Saturday, February 22, 2014

Universally magic

 And We're Off!!!

After what seemed like a million years (three weeks) of waiting, the trip was finally here!!  We were going to Harry Potter World!!!  And...y'know..the rest of the stuff at Universal.  But really...HARRY POTTER WORLD!

Andrew was so excited he had me draw a scar on his head.  Here he is in the Denny's at exit 101 (who knows where it actually was.  Somewhere in Georgia??).  Harry Potter Applemouth, about to expire from excitement.

The trip down was smooth and uneventful.  It took much less time than I thought it would.  I'd brought my laptop because on previous long roadtrips (ie, to Utah last year) Andrew had whiled away the time watching films.  Not so much on this trip.  He took out my kindle and played minecraft.  It took me WEEKS to get up the courage to plonk down the money on that kindle, and now I'm really glad I did.  Andrew's loved it...even though it was officially my Valentine's Day gift. =D  

And then...we were there!  Tired but happy.  We stayed on site because I am really not comfortable driving around unfamiliar places.  I wanted to park the car when we arrived and not get back in it until it was time to go home.  Plus, perks of staying on site - express passes and early entry to HP world.  Awww yeah.

Our Room at the Royal Pacific

First Day

After what seemed like way too little sleep, we woke up at 6am ready to head into the park.

Andrew was pretty darn comfortable in the bed.

We're cereal-type people so I brought along some individual milks and little baggies of cereal.  We munched in the room then headed out to the boat dock.

 We really enjoyed the ride.

We got there just in time for Islands of Adventure to open.  Then....








Knowing the crowd for Ollivander's would get ridiculous later in the day, we headed there first.  I hoped Andrew would be chosen.  The way it works is a whole bunch of people are piled into Ollivander's, then Ollivander chooses one of the children to test out and be chosen by a wand.  Here is a video of a young man - also called Andrew, but this kidlet isn't my Andrew - being chosen:

Anyway, I hoped Andrew would be chosen, and I think Andrew secretly hoped he would be chosen too.  He didn't let on though, because that's not the way he works.  He plays his emotions - especially deeply felt ones - very close to his chest.  When we got in line I spotted a couple of really cute twin boys all dressed up like Harry Potter and I thought " of them will get chosen."

But no!  Andrew got chosen! =)  It was so cool!  He is a shy young man, and finds it difficult to talk to strangers, but he managed perfectly (I think because he'd seen the above video so kind of knew what to expect - he's calmer when he's prepared).  He spoke up and was very polite.  It made my heart just bust with gratitude to see him waving the wand, making boxes fall down and lightning crash.  Then the third wand chose him.  Hooray!  =)  I don't know why he got chosen instead of the little Harry Potters.  I can only assume it was because it might be hard for one twin if the other one was chosen?  But anyway, I'm grateful for this very special memory.

The wand that chose him was black with a skull and snake.  He said it felt weird not to buy the wand that chose him, but he didn't like it at all.  In the end, he bought Cedric Diggory's wand, and I have to say he made a fabulous choice.  It really is a great wand.

I really liked Sirius Black's wand...but I managed to resist purchasing it.  I mean...what would I do with it once I had it? Put it on a shelf?  

Anyway, after an absolutely brilliant start to the trip we headed off to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.  It's not the big roller coaster one.  Andrew's too young to go on that and I'm too damn old.  Anyway, the ride was fabulous!  

Here's the sorting hat, which you see just before you get on the ride.

Over the course of three days we went on the ride I'd say 15-20 times.  After the first time we went on single rider, which cut down wait time considerably.   

Because I'm old I felt nauseous following that ride so Andrew went on the Hippogriff ride by himself.  Yay for express pass!  This set the tone for much of the holiday.  I'd go on one or two rides, feel a bit queasy, then Andrew would go on a bunch over and over and over.  Then I'd go on a couple...then he'd go on a million more.  Early in the afternoon of the first day, Andrew discoverd Ripsaw Falls.

