Tuesday, October 21, 2014

#YorksGoOrlando - Part 1

At the end of September, my husband and I celebrated two years of being married. During the summer there was really no time for us to take a vacation; while I have the summers off from teaching, my husband was super busy at work during this time. Instead, during the summer we planned to take a trip for our anniversary. You see, we did the whole beach all-inclusive resort thing for our honeymoon, and it just wasn't US. While I could lay on the beach forever and read, my husband cannot. He wants to boat and do things in the water, which I'm terrified of once I get more than waist deep. Needless to say, it was not the place for us to enjoy together. So when choosing our anniversary vacation, we knew that there was one place we could definitely agree on - Hogwarts.

My husband had already been to Disney a couple of times when he was younger, but he had not been to Universal Studios. I had not been to anything like it, unless you count Six Flags (which I don't), so I was really excited about the idea. Even better, the changes to the Harry Potter parts of the park had been finished, and it seemed like the right time to go. So, we booked our hotel and flights, and I took some time off of work (and missed Meet the Teacher night. Oops!).

We left on a Wednesday, so I will start by sharing how that day went. I took a million pictures, so I think that it will be best to break down these posts day by day so I don't completely overwhelm and bore you all. Without further ado, here we go!


Fun fact: I HATE flying. I am terrified of heights and suffer from anxiety, not exactly the best combination. I just don't GET how the whole airplane thing works, and I often spend too much time thinking about it. To avoid doing just that, I downloaded my digital copy of The Fault in Our Stars to my iPad and watched that on the flight out; it actually went quickly, which was a relief.

Upon arriving at the airport in Orlando, they had these boards everywhere, which just got me excited. We got in around 1:15 or so Orlando time, so we were looking forward to having that evening at one of the parks. We had already scheduled a shuttle to the hotel ahead of time, so we did not have to wait too long to get picked up from the airport (in the pouring rain. Really, Florida?). And then it was only about half an hour to the hotel.

We stayed at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort, which is the newest of the hotels that is actually part of Universal Studios. We looked at prices for different scenarios, and ultimately it had made sense for us to use one of their resorts; plus it got us into the HP part of the park an hour before the park opened. The only slight downside was that we were put in building six...at the far end of the hotel, so that walk was fun. They did have an awesome pool area, though we didn't swim.

The hotel shuttle took us back and forth from the parks, and a new bus came every five minutes, so we did not have to wait around too much. We didn't waste much time getting to our hotel room, getting changed, and then heading out. We decided to go to the Universal Studios Florida side first, so we headed there, where I was super excited to see the Universal globe. It might be silly, but I had only ever seen it on television, so it was exciting!

Once we were in the park, we just kind of walked around and went to things as we saw them. While we did pick up a map, we did not stop to look at it just yet and decided to wander around. We started with the Twister "ride" which was supposed to simulate a real tornado. It was okay, except there was very little wind involved, which drove my husband crazy. He hated it, and spent the rest of the trip joking about how it was is favorite ride.

It did not take us long to make our way to the HP area of the park, after all that's what I was most excited about. I loved how they had the buildings so that it actually looked like you were walking through the wall into Diagon Alley, and then things got wonderful from there. We did a lot of wandering, and I did a lot of smiling like an idiot because it was so awesome (I'll stick looots of pictures at the end of the post, once I'm done chatting!).

Since we were on the plane during lunch hours and then went straight to the hotel and then to the park, we decided to have a late lunch around 3. We were near the Leaky Cauldron, so we decided to give it a try. Neither of us had Butterbeer. Instead, I tried the Fuzzy Otter's Orange Juice (delicious), and M tried some lemon thing (that I hated). The lunch was actually really good, and I so enjoyed the decor of the building. So realistic, I felt like I had stepped into the books/movies.

After having lunch, we walked around Diagon Alley and checked out all of the buildings and shops.They had SO many shops to look at, that it was pretty awesome. Then we went ahead and did the new Gringotts ride, which was absolutely amazing. Just the line leading up to it was amazing and so well done, and the right itself was so much fun. We ended up going on it three or four times during our trip because we enjoyed it so much.

Of course, we had to pick up wands. I picked an interactive version of Hermione Granger's (it was awesome, they had certain places at the parks where if you had an interactive wand you could wave it a certain way and things would happen). M decided on Dumbledore's Elder Wand.

To end our night at the park we decided to check out The Simpson's Ride. We have been watching the show a ton lately, ever since they did that crazy long marathon on FXX, so we thought it would be fun. AND IT WAS. This was, by far, one of my favorite rides during the whole trip. I think we ended up going on it a total of six or so times, and it never got boring!

The park closed at seven so that they could get ready for their Halloween night (which we did not do, at all. I hate scary things and M isn't a Halloween fan). We ended up heading to the City Walk part of the park where they have a lot of restaurants and everything. We weren't super hungry since we had a late lunch, so we decided on Burger King's Whopper bar. $19 for two burgers and a medium drink to share, not even any fries. Crazy! The food was even more expensive than I was expecting!

Well, that concludes day one. I will add some extra pictures below this if you want to check them out, and I will be back soon with Part 2!