Aquatica Cha Cha

After weeks of enduring Chef's pouts, he and I drove over to Orlando on Sunday for an afternoon at Aquatica. He was so excited that when we got there, he was out of the car and up the entrance ramp before I'd even opened my car door. The parking lot had maybe 150 cars in it, when the capacity is in the thousands-so we were able to park at the entrance.

Ed and Gameboy begged off because it was 71 degrees and we were having sporadic rain. Chef and I had the same mindset: the pools are heated and we're going to GET wet! I'm glad we did, because it was almost like having the park to ourselves.

We dropped our bag and Crocs and finally got to try the Dolphin Plunge, which normally has a minimum 45 minute wait. Today, we climbed to the top of the tower and were able to go right down. This is a slide that winds you through a dark tube (if you're afraid of the dark and/or claustrophobic, you may want to skip it), then you shoot through a clear section of tube that goes through the tank of Commerson's dolphins. Alas, I was going through that tube so fast that I didn't really get to see much of anything but "oh, look, I'm in the Commerson's tank" before getting deposited in bathtub warm water.

Next up, Loggerhead Lane. This is a lazy river with inner tubes, that at worst, you have to wait a minute or two for a tube of your own. Today, the water looked like it was blue fruit loops, with only a dozen occupants of the tubes. Chef and I grabbed single tubes. Along the river, there's an exit for Tassies Twisters, a slide you go down in the tube that looks like an oversized, colorful toilet bowl.

Chef told me he wanted to try it, since there was no line-but he decided he'd rather look at the tropical fish and imagine meals aplenty. I did a run on Tassie's by myself. Oooh, in the summertime, I'd gone up the six and seven flight towers slowly, today, I climbed 20 flights rapidly between all the slides. The calves are still complaining.

When I last went on Tassies, I was with Coaster Kid and we were told we HAD to use the double tubes. I remembered this, so I bailed on my single tube and waited in the lazy river for a double. I didn't need to, people were going down in singles. When heading down, you're almost in a luge position as you circle around the bowl-arc your back to get another revolution or two around!

After I finished the trip down the slide, I met up with Chef, who was happily naming fish for lunch, dinner and breakfast and we went over to Roa's Rapids. The rapids are easily my favorite attraction in the park. It's another river, but this one has no tubes, and you body surf around. Many riders opt for the flotation vests, because they enhance the experience.

Imagine those waters crowded with people, because that's how it was every other time we'd been there!

After a few circuits in the Rapids, Chef and I headed over to the Taumata Racers and Walkabout Waters. The Racers are the big slides that are seen from the entrance of the park, and Chef was going to race me. We get detoured by the play area of Walkabout. Here's where my good deed of taking Chef to the park got punished. He was running around (like a total crazy, mind you) and I decided to get out of the water and sit on a lounge chair. I caught my toe in the drainage grate, ripped off a bunch of skin, and later realized I broke the darn thing. Of course, the person who can't isn't running is the one who is injured.

I took a detour to First Aid, then came back. Chef continued on the Walkabout, deciding that he didn't want to climb the towers to the slides. Smart boy, says the woman who's paying for it two days later. I got the bright idea to go on the Walhalla Wave, since I haven't been on it before-and find almost at the top that there are no single riders on this attraction. Guess I would have noticed the signs before climbing 5 flights if it was the height of tourist season. Back down the stairs I go and over to Taumata Racers.

This one also had no wait (what a surprise, right?), but I was winded by climbing two towers in rapid succession. Guess I need to start exercising more. It was pretty darn cool riding down more dark tubes, but on a mat this time. I was reminded of Giggles "Go fast through the skinny places" every time we'd go through No Toll on the Southern State!

Back to Chef and we decided it was time to challenge the wave pool. We collected our crocs and backpack at the back of the beach and headed towards lounge chairs at the front. Again, bathtub warm water awaited. It was just a matter of time before the six foot waves appeared.

If we lived on LI, Chef would be happier than a pig in you know what, because he LOVES this wave pool. During one of the wave cycles, I showed him how the depth of the pool goes from 5 feet to 6'6" in the matter of a yard and explained how this forces the pool to create waves when the motor starts running. He's fascinated enough that he wants to make this year's science project on the topic.

After two wave cycles, Chef decided it was time to head back to Roa's Rapids, in time for some light rain. Earlier, there were a handful of people with us on the circuit. This time, in 45 minutes, I think we came upon a total of 4 people. The guard to guest ratio was impressive!

I found it awesome that we got there at 2:30 and could have gone on every single attraction at least once, probably twice. Locals who worry that they will be cold can relax, that water was toasty. Chef and I didn't even pull our towels out of the backpacks until the end of the day.

Of course, yesterday was a full 15 degrees warmer and sunny. You know what? I think I liked it better colder and overcast. It scared everybody else away!


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