Friday, October 30, 2015

Fun Find: MNSSHP Halloween Videos

I can't believe tomorrow is Halloween!  It seems like just yesterday Eliot and I were running around the Magic Kingdom at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party! (MNSSHP)  Today's Fun Find Friday is in honor of the spookiest time of the year!  I've found a few videos taken from Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party this year.

The Boo To You Parade is one of Eliot's of my favorites.  I love the catchy music.  They have a Haunted Mansion section with Madame Leota's tombstone, the hitchhiking ghosts, dancing ghosts and the always popular gravediggers!  (I love them!)

The Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular was new this 2015 season.  I loved the movie Hocus Pocus growing up.  I'm at that age where I associate Halloween with Hocus Pocus.  One does not seem complete without another.  I really enjoyed this show!  It seems to be pretty popular, so I'm hoping Disney will keep it around for a while!

Finally, no Halloween Party is complete without watching HalloWishes!  These are Eliot's and my favorite fireworks.  Both the music and show are incredible!

I hope you enjoy these Halloween videos!  I'm really thankful we already had some Halloween fun at MNSSHP!  Eliot and I aren't doing much celebrating this year since we'll be right in the middle of our move to the new house.  I'll probably be quiet this weekend with our move taking place.  Have a fun and safe weekend everyone!

HappHalloween!!! °o°

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Free Halloween Printables

Today we're all about the treats- no tricks!  I'm bringing back a few of my Halloween printables from when I started my blog back in 2013!  I had a blast making printable designs- back when I was less terrified that my laptop was going to spontaneously combust at any second.  (I think I'm going to need a new one soon!)  In the spirit of Halloween, I thought I'd re-share those since so many of you are new to my blog!

My favorite design is my Halloween Activity Sheet!  It's perfect to keep little ones busy while waiting for the Boo to You Parade at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party!

My next favorite is my Mickey Candy Corn design.  I used this printable for everything from scrapbooking, paper ornaments hanging from the chandelier, kitchen cupboard decorations, gift tags and garland!  The possibilities are endless!

Finally, I made a "Boo to You" and "Trick or Treat" design.  (Can you tell the Boo to You parade music was stuck in my head?)  I cut these out and put them on the wall above our kitchen cabinets using rolled tape.  I created the design in a few different versions.

Boo to You and Trick or Treat - Black

Boo to You and Trick or Treat - Color Yourself and Printer Friendly!

Boo to You and Trick or Treat - Orange and Purple (shown here)

I had a blast making all of these designs.  I can't wait to decorate with them next year when we're not busy moving!  I'm also hoping I can make more for other holidays in the future!  In the meantime, enjoy these not so spooky treats!  °o°

Monday, October 26, 2015

Moving Forward

Whew, I'm certainly glad last week is behind me.  I know everyone has their ups and downs, but last week really stunk big time!  Thankfully, things are looking up at the house.  I'm back to being excited about our big move next weekend!  By this time next week, we'll be officially living in our new house!

We've been busy moving forward with projects around the house.  I had a conference for work most of the weekend, but I was able to meet Eliot there Friday night and Sunday afternoon for some super productive work time.  After seeing how much we accomplished, I'm feeling a lot better about it!

Eliot's finished most of the master bedroom painting.  There are a few places we need to repair the drywall tape.  (My Dad is going to help me with that on Friday.)  Eliot also touched up the ceiling paint in the master bedroom.

I painted the ceiling of our larger guest bedroom.  I also worked on finishing Eliot's office.  There are a few places where we needed to touch up the ceiling and re-paint where the lime green accent wall meets the turquoise walls.  The room's not quite finished, but it's a lot less daunting now.

Eliot and I also started working on our master bathroom last night.  He's painted the ceiling and we put one coat of turquoise on the walls.  He put three coats of yellow over the tan and it's still not working.  The new plan is to paint the accent wall white and then go back in with the yellow.  Unfortunately, it was pretty late last night by the time we painted the turquoise and we didn't think to take pictures of it!

Finally, I worked on touching up the ceiling of my office.  It's really hard to see the white painted on white once it's dark out.  I have a little bit more of the wall to touch up, and then my office will officially be done!  I'm so excited to start moving things into it!

We're really liking the colors so far!  Eliot and I love fun bright colors and I'm so excited for our house to reflect our personalities!  My aunt and uncle swung by our house the other day (when we weren't there) and they peeked into the windows.  My Mom told me that my aunt said it definitely looked like we lived there with all of the Mickey and Disney stuff in the living room!  It's not home without a little bit of magic!!!  °o°

Friday, October 23, 2015

Fun Find: Halloween Decor

It's that time of year again: Eliot and I have been hoping around our local stores to see what they have for Disney Halloween decorations!  (And we've already found a bunch of Disney Christmas items, but let's not go there quite yet.)  I thought I'd share a few of the Halloween merchandise items we've seen with you for today's Fun Find Friday!

