In January, I made a list of 25 things I would like to do in my 25th year of life. One of the items on that list was to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando. Josh was a bit surprised when it made it on the list ("You want to do that THIS year??") but when a couple of opportunities arose, My Love made it happen!
Our friends David and Katie came with us on our little adventure this week as well! Josh found very inexpensive plane tickets for all of us. He also found four Universal tickets (to both of the parks) on craigslist for $250. When we arrived at the park, we learned that they would have cost approximately $430 if we had bought them there. For $77 a night, we stayed in a four diamond resort that that had heated pools, a lazy river, and a golf course that holds professional tournaments! We even met a guy in the pool who asked, "So, were you able to get a room here for under $300?". I let him know that, oh yes, we didn't just get ours for under $300, we got it for under $100! I felt almost mean telling him that. Thank you priceline.com!
Honestly, Josh is the most amazing trip planner ever. He made the trip possible and he made this little dream of mine come true. We went at the perfect time of the year (a week before college and high school spring breaks) and on the perfect day of the week (the only day of the week with rain in the forecast... so most of the other tourists decided to wait for another day to go to the park. Even the park employees were amazed at how empty the park was that day). It DID rain on our drive to Universal, and it continued raining as we crossed the long foot bridge over to the park, but as soon as we stepped off of the bridge... it stopped raining. and not a single drop of rain fell from the sky the rest of the day! What's more, there was no line for the Harry Potter ride that has had a line with a wait of up to 4 hours on some days, or so we read. It was perfect.
The highlight of the entire three day trip was, of course, the Harry Potter part of Universal Studios. Friends, I was like a little girl in that park! During the main ride in Hogwarts Castle I allowed myself to get completely lost in the wonder and the magic of Harry Potter. I cheered Harry on as we played quidditch. I cast a patronus charm to rid the arena of dementors! I outran a dragon! I delighted in the moment. I felt free and I allowed my imagination to soar and I can't even tell you how amazing it felt!
Without further adieu, pictures!!
Waiting to get into the park. I am a very excited and very happy girl in this picture. Childlike wonder, I tell you.
Hermione let me borrow her wand for a couple of minutes. (and check out that red hair MOM!)
Josh takes secret pictures of people. This kid was walking around flicking and swishing his pretend wand around in a Harry Potter cloak.
The Three Broomsticks restaurant, where we ate lunch.
The inside of the owlry
Inside the candy store, Honeydukes.
A little girl picking out candy :-)
The fake snow on the buildings looked quite real. Almost too real for us Michigan folks who were desperate to get away from it!
David and Katie with the conductor of the Hogwarts Express. We chatted with him a bit. He said he'd lived in Hogsmeade all his life, and that his apartment was just up the road a bit. He couldn't take us there to see it, though, since he hadn't cleaned up in weeks! haha!
Every Flavor Beans. Gotta be careful with these because there were a couple of naaaaasty flavors.
The Weasley's car
The Tri-Wizard tournament tent
The love of my life kissing me!
and a beautiful shot of the castle!
It was a day full of delight and wonder!