Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Worlds and Oceans of Fun!

School takes up way too much of my time these days. I don't have time to just sit down and write any more, so this post has been in the works ever since we got back. Actually, it has been in the works since the first night of the trip, because I started writing it before I went to bed in the hotel room. It just took me forever to edit it, and edit the pictures, even though there's weren't many. So, finally, here is the full story of our trip to Kansas City, Missouri, to Worlds and Oceans of Fun.

Joel and I left for school that morning at 11. We had class at noon, it was the first day of Portfolio class. It didn’t last very long, as most first days don’t, and after class we went into Council Bluffs to buy sandals for our trip. I had bought some Vibram Five Fingers, but they did not arrive in time, so I needed sandals. Walmart was completely out of all sandals. Good grief Walmart. What were you thinking? You’re supposed to have everything! They did have a huge display of Hunger Games merchandise though. I seriously considered a tote bag. It looked like a good bag, but for some reason I did not buy it. And I regretted that decision ever since. I really should have bought that bag.

When we left Council Bluffs we went straight to Robert and Rachel’s and hung out until it was time to go pick up Alex at 5. We then went to Arby’s to drop Ariana off with her grandparents. I had a mushroom and swiss sandwich. With extra mushrooms. It was okay. I’m not a huge fast food fan. I think the others were much more enthusiastic about the place. I also had onion rings and jalapeƱo poppers. They were not very good. The sandwich was much better than the sides. I won’t be ordering those if I end up at an Arby’s again.

We drove a long time listening to music on various devices to varying degrees of success. We’re all huge Dizgeeks, and Owl City fans, so most of the time we listened to Disney soundtracks and Owl City songs. Alex and Amanda had also gotten a bunch of songs from both Julian Smith and Rhett and Link, so we listened to them as well. After a long time of listening to our laptops/cell phones/iDevices, I suggested we stop and get a cassette tape converter to connect to our devices and play them through the car stereo. So we stopped at a Wal-Mart. Alex bought a converter and I bought an extension cord so any of us could use it, no matter how far from the front we were sitting. While we were there I thought this would be the perfect time to remedy my poor decision to NOT buy the hunger games bag. Of course, they did not have a gigantic display like the Council bluffs Walmart. They only had a DVD display with some really cheap string-bag type backpack things. Not what I wanted. So disappointing.

After driving for hours and getting turned around due to our old nemesis, road construction, we finally arrived at our destination, the Embassy Suites! My only thoughts as I looked through the rooms were the lyrics to Julian Smith’s “Nice Hotel”.

Everyone wanted to go swimming, but I was way too tired, and stayed behind to get ready for bed. And write this. And I wrote this. So now I’m going to bed. :p

Fade To Black...

The Next Morning...

Rooster Crowing...

Okay, I think I just beat this joke to death. Poor thing. I promise I won’t do it again. :p

I got up in the morning at around 6:30 and got ready to go. At between 8 and 8:30 the other two started making noise in the other room. It turned out they had stayed up almost the whole night. Everyone had except for me. And even though I missed out on all they had done, I was still glad, because I was the only one who got anywhere near enough sleep. The rest were groggy and miserable for awhile until they had had enough food, caffeine and exercise to wake them up.

Rachel said breakfast would be provided by the hotel, so we all went down together. On the way I took a couple pictures, because the place was really cool looking.

I have had absolutely zero experience whatsoever with fancy hotels, so I did not know what was in store for breakfast. It was basically a huge feast, made to order eggs, omelets, meats, biscuits and gravy, cereal, fruit toast, rolls, muffins, pretty much every kind of breakfast food and I didn’t even go around and look at everything. I ordered a veggie omelet, which the server made right there while I waited. Then I had a mini Danish, and a mini cinnamon roll. With that I also had sausage and bacon. To drink, I had a glass of soy milk, and a glass of cranberry juice. Everything was amazing. After breakfast we went up to pack, which I had already done, but the others still needed to, so instead I changed into my swim clothes because we decided that we’d all wear our swim clothes all day. This would be my first time in any pool since I was about twelve, so I had just bought a swim suit and a shirt made for swimming called a rash guard, made out of a lighter material than a regular shirt.

