It has been so nice and warm here in New Mexico these days! I am such a warm-weather lover, so this 80-90 degree weather is just amazing for me. I'm even looking forward to the weather hitting 95 to 100 degrees!
Last November, we went to Seattle with Josh's mom (my MIL), and we had the very best time! We ate all kinds of seafood (especially salmon!) and spent a lot of time in a beautiful place. My MIL travels a LOT for work, and lives six hours from us, so the uninterrupted quality time was incredible. We had such a good time that this year, our family vacation plan is to head to sunny Oceanside, California!
Josh grew up going to Oceanside with his grandparents, so he has a lot of fond memories of the place, the beach and the pier. We're spending a week in August at a condo on the beach, and I am so excited! I guess it's just time to focus on eating healthy again so I can be more comfortable in my bathing suit, since I plan on being on the beach the entire week long :)
Ugh, I guess I better get back to homework. Be back soon!
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Our Florida Adventure was amazing. Here are some of my Dos, Don'ts, and advice for your trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
1. Make sure to buy a park hopper pass. Harry Potter Land is broken into two parts between the parks, so you need to be able to get onto Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. We bought a three day park hopper pass.
2. Use your thumb at the park. When you enter, they scan a fingerprint and you use that finger to enter/switch parks. I went first and used my index finger, but Jess, Ky and Josh all used their thumb and it makes it easier.
3. Go in the middle of the week. Trust me.
4. Go early. We entered the park right as it opened and got to ride our favorites several times.
5. Keep an early schedule. We ate breakfast at our AirBnb around 6:30, so by 11 we were ready for lunch. There was no wait at the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade, and the fish and chips were delicious!
6. On that note, eat at the Harry Potter parts. Josh and I paid like $33 for a butterbeer (like a milkshake, and the most expensive part at $6.50), a bottle of water, and two plates of fish and chips, which each came with three big pieces of delicious fish and some fries. The next day, we paid $41 for a pizza and two sodas. Yeah.
7. Go for the frozen Butterbeer!
8. The Dragon Challenge and the Mummy Returns never had too long of a wait, and they were two of our favorites.
9. Be prepared to stuff your bags, etc in a locker for most rides. Luckily, most are free and again, rely on the fingerprint.
10. Plan for a break around 2:00. The parks are busy and it's hot and miserable. Our first day, we saw a movie, and the air conditioner and comfy seats for two hours was a lifesaver. Then we went back in refreshed!
11. Remember you can enter and leave the park as much as you want. This includes park hopping.
12. Bring water and snacks. There are fountains all over the park, so we didn't buy water often. It saved us a bunch of money.
1. Don't forget to wear sunscreen.
2. Don't mess with too much in your bag beyond the essentials. For me, this included my phone, sunglasses, ID, credit card, spray sunscreen. Optional other things include deodorant, wet wipes (I love those), lip balm, and a camera.
3. Don't worry too much about following a schedule. We did the best when we made quick, spontaneous decisions, which led to our life-saving movie, taking the express to the other park at 10:00 am (so empty!), and riding the dragon coaster three times in a row because it was only a 10 minute wait.
4. Don't forget snacks. Ky brought Kind Bars since she eats on a regular schedule, and they were great for her!
5. Don't eat at noon or seven. The lines are out the door.
6. Don't forget to bring money for souvenirs! I bought sweatpants, a Ravenclaw quidditch shirt, a wand, a passport cover, a Hogwarts Express ornament, and Josh found random Avenger swim trunks.
7. Don't be scared to take a water ride in the afternoon. It's hot. Get wet, and save yourself the afternoon of sweating. We dried pretty fast anyway.
Some other advice would be to ride everything at least once. Even our least favorite rides were fun. Also, we liked the Islands of Adventure part more. If we went back, I don't know if we'd even go to the other side again. It was great, but nothing compared to the other side! Also, if you eat at the Leaky Cauldron, eat the trifle tart. It's like bread pudding, and so so amazing.
That's it! Enjoy your trip!
Our second day of Harry Potter Land started very much like the first, with a quick ride on the dragon challenge and the hulk. We rushed over to Diagon Alley only to find the Gringotts ride closed! It remained that way the rest of the day, though we checked back often just in case.
Instead, we busied ourselves with the Mummy Returns and Transformers, which I will remember forever because we were so tired and complain-y the whole wait! But the ride itself was awesome, one of the best simulator rides.
We also are pretty good pizza and hung out in Diagon Alley, shopping and drinking Butterbeer.
And we rode the Hogwarts Express back to Hogsmeade, which was awesome and included Dementors!
And then, being hot as hell, we rode the Jurassic Park water ride and got appropriately soaked!
Still, we toughed it out until almost five, when nachos and drinks called our names.
Then we took a quick ride on the Hogwarts express back to Hogsmeade.
Then, straight to the airport for Jess and Ky :( and straight to food for us!
Josh had one request: to try alligator. On our last hour, we fulfilled it.
It tastes like chicken-fish. Definitely a water creature. I had a yellowfin tuna sandwich and he ordered catfish for our lunch, and finished with some true Florida key lime pie.
Then, just like that, our weekend was over :( next post, I'll recap my tips for HPL and the souvenirs we bought!
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
We kicked off our Harry Potter Land visit bright and early, arriving at the park right as it opened and rushing to Hogsmeade.
Hogsmeade is in the Islands of Adventure park, which was our favorite of the two! HPL is split into Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida, but Hogsmeade has the best rides: the Dragon Challenge (where you're a Triwizard Champion in the first task of the Goblet of Fire), the Forbidden Journey (a dark ride through the castle) and the Flight of the Hippogriff (for kids, but you pass Hagrid's Hut so totally worth it). Diagon Alley has the Escape from Gringotts ride which was also awesome.
Once in Hogsmeade, we rode rides, drank butterbeer and ate fish and chips at the Three Broomsticks:)
We also took in lots of shopping and exploring.
Plus some Jurassic Park, which Jess said basically sums up her childhood.
Then we drank more beer (both butter and regular) and headed home to watch Broad City, while Jess picked through the bones of my fried chicken snack and was sad she didn't get any. Maybe you had to be there?
We're pretty funny, if you ask me!
We took a small break around 2:00 to see a movie at the theater at the entrance to the park. We saw the Duff and it was super adorable. We had been exhausted, but after a 1.5 hour break... We were ready to go back!
Monday, March 23, 2015
This past weekend was the big event. The one we've all been waiting for. Our trek to Harry Potter Land!
*i know it's called the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I just like Harry Potter Land more.
My sister and ky came down late Tuesday, and we headed out to Florida first thing wednesday. After a little schoolwork for me, I was so ready to start our vacation!
Airport selfies, am I right?
We met up with Jess and Ky in Florida and we were ready to vacation. First stop: the beach!
We ate fish tacos and drank pina coladas at a place called Coconuts right on the beach, and it was amazing. After Jess collected about 100 seashells, we headed back to Orlando to our Airbnb condo.
Can I just tell you about Airbnb? It was such a lifesaver for us! We paid less than a hotel, plus we got two bedrooms and two bathrooms, plus a kitchen so we were able to cook at home every morning. So worth it!
Part 2 will contain day one of HPL! Stay tuned!