Ohana Means Family: The Disney Difference
Day 3, Part 2: Exploring Key West and My Aquadunk Experience!
The debarkation process in ports is very simple, quick, and painless. Posted around and also in your navigator you will see you need a photo ID and your key to the world card. In most ports, your photo ID is mostly for your own safety. If something were to happen where you need medical attention or miss the ship and need to catch up to it, you will need photo identification. In MOST ports, you will not need to show the ID to anyone to get off or on the ship (the Key to the World card has your photo in it when they scan it). However, it is best to bring it anyway, because let’s face it, the one time you don’t will be the one time you need it! In Key West, however, you will need to show ID getting back to the boat because (at least on our sailing) we were docked in a military base.
Since we were a bit away from downtown and in a military base, Disney provided free trolley shuttle service from the boat to the center of town. This was great not only for convenience factor but also because the trolley driver gave a bit of a tour along the way. Think Jungle Cruise Skipper style. One of the things he told us about were the chickens, they are everywhere in Key West roaming free. They also control the mosquito population!
We didn’t really have a plan in Key West, nothing really stood out to us in the excursions so we decided to just go exploring. One thing we wanted to do was check out a store called Peppers of Key West that specializes in hot sauces so we headed there first. If you like hot sauces, definitely check this place out. Not only do they have walls filled with hot sauces (and marinades, bbq sauces, rubs, etc) categorized by level of heat but if you show any interest in their hot sauces they’ll break out a basket of chips and give you a free tasting of a good number of them. We are big foodies and Dave loves hot sauces so we really enjoyed this.
Besides that we mainly just explored the downtown area. We walked all the way down Duval Street (the main drag with all of the shops and things) and back through the neighborhood. I loved checking out the plants and the architecture of the buildings as it is a pretty eclectic mix. We walked by the Hemingway House which had a pretty large line up and the little white house where the presidents stay. One thing we noticed about Key West was that cigar shops in Key West are like Starbucks in New York City. They are literally on every corner! There are definitely other things to check out here like the Trolley Tours, the Aquarium, the Hemingway House etc. Dave isn’t really a museum/tour person so we skipped those, but it might be good for your family!
Just a few more pictures:
From there we headed back to the ship. We caught the trolley back from the center of town, and had to show ID and Key to the World Card when we got back to the gate of the military base. Getting on the ship we scanned our Key to the World Card, went through the metal detector, and had our bags scanned.
Once aboard, our first stop was some soft serve ice cream for the day. You may laugh now, but just you wait, this stuff is addicting! I had to stop myself from getting multiple cones per day! After our ice cream, we decided to get our bathing suits on and take advantage of the nearly empty pool deck. Dave was eager to try the AquaDunk especially since there were virtually no lines.
At the AquaDunk, they have little cubbies for you to keep things like sunglasses, watches, towels, flip flops etc. They are, however, at your own risk. You cannot wear necklaces or watches on the Aquadunk but they will let you take it off and hold it tightly in your hand (as they had me do with my watch) when you go down. I waited at the touch down point as Dave tried the water slide to see his expression when he came down. He is a waterslide kinda guy, and has no shame in trying out the ones at the resorts at Disney. I on the other hand have been terrified of them since I was a kid and avoided him ever since.
After spending some time in the adult pool, however, Dave convinced me to face my fears and just try the Twist ‘N’ Spout. I agreed and mustered up the courage to get into line. Sure, it looks like a pretty tame waterslide but standing up there waiting for the light to turn green my slightly irrational fear got to me a bit. My heart was racing and I could feel that weird anxiety in my stomach. I tried it though, and realized how irrational my fear had been. This slide is very tame and definitely suitable for kids of all ages.
From there, Dave started trying to convince me to go on the AquaDunk, telling me I might regret trying if I never went on it during the trip. With my new found confidence I agreed and we made our way up the line. You never realize how high it is until you are up there and are watching people fall down the slide as the floor drops out from under them. This time, I was pretty terrified. When it was my turn, the attendant had me take off my watch and hold it in my hand, and cross my hands and feet. Then the plastic covering comes over you and gets into place. There was no turning back at that point, though thats when I really wished there was! Then you hear Huey Duey and Louey count down from three. It reminded me a bit of the Rockin’ Roller Coaster countdown, but so much more anxiety provoking for me!
When the floor drops from under you, you literally can’t feel the slide under you for a good second or two (which at the time feels like much longer!). I screamed so loudly and shut my eyes. Once you hit the turn, you are going quickly but the scariest part is over. (Later, Dave told me the Attendant said to him “I knew she’d be a screamer!”) I opened my eyes and though I knew I was in the part over the side of the boat, I couldn’t see anything. The piping is much more opaque than I thought it was from the outside. The splashdown is also kind of intense because you are coming at a much higher speed than the Twist n Spout. It wasn’t that deep, but you still get a significant rush of water to your face.
So, overall I did it and I’m happy I did. It was very thrilling and such an adrenaline rush. Spoiler alert though: Dave did it many more times throughout the trip, but I opted out! Once was enough. If your kids are ready to try it on their own, by all means allow them to. I didn’t see one child get off terrified. However, it isn’t something I would push a child to try until they indicate they want to on their own. For a kid who was not mentally prepared for this (or an adult) I could definitely see them being a bit traumatized and completely turned off of waterslides or thrill rides in general. There is also a height requirement for this slide of 48″.
Next Up: Dinner at Lumiere’s and the First Adult Variety Show.