Photo Source: Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart is the home of Disney Greeters.  Eliot and I love these things.  We have far more than I'd like to admit to.  My brother Jeremy bought us a Tigger and Eeyore for Christmas a few years ago when he worked at Sears, and it's all gone downhill since then.  We have them for Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Thanksgiving, fall... and if they had them for St. Patrick's Day, Valentine's Day and 4th of July, we'd have those too!

This year, Wal-Mart has a ton of Star Wars greeters!  They're really fun and they haven't lasted too long on the shelves at our local store.  Eliot and I bought R2-D2 for Jeremy as a thank you for his hard work last weekend.  If you're interested in getting some, a few characters are still available online!

Photo Source: Wal-Mart
Another fun treat Wal-Mart carries for the holidays are their inflatables.  Eliot loves checking all of these out.  This year, our Wal-Mart had Mickey and Minnie but they were similar to the ones we already had.  One night, we went to browse the Halloween section and we stumbled across a Jack Skellington inflatable!  It was the last one our store had, so we grabbed it.  After all, what's Halloween without the pumpkin king!

Photo Source: Wal-Mart
Target doesn't have much Disney Halloween decor this year.  (Of course, both Wal-Mart and Target have a ton of Disney Halloween costumes.  Disney basically has it's own aisle in both stores!)  However, Target does have different options for pumpkin decorating!  Naturally, Eliot and I had to get an Olaf kit.

Photo Source: Target
These pumpkin decorating kits are perfect for last minute designs.  They're easy to use, quick, and not as messy as pumpkin carving.  Plus, you can save them to use year after year!  We have a few from previous years including Mickey and Minnie.

Photo Source: Target
Surprisingly, our local Target still had a ton of these left the other day.  I honestly expected the Halloween section to be picked over.  I was pleasantly surprised to find quite a few Star Wars, Mickey, Minnie, Elsa, Iron Man and Olaf pumpkin decorating kits sitting on the shelf.  It might not be too late to snag some if you're looking for a quick way to decorate your pumpkins!  They're also all still available online- and they're on sale as of today!  I think Eliot and I are going to get the Cinderella pumpkin coach kit to remind us of our Disney Wedding!

Photo Source: Target
Unfortunately, Eliot and I aren't going to decorate our new house much for Halloween this year since we're in the process of moving.  In fact, we're planning to do our "big move" Halloween weekend.  Boo!!!  But that doesn't mean you can't get into the spirit with these decorations!  Have fun making your house frightfully spooky!  °o°

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Making My Own Magic

Hello friends!  I've got to admit, it's been a really busy and stressful week.  Eliot and I are working against the clock to get our house ready for the big move.  The universe seems to be against us and it can get frustrating at times.  I'm trying to relax and stay positive, but it's proving to be easier said than done.  Hopefully we'll be able to get more done over the weekend and next week!  I keep telling myself that once it's done, it's going to be done and it'll totally be worth all of our hard work these past few weeks!

In order to distract myself from things I can't control, I've tried to sprinkle pixie dust and make my own magic.  I've found simple things to distract from the crazy.  Oddly, one of the most relaxing things I've found to do is to go on Instagram.  It's my favorite form of social media right now.  It's simple, easy to use and I can lay in bed while scrolling through my photos to relax.  I find it incredibly inspiring and I've found a lot of cool crafters and artists through it.  I've also found out about a few awesome sales!

Photo Source: Cakeworthy
I was on Instagram the other day when I realized that one of my favorite t-shirt and accessory shops, Cakeworthy, was having a pre-order for some of the new items from their Wicked Ones collection.  I've seen a few of the items and I'd been thinking about getting them but they keep selling out.  I decided to look into the pre-order.

Photo Source: Cakeworthy
I ended up ordering the Sorcerer Mickey inspired Sorcerer Beanie.  Then, I decided to treat myself by ordering one of the shirts I've been admiring since it was released, the Hitchhiking Ghost Flannel.  They won't be ready for 6-8 weeks, and then they have to be shipped to me, but I'm excited to have the order in so I know I'll get them!

One of my favorite Instagram finds has been Enchanted Candy Carousel.  April makes the cutest Disney treat inspired accessories.  She has an Etsy shop as well as an Instagram account.  I've been admiring her creations for a while now.  The other day she had a ready to ship Instagram sale and I fell in love with one of her Candy Poisoned Apple Brooches.  I had to get it and I'm so glad I did!  I absolutely love it!