After everyone had gotten ready to go, we all went to pose for pictures for Rachel. She had some really good ideas for pictures involving the height of the building. I gave her my camera so she could take a few for me as well.

Of course I blinked.

After that we all loaded into the minivan and headed off to the parks. They weren’t that far away, and we got there early enough that we got a good parking space. We checked in and started walking. We walked a lot. I would say at least half the day was spent walking. The terrain there is very uneven as well. None of it is flat. it’s all small hills, so we definitely got our exercise that day. The first ride we rode was the Fury of the Nile. It was not terrifying, but for someone like me who is not used to that kind of thing, it was unnerving. I got soaked, and Shaina got soaked, and Joel and Robert, who WANTED to get soaked, did not. Following that we rode what appeared to be a mild log ride. Yeah, right. It was fun for awhile, then all of a sudden we were climbing up a hill. and I knew that a drop was coming. Once again I got wet going down a waterfall. After this ride some went one way and a few went another. Shaina and I wanted to go on a ride that spun around in a circle and swung it’s arms like a sideways swing. It was the best ride all day in my opinion. The funny thing about it though was that it started raining right before we got on. It was just a mild sprinkle, but we were going so fast that we got wetter on that ride than we had on the two actual water rides! I gave Alex my camera to take some pictures of us.

If you look close you can see the rain coming down in the pictures.

After we got off the ride, Alex suggested we try some Frozen Yogurt. We had never had it before, but we had heard about it on Rhett and Link’s Good Mythical Morning show on YouTube, and we wanted to try it. There was a very large selection of flavors, plus tons of different toppings, including a large variety of fresh fruits and berries. It was really good, though rather expensive. We learned right away that the prices there were much higher than if we had gone to a restaurant outside the park. I had decided earlier that I would not worry about money that day though, so I didn’t mind too much. We ate our yogurt while we waited for the others to get done with their ride. They had gone to a much more popular ride and had a very long wait.

When we got back together we ended up splitting up again, with Rachel, Alex, and Amanda going back to the vehicle for Amanda’s swimsuit, while the rest of us kept walking. And we ended up at... A roller coaster. I was under the impression from the picture on the map that it was a mild ride. It was just an itty bitty roller coaster compared to their giant roller coaster, “The Mamba.” At least, it was just an itty bitty roller coaster according to the illustrations on the map. Unfortunately the map was a big fat liar. That was one of the least mild ride I’ve ever been on in my life. I got a headache from the ride. It was not really fun at all. I wasn’t scared, I just didn’t like it. At all. I wish I did. I really want to like those kinds of rides, but as of right now, I am not a fan. I like the rides that gradually ease you into the thrill. Not ones that just drop you over an edge and cause you to get a headache.

After the roller coaster was a lot more walking. And more walking, and a lot more walking. After a ton of walking we eventually went to Oceans of Fun where we met the girls who all insisted we ride a giant water slide where you get into a really big tube and speed down to a pool. The four girls took one down, and us three guys took the other. Maybe it’s because I can’t swim, but this was the scariest ride I rode all day. I’m pretty sure I would rather ride the Mamba than that one again. I was sure the tube was going to flip over and drown us. Alex, who HATES thrill rides, and didn’t even want to ride the swinging one with Shaina and me, loved this one. I still can’t figure this out...

