The rest of the family got here an hour ago when the park opened. Theresa, Ian and I slept in a little bit, ate breakfast, then rolled in a little later.
On the way in, Lilo was waiting along the path for us. Hi Lilo!
The rest of the family didn't have their cell phones on them (probably off playing on the slides) so the three of us all went out to Ketchakidee Creek, the area of the park designed for young kids.
We weren't there for more than 5 minutes before all the adults started showing up. Turns out they set up their base camp here this morning, right where we had set down all our stuff.
And Ian certainly loved having everyone there. First he played on the slides.
Then he went exploring in the shallow wading pools.
Exploring some caves with Aunt Amy.
And splashing in the water with his daddy.
I want to get down and play with that!
I want to play on the foam alligator!
A short time later, all four of the kids came back from sliding all morning.
Mom and Dad who? He's got cousins to play with now.
With Ian in good hands, Donald, Ethan, Austin and I headed out to hit the slides.
Our first stop was the biggest slide at the park, located just under the centerpiece of the park, Miss Tilly.
The story goes that a giant typhoon hit this tropical paradise, throwing gear and everywhere, and Miss Tilly ended up impaled on the top of Mount Mayday.
From all the way up here you've got a great view of the entire park.
Lookout! We're going down a 60 degree slide that's 5 stories high.
Once you hit the bottom, you're traveling up to 39mph. Good thing there's a good runway to slow you down.
This was my favorite slide of the day. I go for the extreme thrills and this is the best this park has to offer.
Up next were the Storm Slides.
Here you twist and turn down a 3 story slide, plunging into a pool at the end. Both Donald and I thought this slide was a little rough, and we felt all the joints of this slide as we went down.
Sharkus Gigantus is roaming around here somewhere.
We donned our snorkeling masks and headed to the Shark Reef to look for him.
Ready to dive with sharks.
We received our brief tutorial about what we're allowed to do in the water. Basically no diving, no kicking your feet, no standing on the small island in the middle, and no swimming backwards.
It's coming right for me!
It was pretty crazy to be swimming along and all of the sudden a 3 foot stingray is swimming right by your head. As far as all the other fish, it doesn't really compare to snorkeling in Bora Bora or Hawaii, but for what it is, it's not bad.
The thing that startled me the most though was when a random guy behind me grabbed my leg when there was wide open water where he could have been swimming anywhere else.
Each group of maybe 30 swimmers are let into the water at a time. Austin, Ethan and I did a pretty good job of going slow. We were one of the first to enter the water and one of the last from our group to exit. We never swam backwards and just made our way across the water slowly.
Donald though was the winner for taking his time. He entered with us and the three of us lost sight of him shortly afterwards. We exited the water and started looking around for Donald for a few minutes, wondering where he might have gone. Eventually we made our way back to the Shark Reef and saw he was still there at the back of the next group. He said he just laid down in the water and didn't move at all, just floating his way across the surface.
After spending the morning on the slides, it was time to go back to Ketchakiddee Creek and see what the rest of the family is up to. Ian's been having a great time splashing in the pools and playing in the sand. Looks like he's ready to go though.
The lazy river will be perfect for relaxing. Ian found a tube with a platform instead of a hole in the middle.
But you know Ian would rather be in the water than on top of it.
Our floating armada.
Now he's happy.
Floating through one of the tunnels. It's great how they have waterfalls on the front of all the tunnels, and it's a real shame Rita wasn't able to get out of the way...
We had a great time in the lazy river.
A little over 30 minutes after we entered, we were back at the Ketchakiddee Creek entrance.
Once we got back, Ian was worn out. Nice to have the full size stroller along with us that he can fall asleep in.
And it's a good chance for us to relax for a little while too.
While Ian slept, some of the local reptiles kept watch over him.
With Ian asleep, Donald, Austin, Ethan and I ran back out to go on some more slides. Even though it's spring break, I was surprised at the lack of crowds here. The Humunga Kowabunga had absolutely no line, so I rode down each of the three slides. One caution on this slide, make sure you don't lose anything in your pockets! I found someone else's Disney ticket (that I gave to the lifeguard) and saw someone who lost their drivers license and credit cards (but they were being returned by the lifeguard).
My camera died a short time later, but in a couple hours, we knocked out 4 trips on Humunga Kowabunga, another visit to the Shark Reef, a spin around the lazy river, 45 minutes in the wave pool, and three trips down the Crush 'n' Gusher. I'd say it was a very successful day today.
A quick stop by Lagoona Gator on the way out, and it was time to head home.
This was a good start to the vacation.
After getting back to the house and eating a delicious Korean meal, we eventually retired to the living room to watch Duke beat up on Wisconsin in the NCAA finals.
Tomorrow it's time to visit the Magic Kingdom!