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Unread 23 Jan 20, 12:34 AM  
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DIBB Villa Reviews: 1
Team Groves are Florida Bound, October 2017 - Day 18

Day 18 - October 2017

Islands of Adventure

We were up at 8am today and managed to be leaving the villa at 8.30. Its a miracle!

We were going to Islands of adventure today. It was sad as we knew this would be the last visit on this trip and wed had so much fun here. This was the park Simon and I used to visit the most before we had kids, so we feel really at home there. And its always been a firm favourite with our kids too.

On the agenda today was mainly meeting characters that the kids hadnt seen yet. There were also a few rides they wanted to get done and I wanted one more frozen butterbeer!

We parked up and got into the park at about 9.20ish.
First up I was taking Grayson onto the Spider-Man ride. He hadnt been on it yet and I knew hed love it. But equally I knew Miley would not like it, so Simon took her around to the water canons next to the rapids so that they could shoot people with water!
Grayson and I didnt wait long to get onto the Spider-Man ride, it was basically a walk on. The other people in our car were looking at Grayson, as he looked SO small, I think they were concerned hed be scared. But part way through the ride they were laughing and smiling with him as he screamed and laughed and pointed at everything that was happening!
As predicted he really enjoyed the ride so I was glad we made it on.
We then walked around to meet Simon and Miley (well I walked - Grayson ran as fast as he could!)
We then hung out around by the water rides and the kids and Simon enjoyed soaking people with water guns. They never seem to get bored of this! Anyone elses family the same?

We decided to do a lap of the park and so we moved on through Jurassic Park, soaking up the atmosphere and all the details.
We entered Hogsmeade for the last time this trip... sob!
We went on the Flying Hippogriph as this is one of the kids favourite rides. I love seeing how happy they are when we go on this ride. Grayson screams and laughs and shouts with complete abandon and Miley literally screams non stop, she will scream and then take a breath and scream and take a breath and scream, its so funny!

After we bought a couple of frozen butterbeers to share. Yum! Oh how I miss these!

We strolled through Hogsmeade again trying to soak it all up.

We stopped off at the Mystic Fountain as this is again one of our families favourite things to do in the park.

So now we had characters, characters, characters to meet! We headed into Seuss Landings and first up was Sam I Am and the Lorax. The kids dont know Sam I Am, but they went up to meet him as they didnt want to upset him!

And they met the Lorax as they love that film, as do we all. They were both good meets and both characters made a big effort for the kids and they loved their autograph pages in the kids books. The Universal characters are always very excited about their personalised autograph pages!

Up next was the Grinch. This was one of the very best meets we had EVER! He was hilarious. He kept wiping the kids autograph books under his armpit, then he wiped them on his bum. He threw the sharpie pen on the floor and then when he handed the books back to the kids he actually dropped them on the floor before the kids could take them.

Both Miley and Grayson were in stitches. Miley actually fell over at one point because she was laughing so much.
He was amazing and its something the kids still talk about now.
Then when they posed for a photo he was covering their faces and just messing around. It was a huge highlight from the holiday for all of us.

We were stood just outside after wed finished, just getting the books sorted out etc and we saw that the Grinch was hiding just inside the door. Another family was walking inside, the kids and the dad infront and the mum was slightly behind, looking at a map. As they walked through the door the Grinch jumped out at her and she screamed her head off! It was SO funny! What was even funnier was the womans husband was in fits of laughter too! Dont worry, the woman saw the funny side too, although Im sure she was a bit embarrassed about the screaming!
So so funny.

The last characters in this area were Cat in the Hat and Thing 1 and Thing 2. We found it tricky getting their books signed by three different characters all in one meet, it was logistically difficult and Simon and I were feeling the time pressure as there were people waiting behind us. But the kids were oblivious and enjoyed the whole thing.

So with all the characters in this section done and dusted we did a couple of the rides.
Cat in the Hat was first which the kids enjoy, then we did the High in the Sky trolley ride. This was a first for us. It did have some nice views, but its not something Id be rushing back to. Although Im sure well end up on it again on our next trip.
We also did One Fish, Two Foag, Red Fish, Blue Fish. Oh my anxiety on this ride is high! I get so tense about suddenly getting hit by a cold jet of water! I dont know why as I dont mind water rides. I think its the not knowing that stresses me out!

Next up was Marvel Super hero Island to meet some more characters as the kids wanted their books filled as much as possible!
I know some people dont like meeting the characters, but seeing how much joy it brings my kids makes it all worth it. And they are always so proud of their autograph books and the characters normally are excited to have their own pages.
Miley and I popped to the restrooms so she could change into the Captain America dress Id made for her.

The first ones we came across were rogue and storm. Miley took a real shine to Rogue on our trip in 2016 and so she was very excited to see her again. I spoke to Rogue and said that we had seen her the year prior and miley had loved meeting her and had been SO excited to see her again and that shed been Mileys favourite meet and greet. She made such a big fuss of her and spoke to her in such a lovely way even though Miley was basically silent the whole time! It was such a lovely moment and a real highlight for all of us.

When we were done we stood over to the side and were putting the books away and deciding who to see next. We werent paying attention and then suddenly Rogue appeared next to Miley and she spoke to her quietly and then gave her the biggest hug. It was so sweet. Her and storm had finished their meet and greets and were going in for a break and shed seen Miley and decided to give her an extra cuddle. It was so lovely and Miley was literally beside herself with excitement and pride that Rogue had made the extra effort to come and see her again.
Pure magic.

