Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Review for WonderWorks and The Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show in Orlando, Florida

We own a timeshare condo in Kissimmee, Florida. When planning our trip for this year, I contacted WonderWorks about visiting them in exchange for a review on my blog. They kindly accepted and offered us discounted admission AND discounted tickets to the Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show!

WonderWorks Orlando is a fantastically fun, outta this world, flip you upside down place! Oh yeah - it IS upside down!
Can you see the building behind them? It is a laboratory that is UPSIDE DOWN! Rumor has it that the story goes something like this - Professor Wonder was asked to do an experiment that involved trapping the power of a man-made tornado - well, the experiment went wrong and the laboratory was uprooted and flew to Orlando from the Bermuda Triangle! When you go inside, the stairs are ABOVE you! You have to go through the inversion tunnel to flip YOU upside down too! Unfortunately, since Daniella was in her stroller, she and I missed out on that part. Brandon and Michael said it was super cool to walk through though! Daniella and I were escorted through a separate doorway used for wheelchairs and strollers. I do wish there was a way for them to make the tunnel accessible for people on wheels! We were told to simply ask on of the people who worked there to help us onto the elevator as necessary (they need to punch in a code for it to run).

Once inside and inverted, we began experiencing the various exhibits. There was so much to learn about! There was all kinds of weather related exhibit on the main floor. We felt the wind of a hurricane, experienced what am earthquake that is 5.3 on the Richter scale feels like, felt how cold the water was the night the Titanic sunk (and tried standing on the "deck" of the Titanic that showed how extreme the angle was at different points during the night), and more! And as with most resort location places - they had photographers ready to take your picture to remember your visit!

Can you see the two people talking to each other? Hint: Look at the black part!

We easily found someone to let us use the elevator after checking out the main floor exhibits.

The next floor held Daniella's attention MUCH better! The Bubble Lab kept us all busy for almost an HOUR!

The bubbles we all made were absolutely AMAZING! It was one of the highlights of our entire vacation just sitting there making these enormous bubbles together! Daniella was simply fascinated!

Other exhibits we tried:
Baseball Pitching

Baseball Pitching

Brandon laid on a Bed of Nails!!!


Daniella loved playing basketball with her Daddy!

Daniella loved running back and forth on this huge floor piano!

Reminds me of the movie "Big".

Daniella pitched a fit when we left this exhibit (after spending 30 minutes on it!) She loved coloring on the touch screen!

There was games for Brandon to play, too!

When we tried to go to the Basement...we could not find an employee who was available to punch the code in on the elevator for we attempted to proceed via stairs. Daniella can climb stairs but folding up and moving the stroller was a bit of a pain.

EDITED TO ADD: WonderWorks has informed me that a code is not necessary to move from the second level to the Basement level so keep that in mind if you visit and need to use the elevator! I do hope that in the future, employees will make that more clear to elevator users :)

The Basement has a 4D Theater where Brandon and I went to see Canyon Coaster - which was awesome! We really felt like we were riding the coaster! I wish that Daniella and Michael could have joined us, but this is intended for those who are 40" and taller.

While we were inside the 4D theater, Michael roamed the basement with Daniella (which included an arcade area that you needed tokens/coins for - This was disappointing that they were not included in admission like everything else we "played with".)

We did not check out the Ropes Challenge Course (2 of us had open toed shoes - CLOSED TOED SHOES ARE REQUIRED - and Daniella was not tall enough). I did notice that everyone wore harnesses for safety though and I really liked that!

Our ticket package also did not include the Lazer Tag which sounded like lots of fun!!

I do have to say that I am glad that children 3 and younger are free to get in because honestly, there was not a whole lot that held Daniella's attention (age 2). She LOVED the Bubble Lab, had fun with the baseball pitch, basketball, giant floor piano and the Fun Express touch screen. Just enough to keep her engaged enough to not get mad but I do wish there was more for the younger crowd :)

Throughout the hallways and staircases there were some really great optical illusions that were fun too! There was a large gift shop to peruse on the way out as well!

After spending about 4 hours at WonderWorks, we went back to our condo to let Daniella take a good nap so she would be plenty refreshed by the time the Outta Control Magic Dinner Show began!

