Universal Studios was awesome! We got Orlando Flex passes which gave us access to the Universal parks, Sea World (I know, I know), and two water parks, so we went to a theme park Every. Single. Day. And a dream of mine finally came true.
I got to go to Hogwarts.
IT'S AMAZING. If you suspend your adult brain, just a tiny bit, you will have the time of your life. And so, I did. I let go of about 30 of my years and had the time of my life pretending that I had actually arrived at Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. When we flew with Harry on The Forbidden Journey and Escape from Gringotts, I WAS REALLY THERE. All in, folks. Allll in.
This must be what it feels like for 4 year olds at Disney World.
Eating at the Leaky Cauldron. THE LEAKY CAULDRON.
Butter Beer, Gilly Water, Pumpkin Juice... We had it all.
Holy crap, there were goblins. COUNTING GOLD.
REAL FREAKING GOBLINS.
HONEYDUKES!! Candy and air conditioning. Two of our favorite things.
If you go to Universal, don't skip the shops in Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade. Take the time to really explore, because they are amazing. And definitely don't forget to go down Knockturn Alley! The kids used their wands and made all of the creepy spells work and Corinne scared the living @#$# out of me when she put a pretend rat on my foot while we were in Borgin and Burkes. I screamed loud enough to make her laugh and other customers stop and turn. This has become one of her favorite memories. So...yay. Little brat.
Did you know there are other things besides Harry Potter at Universal Studios? There are. The Mummy ride was a really awesome surprise. If you go, do not walk past this ride!
If these were just a little bit cheaper, I might have been convinced...
Ice cream for dinner because VACATION. (Also, ice cream for breakfast because you can't take ice cream and toppings on an airplane.)
On one of the hottest days, we went to Sea World and had a really good time, despite the misgivings of Evan and me. (Ever watch BlackFish? Yeah.) Still, the roller coasters were awesome and there were several animal experiences that were worth the trip. We left early so that we could go back to our rental house, eat Chinese food, and swim. And swim we did.
I'm starting to really see the resemblance that everyone talks about.
These kids swam in the early morning and as late as we wanted. Sometimes for just a half hour while we sat on the deck with our beers and said "Holy shit, this is a good vacation."
Right behind that attractive man is a tree with Spanish freaking moss on it...And a black bird that stole golf balls off of the course. It was an extra entertainment watching golfers in garish clothing searching for balls in 100 degree heat.And because we were in Florida over Father's Day, we surprised this guy with an air boat ride in the swamp!
5 alligators, 3 cows, 1 turtle and hundreds of birds later, we left with smiles on our faces. It was amazing. We used The Spirit of the Swamp, if you're looking for a recommendation. For the price, experience, and customer service, it was worth it.
My God, so many memories were made...