Of all the many fun-filled, wallet-emptying attractions that Orlando has to offer, there were two my boys really wanted to visit: Legoland and Titanic: The Experience.
The latter was unsinkably brilliant, and I really recommend it; the former, we didn’t do, because they’d literally just been to Legoland in Windsor. But, kids, they have a short memory, don’t they?
Obviously, you can’t bring children to Florida and not take them to Disneyland, so we knocked out Animal Kingdom, and, because we used to live near Orlando and always enjoyed SeaWorld, we spent a day there, too. And it was here that Son1 experienced his first white-knuckle rollercoaster – completely by accident.
SeaWorld was heaving with visitors, and after deciding we didn’t fancy waiting 90 minutes to see some penguins (albeit in a whirly saucer thingy), we bankrupted ourselves further by purchasing two fast-passes.
We wandered over to the famous Kraken rollercoaster (guess what? No queue anyway! You should have seen DH’s face) and went to the fast-pass entrance, where we were told there was a short delay as the ride was experiencing a technical fault.
The staff were distracted. All no more than college age, they were busy testing the floorless, sea serpent coaster and not paying the waiting visitors much attention. So, when it was ready to go again, Son1 and I walked on and took our seats.
For a panic-stricken moment, I felt like the worst parent ever, because just as the ride was unleashed, Son1 decided he wanted to get off. “You can’t,” I hissed, imagining the scene I’d have to create to stop the ride mid-roll. “It’s very gentle,” I lied.
He went quiet, and the rollercoaster hurtled round at break-neck speed, flinging us down a 144-foot drop, through two loops, a dive loop, a zero-G roll, a cobra roll and a corkscrew.
“You okay?” I asked as we clamboured off, clutching each other’s hand and wondering which way was up.
“Yesssss!” he replied, eyes shining. “Can we go again, pleeeeeease!”
A little later, DH took him back, only to reappear shortly afterwards with a disappointed Son1 – who, this time, had been turned away by more-attentive staff for being quite a bit too short.