Friday, January 31, 2014

Harry Potter World

We knew that we would need to plan a trip to Universal Studios sooner than later. The boys were so excited to get to Harry Potter World and with the MLK weekend approaching we did it!

Before we left, Axel was the Bear Keeper for his preschool. He had big plans to give the bear a full tour of Universal until Mommy crushed his spirits. I had to explain to him that the bear could go on local trips but he would have trouble on a trip to Universal. You know, we didn't want him to get lost or left on a ride! :) Axel understood and was thrilled to do our daily errands with the bear in tow. We ended with a trip to the Redbox for a movie night aka COMFY PARTY!

As you can see, he was beary proud of his bear!

We packed up our two little wizards and hit the road. Daddy had a trip to Washington DC so he met us in Orlando with a schedule all planned out. We had four days to play with and a 3 day pass to Universal. Looks like we could even plan in a rest day...well, sort of a rest day! :) Climbing is rest from walking around Universal all day right?!  Daddy also did extensive research on some local Orlando restaurants...a little Cuban, Mexican and Japanese were mixed in the plan! Yummy!

We picked up Daddy from the airport, checked into the hotel and headed straight for some tasty food at a place called Black Bean Deli. A Cuban CafĂ©.  It was really fun to try a handful of things like yucca, plantains (sweet & green), empanadas, Cuban sandwich, Spanish baked chicken, Cuban bread and rum cake. The boys weren't so impress but we enjoyed it. We were stuffed!!

The next morning we arrived at the Island of Adventure gates with plenty of time to spare. I pulled out my old reliable camera and it wouldn't turn on...thank goodness for phone cameras!!!
They were ready!!!
We raced to Hogsmead Entrance
The buildings were so cool and very magical. You really felt you were right there in the movie.
We wasted no time in getting to the castle. Lucas and Daddy hit the Forbidden Journey ride while Axel and I went to the Hippogriff rollercoaster. Axel wasn't quite tall enough for the castle ride but did get to walk through it. He absolutely loved the rollercoaster so we did it a couple times. Then, it was my turn for the castle ride.
I have to admit, they did a wonderful job making you feel like you are flying with Harry Potter. It was truly amazing but boy, oh boy, my belly was a little off for awhile afterwards. Not a good ride for those who easily get motion sickness. Don't worry, no one lost their breakfast and everyone had a blast!
After waking up on the rides, we headed to the wand shop. We spent literally hours at the wand shop. Not all at once but we went back numerous times while the boys tested and tried and found perfect wands to buy. They planned ahead by bringing their own money so they had some big decisions to make. They were a little shocked by the prices of some items but we told them that we would help pay for half. That was a big relief to these little wizards.

Front of wand shop.

We back tracked a little so Daddy & Mommy could take turns on the Dragon Challenge rollercoaster (the big one!). It was a perfect place to see the train and hit up Honeydukes Candy Store.
So cool!

It as a little chilly but we were prepared by bundling up and snuggling for photos.

The boys aren't always that willing to try new things but they did not hesitate with the Butterbeer. If Harry can drink it, they can! We were so proud of them.

Way to go Axel!

Grandma J told us that Butterbeer was a must! She was 100% correct and the whole family enjoyed trying this tasty, unique treat. It's similar to a butterscotch cream soda topped with melted vanilla ice cream. Mmmmmm!

See, puffy coats were a wonderful assessory on this chilly day.

After we got our fill of Butterbeer and first dose of Harry Potter World, we convinced the boys to go check out some other areas. We hit all the highlights in the areas to include Seuss Landing, Lost Continent, Marvel Superhero, Toon Lagoon and Jurassic Park. Mommy and Daddy loved the big rollercoasters and the boys LOVED the Jurassic Park play area. This was no average play park! It was a true adventure with caves, ropes, tree houses, hidden passages, bridges, etc. We were half afraid we would lose someone so we stayed close to the entrance. The boys played and played!

We had to go bback to Harry Potter World for some more rides and wand starring. Eventually, they each found the perfect "wand!" :)

Axel and Daddy on the Hippogriff

Axel loved the front row seat so he took Daddy to go test it out. You can see Daddy's red coat but I missed Axel.

The castle exit.

We asked Lucas if there was anything he really wanted to do before leaving and there was. He really wanted to go to Ollivander's Wand Shop and watch how the wizard matches a specific wand to an audience member. There was always a line but with Daddy's patience (and phone) he waited in line so we could witness the magical event. I about got in trouble snapping this photo but I loved this room so much. Sorry about he flash HP staff!
Boxes and boxes of wands. :)

We maxed out our first day from open to close. Here is the view of the castle from across the lagoon on our way out. We were a tired bunch!

The next day was our rest day. We were exhausted so we decided to do some other forms of exercise like climbing and eating. Eating is an exercise right?!

We hit the climbing gym in the morning, had tasty tacos for lunch then took the boys to Downtown Disney. We had to hit up the Lego Store and of course, the Ghirardelli shop & restaurant for a tasty sundae...or two! Looks like a great night to eat at Sweet Tomatoes which is a big huge salad buffet! Ha!
It did not disappoint!! you can see!
Our next day was set to explore the other park. We got to the gates of Universal early again and got ready for another long day.

After a delay getting through the gate because of ticket trouble with the party in front of us we finally got to the Despicable Me 2 (DM2) ride. This is the most popular so the line is well, always a line. We managed to get there before it was a crazy wait only to be turned away when the ride broke just before our turn. With the loss of a hour, we made a new plan and headed over to Transformers. The 3D films are so realistic and we really enjoyed them . The down side, you feel nauseous most of the day. We spaced them out and quickly realized that this side of the park was much more mellow than the Island of Adventures. That was probably not a bad thing. It made for a more relaxed day.