We were warned to come early for our 6pm show - were were told it would be best to arrive by 5:30 because seating was based upon arrival time. We arrived right at 5:30pm and there were about a dozen people ahead of us in line. Daniella is not patient with waiting so that proved interesting! We were seated at a table towards the back even though we were there fairly early which didn't really make much sense to us but we were still able to have a great view of the show! The comedian was fantastically funny, great at engaging the audience and was very family friendly! There was unlimited cheese and pepperoni pizza, salad, popcorn, Pepsi drinks, beer and wine with vanilla cake for dessert. The food was okay but not great (was in line with the price of the dinner show). We weren't there so much for the food as much as we were for the show though! Brandon (age 10) is really into magic being a HUGE Harry Potter fan so he LOVED the show!

As in most resort areas - keep your eyes out for coupons to save a few dollars!

Don't forget to check out WonderWorks Orlando's Facebook Page!

I know that a lot of families travel to the Orlando area over Christmas break - you seriously need to check out WonderWorks while you are there! It is fun, educational, and much cheaper than big theme parks!

Disclosure: We received an approximate $50 discount in exchange for this review.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Review for Fun Spot USA Located in Kissimmee, Florida

We own a timeshare in Kissimmee, Florida that we visit yearly. This year, we were looking for something to do that could meet the needs of both of our children, paying close attention to their large age gap. We have a 10 yr old son named Brandon and a 2 yr old daughter named Daniella. While searching for some ideas, a friend suggested Fun Spot USA. I contacted them and they kindly provided us with free armbands for my children to experience Fun Spot USA in exchange for my review. We visited the Fun Spot USA location in Kissimmee although there is also a Fun Spot location in Orlando!

The first things we noticed upon arriving right as they were opening for the day was that they have FREE ADMISSION and FREE PARKING! Not something you find very often in a resort area! I love that you can roam the park and determine whether or not it looks like something your family would enjoy BEFORE you purchase your armband to get on the rides!

The pricing for their armbands are fairly reasonable too! Check out these prices!

Adult Armband - $34.95 + tax
Youth Armband = $24.95 + tax

Or you can pay PER RIDE! Perfect for young children whose attention span won't last long or for the family on a budget who wants to at least get out and do SOMETHING on their vacation!

Per Ride Prices are:
Multi-level Tracks = $9
Flat Tracks = $6
Extreme Thrill Ride = $6
Most Thrill and Family Rides = $3

More Fun Spot USA pricing info includes Go-Kart Track sampler armbands and Chauffeur armbands!

Plus - don't forget - as in ANY resort area, you can find coupons almost anywhere! :)

Here is a list of the tracks and rides available at Fun Spot USA in Kissimmee, Florida I LOVE that their website has a ton of videos showing their park attractions in action! While viewing them before we left, Brandon was SO excited to go!

With Daniella being only 2 years old and only approximately 33" tall, she was limited on what she could ride. Yes, we could have purchased the Chauffeur armband and ridden along with her (Brandon could not ride with her), but we chose not to as we knew her attention span would only hold for so long anyway!

Daniella was able to ride the Convoy, Cyber Jets and the Red Baron. She was SO bummed that she could not ride the carousel as she is currently in LOVE with horses!

She rode the Convoy MANY times! I think she rode every vehicle on that ride! Taxi cab, fire truck, jalopy, Mustang, etc. She LOVED it! The ride operator, Kayla, was FANTASTIC! She made sure Daniella was securely buckled every time and helped her in and out of every ride as well! She was so sweet to Daniella. In fact, we she heard how bummed Daniella was that she couldn't ride the carousel horse, I asked her if it was possible since the park was dead first thing in the morning, if she would be allowed to let Daniella simply sit on the carousel horse long enough for me to take a picture of her on it but not turn the ride on. She very graciously let me!

It made Daniella's day! She was sooooo happy she would barely look at the camera - she only had eyes for that horse!

The other ride operator in the kiddie area was named Daniel and he was great too! Because it was not peak season, they did not have a ride attendant at every ride but rather had signs posted that stated that the ride was open and that ride operators were rotating. Daniel was also great at ensuring the children were buckled in well.

