On Wednesday, March 9, 2022, I left for Florida at around 10:48 p.m. The first flight was about five hours, so I watched two movies, Ratatouille (2007) and Couples Retreat (2009). We had a layover in Los Angeles and that flight was about four hours. However, our gate was delayed due to bad weather, so my parents and I were stuck on the plane for about an hour and a half! Yay, fun times! After a really late start, we got McDonald’s for dinner and checked into our hotel, Magic Moment Resort & Kids Club, which was located in Kissimmee, Florida. By that point, it was Thursday, March 10, at night.
The hotel was decent, minus the ants and small bathroom. On the plus side, it had free parking and complimentary breakfast, which saved us a few bucks.
You know, the problem with moving from Hawaii to Florida is that I needed to pack light and fit everything into one checked luggage, a carry on bag, and my gray backpack I had with me on the plane. My backpack was so heavy that I felt like I was carrying stones on my back! Thankfully, I carried a much lighter and smaller backpack throughout the next few days at Universal Orlando Resort and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
The next day, Friday, March 11, my parents and I went to Universal Studios Florida, and we started off with a bang! Our first ride of the day was Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, which was this insane roller coaster that takes you straight up in the air and up and down and up and down. It was epic! The rest of the rides were pretty chill. I rode The Simpsons Ride, MEN IN BLACK: Alien Attack, and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. The highlight of the day was riding Transformers: The Ride 3D twice because of the single rider line.
The worst part of the day was waiting an hour and 15 minutes for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, and we were in the single rider line too, what the heck! It was cool that the ride was a coaster with video projections, but half of it was the characters talking to guests throughout the ride. I wouldn’t wait more than 30 to 40 minutes for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.
Because Revenge of the Mummy was closed and there weren’t many rides I was interested in at that park, my parents and I left Universal Studios Florida pretty early, like before 6:00 p.m. For dinner, we ate at Olive Garden and my seafood alfredo was delicious! Going back to the hotel early was just what we needed to get a good start on the next day.
On Saturday, March 12, my parents and I went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and man, it was raining hard for the first couple of hours in the park. It ended up being a really cold and busy day. The lines were extremely long, especially for Slinky Dog Dash and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Speaking of the latter, it was not a good day for Rise of the Resistance. It kept on breaking down throughout the day and it broke down at the worst possible time, which was when we got in line for Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. The line went from about 40 minutes to 75 minutes in such a short time.
My dad was pretty bummed we never got to ride Rise of the Resistance because he loves Star Wars and was looking forward to riding that attraction. But, it was still a fun day. We rode Alien Swirling Saucers, Toy Story Mania! (in Disneyland, it’s called Toy Story Midway Mania!), Smuggler’s Run, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway (which we’re getting in Disneyland, thank goodness), and rode Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith twice! We also saw a cute indoor show called For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration. The jokes were funny, and the hosts were energetic and really knew how to work a crowd!
We didn’t eat dinner until 10:00 p.m. because we left the park so late. We ate at a southern style place called Cracker Barrel, where I had fried shrimp with french fries, a biscuit, macaroni and cheese, and a hash brown casserole (I believe that’s what it was called). However, since we sat down 20-25 minutes before the restaurant’s closing time, my mom and I didn’t finish our food. On the bright side, the leftovers came in handy because I ate them for dinner during my first two nights of the Disney College Program. Since my dad was in a grumpy mood by the end of the night, I told him that we wouldn’t stay as late the next day. Well, that didn’t happen!
On Sunday, March 13, the day before I started my Disney College Program, my parents and I went to Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Because we left Disney’s Hollywood Studios during the park’s closing time, my parents and I slept in for a bit and we didn’t get to Islands of Adventure till 11:00 a.m. We started off the day by riding The Incredible Hulk Coaster. It was closed earlier due to the windy weather, but it opened back up when we just got to the park, so the wait time was short. However, word got out that the coaster was open again, so the wait time jumped from 20 minutes to 95 minutes in such a short time. It was worth it though, because that Hulk coaster was awesome! The loops and turns weren’t as intense as the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster, which my mom appreciated greatly.
After the Hulk coaster, it was still pretty chilly, so the wait times for the water rides were really short! I heard about a log flume ride called Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls through a YouTube video and I heard it was very similar to Splash Mountain. Since I won’t be getting my free park admission pass for a few weeks (or sooner), I thought that the Ripsaw Falls ride would be the perfect substitute. It indeed was the perfect substitute because it had an outdoors vibe with woodland creatures, small drops where riders get a little wet, and a big drop at the end where riders get soaking wet! My dad didn’t go on that one, but my mom and I enjoyed it.
Then, we went to another water ride, Jurassic Park River Adventure, which I call the dinosaur version of Jungle Cruise. California used to have this ride until they changed it to a Jurassic World themed ride in 2019. Afterwards, I rode an attraction that was on my theme park bucket list, Skull Island: Reign of Kong. Why was it on my bucket list? Because of a freaking large King Kong animatronic; that thing is even more frightening in person!
The next two attractions could not be topped, however. They were the Jurassic World VelociCoaster and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. Those attractions were also on my theme park bucket list and for good reasons. The VelociCoaster is such a thrilling roller coaster, but it didn’t hurt my neck at all. My dad loved that coaster and he said it was his favorite ride throughout the entire trip. As for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, I just thought it was cool riding a motorbike, haha!
We would’ve left the park at about 8:00 to 8:30 p.m. if it weren’t for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. But it was only a 25 minute wait time, so I couldn’t resist it because I love that ride! I think it’s better than the Escape from Gringotts ride I went on two days previously. Anyways, because I wanted to go on one more ride, we didn’t leave the park until about 9:30 to 9:45 p.m., which was later than the previous day. For dinner, I really wanted McDonald’s again, so that’s what we ate for dinner on my last night at the Magic Moment Resort & Kids Club.
Monday, March 14 was my check-in day for the Disney College Program and my check-in time was 10:00 a.m. After observing the apartment, completing my onboarding appointment, and attending a welcome presentation discussing the rules of Flamingo Crossings Village (the housing area I’m staying at), my parents and I spent the rest of the afternoon shopping for groceries and other things I’ll need in my apartment. It was a long and exhausting day, but that was expected. My parents helped me out a lot and I’m so grateful for them because of that (and many more reasons, of course).
On Tuesday, March 15, after a quick trip to Disney Springs for lunch, I said goodbye to my parents. Though I was very sad to see them go, I was also excited to begin this new journey of living on my own. This past week was crazy and it all happened so fast! One minute, I’m riding Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with my parents and the next, I’m sitting in my new apartment trying to think of what to make for dinner. I’m very happy I got to make some magical memories with my parents throughout this trip because theme parks are the way to go, right? But seriously, this was one trip that I will never forget!
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