After that terror, I wanted to just go into a pool. Getting out of the tube ride made me want to just stay in the pool we landed in, but we couldn’t or we’d risk getting run over by the next tube that came careening down at a billion miles an hour. Nearby there was another pool that mimicked the ocean, and we decided to try that one. You waded in and the further you went, the deeper it got, and at a certain time, every ten or fifteen minutes, the tide would come in. I put on a life jacket because I wanted to go out as far as I could, but I can’t swim. Unfortunately I made the mistake of going too far, and I couldn’t get back to a depth where my feet could touch the bottom. Joel, Robert, and Rachel all ended up having to push/pull me back. After that I was fine. The tide started to come in and I rode that for awhile, but eventually I decided to go back to the shallow part. Then I realized just how strong the waves were! When you’re riding them you really don’t notice, but when you’re standing and one hits you, it’s enough that it almost knocks you over! If I’d been a little kid, I probably would have been knocked over.

After we got out of that pool we went to a smaller “Kids” pool that was only 4 feet deep, but had another tubing slide. This one was just one person at a time though. Everyone insisted it was fine, but over half the people who did it ended up flipped off the tubes under the water. I was not fine with that. If I knew how to swim maybe, but I don’t so I don’t want to be dunked under the water unless I am completely in control of the situation. I’ll dunk myself under the four foot deep water, but I don’t want the tube doing the flipping.

Shaina and I ended up staying in that pool and just relaxing for the rest of the time that Oceans of Fun was open, which wasn’t very long, sadly. I could have stayed there the rest of the day and been fine. I’ve discovered that I love being in the water. Just as long as I’m not in danger of drowning. The rest of our friends went back to the giant tube slide, while we hung out and played with some giant floating hippos. Thrill seekers would find us to be a rather boring pair, but we had more fun with those hippos than should have been allowed. :p

After Oceans of Fun closed, we went back to Worlds of Fun. Robert, Joel, Amanda and Shaina All decided to try "The Mamba," While Alex, Rachel, and I waited safely at the bottom. After they got off, Shaina wisely decided to never do that ever again. The others however, all wanted to get back on and experience the terror all over again. And that time I got pictures.

When we left there, Everyone but Shaina and me decided they wanted to go back down “The Fury of the Nile” again, so we watched them as they got on and then went to wait for them at a 50‘s themed diner.

When they got back, we went inside to order supper. And most of us promptly turned around and left. Earlier I said I had decided not to care about money, but when I went in and saw that they were charging over 8 dollars for a hamburger, I decided that I had lied to myself. My big breakfast and the frozen yogurt from a few hours earlier were still keeping me going, and I was just fine with waiting till we left the park to find a more reasonably priced restaurant.

After the ones who decided to allow themselves to be overcharged were done eating, we started walking again. We all decided to go on a “Taxi Ride” which ended up extremely popular for some reason. There were SO many people waiting in line for it. We were standing in line for a good half hour at least! And it was a rather boring, mild ride, so I can’t really figure out what made it so popular. During the time we were waiting, it started pouring. Thankfully, we were under the shelter and because of the extremely long line, by the time we got to ride the cabs, it had stopped. The ride lasted only a small fraction of the time it took to wait for it. Joel decided that he wanted it to be a thrill ride and tried to drive the thing as crazily as possible. He was not very successful, but if it had been possible I think he would have derailed it. :p

After the taxis, we again split into two groups, Robert, Joel, and Amanda, who wanted to be all extreme, and Shaina, Me, Alex, and Rachel, who did not. We rode some mild rides instead, some boat swings, and a train, with the cheesiest, most annoying tour guide who ever lived. The train ride itself was fun, but that guide... Good Gravy... Ham and cheese with extra cheese, and more cheese sauce on top! After the train, Alex and Rachel decided they wanted to go on the bumper cars, which is a ride that I do not understand its extreme popularity. It only lasts like two minutes, yet you have to wait in line for about twenty. All that waiting just to awkwardly drive around and try to plow into perfect strangers, all while the worlds most boring rave is happening. I’d do it if the ride was longer and I knew all the other drivers, but I have no desire to have pretend fender benders with strangers.

