Spring Break, Sea World, and IOA, 2/27-3/4

Associated parks:

Spring break was this past week (yes, it started in February, for whatever reason), and a friend of mine’s parents, who are members of the Disney Vacation Club, offered four of us a room at the Saratoga Springs Resort Sunday Feb. 26 through Friday, March 4, which of course we could not decline. So while we were down there we decided to do a day at Sea World and a day at Islands Of Adventure. It had been years since I’d been to Florida (about 12 to be exact), so much had changed since my last visit.

Went to Sea World on Tuesday. It’s a nice place, about the way I remembered it being when I was 10. All the shows are good, especially the Sea Otter show, which is hilarious. The biggest additions since my last visit were Kraken and Journey To Atlantis.

Kraken was my first floorless. Short wait, about 15 minutes for the front with 1-train operation, but the ops were slow and not moving as efficiently as I would have liked. The ride itself was great, the first half felt like a typical B&M, the second half had some cool tunnels and trench work. One ride in the front, another later in the back, decided I liked the back better.

Journey To Atlantis is fun, but wasn’t as well done to me as it could have been. It felt like a lot of things strung together that wasn’t really a clear story. The thing that sets it apart is the surprise roller coaster ending. The group I was with had no idea it was coming, so it was cool to see the surprise on their face when there was another curving roller coaster drop at the end of the ride. 1 ride for the day since it was a little chilly outside.

We hit Islands Of Adventure on Wednesday. Arrived at the park around 10, parked, and made our way to the gates and found the park not crowded at all. This was my first time at IOA, and I was blown away. The intense detail of each island really stood out, especially impressive to me were Jurassic Park and Seuss Landing. It was hands down the most fun park to walk through that I’ve ever been to.

Started the morning with a ride on Hulk. I really liked this coaster, the launch was a refreshing difference from the typical B&M. Theming in the queue was great, and ride layout was also cool. 1 ride in the front, two more in the back later.

From there, moved on to Dr. Doom’s Fear Fall. Not as tall as Cedar Point’s Power Tower, but easily more fun. What was equally as fun was standing in the line and watching some smaller children’s faces as the chamber doors opened and they stared the ride in the face. One kid’s eyes got really wide as he walked in, and then he darted back out and ran out the door. Funny to watch. Good ride too, 3 rides in all.

The Amazing Adventures Of Spider-Man was next. I had read a good deal about Spidey and was anxious to see if the ride lived up to the hype it had been given. Here too I was floored by the way that the whole ride came together and was more than just a 3D motion simulator. This is an absolutely amazing ride and one of my favorite rides ever. Not to be missed by anyone, 3 rides in all.

Decided to save Dudley Do-Right and Jurassic Park for later in the day when it was hopefully a little warmer, and headed around to Dueling Dragons. The castle leading up to the ride was HUGE. I had no idea it was that big. I was glad I didn’t actually have to wait in the entire line, because the castle just kept going and going and going. It looked really cool though, well done. Took a front seat ride on each dragon, and returned later for a back seat ride. Each ride was about the same to me, but Fire had a slight edge over Ice. The fly-bys were cool, but overall I thought that it was a somewhat average invert. Without the fly-bys and incredibly detailed theming, there wouldn’t have been a whole lot to them.

Headed back around to take a ride on Jurassic Park before lunch. Some of the dinosaurs were being redone and thus were not visible on the ride. The ending was fairly predictable, but nonetheless Jurassic Park was way above any river ride I’ve ever been on. 1 ride.

After a lunch at the JP discovery center, we moved on around and took a spin on The Cat In The Hat. It was like riding It’s A Small World meets a Tim Burton movie. A neat ride, but only 1 ride was necessary.

Headed back up to Lost Continent to check out the Poseidon’s Temple tour. Neat show, especially the water vortex that you walk through in the middle of the tour. The final room took me by surprise as well.

After that, it was time for Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls. Once again, the theming made it the best flume ride I’ve been on. The final drop was also really neat also. Was hoping not to get too wet since it was about 60 out, and succeeded in staying relatively dry until we got squirted by people standing on the bridge and went from relatively dry to soaked really quickly. Still a fun ride.

Beyond that, the rest of the day was spent getting re-rides and exploring. IOA is an amazingly beautiful park, one I would love to visit again sometime. The detail and theming of each area made it one of my favorite parks.

Was hoping to spend a night at CityWalk, but unfortunately didn’t get to see how the nightlife was in that area. We did spend several nights at Downtown Disney and Pleasure Island since it was just across the lake from where we were staying, and Pleasure Island is a nice place. The resort was very nice as well. All in all, a great spring break trip, hopefully it won’t be 12 years before I get to head back to Orlando again.

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it." - Ferris Bueller

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