I have GOT to blog about our most recent vacation or I am never going to. I've been terrible all summer - we did some amazing things (Royal Gorge, Steamboat, California, Grand Lake, New Mexico) and I didn't blog about a single one. So when my poor children look back on their lives all they will see is ... nothing. I'm terrible.
I did have some great pics on my phone that I was planning on supplementing with the pics on my computer, but alas I dropped my phone in water and had to replace it (second time this year. Yes, I am that person). So, we will have to settle for what was left on my camera and my blog won't be nearly as interesting, colorful or well-rounded. And with that rousing introduction - here we go!
We were blessed with a 4-day school break shortly after the kids started, which was coupled with a weekend, and when our family sees something like that looming at us our family figures out where we can go! This year we decided to head back to Florida for some Disney-flavored R&R. The last time we went to Florida the kids were 2 and 1 respectively, and while we had an awesome time with them, we decided now would be a good time to head back so they could actually have some memories.
Our first day was spent getting to our hotel (Grand Floridian, I highly recommend) and checking out Downtown Disney where we picked up the obligatory Christmas ornament (we get one for all of our trips) and K2 got lost for 3 minutes and she panicked and I panicked and all was well.
Day two we headed to Universal Studios, to check out Harry Potter World. I get this anxiousness inside of me when I am trying to fight a crowd, and let me tell you people - I am good at it. We're fast walkers and we're not timid people, so while still trying to maintain relative decorum we kicked some serious A trying to get to the back of the park before everyone else that was standing in the entrance line made the exact same beeline.
Fortunately it wasn't too crowded - the longest we waited was for the first thing we did - seeing the wand "show" at Olivanders. I put show in quotations because demonstration is probably a better word. It takes less than 5 minutes. Except for the group that went in right before us which took about 30 minutes. Murhpy's Law.
Right after the show they shuttle you into the very cramped store where you can purchase a wand of your own. And by cramped, I mean my walk-in closet that never fits all my clothes feels roomier than this. But the kids were over the moon to get to choose a wand (ahem, the WAND chose THEM) and begin casting their spells.
(Side note: mommy struggle. For months leading up to going to HPW, my kids were insistent on getting a wand and a broom because they were absolutely positively sure they could do magic and fly. I vacillated between wanting them to have this bit of fantasy, and not wanting to see it come crashing down as soon as they discovered the truth. I tried to tell them gently that wands do not do magic - well gently at first until they made fun of me for being dumb and then I got a little more heated in my assertions. In the end they proved me wrong as K2 mastered the "smile" charm where she could make any one smile she pointed her wand at, and K1 mastered the "winguardiam leviosa" charm where employees' items just kept flying up out of their hands. I did draw a line at buying a broom however, as I was not going to figure out a way to make those things fly.)
So after Olivanders and a ride on the Hippogriff roller coaster (K1 and Bryan went on the Forbidden Journey ride but much to K2's dismay she was not tall enough and much to my dismay its a simulated ride which means I get nauseous faster - and neither of the kids were tall enough for the Dragon coaster) we headed over to the Three Broomsticks for a little Butter Beer and Pumpkin Juice. The former tastes like a butterscotch cream soda and the latter like a heavily spiced cider. The kids and I liked both, B wasn't such a fan of the Butter Beer. I recommend getting both in the slushy format rather than straight up. And HPW wouldn't have been complete without stopping in the candy shoppe, where we picked up some chocolate frogs and (we marveled at this later) did not buy Bertie Botts Every Flavored Bean.
So after leaving HPW we headed to the second most exciting place in the park (at least in my humble opinion) Dr. Seuss land. If you know me at all you know I am a HUGE Dr. S. fan and my family is as well. We had fun riding the trolley train through Seuss world with a narration that covers A to Z, and riding the Caro-Seuss-sel where all of the creatures are whimsical and even riding The Cat in the Hat ride (which has always been my least favorite Seuss story and even as a small child, created some measure of stress in me when I read it. Perhaps it was the mess?). We didn't eat at Green Eggs and Ham unfortunately because we had eaten at the Three Broomsticks, but I am confident we would have liked them in the park, in the dark, on the train or in the rain.
The rest of the day was spent seeing the other sites at the park, which were fun and enjoyable as all great amusement parks are, but weren't quite as magical as the first two lands. I only had to deal with two work "emergencies" (side note: what constitutes an "emergency" in my book versus my clients' books are two vastly different things). All in all a great day and we hadn't even begun our Disney adventure.