A Quick Trip to Universal (Orlando, FL)

And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.
— Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

For Christmas last year I surprised the kids with a trip to Universal Orlando. Sadly, Dan couldn't miss work - so I asked some friends to go with us instead. And we had a fantastic (albeit exhausting) time.

Day 1 - We arrive in Orlando and hightail it to the park before closing. Diagon Alley seems eerily "real" at dark and our first butterbeer tasted (surprisingly?) good (sort of like dessert in a cup).

Day 2 - I'm not exactly a morning person, but nonetheless I managed to pull myself out of bed for early access to Hogsmeade. And I'm glad I/we did because the attraction became packed solid by late morning. Unfortunately, Harry Potter's Forbidden Journey made me nauseous (actually almost all the Universal rides made me nauseous), but the kids found it AMAZING and I guess that's the point (but is it really?).

We ended up spending a fun full day in the parks. I fell in love with Dr. Seuss-land, but my kids seemed to prefer the roller coasters. I wish I had more photos of Universal's nightlife, but I was asleep by 8:00 pm.

Day 3 - It's a marathon, not a sprint. Or so I told myself as I awoke at dark, yet again. But really who can complain when your day at the park begins with a fire-breathing dragon and hot butterbeer?

Before departing for the parks from the Portofino Bay hotel, I made the kids pose in front of the Italian church facade to which the kids exclaimed - "this is so much prettier than the real Italy. There's no grafitti and nobody smokes." True, but sad at the same time.

I spent the day falling in love with the Simpsons-land and ET ride (one of the only rides in the park that doesn't rely on big screens and 3D glasses). And in the afternoon the adults drank margaritas in the hot tub while the kids created floats out of pool noodles (so much happiness).

Night involved beads, masks, and toasts at Pat O'Brien's and I realized I have the coolest friends ever. So grateful to have these wonderful people in my life.

Day 4 - Just a few quick rides before the plane trip home. Oh, and we slept in!!

I wish we would have stayed one more day (reminder for the future), but still a quick trip to Florida is the perfect cure for January.

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