Before you even ask: yes, it was awesome. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter fully met my (wildly high) expectations, I had an amazing trip with my parents, and I am roughly 6.8 times happier now than I was when I left. As I’m still having a bit of trouble readjusting to Muggledom, you’ll have to excuse me while I get my bearings back. Also, I took 287 pictures this weekend and narrowed them down to a gentleman’s 75 just for you, haha. This means it still may take juuuust a little while to get through the entire magical experience. I assure you, however, it will be well worth the wait. (And that sentiment goes for the trip as a whole, most definitely.)
What better place to start than at the beginning, hmm? Friday morning, my parents and I set off on our way down to sunny Florida. After dealing with the normal travel logistics (bags, nourishment, car rental), we arrived at our hotel, which was my aunt’s timeshare property that she generously gifted us time at, the Wyndham Cypress Palms.
We settled in for a bit before meeting up with an old friend of my mother’s, from her Hong Kong days! We had dinner at Seasons 52 Orlando, which I believe is the original one!
Still armed with fond memories of my blogiversary celebration at the one up here, it was a fantastic meal (as well as the first and last healthy meal of the trip, haha).
We all shared mussels and a goat cheese & artichoke flatbread to start, and I got an ahi tuna salad. Fresh and delicious! Naturally, as Seasons 52 claims they originated the idea of the “shot glass dessert”, we had to get a sampling of those as well to finish the meal:
Red velvet for me, please! After dinner, my parents dropped me off at Downtown Disney, the bustling (and free!) area outside of the Disney parks, where I met up with blog reader Alicia and her boyfriend!
I was so glad to have been gotten a little taste of Disney while I was in Orlando, since even though this was a trip with a VERY specific purpose, you know I love me some Disney.
Alicia was a fantastic tour guide! There’s a lot of cool stuff in this little pedestrian area, including a Disney Store that does so much business that it singlehandedly accounts for an entire percentage point of Disney’s revenue. Let that sink in for a sec.
The real gem in this area though? The Ghiradhelli Soda Fountain, where the three of us shared one of their incredible signature hot fudge sundaes.
The calories don’t count if you split it, right?
Admittedly, after getting up uber-early to travel, by the time we were done walking through the area (and getting to see more awesome things like the House of Blues and the Cirque du Soleil tent) I was pretty exhausted. I did have to conserve my strength, after all! The next morning I would be headed onto great things — terrible, yes… but great.
Despite my very best intentions to get an early start, we didn’t end up getting to the park until around 11. Which ended up being just fine, because it gave us a chance to fuel up before I reverted to my 7-year-old self again. 😉
Universal has an area called Citywalk that sits outside of the actual parks and is filled with shops and restaurants, similar to Downtown Disney. We grabbed some grub there before charging into Islands of Adventure, full-speed. I had talked a big game about meandering through the rest of the park first, working our way over to the Harry Potter area at a time that it might be less crowded, but…
I mean, C’mon. Are you really surprised that I wasn’t able to wait? Everything was just beginning!
To be continued…