When we were done we joined the queue for Wolverine. The kids havent met him before but they really like the X-men films so they were excited and thought he was funny.

The characters had all gone for breaks now so we had a look around a few of the shops and then joined the queue for Captain America. He is one of the most popular characters and so his queue builds up before he even comes outside, so its worth joining in advance. There are no signs up, but you can ask staff members where it is.
Now at some point in the 15 minutes we were waiting Grayson had a huge tantrum! I believe it was about some toys he wanted, but I cant be 100% sure. He refused to cooperate at all with anything and so Simon and he ended up leaving the queue. I stayed with miley but honestly it was all a bit ruined as Miley had been effected by Graysons tantrum and whilst she is fine meeting characters alone, this was different as shed been planning on meeting Captain America with Grayson and then suddenly she was alone and both me and Simon had gotten frustrated with Grayson which she also finds upsetting. So it was all a bit stressful and as we went up to meet Captain America Miley just wasnt feeling it and you can see in the photos how unhappy she was. Its a shame as both of them had been looking forward to seeing him.

Whilst wed been seeing Captain America Simon had helped Grayson calm down. Grayson is very much in the moment. He feels what he feels and processes it and then its done. Unfortunately the rest of us dont find it as easy. So we all felt a bit frazzled and strung out and Grayson was back to his usual cheery, charming self! Super!

Anyway, onwards and upwards as there were more characters to meet!
Cyclops was up next, He was fab again and the kids really enjoyed the meet and greet.
He crouched down next to the kids so they were all on the same level, its a really small thing but it makes such a big difference to them and means they can interact better. They chatted away. Grayson was staring at Cyclops in awe the whole time!

He gave them hugs and high fives and was messing around with them pulling his hand away before they could hit it. Grayson loved this and was jumping around all over the place. It was a big hit.

We decided that we were going to leave the park now as wed done everything the kids had wanted to do and we wanted to get lunch before going to Disney Springs for a while.

As we were getting ready to leave Miley saw that Storm and Rogue were out again and she begged to meet Rogue one more time! Grayson didnt want to, so Simon took him into the superhero shop and me and Miley joined the short queue. We were right at the end of the queue and I explained to Miley we might not get to meet them, I wanted to prepare her just incase. We were very lucky though and did make it up in time. They both recognised Miley (which she loved!) and made a big fuss. She loved every second of meeting them both by herself and Rogue is still her favourite superhero! Shes asked me to make her a Rogue themed dress for our next trip.

It was a lovely way for us to end our visit to Islands of Adventure and I know Ive said it before but the character interaction in Islands of Adventure has always been amazing in our experience.

We left the park at 12.40 with two very happy kids. I really do love this park and so was sad to be saying goodbye. At the time we were planning on going back in April 2019, so the thought of us being back in 18 months was sustaining me. That trip didnt happen in the end and so I really am feeling desperate to get back!

Anyway, we walked out of the park, talking about what wed gotten done and what the kids enjoyed the most.

We strolled around to city walk for some lunch. There was only one place Simon and I wanted to go today, the Chocolate Emporium. Our lunch here earlier in the holiday had been amazing and so we we wanted to go again before returning home.
We were seated almost immediately upstairs at a table in the main area.
I ordered the cheese flatbread again and the same caramel milkshake. Simon had a burger again and the kids had chicken strips. They also had another strawberry themed milkshake.

The food was all a huge hit again and we love the atmosphere and theming in the restaurant. At one point the owner Penelope came around meeting people with her robot friend Jacques. The kids loved this. She said she was pleased we were all enjoying our lunch and asked the kids if there was anything they could do to make it better. Grayson said they should give a pot of melted chocolate with the chicken strips! They thought that was very funny.

We decided to try one of the ice cream desserts as well. But we just ordered one between us as we were already pretty full.
It was a caramel sundae and was delicious!
We really enjoyed our lunch here again and will definitely go back again next time.

We were done and walking through city walk at 2pm. We took our time and tried to take in all of the details and atmosphere.

So we were done with Universal for this trip. It had been a blast and I dont think well ever be bored of these parks.

We loaded the kids into the car and headed for Disney Springs.
As we drove into the parking garage you could see the partly demolished DisneyQuest. Seeing buildings in that state always makes me feel sad. I dont know why. It just feels so wrong.

First up was the World of Disney to get some bits and pieces I definitely wanted. A few toys, some photo frames, a couple of mugs etc etc. I could spend a whole day in this shop I think.

The kids had bubble wands and Miley was having a whale of a time with hers. Grayson fell asleep in the stroller at this point so we had a bit of peace!

We wanted to have a look around the new part of Disney Springs, just to be nosey really. So we walked that way and did lots of window shopping.

We popped in and out of a few shops but didnt buy anything.
We really liked the new parts, it was all so pretty and open and I love that some of it is undercover as its nice to have a mini break from the sunshine sometimes.

It was 4.30 by the time we decided to leave, so we decided on TGIs for dinner and stopped in there on the way back to the villa.
TGIs is consistently one of our favourite places to eat and we all enjoy it.
We dont order the kids meals though, we ordered them a selection of side dishes and starters to share which they much prefer.

After we were all suitably full and exhausted we returned to the villa and started the nightly battle of getting our kids to actually go to sleep. Fun.

I also started to think about having to pack. Luckily all of our clothes were lovely and clean as id been throwing a load into the washer each morning before we left the villa. But the thought of having to squeeze everything into our suitcases was not appealing! And it meant the holiday was almost over!
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