The water parks open at 10am which gave us an extra hour to sleep, woohoo! It was novel not having to wake up the kids. We made it to the water park just in time for rope drop, though that wasn't exactly necessary. The changing rooms were pretty nice, and before we knew it we were claiming our lounge chairs in the Tikes Peak kids area. Fiona and Niall were in heaven - little water slides, fountains, a waterfall, and a pool just deep enough for them to be 100% comfortable playing in. I hung out with the littles for a while so Doug could take the bigs on some of the big water slides. Slush Gusher was first and while they liked it, it hurt their backs a fair bit. Then they went on Downhill Double Dipper, Snow Stormers, and Toboggan Racers. Apparently the racing slides are kind of a pain if you actually want to race because it's difficult to get everyone lined up to go at the same time. They also did Runoff Rapids, which was a fun ride but the climb sucked.
When they came back to the Tikes Peak kiddie area, we decided to do a lap in Cross Country Creek, the lazy river. Fiona and Niall thought that was awesome as it was shallow enough that they could walk. We still used a life jacket for Niall because of his tendency to get knocked over by the inner tubes. It was a little annoying that it was so shallow for me and Doug, though, as it made it harder to float without a tube.
Next we did the Teamboat Springs, the family raft ride (taking the chairlift up, which was fun but a little nerve-wracking boarding and unloading with the littles). Fiona was really anxious about it and fussed a fair bit while we were boarding, but she ended up loving it. Niall and the boys really liked it, too. From there we hit up the wave pool - lots of fun with waves that were high enough to be fun, but low enough not to be terrifying.
After the wave pool, I took the little kids back to the Tikes Peak area while Doug watched the big kids at Ski Patrol, the area for pre-teens. They liked the zipline, but Colwyn said he swallowed too much water when he landed. The slides were fun, too, as was walking across the 'icebergs'.
It was getting on into the afternoon then, about 2pm, so we wrapped things up. There was a lovely CM in the changing room that directed me to a handicap stall so I'd have more room to get Fiona and Niall changed (we had the stroller with us). We stopped off at the hotel to drop off our things and got on a bus to Downtown Disney. The boys were super excited about going to Disney Quest, which we hadn't done before.
I'm not a huge fan of Downtown Disney to begin with, but it was an absolute nightmare with the construction. We had to walk what felt like five miles across the entire complex to get from the one remaining bus stop to Disney Quest, all along crowded, shadeless pathways bordered by scrims. It was a nightmare and I honestly thought some or all of us might pass out before we got to our destination. We stopped at Wolfgang Puck's for a quick bite to eat and to 'cool off' in the outdoor seating area. I was seriously annoyed at the un-Disney-like experience thus far.
Disney Quest was a little better - it was at least air conditioned. We did a quick loop checking out the areas, then Colwyn and Lachlann did Cyberspace Mountain. While they did that, Fiona and Niall played with the Living Easels which were a huge hit. After the boys were done, we tried to go do the Jungle Cruise game, but Fiona chickened out. Niall had a (understandable) tantrum because while he was allowed on the raft, he was not allowed a paddle. He refused to do the Pirates game (along with Fiona, who was still freaked out by the noise), so I took the littles upstairs on a meandering walk to find Fix It Felix Jr while Doug waited in a really slowly moving line at Pirates.
We gave Colwyn and Lachlann some freedom then, telling them that they just had to stay on the same floor as each other, and that we'd come find them when we were ready to go to our T-Rex reservation. We played a few more games in the cheesy arcade area, as well as a ridiculously loud tank shooting game. It was really just too much for Fiona, so after a bit, we went into the food area to just sit at the counter and chill out where it was a smidge quieter. The boys got to do Cyberspace Mountain again, which was obviously the big hit there.
Finally it was time to go, and the walk to T-Rex was marginally better - mainly because it was halfway between Disney Quest and the bus stop, so not as far to walk. T-Rex was enjoyable if you like insanely loud restaurants. Seriously.. I think it's the loudest place I've ever been. Every 10 minutes they do a meteor storm which makes 90% of the children under age 6 in there (which is a lot) scream and/or sob hysterically. Then approximately every 90 seconds someone has a birthday, which involved a lot of improbably loud clapping. That aside, it is a pretty cool place, visually speaking. The kids really enjoyed their food, and my ribs were tasty. Colwyn again took advantage of the dining plan and ordered the Boneyard Buffet - half a rotisserie chicken, a full rack of ribs, waffle fries, and mashed potatoes. OMG. It was hysterical. Needless to say, we brought a lot home with us. The real fun part is dessert - Chocolate Extinction, which is four slices of chocolate cake, eight big scoops of ice cream, and lots of Butterfinger crumbles and chocolate sauce. Oh yeah, and it comes with a big cup of dry ice smoking all over the table. So much fun. Yes, fun.. until a trip to the bathroom becomes necessary because, just like last time we ate here, the food did not agree with my stomach. I spent the next couple of hours very uncomfortable, and I vowed to never eat there again. I do like the souvenir glasses we got, though.
By the time we emerged from the Jurassic Period (please forgive me if it's actually set in the Cretaceous or something, I don't feel like looking it up), the sun had set a bit and it was a little more comfortable. We spent some time in the Lego Store, aka Heaven on Earth for my kids. We only ventured into the World of Disney store briefly, and only really to check out the Magic Mirror thing they have there. Every adorable 4-7 year old girl lines up to take a turn standing in front of a magic mirror, where various Disney Princess dresses appear overlaid on their image. Every adorable 4-7 year old girl loves it. It was actually pretty cute, but it needs a more formal queue because 4-7 year old girls aren't always great at taking turns where Princesses are concerned.
We really wanted to check out the Co-op Marketplace, and it was pretty cool in some ways. Definitely better than the generic Disney giftshop, though only the kitchen area really appealed to us. Once Upon a Toy was next, and the kids all did some shopping. Fiona was disappointed that they didn't carry Princess Palace Pets, but Niall picked out a Cars headset that didn't fit (the cashier was really great about warning us that it would probably frustrate him, but we thought he'd be more upset to put it back, so we bought it anyway. We should have just put it back, as it did frustrate him quite a lot). Colwyn and Lachlann shared the Build A Droid as a souvenir.
We were pretty much done at that point, so we headed out. The bus stop looked like a nightmare and I honestly felt like crying, but a CM appeared from nowhere and asked us where we were going, then flagged down a bus that had already closed its doors and let us on. I was a little nervous as we approached the bus as our usual MO was to wait for an uncrowded bus, but there were still plenty of seats left, so whew! We got back to the hotel fairly late and just crashed.