We found a great rollercoaster for Axel.

My crew!
There were a few play areas but of course Axel wanted to be at one while Lucas found the ball room at the other to be awesome. We split up and the boys had a blast.
Lucas is hidden in the center of the photo wearing green.

Busy boy!
We were able to do everything that we planned except the DM2 ride. The wait time was over 90 minutes so we pretty much gave up and watched the parade.

On our way out, the DM2 ride line was longer than ever but I just couldn't go home with out trying something. I ran up to the entrance and talked to a staff member about the broken ride situation that happened earlier that morning. The ride was obviously fixed and they had no problem letting us sneak in front of the line. Whoot! The boys couldn't believe it. We walked in past the glares from those waiting in line and in we went. Sorry folks, we choose to wait in line earlier...  Anyways, it was adorable! We definitely enjoyed the ride and loved leaving on such a high note. We got our fill!! Time for Sushi!!!

The next day we headed back to Harry Potter World and hit all the highlights of the park one last time. By noon this crew was exhausted so we got on the road early and made it home in enough time to relax and be lazy! Thank you Grandma & Grandpa J for helping us make two boys into true wizards!!!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

New Years 2014

Happy New Year!!

Billy Joel Tribute Band

We were in town for New Years and had big plans of hitting Baytowne Wharf for the Billy Joel tribute band. Our plan was to play at the park, listen to music and head home before it got too crazy and too late. (Yes, we are wild ones for sure!)
Lucas was invited over to a friends house for a driveway fireworks celebration sleep over. He was so excited and when we dropped him off, the party was already started. It brought back wonderful memories of 4th of July parties my parents had up on Spring Creek in Montrose, CO. :) It made my heart smile and it made our little pyro's heart smile too.
With Lucas in firework heaven, the rest of the family headed out. Axel was a little unsure about leaving Lucas behind but we reassured him that Lucas would be just fine. We headed straight to the play park for a sweet game of hide-n-seek. This was a big hit! Then it was time to check out the music and do a little people watching. It was cold so we were bundled up but many crazy high school/college aged kids were bound and determined to wear their sexy dresses. They looked miserable but I have to admit, it did provide for some free entertainment on our part. Groups huddled together like schools of fish trying to stay warm but still catching the attention of the opposite sex. Ha!

Axel using his party hat as a laser gun.

And to tickle Daddy's nose.

Refueling after the park.
The band took FOREVER to get set up so we hit up the gelato shop and then enjoyed singing along. Even Axel had fun but his favorite part was playing StarWars with Daddy.

StarWars Jedi fights went on and off throughout the night.
On our way home, we cut through a hotel heading back to the car and discovered this HUGE gingerbread house. It was very impressive.
Everyone enjoyed their New Year celebration and even Axel stayed up to celebrate New York dropping the ball. Whoot! See, I told you we were wild ones!!
The new year was then kicked off with a Christmas present from our neighbors. It's an air canon and it is awesome. The boys had a blast!!
Sklyer (Lucas' BFF) got to spend the day and here they are watching Harry Potter movies.
We took some neighborhood walks and discovered this little beauty. I love maple trees in the fall...or in the dead of winter in Florida.
It didn't take long for Florida to get caught up in the Polar Vortex Freeze. Our neighbors amused the neighborhood with making icicles and snow. :) Definitely a rare sight in Florida.
The year was off to a great start...just ask this wizard!!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Few Extras

 Just for the record, here are two photos taken of the boys at the base of some climbs. When we climb as a family, we really can't take photos of climbing. We can catch a few of the boys and as you can see, the sun was out and it was a beautiful day. We are able to climb in cold temperatures especially when the sun warms up the rock. :)
These two have turned into best friends.
They love getting outside and using their imaginations.
 We had a few more gifts for the boys. Grandma J is a huge Harry Potter Fan so she (and Grandpa J) decided to help out with a trip to Harry Potter World at Universal Studios. Legoland is also a park these boys would love which is also in Orlando. Here, the boys are finding out that a trip to Orlando would happen this winter!

 Daddy had one more gift to give. This was a family gift and one we had talked about literally all year. The boys had forgotten about it making it all the more special when they discovered what it was.

Before revealing the gift, Daddy had a little trick up his sleeve.
To: Lucas and Axel

To: Axel

To: ???

To: Lucas??? Who was this gift really for?

To: Axel & Lucas

After numerous layers and lots of giggling, they were thrilled to find the Lego Mindstorms Robot Kit!

My three Engineers!!
Axel was besides himself...more LEGOS!!! AWESOME!!!

Dad quickly realized that the rest of the day would be devoted to making a robot.

Here they are learning how the program works.

After four hours or so, we had a robot that could be controlled remotely or by certain programs. Axel is our builder and Lucas is our programmer.

It has color and sound sensors making it life like. The programs also comes with different tasks to complete and different accessories to build.  It is a wonderful way to introduce programming to children.
Thank you Daddy! What an awesome gift for us all to enjoy!!

We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. Thank you to all Grandma's, Grandpa's, Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, family and friends for all the wonderful cards and gifts. We truly had a magical Christmas and appreciate all your generosity. We love you all!!

Above Photo: Downtown Portland Oregon Bike Ride

The Danger Zone needed a little update to include not only LUCAS DANGER, but also his little brother...AXEL ADVENTURE!

Welcome to our family blog now known as:

DANGER and ADVENTURE Around Every Corner!!