enjoyable. We then head over to the Walhalla Wave and HooRoo Run ride. The line took about 30 minutes which wasn't too bad. We get to the top and we're all on the HooRoo Run side which is a straight slide that has a few jumps in it. We all four wanted to get on one tube and the guy told us "No." So, we looked over to the other side where Walhalla Wave was and saw four people getting on one tube. We asked if we could just cut over and he said that was fine. So, we hop the line and all get in one raft. We start down the slide and guess what? Another pitch black tube where we have no idea what's going on. But unlike before where we were just annoyed that we didn't know which way to lean, it has now become a threat on our life. As the raft speeds down the tube and comes to the very sharp turns, it slides almost completely up the side of the wall. Josh and I are opposite each other, and Jenna and Lauren are opposite each other. Lauren is screaming bloody murder because she can feel how high up the side we are going. I have my hand up in front of me trying to block Josh or any other body that may come crashing into me at any moment. We were all terrified that someone's head was gonna come crashing into our own while not knowing from where because it was so dark. We come out of the darkness and there are still very sharp turns. I'm not sure being in the light was any better because you then see just how far up the side of the wall you're going and think to yourself "this thing is going to flip and it's gonna be a blood bath." Some how we made it to the bottom safely. We're all yelling at the life-guard "we almost died, that was horrible." He laughs. He thought we were just being over-reactive, but that was definitely a terrible experience. I highly suggest only 2 people on this ride. We didn't take a chance at the HooRoo Run because it was supposed to be even faster than this ride. Jenna and Lauren go to Roa's Rapids while Josh and I get in line for Taumata Racer. The girls didn't want to go on this because it had a 90 degree drop at the end and it was a face first only ride. As we're waiting in line and going up the many stairs with our rafts, I tell Josh "this is not gonna be good." I was not excited about going face first straight down a slide. I told him about a water park I had been to in Illinois that had a slide just like it, but you went on your butt. Then I remember the bumpy bottom after you come down the slide at 100mph. I tell him, we're gonna be on our stomachs and that bumpy part is gonna be a ball buster. We get to the top and they have lights next to each slide. They're all red and then turn green at the same time so that everyone can race down the slide on their foam raft. Well, what we didn't know is that the sensors we're broken. So we hear a girl's voice call out "Ready......Set.......GO!" and some people went. Both Josh and I were like "NO!!!!" Then we figured out it was the life-guard calling it out and that the lights weren't changing. We felt kinda dumb. We get up on our slides and are anticipating the countdown. I feel the butterflies in my stomach for many reasons. I hear GO! and take off down the slide. What do ya know? Pitch black tunnel. I come out of the tunnel and have less than a split second to realize I'm about to go straight down. I get to the bottom immediately and start to see stars. Bam! Bam! Bam! Sure enough my ball busting theory was proven correct. I get up and feel like I'm gonna vomit. Look over at Josh and muster out "I...told....you." We tell the next group that takes our rafts "wear a cup." We meet up with the girls and tell them that it's definitely lazy river time for awhile. So we all get in Roa's Rapids and this thing is awesome. It's a water jet propelled lazy river. We all grabbed life vests, put them on, and took off. It was so fast. Fantastic ride for many reasons including no line to get in. Just go. We went round and round several times and let Josh and I regain consciousness. We get out and as we're walking around we ask what time the park closed. 6pm the girl told us. It was already 4:30 so we said we would just head out to beat traffic. As we were walking out Josh asked an employee if we returned our key for our locker would we get a deposit back? No. I don't get this. Another bad planning at this park. What is my incentive to give my locker key back then? Why should I walk all the way over there when I paid $8 for it. So we now have permanent locker keys to Aquatica. Another complaint we had was that platinum passes get you nothing special at this park which is very disappointing. Overall this was a great trip and we really enjoyed ourselves. The lack of planning that went into the park is compensated by the fun you will have and the near-death experiences.