We all met up again after the bumper cars, but I’m not really sure were everyone went after that. I know some went to ride the train o’ cheese again, and Shaina and I went to try to find the Ferris Wheel. It ended up being closed because a storm was coming in, so we headed back to the diner. Eventually we all met up again and decided to leave. It was after dark, and most of us were starving and ready to get out of our swim suits.

We decided to go to a Pizza Hut for supper and to change out of our swim suits. It was not a very good place to change, and it was definitely not a CLEAN place to change, but it was still much better than a gas station bathroom. That would have been a nightmare...

After we changed, we all ordered our food and talked. We all ordered different things. I ordered a large supreme pizza for Shaina and me. I would have ordered us a medium, but they didn’t offer stuffed crust in a medium, and I wanted to try the stuffed crust. I don’t think I’d tried it before then and if I had, it had been many, many years. Yes, I have led a sheltered life... :p Sadly, I was not very impressed with the stuffed crust, and I would have been perfectly happy with normal crust.

After supper it was very late. Like ten or eleven o’clock at night, late, and we still had to drive all the way back to Nebraska to pick up Ariana, and then all the way back to Iowa. I can’t remember much about the drive home. I was drifting in and out of consciousness for a good deal of the way, until we stopped at a Walmart around 2 or 3 because Robert needed to rest. At first I stayed in the vehicle. I think I slept some. I don’t remember. I do do remember thinking of the Hunger Games Tote Bag again, and I asked Alex if she could look around for it. If they had one I would come in and buy it. Eventually she came back and told me she had found some, so I went inside. I bought the bag and for good measure I bought a keychain of the Mockingjay as well. Hmmm... Am I getting too into this series? I might need to reign in my fandom... :p Well, considering how the Twilight fandom behaves... Nope, I’m definitely not too obsessed. :p

After walking around, “just looking” for maybe an hour, Alex found me and told me that they were getting ready to go. I decided then to get my very first energy drink. Yes, I have never before in my life consumed an energy drink. You know, sheltered life and all... :p I decided on a Starbucks energy drink. Not a coffee drink, or a pop-like drink with tons of HFCS fake nastiness, but one made with fruit juice and “Green Coffee” whatever that is. Supposedly it was healthy. It wasn’t bad, and it did keep me awake for the rest of the night. Sort of.

A few hours later we arrived at Rachel’s parents home. It had stormed off and on, so we were MUCH later getting there than we had planned. Robert had had to drive a lot slower than he would have otherwise. Joel got out while we waited for them to collect Ariana and get her strapped in. It looked like he fell asleep on their lawn. I’m not even sure if Rachel’s mother even noticed him. She came out and was handing out pop to everyone. Rachel’s mother will always offer you food or drink, even in the dead of night. :)

After waking Joel up, we all got back in the van and headed for home. And then we ran into fog. This of course slowed us WAY down. We drove for at least twice, if not three times as long as it should have taken to get home. By the time we pulled up to Robert and Rachel’s it was almost morning. And then their garage door wouldn’t open, and they had no key to get in. And the key to Joel’s car was inside. After trying everywhere on the house for an open spot, it was burgling time. Joel and Robert literally broke into their house. Thankfully it was still dark and no one was around to call the cops. “Help! Police! There’s a motley crew of people and a baby surrounded by luggage watching two guys cut open a screen and crawl into a house!”

Somewhere between 6:30 and 7 we finally got home. I think we had estimated that we would probably be home around 2. So, yeah. That didn’t happen. At all. Needless to say, we slept in. Way in. I think it was around 2 in the afternoon when I woke up that day.

You know the old saying, it’s not the destination, it’s the journey? That certainly held true for this trip. The parks were fun, but some of the most memorable things happened outside the theme parks. All in all, this was probably one of the best trips I’ve ever been on. I know that’s not saying much, considering I come from a very non-traveling family, and I’ve hardly been anywhere, but I had a lot of fun, and I can’t wait until our next trip. :)

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