Kayla is buckling the children into the Cyber Jets

Enjoying the Cyber Jets ride!

Cyber Jets goes up and down
Fire Truck on the Convoy

Cyber Jets

Daniel is buckling Daniella up on the Red Baron!

Brandon and Daniella fly together on the Red Baron!

Red Baron

Kayla is helping Daniella get safely buckled on the Convoy

Brandon liked the motorcycle on the Convoy - even though it was a "baby" ride in his eyes, he rode it several times with Daniella - what a good big brother he is!

She loved the taxi cab on the Convoy!

Riding the taxi cab some more!

Again Kayla is buckling Daniella while they are in the car

Riding the car!

They rode the rides Daniella could ride for well over an hour before Brandon wanted to move on to a few other rides!




Kiddie Coaster

Kiddie Coaster

Kiddie Coaster

Kiddie Coaster

Fun Slide

Fun Slide

Fun Slide

 I do have one note I would like to make about the Fun Slide. It may have been because staff was light due to it not being a peak season, but I do wish they would have had an attendant at the TOP of the Fun Slide to help ensure the children were laying their sack on it correctly so that they were tucking their feet into the pocket. Daniel did a great job monitoring the children and guiding them verbally from below and even went up the stairs sometimes to physically help some children. I just think for safety reasons, having an additional ride attendant up at the top of the slide would have been great!
Power Trip Coaster

Power Trip Coaster

Power Trip Coaster

Power Trip Coaster

Power Trip Coaster

Power Trip Coaster

Power Trip Coaster

Screaming Eagles - Brandon's FAVORITE RIDE!

Screaming Eagles

At about this time, Daniella started getting fussy, so we headed over to the Fun Spot USA arcade! They had a special running where you could put $20 on a Fun-E-Card and they gave you $5 additional for free! So we got $25 for only $20! We had a BLAST! This arcade is huge and has a ton of games to play!

photo op in the arcade!

photo op in the arcade!

Snack bar in the arcade - tons of food to choose from and VERY reasonable prices! You can use your arcade cash card to buy food at the snack bar!

Skeeball - one of Daniella's favorites!

Michael and I played Air Hockey  - our favorite!

Michael played basketball with the kiddos

Daniella helped Daddy spray the water to race against Brandon!

So much fun! The games all have card readers that scan your Fun-E-Card, tell you how much the game costs to play (ranging from $.50 - $3. mostly $.50 - $1), what your current balance is and how many tickets you have earned! I love that we did not have to keep track of our tickets It took us over an hour to spend that $25! Then we went to the prize counter. Daniella got to spend the majority of the tickets because the rest of us got to play the majority of the games but Brandon got a few small items too!
They have huge restrooms in the arcade that were VERY clean and had large stalls inside. They even had a family restroom!
Showing off their prizes!

Then we went outdoors to eat our lunch that we brought along at one of the many picnic tables in the park. After that, Daniella was getting pretty sleepy, so they rode one more ride and we left for the day, having spent almost 4 hours at the park. Unfortunately,  Brandon was still a bit too short to ride the go-karts so we can't tell you how they are, but they look FANTASTIC! I did take a few random pictures of other parts of the park including the go-karts in usage - 

Overall, Fun Spot USA was a great family fun place to go! The kids really enjoyed themselves. I think it was a perfect place to accommodate the age gap we have between both of our children, allowing them each their own thing to do but also some things to do together!

I know that Christmas break will be coming up right around the corner - if you plan to visit the Orlando area, I highly recommend that you check out Fun Spot USA. It is one of the more reasonably prices attractions in the area - and you definitely get your money's worth! 

I don't know if the same special will be running then or not, but while we were there over Thanksgiving break, they had a bunch of signs up showing that they had a deal running that I believe basically equaled out to paying $20 more than the All Day Armband and you got to come back a second day! What a great deal!

EDITED TO ADD: Fun Spot USA let me know that this deal is ALWAYS available! PLUS they now have annual passes!!!

Have you ever been to Fun Spot USA before? Did you love it as much as we did?

Will you be visiting the Orlando area soon? Would your family like to visit Fun Spot USA while there?