Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Florida - Days 7 & 8

Sunday, early afternoon, Dad and I headed to Orlando to pick JP up from the airport. The weather was perfect and JP was more than ready to leave rainy Seattle and the OG behind for awhile. We had a condo reserved for the week, so we headed straight there to unpack and see what we might need to buy for the upcoming days. We were going to go to Downtown Disney but we ended up all being too tired so, after a trip to Wal-Mart and dinner at Chili's, we headed back home and went to bed because Monday, of course, was OUR FIRST DAY OF THEME-PARKING!!! We got up early so we could open the park, made a beeline to the new Harry Potter attraction and discovered the wait line was already over 90 minutes.

So, for those of you who are not Harry Potter aficionados, let me enlighten you. Universal Orlando has two parks. One is Universal Studios and one is Universal: Islands of Adventure. Islands of Adventure opened the first Harry Potter world several years ago. It features Hogwarts castle and the small village of Hogsmeade. It is AMAZING! This past summer (2014) Universal Studios opened another Harry Potter world. This one is set in Diagon Alley, the hidden street (in London) for magical folk only. Muggles (non-magical) don't even know it exists. Here, kids headed to Hogwarts can find all their school supplies plus oh-so-much more. Gringotts, the wizarding world's bank, is where you store your earthly treasures. "Tain't no place safer!" according to Hagrid (or Harmon if you are momMA.) Universal Studios also made a side-street, Knockturn Alley, just like in the books. This is where you can find all the dark magic stuff - only evil wizards shop here. The two places are connected by the Hogwarts Express so if you buy a multi-park ticket you can visit Hogsmeade, hop on the Hogwarts Express and travel to Diagon Alley. If you are a Harry Potter fan, you definitely have to least once. It is my all-time favorite, 2nd to Magic Kingdom, duh. You are going to get hit with picture overload over the next few days. Since this is my online memory-book, I get to call the shots. Enjoy!
Dad and JP playing "Life" at Chili's while waiting for our food

Dad's Favorite

Look at the size of this doughnut! It's as big as my head!

Yep, that's Dad eating an ice cream cone and the doughnut at the same time.
Yep, he's diabetic.

A view of the park with San Francisco and the roller coasters in the background

Being stupid, cuz we can

Entering London

#12 Grimmauld Place can not be seen by Muggles. It is the secret
meeting place of the Order of the Phoenix...a group of good wizards
united to defeat evil, specifically, Voldemort.

The purple Knight Bus delivers stranded witches or wizards to destinations throughout the London area. It is a triple-decker, fitted with beds and a chandelier. It can change width and height to squeeze through tight spaces. Usually not seen by Muggles.

The inside of the Knight Bus

Entering Diagon Alley

Flourish and Blotts, where young witches and wizards buy their schoolbooks

Every Hogwarts student needs a wand..."The wand chooses the wizard."

Inside the Weasley twins' joke shop...every trick imaginable is found here

Whoa! The dragon has escaped Gringott's dungeon. Look out. She seems a bit angry to me!

Yeah, she's angry, alright. I'm still missing part of my bangs from that fireball.
Just kidding. Maybe.

Entering Knockturn Alley. I told my dad not to be scared. He could walk close to me.

Borgin and Burkes, for dark wizards. The vanishing cabinet was inside. This allows the bad guys to gain entrance to Hogwarts. thank you, I think I'll pass

The Owl Emporium

Hedwig, Harry Potter's loyal pet

Gilly Water with Elixir of Euphoria to add just before drinking.
It actually tastes like mango, strawberry and mint

Entering Platform 9 3/4. This is where we board the Hogwarts Express to get to Hogsmeade, which is
Day 9. See ya tomorrow!

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