First, getting from the plane to our driver required an airport shuttle, which the kids were very impressed by – they also liked the moving walkways, escalators and elevators. Which means our kids are easily impressed, a good thing!
Our hotel, including the boat dock and ferry to get to the park. We could walk to the park in about 6 minutes but the boat was fun for the kids (and good when legs were tired.) Often we were the only ones on the boat and the wait was never more than 10 minutes. The kids would alternate the front seat vs. the very back bench, and it was a fun side adventure. All these photos above were in/around our hotel, which was the Royal Pacific.
We visited the pool two days, both for the “dive in movie” (Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and the Lorax) and the sand and the pool side games and the water sprayers and the frozen grape snacks, plus the heated towels… I wish we could have spent more time just lounging there but it was a great break both of those days to have some quiet time by the pool then head back to the park for the dinner/evening time.
The pictures above are another one of the on site hotels. We visited Portofino Bay and it was also lovely – we took the shuttle from our hotel to Portofino then road the boat back to the park. The kids loved the ducks, mopeds, fountains – it was all gorgeous. It was just as the sun was going down and we had the golden glow. The kids loved the (very well bolted down) mopeds and ducks. We were amused at how tame the animals were!
Our second night Kit and C got sushi to go from the Orchid Lounge at our hotel, and we ate it in bed while watching cooking shows. It was delicious! And it was good to have the Tuesday night at the hotel – the park closed an hour earlier than the other nights and I had made the mistake of going on a couple rides – and I was really feeling it! I felt woozy and light headed, I had vertigo and I was happy to lay in bed watching cookie shows with Livy while Kit let the other kids watch the Lorax in the pool. (I felt fine by the morning, it just reiterated to me that I don’t get along with any fast or twisty ride at all – which ones made me sick? The Cat in the Hat and the Flight of the Hippogriff! Little kid rides! It’s okay, you can laugh at me.)
Hotel thoughts – they are opening a new “budget friendly” family hotel on site in 2014 and I’m guessing it’s to prepare for the Harry Potter expansion flood. (Figurative, not literal.) The hotel is going to be less expensive than the current three hotels and will allow the one hour early park admission to Harry Potter world but will not include the express passes (which lets you skip to the fast lane on many rides, but not all) and doesn’t include the water taxis. (There are still walking trails and shuttle buses, but I’m not sure where the new hotel is located – our hotel was the closest one to Islands of Adventure.)
I thought our hotel was lovely, and it had the one restaurant the kids wanted to try (sushi) and we didn’t bother to even check out the Hard Rock hotel, though they were interested in the idea of the pool with music playing underwater. However, I thought Portofino hotel was more romantic than Royal Pacific, but probably because I love the European feel. The Pacific hotel was romantic in another way – just more tropical!