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!!!

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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!

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DANGER and ADVENTURE Around Every Corner!!