We started out on Day 6 of our WDW/UOR trip from the HRH at UOR, with plans to do IOA first. It was our first day not caring about rope dropping, as we had learned that with Express Pass at UOR, you can do anything at pretty much any time. So we finally slept in and were walking in to IOA around 9:15.
We had promised the kids to go to the water rides first (we had declined the evening before), so first stop was Jurassic Park River Adventure. It was intense! Seemed like a faster, longer drop than Splash Mountain. But the kiddos, DD7 and DS5, loved it. I had asked a CM (not sure what you call them at UOR) where the least-wet spot in the boat was, and she suggested the rear. That turned out to be good advice; we did not get too wet. Then the kids wanted to ride again in the front, so I stood by the viewing area and took a video as they came down the second time. Most of the drop occurs inside the tower but you can hear the screams first and know the boat is on its way.
We continued walking and lines for the Pteranadon Fliers seemed long and I think there is no EP for that, and I had read it is slow-loading, so we skipped it. We did Kong again, at request of the kids, on our way around to the Popeye Section. Then headed to Dudley DoRights Ripsaw Falls and Bluto’s Rat Bilge Barge (that name is way too complicated!). DS5 was not tall enough for Ripsaw Falls so I did BRBB with him and DH took DD7 on the Falls. We met back up after the rides, all of us soaking wet from head to toe. Both kids declared each of those rides their favorites in all of WDW and UOR, and still maintain that position post-trip. DD7 said the Falls were super fast, super fun, and very wet. I thought the BRBB was very much like Kali River Rapids, but wetter. THe waves sloshed over the sides of our raft in 3-foot swells, drenching us as if you had dipped us in a bathtub with our clothes on.
We had to walk back to our hotel as I had not planned on getting that wet. Of course at that moment, it started to rain, as well. Refusing to buy four $10 ponchos for what we hoped would be a 15-minute rain storm (it was) when we were already wet, we shivered and laughed our way back to HRH, but we did catch one of the pedicycles for a quicker trip.
After a warm shower and dry clothes and shoes (stuffed our wet ones with newspapers per the tips I read on this forum), we made our way back to Toothsome Emporium for lunch. Had a great lunch (recommend the Brussel Sprouts appetizer) and the best character interaction of our entire trip. Penelope of the Toothsome story came by and talked with my kids–I kid you not–for 20 minutes. She was hilarious and engaging and loved talking to them, esp. DS5, as he tried to relate to her the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I was in stitches. It was a totally unexpected and incredible conversation.
After lunch we went to USF to hit all of the non-HP rides. We did Jimmy Fallon Race Through NY (my personal favorite and kids loved it despite not knowing JF), Men in Black (son loves shooting games and loved that one), Transformers (meh for all of us except DS5), ET (kids thought it was cool but DH and I were disappointed that ET missed our names at the end), caught part of the parade, and then walked back. We made a reservation at The Kitchen for an hour from that point and swam until it was time for dinner.
There was a roaming magician who never made his way to our table (bummer), but the food was pretty good. They have good kids’ meals as well–both kids had steak, potatoes, carrot sticks. I had a delicious margerita flatbread and steak skewers, and DH had brown riced cauliflower with veggies. Whole meal again cost less than our first poolside dinner from the bar.
After that, early bedtime since DS5 had not napped that day. Packed up as we had 1/2 day in the parks before leaving for the airport the next evening.