Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wedding Trip Recap- September 22, 2012

The next two days our guests were slowly starting to leave Florida group by group.  Eliot and I made the best out of our last 2 days with everyone and tried to take a little bit of time to relax before our "mini moon" began.

On Saturday the 22nd, we cheated on Disney and decided to go over to Universal for part of the day.  I know that this is a Disney blog, but since we went there, and it's still part of our wedding trip, bear with me!  If you hate Harry Potter, skip to the very end of this post! (You'll notice that even though we were going to see the Harry Potter stuff, I'm a rebel and I still wore my Mickey Mouse "It's a Green World After All" recycling t-shirt!)

My best friend Katie, Sara and I are all big Harry Potter fans and the girls hadn't gotten a chance to see the new section of the park yet.  Eliot and I went there on our trip in 2010 and I knew that they had to see it.

After being there in 2010, there were a few must do's that the girls and I agreed upon:
  • Must have a butter beer
  • Must see the inside of Hogwarts
  • Must explore the shops in Hogsmeade
  • Must get a picture with the Hogwarts Express
  • Must eat at the Three Broomsticks
  • Must try to get our pictures with people dressed up in wizard clothes

Katie, Sara, Elissa, Jeremy, Eliot's Dad Rick and I all caught our scheduled Mears bus over to Universal Studios.  We decided that since we were only planning on being there for part of the day, we would only get passes to Islands of Adventure.  After waiting in an incredibly long line for tickets, we made our way to the back of the park towards the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Before we did anything else, we got our photo with the Hogwarts Express and bought butterbeer as soon as we saw the cart.  Two things off the list in under 10 minutes!

Sara and Katie also wanted to go on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey inside of Hogwarts.  Eliot and I had done it in 2010, and we both felt sick the rest of the day, so we opted out.  Rick isn't really a ride person either; he's my bench buddy for all of the crazy rides since they make us motion sick.  Elissa and Jeremy decided to hang out with us as well.  Thankfully, they designed Hogwarts such that you can go inside and explore the castle without getting on the ride.

Katie and Sara were thrilled with the interior of the castle.  We got a bunch of pictures and then wished them well on the ride.  We actually sat in a small waiting room that's supposed to be for parents who can't take their kids on the ride and switch off.  It was pretty quiet in there, and they were playing one of the Harry Potter movies on the televisions.  So that was fun.  The girls loved the ride and after we spent some time shopping in Filch's Emporium.

We also checked out a few of the other shops in Hogsmeade.  Katie really enjoyed Zonko's. I hadn't noticed the Extendable Ears hanging from the ceiling when Eliot and I were there. We also bought some treats at Honeydukes, which Eliot and I also had skipped.  (I won't ever skip that again; the treats were delicious!)

We were getting hungry after exploring so we decided it was time to eat in the Three Broomsticks.  The last time I'd been there, I coped out and got a salad.  This time, I vowed to try something that was more British.  So I ended up with the fish and chips.  It was tasty!

After that, we wanted to take a few more pictures with Hogwarts before we left, and we actually caught the end of the show with the girls from Beauxbatons and the guys from Durmstrang!  Woo hoo!  When they started letting people take pictures, the three of us girls ran over and got the last item on our list.  Mission accomplished!

The only thing that we didn't have time to do that I'd wished we had was to send postcards from the Owlry.  Eliot and I did the last time we went and it was a blast.  They actually have a special stamp that says it's sent from Hogsmeade!  (I'm not going to lie I totally sent myself a stamped postcard for my scrapbook!)

I will say that the design of the Wizarding World is great.  I did feel like we were in the wizarding world with the moving photos, the Howler and other "magical" items.  It was Harry Potter magic though, not Disney magic.  After my first trip, the only thing that I thought that had really bested Disney on was their bathroom design!  (In the women's room they have Moaning Myrtle talking along with music playing.  Good move Universal!  Love it!)  But even with that, Disney has come back to win with their new Tangled area bathrooms in the Magic Kingdom.  

I am excited about the new Wizarding World expansion that Universal is working on.  But it stinks that it's separated over two parks.  There could have been so much more potential.  (I had an entire Harry Potter theme park designed in my head with Hogwarts as the center. That would have been amazing...)

On the way back to the front, we stopped here and there.  The others went on a few rides while Rick and I sat in a restaurant relaxing.  I took a funny photo with one of the cartoon bubbles and texted it to Eliot who really wanted to sleep in so he didn't come with us.  

Finally, we caught our Mears bus and got back to Pop Century later in the afternoon. Katie's flight was leaving really early the next morning, so she wanted to go to bed early. We said goodbye to her and wished her a safe flight and decided to go into the Magic Kingdom to catch Wishes again.  My family was there so we hung out with them for a bit. We got a much better view of the show this time around.  After a while, Sara and Rick left so she could go work on some more homework.

Eliot's Mom, Elissa, Eliot and I ended up staying until the park closed, and even later than that.  (I've never been at the parks so late before!)  We shopped around on Main Street since it was their last night here as well.  We got a few pictures on Main Street with no one in the background!  It was another great day.  °o°

Note: I have to add that 90% of the Harry Potter photos aren't even mine!  They're Katie's. (Thank you for taking some Katie!)  I took a ton of photos when Eliot and I went in 2010, so I didn't take that many this time around.  (Universal isn't Disney after all.)  I didn't feel the need to take a billion pictures of Hogsmeade, unlike Main Street and Cinderella Castle which I probably have hundreds of photos of... I'll make more of an effort to take some next time!  ;-)

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