This is my first week back after vacation, and it's been rough, man. I need a vacation to recover from my vacation! But I wanted to share a little of what we did before I start forgetting the details. I'm including some pictures, too, which you may have already seen if you follow me on Instagram, but I haven't had a chance to upload the pictures from my good camera yet so I couldn't share any of those. :(
When my older sister Kat found out we were going to Universal Studios, she wanted in. She figured this was going to be her only chance to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, as she has no kids of her own and no Potterheads as friends. (I know!) So, while we drove the 16+ hour drive to Florida, she met us there after a quick plane trip.
Since we were driving, we took it easy on the way down (over?) to Florida, and made a few stops along the way before stopping for a couple nights in Pensacola. I'd read somewhere that Pensacola Beach is rumored to have the whitest sand in the world, and my goodness, it was definitely pretty. Much more picturesque than my last visit to a beach, that's for sure.
It wasn't very warm yet in Pensacola, only in the mid-60s, so it was a little too chilly to play in the ocean for long. And even though the hotel had a heated pool, the heater wasn't working while we were there, so that wasn't gonna happen. But that's okay because Katie had a blast playing in the sand and splashing around in the Gulf for a bit. We spent some time building sand castles and Katie buried herself in the sand and made volcanoes in the sand. We've only been to the ocean once before, when Katie was four, but I think she was even more fascinated by it this time around. She just stood there as the waves crashed to shore and stared out at it, entranced. I'm sure I got a shot of that on my other camera. :)
We left Pensacola on Monday morning and had to pick up Auntie Kat from the airport as soon as we got into Orlando, so we didn't have much time to explore when we got there. But we were less than two miles form Universal Studios, so we could see it from our hotel room, which was kind of awesome. I'm not going to lie…the biggest draw for us at this amusement park was definitely the Harry Potter-related attractions. We could not wait to get there and get our wands and drink our first butter beer.
Katie and Kat both also really enjoyed Seuss Landing, too, both being fans of the silly books. Fun Fact: Kat's birthday was actually on March 2nd, which also happens to be Dr. Seuss's birthday. :) Jerrod's favorite part of the park was probably Superhero World or whatever it was called. He doesn't really like rides, but he enjoyed the Transformers and Spiderman 4D rides quite a bit.
Which was another reason I was glad Kat was on the trip with us…she likes roller coasters as much as I do. We rode the Dragon Challenge twice in a row because we lucked out and there was, like, ZERO line either time. Plus, the fact that you get to pick either a Chinese Fireball dragon or a Hungarian Horntail meant we had to try out both. I think the Fireball was better, but that might be because I rode it first and in the very front. Kat said she thought they were the same. *shrugs*
Our second day at Universal was pretty much dedicated to rides. We rode every ride we could fit in plus some that just had really short lines and ended up being pretty fun anyway. Kat and I also rode The Hulk, which was even more intense than the hanging Dragon Challenge. Kat and I both agreed there was no way we were riding that one twice in a row, lol. No clank-clank-clank up to the top for that ride…it just shoots you outta there! So freaking exhilarating!
When we asked Katie which park she wanted to go to first, she picked "Harry Potter", and so that's what we did since this was technically her birthday trip. (It was sooo nice how everyone -- and I mean everyone -- told her happy birthday when they saw her pin. :D) Which meant that left Disney World's Magic Kingdom for our last full day in Orlando.
Once we got past our initial disappointment, though, we had a good time. We rode the rides we could tolerate to wait for. No Seven Dwarves Runaway Mine Train, though…that line never got down to less than an hour-and-a-half wait. We kept forgetting to set up our Express Pass rides, and by the time we remembered, that one was full-up. :(
Disney is mostly about the kiddos, though, so we let Katie navigate for the most part. She wanted to ride the teacups every time we passed them. We flew around in Dumbo. We saw Ariel under the sea. And I had to basically tell Kat the story because she's never seen The Little Mermaid.
We had time to relax when we got back to the hotel after Disney, so we had some pool time and played some board games, but we had to get Kat to the airport early the next day and head back to Texas ourselves, so we called it an earlier night than we had the rest of the week. :) We were going to stop and grab a hotel in whatever city we were in when we got too tired to go any further on our way back, but we got a fire lit under our asses to get back to our own beds, so we ended up driving straight home.
expensive ass bed we bought at the fair last year. :P And we made it without incident, so there's that. :)
I feel like there was so much more I wanted to tell you about our trip, but as I said, I'm still recuperating from our travels. I may do a second part to this post with more details and more pictures after I get them all uploaded to my computer. Just depends. ;0)
If you've never been to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I suggest you add it to your Bucket List if you've enjoyed any part of the franchise. It's such an immersive experience, like you're truly walking the streets of Diagon Alley. I can't wait to go back, and I hope they just keep adding to the attraction so I can experience more of Harry's world.
April's taking the same trip in May, and I can't wait to compare stories and pictures with her. I really wish we could've worked it out so we'd be there at the same time. :( Regardless, we had a great time and I'm sure April and her family will love the new additions since they were last there. :)
Happy reading & safe travels! :D