Friday, June 12, 2015

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Day 2

First thing in the morning, the day we got off the ship, we had a few bites of breakfast in the concierge lounge before they escorted us all the way to the cruise terminal where we picked up our luggage. Customs was a breeze and just like that we were back on land and back in our rental car headed to Orlando. No time even for photos.

And we went straight to Universal Studios again. We book-ended our trip with visits to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We didn't fly home until the next day, so why not? This time, though, we didn't arrive by water taxi from our hotel on property. We had to park and walk into the parks. Not quite as fun or efficient. But, we made it.

And we didn't get to enter early, either. That became apparent when we saw the lines for the first ride we wanted to ride...Minion Mayhem. We waited almost a full hour for this ride. Because it was one of the only ones that the boys really, really wanted to ride...otherwise we would have skipped it. Next time, we will be sure to do this one while we have our complimentary fast passes from the resort. Anyway, it was a cute ride and we all liked it. 

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We walked around Universal Studios a bit. We hadn't seen any of it outside of the Wizarding World the week before. We ended up at Mel's Diner for lunch. 

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The booths were very authentic with their own juke boxes, which I had to explain to the boys. 

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We had typical diner food...burgers, fries, and shakes. The shakes were the best part, in my opinion. 

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Rather quickly, we found ourselves back in Diagon Alley. We rode the Gringott's ride again - all of us - and peered into a few shops.

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When we felt we had seen and done everything, we wandered back outside into "London."

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Then we took the Hogwarts Express over to Hogwarts and Hogsmeade.

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Logan loved this water fountain and made sure to drink from it every time we passed it.

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The boys loved seeing Hedwig.

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In the line on the way to the train, you get to pass through platform 9 3/4...or at least they've set it up to look like you do. It's very clever and we all thought it was fun, although I didn't stop to take a photo because there were so many people behind us. 

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One quick ride on the Hogwarts Express and we were back in snowy Hogsmeade. 

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We looked around again, but didn't ride the Forbidden Journey because the lines were so long.

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Casey did ride the Dueling Dragons roller coaster again, though. The sign outside the ride said it was a 15 minute line, which is why he decided to ride it again. It turned out to be more like 45 minutes. While the boys and I waited on a bench outside, they both fell asleep on my lap for a good 20-30 minutes. I couldn't believe it...they never do that. They must have been really tired!

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Yes, Logan fell asleep with his foot propped up on the bench like that and with two hats on. They still had their Disney wrist bands on too.

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After we roused them, we said goodbye to the Wizarding World for the last time and went out to Seuss Landing.

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The boys are very familiar with Dr. Seuss's books, so this was a fun place to explore. 

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Before we got very far though, we stopped for a snack. The boys spotted some "moose juice" and Cheetos. The "moose juice" turned out to be Fanta slushes, which were quite perfect for the warm day. 

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After our pit stop, we started in on the rides in Seuss Landing. First, we rode a little train that goes high above the park. 

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Then, we rode the carousel on all sorts of Seuss-like animals. 

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Next, we rode One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, which is a lot like the Dumbo ride at Disney. Except you get wet. They play a song during the ride that tells you when to move your fish up or down to avoid getting sprayed with water. Casey rode with Ethan and I rode with Logan...and we let the boys "drive" our fish. Let's just say we didn't avoid getting wet!

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Up next was the Cat in the Hat ride, which was fun. It was very much like one of the Disney dark rides, but I'm sorry to say that Disney just does it so much better. Still, we liked it and had fun. 

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We were about to leave when Ethan spotted what looked like a maze. He has never met a maze he didn't like. It ended up having a place space in the center, which the boys really enjoyed. 

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They got a little more wet...

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After we finished up at Seuss Landing, we were ready to leave. We were so tired and it was a relatively hot day. So, we decided to just eat right outside the parks at the Hard Rock Cafe. It was not awful, but it was the most expensive so-so meal I've had in a long time. 

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After we ate our early dinner, we drove to our hotel for the night. We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria at Bonnet Creek...the same place Casey and I had stayed 5 years earlier when we went to Florida before Logan was born. 

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We had booked the same type of room too...

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We had a look around and got settled. Even though we weren't quite home yet, it felt good to be back at a comfy hotel with a nice shower after a hot and tiring day at Universal.

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Our room was almost in the same place as the one we had last time. The boys were checking out the awesome view.

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It looked out over the pool and golf course. And in the distance you can see Hollywood Studios and Epcot. That night Casey and I got to see a really spectacular fireworks show at about 9 pm. Too bad the boys were completely passed out from exhaustion about two hours before that! They would have loved to watch it from our balcony. 

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When we had checked in, the front desk gave us two vouchers for drinks at the bar in the lobby. After we had gotten settled and the boys were showering, I went down to get our drinks. It ended up being a nice way to start our relaxing evening in the hotel. After we were clean, we made out the boys sofa bed and they watched a movie. Casey and I watched one in our room too. And that's how we ended our day. 

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The next morning, we were able to take it easy since we had an early afternoon flight. We skipped breakfast in favor of just sleeping in. Then, right after we packed up and checked out, we found a Chuy's on our way to the airport. We just could not wait to have some Tex-Mex...even if it was in Florida! We actually stopped at the Harry Potter gift shop in the airport on the way home and bought one more shirt each for the would have thought we'd already bought enough. Our suitcases were stuffed with souvenirs. I can't wait to make a photo book full of all the photos and memories we made that week...that's my favorite souvenir. 

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