We’re finally in Florida! We’ve been putzing around a little the past week and a half. We had to get another part in for our van (I have no idea what it was) and so we waited at Uncle Russ’ house again in Charlotte. And surprise! It rained the whole time… so my week was spent at the Y, watching Grey’s Anatomy, and drinking wine. I’m learning that if I don’t have a task list or a full schedule, I quickly become a lazy piece of shit.
Some highlights from our recent week include:
- Wooden Robot Brewery in Charlotte – all the beers were just delightful!
- I rang in my 31st birthday with wine and Waffle House (loveee me some breakfast foods)
- Savannah, Georgia downtown area – it was Mike’s nightmare; too many people and shops and not enough nature. But I had some killer chicken & pancake “tacos” with strawberry salsa at Treylor Park. Highly recommend this Southern fusion restaurant.
- Seeing long lost friends who are living their best life! Hi Leenie and Becky!
- Ponce de Leon Lighthouse Park where Luca drank too much ocean
- Canaveral National Seashore with manatees, dolphins, and some nude beachin’
But the number one highlight? Any guesses?
If you know me at all, you definitely guessed it…
Harry Potter World!
Mike and I originally planned on going there on my birthday, but alas, the van part was delayed which set us back a few days. However, it truly was a blessing in disguise. My birthday was a Friday and the park would have been much busier. We ended up there that following Monday and it was perfect.
My friend’s condo that we stayed at was in the gorgeous New Smyrna Beach, about an hour east of Orlando. Mike and I woke up early, dropped Luca off at our dog sitters (thank you, Rover!) and headed there for when Universal opened.
After parking and then walking a million miles (if only we had floo powder!), we entered Universal Studios and headed to Diagon Alley! Thanks to it being a slower weekday, we only waited 20 minutes in line for our first ride of the day; Escape from Gringotts. And that time flew by because of the amazing details while you wait. If you’re not a Harry Potter fan (you’re lame), you won’t be that impressed, but it’s definitely way more intricate and detailed than similar 3D rides in the park. Anyway, this ride is truly magical and made me legitimately cry from being so happy. I’m so glad Bill Weasley helped us out along the ride to make sure I survived despite being a silly Muggle.
When I finally got the tears out of my eyes, we took the Hogwarts Express to Islands of Adventure park and did the two rides there – the Forbidden Journey is a similar ride to the Gringotts Escape, but it was still wonderfully magical. We ooh-ed and ah-ed at all the shops in Hogsmeade, drank a butter beer (and when I asked if it was boozy, the snotty lady said “that doesn’t exist”… excuse me beyotch, I’ve made it before), and watched the bewitching Beauxbaton and Durmstrang students dance.
This was all done before noon, so we were able to have fun at the other parts of the park too. We made it on every roller coaster, thrill, and 3D ride that both parks had to offer. You definitely cut out a lot of time in these parks if you do not shop or eat. Good luck to those with kids though since every ride exits into a gift shop. A LOT of the rides here are now 3D/thrill rides like the two Harry Potter rides – so if you’re short on time, you can definitely skip some. Pick whichever movie/theme you like the best and do that one. For us, the rides for Fast & Furious, Spiderman, King Kong, Jimmy Fallon, and the Mummy were all pretty much the same. Still fun, but they definitely lose their excitement a little.
We then went back to Harry Potter world to experience the rides again, took the Hogwarts Express back to Islands of Adventure (the train is different each direction!) and then escaped one last time at Gringotts.
My advice for those that might go here, or even other amusement parks: download the park’s app. We were able to see wait times and decide where to go from there. And if you’re not with kids, go in the single riders lines. There were rides with 20-30 minute waits, and we went into the single riders line and walked right on to the rides. It was awesome – almost like the poor person’s version of a Fast Pass.
We then ended the day with Waffle House again – so basically it was the best day of my life.