Saturday, February 10th, and our last day here. We leave EARLY tomorrow morning. This has thrown a monkey wrench into our plans, but we’ll work through it. The plan for today is to go to Islands of Adventure for the first half of the day, then leave to go to Universal Studios to spend the late afternoon and evening, specifically to see the Mardi Gras parade.
The Mardi Gras parade begins at 8 PM, is supposed to last about 15 minutes, and then Donna Summer performs. The French Quarter food court opens at 5, so after talking to Brighid, our goal is to at least stay until then to get a bite to eat, and play it by ear.
We head in to Islands of Adventure EARLY – we arrive about 10 minutes before the park opens. Our first stop is at a little gift shop that has a lot of tropical type clothing. Since Eilis has a luau coming up in just two weeks, we stop here. Well, an hour and a half later, I have a shirt for Jim, an outfit for me, a skirt for Brighid (that took an hour and 25 minutes of that hour and a half), and a blouse for Eilis. I also picked up a few pieces of jewelry. We had such a great time shopping, we didn’t realize we had not seen one inch of the park yet, and we would have to lug this bag of stuff all over with us. We decided to check the bag into a locker, and off we went into IOA.
With Eilis in tow, we spend quite a bit of time in the Dr. Seuss themed island. How different it is with just Brighid. We ride the Cat in the Hat ride, and I am thrilled to find t-shirts that say not only Thing 1 and Thing 2, but also Thing 3! I think about buying them for the girls, but decide against it when I realize I will have to either carry them or lug them back to the locker. Obviously, not having the baby coach to throw things in is putting a damper on the whole theme park shopping experience!
Next we head over to the Poseidon show – I have never seen it, and it is very cool. We have also always wanted to try Mythos restaurant, but have not done that on previous visits. What the heck? We’ll do it today. We walk over to check out the menu, and I find at least one or two things I can at least try, so we agree to come back to the restaurant and eat. First, though, we go to the Sinbad stunt show, another thing I’ve never done. It was funny and pretty entertaining, along the lines of the Indiana Jones stunt show at MGM.
Following Sinbad, we had lunch at Mythos. I can do a little bit of a very flat pizza, and their pizza that day was steak and mushroom. We ordered it as an appetizer to share, and it was a nice sized personal pizza, loaded with steak and mushrooms. I ate a small piece of the steak, but had to spit it out without swallowing. I ate the pizza so fast that it made me a little nauseous, so I sipped a little water while Brighid enjoyed her meal of cedar plank salmon. The restaurant was nice, the food was good, and the portions were very large.
After lunch, we wandered the rest of the way around IOA, but since Brighid and I don’t love roller coasters and it was too cold for water rides, we decided not to ride anything else and head over to Universal. Here’s the thing. We planned to stay at Universal until the park closed, but IOA closed at 6 PM. That meant we had to move the stuff out of the locker at IOA and pay for a new locker at Universal. At this point, we really should have just gone and put the stuff in the car, but neither of us felt like walking it out there. It was a little inconvenient to have to do this. I cannot remember if there are lockers in the parking garage area, or in the area of City Walk before you choose a theme park, but if there is, I encourage you to use them. Although, if you have to walk all the way back to the garage to put stuff in a locker, you might as well put the stuff in your car and save the money.
We had no lines at all at Universal, so we did everything we wanted to do, and it wasn’t even quite 5 PM yet. We still had to drive out to Poinciana to return the in-law’s truck, so we decided to just grab a quick bite to eat, a t-shirt, and head out. We still had some things to pack and I wanted to run our dirty clothes through the laundry. Our shuttle to the airport was picking us up at 5 AM – or O Dark Thirty, as I like to refer to it – and we needed to get some sleep.
The seafood jambalaya was good, authentic tasting food. And for just about $5, you got a heaping bowl of it, a huge helping of rice (which I declined), and a nice (for Florida) roll to go with it. I couldn’t even eat half of the bowl, Brighid only had one bite, and the rest of it got tossed because it was just too much to eat. We saw some of the street performers on the way out, and thought again about staying for the parade, but it was just too much to get back to the hotel as late as we would have gotten there.
We had a great day, got back to my in-law’s at about 6:30, and we were in the hotel by about 8:30, packing, washing, and trying to spend our last few hours of our first mother/daughter trip relaxing. We were going to need it with the fiasco that would occur the next morning!