I was all "There is NO WAY I am going on that ride.  Oh my gosh, made me want to pass out just looking at it.  Andrew begged to go on and I thought, "Well, it'll probably scare him to death but what the heck."  

Oh my gawsh he loved it.  Went on it about 10 times one right after the other.  I sat down just outside the ride and he'd run off, say hi to me, and run back on.  He was SOAKED, and soooo happy.

We had lunch at Mythos which I HIGHLY recommend - but make sure you get a reservation, it's so good it fills up fast. I had tuna sashimi salad.  In fact, pretty much all I ate at the park was salad.  I was trying to keep calories under control, as I wasn't able to exercise - other than walking about 7 miles a day for three days (I wore the Garmin to calculate it).

Mythos also has this AMAZING flourless chocolate cake dessert that I cannot recommend highly enough.  It was SO delicious!  Andrew, for some reason, did not approve.  This pleased me as I got to eat the entire thing all by myself.  So much for watching calories.

I don't understand why he didn't like it. It was delish.

In the evening we had dinner at the Three Broomsticks.  It was fairly late (7.30) when we got there, so it was almost empty.  The salad was delicious.  The butterbeer - not so much.  Oh my GAWSH was that thing bad.  I'd made it at home before and was expecting the park butterbeer to be infinitely better.  And it was NOT. It was so bad, with a nasty aftertaste, that we couldn't drink it and ended up throwing it away.  Other than that, it was a great experience eating at the Three Broomsticks.

Andrew disapproves of the beverage.

Day Two!

On Day Two we went to Universal! =)

It was Waaaaaaaaay less crowded than Islands of Adventure - though that won't last long once Diagon Alley opens up sometime in June.  We went on the Despicable Me ride - AWESOME!!  We did that ride several times.  We also hit the Transformer's ride (Meh), and Men in Black.  Andrew was very Meh about Men in Black - I LOVED it.  Mainly because I scored 88,750 points and was a "Galaxy Defender".  Cos I'm awesome like that.

We headed back over to IoA in the afternoon and Andrew hit the water rides again...and again...and again.

OH!  We also did the Spiderman ride a gazillionbillion times.  That was so fun.

In the evening our legs and feet were shot so we headed over to the hotel pool.  It was fabulous, and they played "Little Rascals" while Andrew swam. 

Day Three!

Day three was mop-up day.  We'd seen everything and done everything we'd wanted to, so it was just a matter of glutting ourselves on the fabulous rides. =)  Specifically Despicable Me, Spiderman, Harry Potter.  Andrew loved Camp Jurassic and I loved the Pteranadon Flyers.    Today was also gift buying day.  Slytherin T-shirt! Chocolate frog! Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans! Exploding Bonbons!  

Andrew spent AGES in the Jurassic Discovery Center.  It was really fun to watch him.  He was all about analysis.  He spent a long time picking up the eggs and scanning them, collecting data etc.  I could tell it was satisfying something deep inside for him.  Then when a dinosaur egg hatched and all the other kids were geeking out...yeah, he was utterly uninterested and went back to his analysis. =D

While waiting for him outside the Spiderman ride I was surprised by a bunch of superheros coming down the street.  Woo hoo!  That was exciting.

Andrew blew up toon town

And came to the rescue

And all too soon it was time to go.  What a fabulous holiday!  We had such a good time and were so sad to leave.  Especially as we were leaving 81f to drive to 65f and then two days later fly to Canada where it's 19f.  Ohhhhh my gosh.  Soooo not looking forward to that. =(

Next adventure: House hunting in Canada!  =)

Thanks, Universal!  What a wonderful time we had.


Emily Sarah Brooks said...

What an AWESOME time! Love that picture of Andrew all snuggled in bed :) Who's the Slytherin shirt for?

Keeley said...

Hmmm, I wonder who it could be for? =)

John Nguyen said...

You're such a cool Mom! What a wonderful adventure you had! Thank you for sharing! I really enjoyed reading this blog! Good luck in Canada!

c2iowa said...


the scar was awesome - but the video was outstanding. I bet that he never forgets!!!!!!!!!!