Well, this blog has always been about picking yourself up after failure and trying again, and last week, that is exactly what the Cractpots did. Earlier in the year we travelled to Punta Cana for a much needed holiday that turned out to be not quite the much needed holiday we were looking for. (read about that fiasco here in the 4 part series Cractpots take Punta Cana)
Last Friday, we blew the budget and tried again. Thanks to very generous in-laws that helped fly us down to the sunny state of Florida for a visit, we were able to take some time to rent a car and travel up to Orlando to sneak in a stop over at the magical Wizarding World of Harry Potter…and all the other fabulous experiences that Universal has to offer.
This time we nailed it!
Every part of the vacation was amazing. The weather was fantastic. Universal was spectacular and the memories we made will surely last a life time.
It started out a little rough when my oldest daughter got pulled aside by airport security for trying to smuggle a box cutter onto the plane. Apparently when I doubled checked that nobody was carrying sharp objects like nail files or cuticle scissors I needed to be more specific. In order to squash any speculation or drama on possible terrorist plots (nobody imposes taxes on OUR softwood lumber) I’ll explain that she recently got a job at a hardware store and was given the box cutters to process stock and was told to keep them on her persons at all times. Unfortunately her employers also apparently need a lesson on specificity. Luckily after double checking all of her luggage, as she hung her head and apologized profusely, she was cleared and pushed through with a warning (and the need to replace her box cutter before her next shift).
Still, we were on our way. All Aboard
It was Easter weekend, so Universal was packed and with the sun shining it was also very hot. The lines were long and some of the guest were a little cranky, but all the employees (from guest services to the entertainment staff) kept their cool and in my opinion, were just wonderful and helped make our vacation such a success.
During our adventures in Harry Potter World, middle Cractpot was chosen during the presentation at Ollivander’s for a personal wand fitting. After a few false starts, and attempted spells gone wrong, a Unicorn tail core, 13 inch, Birch wood wand was placed in her hand to a swell of music, wind and lighting that I’m not ashamed to say brought goosebumps to all of our arms. She was told that this wand was perfect for a wizard who is loving, creative and self discipline and that right there folks is how you happily get suckered into spending $50 usd. With absolutely zero buyer’s remorse we raced around the two sides of Harry Potter World casting spells and watching the magic unfold. My favourite was when she waved her wand and cast a spell after dark in Diagon Alley that made every lantern and chandelier in FlimFlam’s Lantern’s window light up the night. It was truly…well…magical.
On the second day, right in the middle of a very busy park we came across a mother duck and her seven tiny little ducklings. Panicked and flustered she struggled to avoid getting stepped on while desperately trying to keep her family all together (I could sympathize). Of course we jumped into animal rescue action. We formed a huddle and herded the little family right down one of the main strips, past cheering bystanders and the Transformer Ride and into the water where they could escape the trampling crowds. If I do say so myself, it was one of the more exciting parades that Universal offered that day.
By the third day we were pros and flying through the lines with wait times of over 45 minutes by getting into the single rider line. We were obviously all split up on the actual ride but saved so much time and got the opportunity to meet new people like the lovely family from England that I experienced The Mummy Ride with. After a thrilling roller coaster with exciting and potentially scary special effects the mother asked her young son what he thought was the scariest part. He wasn’t sure so I volunteered that mine was when I put my hand on the railing and it came back sticky and wet. *shudder*
I couldn’t help but laugh when we bought a refillable cup at one of the concession stands and were asked to remove the lid ourselves. We were told the employees were not allowed to touch the lids of any of the cups to prevent the spreading of germs. Really? I think the nice lady wearing gloves working the drink fountain is the least of my concerns. I’ll be surprised if one of us doesn’t come down with some sort of virus this week…but again, it would be totally worth it!
So what are you afraid of? If at first you don’t succeed, I suggest trying again and if you have the opportunity, I would definitely suggest trying it at Universal Studio’s Orlando. It was an exhilarating vacation that took us beyond the screen and behind the scenes and gave us the chance to escape the every day and enjoy a little magic. And who couldn’t use just a little more magic in their lives…
I hope your Easter was just as lovely and filled with family, friends and chocolatey goodness. In case it wasn’t, I brought you back a chocolate frog…but then I ate it #sorrynotsorry
Until next time…
The world is full of wonderful things you haven’t seen yet. Don’t ever give up on the chance of seeing them~ J.K. Rowling