The castle provided a decent sleep for our exhausted lot. Also, when I put on my swimsuit skorts, they snapped much more easily than they normally do. Thank you horrible service shark restaurant, at least I lost a temporary two pounds! There’s always a sip of lemonade when there’s a lemon wedge! We all shuffled downstairs to the breakfast room, with its dark wooden paneling, too many guests, and dusty ornamentation. The East Indian woman informed me that the free breakfast applied to all of us except for Elizabeth, since she is thirteen. That’s a fine way to make a self-conscious newbie teen feel included! There was a guy making waffles at the bar, and I stifled my laugh as best as I could, since this dump was nothing more than a typical free breakfast at any chain motel! Why on Earth did they have that dude making the waffles, as if we were in some fancy place, when every other chain hotel you make them on your own?
We ate alot of bacon, Katerina enjoyed the fruit, and the grits/oatmeal/mystery food remained untouched. Nikolas could hardly eat because of the showcase of dolls staring directly in front of him. Nikolas said those freaky looking dolls, including a couple of clowns and a jester, would most definitely give him nightmares. They were extremely creepy. In fact, the whole breakfast experience was creepy. The chairs were so large and heavy, it was impossible to scootch in to allow another guest to pass. Katerina found her way under the table and I couldn’t do anything about it, even when she bonked her head. I was trapped in the chair getting as freaked out as Nikolas over those dolls! On the way out, Nikos commented that the owner of the hotel actually was smart, by taking an aged place and turning it into a castle rather than completely renovating it or tearing it down.
The morning was already warm and it was absolutely ridiculous that Nikos insisted on using his stupid GPS for Aquatica when there were a half-dozen signs and we weren’t even one mile from the place! Aquatica was like a breath of fresh air! It felt like a peaceful Sunday afternoon compared to all of the walking and exhaustion of Seaworld. We were all amicable and Nikolas and Elizabeth were getting along, taking off to ride on the slides. Nikos and I took Katerina in one of the wave pools and later, a kiddie pool with slides. The place was enormous. It seemed there were no Americans at the park, which made people watching more entertaining. It was a calm crowd with several different languages blurring together. I was hoping many were still on jet lag when I noticed that several parents were already drinking beer at ten in the morning.
Lunch was the typical fast food fare, and Katerina was occupied momentarily by feeding her apples and borrowed fries to her Shamu food carton. Nikolas and Elizabeth couldn’t wait to get back on the slides, especially the tubed one that had dolphins swimming around it. That was the one and only slide I went on for the day. It was a cool concept, but flying through the tube, it was impossible to see any dolphins. The lazy river passed by the dolphins and a fish aquarium. The coolest attraction was this raging rapids mile long loop. It really pushed you along as if a waterfall should emerge up ahead. Elizabeth kept wanting to go in the gift shops and I was getting irritated. She finally purchased a cute top and I had hoped she’d spent the rest of her spending money, but no such luck since she’s a bargain shopper.
Nikos spent way too much time texting and checking his email, while Katerina plopped in the sand playing with her shovel and leftover lunch cups. For one last plunge we all went back to the raging rapids and when it was time to get out, Elizabeth pushed Nikolas back in so Nikos stayed with them. I rocked Katerina in the lawn chair until she drifted off to sleep. The feeling of holding that sweet little girl in my arms as she slumbers away, provides me with more satiety than anything else in the world. What happy moments to carry me through my life!
The kids ran up panting that their Daddy had saved yet another life! The story goes that the raging rapids loop has pockets where you do get trapped into, I know because it had happened to me. You really need a life vest if you are a weak swimmer. Anyway, this East Indian woman was drowning and calling for help in-between choking on mouthfuls of water. Her baby was completely submerged in the water at times. They were stuck in the pocket, wedged up against the curve. The swift current kept them lodged in there. Nikos grabbed onto the edge and used all of his power to get back to her. She was now under the water as well, and it happened right where the lifeguards could not see. He pulled the baby first to the edge and then the woman, who was so water-logged, she could only gasp for air. Both were fine. It’s the strangest thing, Nikos seems an unlikely hero type, with his brusqueness and loud almost rude mannerisms, but he has a very gentle and generous nature, more so than anyone I have ever met. What’s even cooler is he is so modest about what he has managed to do now for three people within three days! He did claim, “At least this nightmare wallet choker of a trip has saved three lives”!
We said our goodbyes to Aquatica and headed back to Seaworld while Nikos protested the entire five minutes, and even after we were walking around Seaworld. He was grumbling and rumbling and I told him he could sit in the car if he was seriously that lazy. He tried to get his revenge by saying that since I’d forced him to return to Seaworld then he was going to go back to eat at the shark restaurant and ask for the same waitress. I knew that was an empty and useless threat since he would never spend a hundred bucks to avenge me.
The dolphins were swimming and a crowd had gathered to pet them. We literally had to drag an arm-flailing, whining Elizabeth away, who was even crying she wanted to touch those dolphins so terribly much. She was getting really mouthy and I swatted her on the rear right in front of everyone and didn’t give one care about it. She also was grounded from her little track phone she’d received in her Easter basket. That mouthiness is unacceptable. She was still carrying on when we were gazing at the dolphins underwater. They are indeed beautiful creatures! I swear she didn’t stop talking about those dolphins for two days after.
The kids and I wanted to go on Journey to Atlantis one last time. We used our quick queue pass and while waiting there was a confrontation between a father and the employees of the ride. He had a daughter in a wheelchair who appeared to have cerebral palsy. They refused to allow her to ride saying she couldn’t sit up on her own. It brought tears to my eyes, not out of pity, rather by the obvious love and devotion the father carried for his daughter and standing behind her in an unjust world. When the barely twenty-something employee at our gate shook her head and said, “He just needs to realize she can’t ride this.”, I had to stand up for him by saying, That’s his daughter, and I’d be the same way.” A parent must stand up for their child, be their voice when they haven’t one. I have been there and promise to visit that place many, many times throughout my life. In fact, some of my greatest regret stems from being too passive and not standing up for my children when I should have.
We left Seaworld in plenty of time to make it to our Disney hotel, The Dolphin. It was awesome with a beautiful view. Our first prerogative was to eat. We ate at a horrible place within the adjoining hotel, The Swan, called Pickabou. It took a great deal of time for the cooks to heat up our food and poor Katerina claimed she had to “go pee pee”. The server told me the restrooms were way down the other side of the hall, and before we could get poor Katerina there, she went all over the seat and felt so bad about it. I need to mention that Little Katerina could not have been more easy to potty train. I postponed it as long as I could until her third birthday, and she was fully trained within a couple of days. The poor thing is always vocal and expresses when she needs to go, and feels so bad when she has an infrequent accident.
It was an early bed time for the kids and I enjoyed watching some “House Hunters” even after Nikos was snoring away.