When enjoying Florida, the heat can sometimes mean a good water park day is essential. So we headed to Aquatica with Attraction Tickets Direct to have some swimming and water fun – and a much needed cool down! Here’s a full run down of what we got up to and our Aquatica Review…
Voted the USA’s Best Water park, a day at Aquatica was just what we needed to cool down and enjoy some water time in the Florida heat. Both my boys and my husband love the water as they’re all water babies. Whereas I’m more of a cocktails-on-the-beach kinda gal, but even I enjoyed our day at Aquatica because it’s the perfect way to have as much fun as at any other theme park, but while you’re in water you don’t notice the heat! So it was perfect for us and gave us a bit of respite from the intensity of the humidity.
All of the Orlando SeaWorld parks are in close proximity to each other which was only a short ride away from our hotel so we started the day early hoping to get a great spot and get stuck in to the rides before the queues got big. Our tickets came from Attraction Tickets Direct who offer a 3 for 2 SeaWorld Parks ticket covering Aquatica, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens and meant we could go as many times as we wanted to within those 2 weeks. Buying through ATD also gives you free parking at all the parks, which saves you a nice little amount too, so it’s well worth pre-booking for that alone. It also means that you get your tickets ahead of time so when you arrive at Aquatica you can go straight to the turnstiles and enter the park, like we did. No queuing for tickets, just straight in!
When you’re planning your trip be sure to bring $15 for a locker to store your things. The lockers are electric and you’ll need to remember your number too – but they are very small and we needed two just for three small bags. You’ll also want to take your own towels – we thought they were included but they aren’t and if you need to hire them they cost $5 each and are really small (more like hand towels) so learn from our mistakes and take your own!
When we arrived our first stop was Cutback Cove & Big Surf Shores which are the two connected ‘beaches’ at Aquatica. With natural sand beaches full of chairs and sun loungers, you can almost imagine you’re actually on an exotic beach – we certainly did. The wave-pools at the beaches along with the decor really gives an authentic beach feel and is a nice base for the day. We found a shady spot and picked our loungers for the day – there’s no cost for these, and hundreds of them to pick from so certainly no shortage at all. While Hayden and I would paddle in the shallow end and build sand castles, Byrn and Josh enjoyed the deeper end especially when the waves came on – it was a lot of fun for all of us and all water areas are manned by lifeguards so there’s full peace of mind for parents.
We noticed a lot of little extra’s throughout the park that showed every attention to detail the park had made to make it as perfect as possible. For example, there were shoe racks everywhere, especially in key places where you could store your flip flops and sandals while you went on rides. There were also family dryers where you could all go and dry off together in a huge dryer – perfect if you needed to get dry quickly! And they had jet streams of water at ankle level everywhere – so while you’re walking around your feet are constantly getting a spray and keeping them clean etc as most people walk around bare foot – like we did. So things like this made the whole day a lot easier and shows how thought out the park is.
Our first ride of the day after a few hours at Cutback Cove was Omaka Rocka a water slide extreme which was so much fun that we went on twice. Because we’d arrived so early, the queues were still minimal at this point so we enjoyed two goes each and both times were just as much fun. You sit in a doughnut and go down these flumes with lots of twists and turns and it’s so much faster than it looks and it’s one for the thrill seekers as you get thrown up the sides of the slides so much all the way down. As you come out you splash into the pool at the bottom right in front of the beach – it was one of our favourite rides of the day!
After this we headed over to the ‘lazy river’ I’d heard about and was desperate to try out. I love lazy rivers in places like Aquatica, I find them so relaxing even when there’s many other people around. I could have quite happily floated around Loggerhead Lane for the whole day. It’s a short circuit, probably about 5 minutes in total but as you go you get to see so many tropical fish in their aquariums which gives you plenty to look at as you float away. Each person gets a double doughnut and it fits two people, so I went with Josh who insisted on pulling us under every waterfall whereas Hayden and Bryn enjoyed a more relaxed version! I really enjoyed this part of the park and I’d recommend spending as much time there as you can. Loggerhead Lane is attached to Tassie’s Twisters which is a really fun ride for the water-slide lovers. As you get off Loggerhead Lane you can either exit directly or head to Tassie’s Twisters which leads off it. The boys went there and it turned out to be tube ride that shoots you out into a bowl that you just whoosh round until you spin back out onto the lazy river! So you can spend plenty of time relaxing and end with a thrill-seeking ride if you want to. It suits both types of family members!
After lots of rides and thrills we decided it was time for lunch and we had the All-Day Dining Deal which entitles you to meals and drinks throughout the park during your stay. The food deals on offer at all of the SeaWorld Parks are really impressive because they save you a lot of money as all your drinks are unlimited – and that includes things like bottles of water, which we drank so many of. We headed to the Waterstone Grill for lunch and there was a good selection on offer – we had salads, burgers and fries and some lovely fruit and cookies afterwards which was everything we needed to refuel for the day – why is it that water parks make you so hungry?! I think we ate more here than at any other park during our trip! The food was nice and tasty, and very much diner-style so totally family-friendly with a normal selection that most people could enjoy. We were very happy and well-fed by the time we left ready for more rides!
We then took the boys to Walkabout Waters which is a children’s dedicated section of Aquatica. We thought we’d only stay here for an hour or so but ended up spending the whole afternoon there as it was absolutely perfect for children. By far it was the best children’s area of any water park we’ve ever seen or visited. The area itself is a huge fortress of fun with lots of hidden areas to explore going up this huge watering tower with jets blowing water over you as you go. There’s water rockets and mechanical buckets that throw water all over the whole area at regular intervals as well as lots of toys dotted around the place and slides of different sizes too. The area itself is 15,000 square feet so it’s easy to see how you can spend the whole day there and not get bored. It’s a nice way for older children to go off and have some fun without parents worrying about deep water (there is none here) and little ones can splash around with you while still having lots of excitement. So it’s perfect for families and children of all ages.
Dotted around Walkabout Waters are plenty of seating areas for parents and because we’d left it until the afternoon we didn’t manage to get four seats together. However as the boys were in the water the whole time, I sat and watched, enjoying some snacks and drinks while they played and it made for a really lovely and family-friendly afternoon.
Before leaving we made the most of our All-Day Dining Deal and got some Blue Raspberry Slushies which were so yummy that I wish we could have them here in the UK. A perfect cooling drink and we were so impressed we could get things like this with our dining bands.
Our bags and valuables had been stored in lockers towards the front of the park so we headed back that way and really felt like we’d had a fun but chilled day. Yes we’d been on the thrill-seeking rides but we had also enjoyed being in the water, cool and out of the sun – it had the best of both worlds for us.
Although it’s hard to pick, our favourite parts of the park were probably the beach at Big Surf Shores & Cutback Cove and Walkabout Waters – I think that’s telling as we spent most of the day in these two areas alone! So if you’re visiting Orlando and looking for a water park to tick off your list we’d wholeheartedly recommend Aquatica seeing as it’s fun, family-friendly and centrally located. The All-Day Dining Deal is essential and so is pre-booking your tickets through Attraction Tickets Direct to ensure you get that free parking and can skip the entrance queues.
A water park will be able to offer you a fun day that’s just as exciting but with the added bonus of allowing you to cool down in the water all day long – all you have to do is remember your sun cream!
**This Aquatica Review is a sponsored post in collaboration with Attraction Tickets Direct but as ever all opinions are entirely my own. Please refer to my Disclaimer page for more details.