Sunday, May 11, 2014

Better Than Toys

A friend watched our furbaby for us, something she had swore she would never do again after he whined the whole time we were at the Magic Kingdom on that one day birthday trip. For some reason she had let us shnooker her into watching the spoiled rotten dog for not only one day, but for three this time! We appreciate her so much for putting up with him for this long, I know how big of a pain in the butt he can be. Our tickets were paid for, the bags were packed and we were going the night before to prevent some of the exhaustion after driving 3 hrs. The last trip we took to Disney we by passed the hotel due to monies (or lack there of) and drove down and back in one day; this made for an exhausting day. We played the tourist role well and got the room for the three nights we would need it. I did however save a ton on dinner one of these nights by packing the crockpot, roast, and all the fixings. You just can't beat the frugal out of me!
     We made this trip with no problems except for getting turned around in Kissimmee looking for the hotel.  After finding it and lugging everything upstairs it was time for a bit of normalcy; showers, TV and bed.  With the excitement brewing I the room I wasn’t sure any of us would get any sleep. The lil one had a collection of brochures from the lobby, already working on plans for the next birthday trip. I think it was midnight before we all actually wore down enough to fall asleep.
     The sunrays beaming in the window, knowing we were on vacation with no schedules, was an amazing way to wake up. It was going to be a wonderful day full of amazement, thrills and laughter. I am loving how materialistic toys are being traded for memory making family trips; these memories will last a lifetime, unlike the toys. Universal Studios has something no one else does, something the lil one had dreamed of seeing for months, they had Diagon Alley and Harry Potter! The lil one had drifted off daydreaming of visiting this place ever since the TV commercials started playing. We had gotten three day tickets for the two parks, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, this meant that we got to visit one of the parks twice. Islands of Adventure had Harry Potter so the decision was made that it would be the park we visited twice. This also meant that we could meander through the park and relax some; we didn’t have to try to squeeze everything into only one day. Upon arrival we got the customary maps and birthday badge, the badges really have a lot of special powers inside the parks. All of the actors/actresses dressed as characters paid extra attention to the special recipients of the birthday badges.

We had to make it through Dr. Seuss’s crazy and comical world, this was pure nostalgia for me. Dr. Seuss books were my favorites growing up. As a family we had decided to save the water soaking rides for the last day here, we didn’t want to walk around drenched for hours afterward, plus it would be warmer on the third day. Our plan was to take the most direct route to Diagon Alley.
 It just so happened that we had a few rides between us and the wizarding world of Harry Potter, the excitement was building like crazy and all we were hearing was “How much longer?”, “When will we be there?”. I’m thankful there were these other rides to distract and take the lil one’s mind off of the main reason we had come to this particular amusement park.

Soon enough we were walking through the gates of Hogsmeade and the lil one was jumping up and down with joy, this dream was coming true! We couldn’t decide where to go first; on the castle ride, through the shop, to get a wand. Oh at the options to be had here. To help make this experience even more memorable I had decided on lunch at the Three Broomsticks restaurant, we had a couple of hours to burn. The castle won out to be first in line of things to do, it was AWESOME! So much that we planned on riding it again.

one of the shows that made the lil one's eyes twinkle

the sorting hat on the way
to fly with Harry around the
castle grounds.

A wand was something every wizard needed; a stop in Olivander’s was needed for this. They put on a small show before you went into the shop to have a wand choose you. The even had a caged Book of Monsters for us to enjoy, the lil one jumped as it growled and lunged at us. After trying the flick and swish technique with several wands the most perfect wand chose the lil one as its new owner. This was turning out to be a very good day, it helped that with the new job we had thrown caution to the wind on money and were enjoying a real vacation.

After another ride through the castle and lunch at the Three Broomsticks we were ready to enjoy the rest that Islands of Adventure had to offer. We rode through the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park, flying through the air riding a Pteranadon,  moseyed through the gift shops; plus one more ride through the castle with Harry Potter. I took as many pictures as I possibly could; if it was there to take a picture with, we took one, or two, or three with it.

We knew as the sun started setting that it was time for one last ride on the way to the gate. We ended up climbing our way through a rope jungle. It just so happened to offer a perfect photo op on one of the rope bridges. I enjoyed just being able to stand still, take a breath, and enjoy the sunset. This seemed to be the first time I had been still all day long. After a short car ride to the room, there were only a few floors that separated us from being able to sit down and kick our feet up. When we opened the door we were welcomed with the smell of pot roast, cooked perfectly all day in the crockpot. I was one happy momma to not have to worry about dinner after this exhausting day. We pulled the curtains, cut the TV off and dreamed of what tomorrow would bring.

Until next time…..

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