“The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it’s all that matters.”–Audrey Hepburn
<<<Taylor, Preston, Perry and I soaking up the stardom of one of my favorite actresses…loved her in Breakfast at Tiffany’s!
Last summer, we loaded up the Nissan and headed off for Orlando–me, my kids (Taylor and Preston) and one of my favorite people in the world…Perry Jones. Being the huge Harry Potter fans that we are, we were craving some theme park experience of the wizarding world. The eight hour drive took us from our small town in Alabama through Tallahassee straight down the Turnpike into Orlando. Nothing really interesting happened on our way although we did go to Starbucks to promote gay marriage and we boycotted Chik Fil A all day due to the rage against gay marriage that they had started at the time. We were also tempted by Club Risque–a nude restaurant advertised for by at least 13 signs, but we decided that it wouldn’t be a good idea with the kids and all.
Our hotel, the Holiday Inn Express, was only one and a half miles from the park. Right after we checked in, we went down to enjoy some $6 big girl drinks and let the kids take a dip in the pool before heading out to Emeril’s in Downtown Universal. Emeril’s had the hugest wine rack I’ve ever seen, so we of course had some to pair with our delicious pizza. A little walk around, and we were exhausted.
The next morning we all headed out bright and early to Harry Potter Wizarding World at the Islands of Adventure. Little did we know that everyone else had the same idea. It was so crowded, we could barely move! However, it was still awesome! Walking into HogsMeade with the theme music playing made me feel like we were walking into the movie! My favorite ride was Hogwarts: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey where you walk through the castle and then get into a flying cart and follow Ron, Harry and Hermione through an adventure. We also went and ate at the Three Broomsticks and drank Butterbeer–fun, fun. We waited at Ollivander’s for our wands for an hour, and we were disappointed to find that the choosing was only for one lucky person in the crowd. After we’d had our fill of the crowd, we ventured out into the rest of the park to find more thrilling roller coasters such as The Hulk and Jurassic Park’s Adventure Ride. Once again, we were exhausted by the end of the day and went back and crashed in our room.
Luckily, we’d paid the extra bucks for the park hopper passes and we had the choice to go back to Harry Potter Wizarding World after our tour of Universal Studios. Our favorite ride hands down was the Mummy. We rode it at least five times. Perry and I were amused at the test seats at the beginning of the rides–don’t ride if you are at risk of getting stuck, but just in case you don’t use your common sense, here’s a seat to test before you get stuck and cause everyone else to have to wait. The kids liked the Hollywood Rip Ride Rock It, but it jerked my neck around too much. Perry and I waited forever on them to ride it, and I thought they’d been kidnapped until they finally came running out. My theme park experience is never complete until I lose a kid or two!
We ended up back at HogsMeade for dinner and shopping that night. I spent $75 on candy–chocolate frogs, every flavor jelly bean, tongue tongue toffee–totally worth it. Preston got Dumbledore’s wand, and Taylor and I bought tee-shirts. Of course you can’t spend a summer’s day in South Florida without a torrential downpour, which we got stuck in for a good hour while we were trying to make our way to the gate.
Unfortunately, all vacations must end. On our way home we stopped at a truck stop to purchase one of the best travel necessities I’ve ever found…the Pastor Brown series of mysteries on audio CD. (Complete sarcasm)
This will definitely be a revisit when they complete the rumored renovations to Harry Potter Wizarding World.