Eliot and I also received a package from Disneyland the other day.  Although we knew what was inside it, but it was still fun to open it up.  We had asked Eliot's Mom to get us some of the merchandise we didn't get while we were out there.  Our big splurge were the Haunted Mansion Stretching Portrait figures.  She also found the nearly impossible to find Disneyland Attraction Posters that match our WDW ones!  We also got our Halloween plush.  (The Disneyland passholder discount is a lot better than WDW's so we decided we'd have her get them instead of buying them in Florida.)  Finally, we got our Disneyland 60th t-shirts and she surprised us with a 60th anniversary print!

These items have definitely brought a smile to my face.  I love receiving a little pixie dust in the mail.  Plus, I can't complain about the extra boxes being delivered to our doorstep.  All the extra packing material has proven quite useful.  Ha ha!

I'm sure I've got another interesting week ahead of me, but I'm going to try to take it all in stride!  After all, all it takes is a little faith, trust and pixie dust!  °o°

Monday, October 19, 2015

House Updates

I'm back from my short weekend break!  It's been a busy few days, but we had a really productive weekend at our house!  Things are starting to come together and we've slowly been moving more of our things over there!  Here's a quick update:

Of course, it wouldn't be our "home" without a few Disney touches.  Eliot went over there a few days ago while I was at work and put our Halloween Mickey and Minnie inflatables up.  It was a nice surprise to see them in the front yard.  I love having a little bit of holiday cheer even though we're in the middle of our move!

My parents and Nana came down to help us over the weekend.  My brother Jeremy also drove up from New Hampshire on Saturday to help our for the afternoon.  Mom and Jeremy moved a lot of our holiday decoration containers from the garage down to the basement.  I talked to Nana about getting her help with some handmade valences while she enjoyed the sunshine in our dining room from her comfy chair.  Throughout the weekend, I was the floater and I shuttled between everyone helping wherever they needed it.  I definitely got a work out running up and down the stairs!

My Dad and Eliot did the bulk of the dirty work.  Our plan was to paint as much of the second floor as possible before we had the carpet cleaners come today.  Dad painted the ceiling of my office, Eliot's office and our master bedroom.  Eliot did a final coat of the accent wall in his office.  He also did a first coat of paint over most of the master bedroom.  (He had a little too much fun painting Mickeys with the left over paint!)

I'm so glad that our offices are basically done.  They look like they're right out of a Disney movie- specifically Monsters Inc.  We didn't plan it, but the purple of my office plus the turquoise and lime of Eliot's remind both of us of Mike and Sulley!

Our master bedroom is coming along nicely.  We both love the minty aqua color that I picked out for the walls.  It will go great with the comforter we chose!  The color is both beautiful and calming.  I can't wait to see it when it's all set up!

Finally, I ordered curtain panels for my office.  JCPenney was having an awesome Columbus Day sale last week.  While I was online ordering our comforter, I found some beautiful blue curtains that I thought would look great with my lavender purple walls.  I can't wait to get them so I can put them in my office!  °o°

Thursday, October 15, 2015

IllusionEars Update

It's time for an IllusionEars update; it's been a while since I posted one!  Eliot and I have introduced a few more designs since I first told you about our idea back at the end of July.  Most recently, we've added two new designs to the collection:

I'm so excited about the Harry Potter Deathly Hallows ears.  This was one of the first designs we came up with.  I insisted we make Harry Potter themed mouse ears since I love Disney and the wizarding world so much.  This was literally one of the first designs Eliot made me.  He brought home the prototype months before we officially announced our business.  It brings me great joy to finally have these listed in my Etsy shop!

Our other new creation is the Monorail design.  This is Eliot's baby.  We both agreed the world really needed monorail ears and he designed these all on his own.  They've been through few designs tweaks, but we're both really happy with the end result!

I'm incredibly proud of how well they've been received.  It's a big deal to wear your own creations to the parks.  I got a ton of compliments on my Harry Potter ears while visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  The Universal staff loved them and I had some great interactions with some of the "cast".  (The Knight Bus conductor was quite impressed with my Transfiguration Spell gone awry.)  The monorail ears were very popular at Disney.  I got a bunch of compliments from both guests and cast members- most notably from Disney artist Larry Dotson when he was signing our art prints!

There are plenty more designs to come.  In fact, I'm working on a the finishing touches of one right now.  Eliot's working on a few designs that he really wants to surprise me with.  (I can't wait to see what he's cooked up now!)  And we've got a whole list of other ideas!  There's one thing for sure- we certainly won't be bored this winter!  °o°

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Results- WDW Fall 2015 Trip Bucket List

As you can see from my post Sunday, my Universal bucket list went quite well.  My Walt Disney World bucket list didn't do quite as well, but I'm still happy with all of the things Eliot and I accomplished in only four days at the parks.  Here are the results:

Melissa's WDW Fall 2015 Trip Bucket List

°o°  Attend Fall Dapper Day (Our first time!)
Ugh, this is a terrible way to start my bucket list off.  After making an announcement that we'd be at Dapper Day, Eliot and I never made it over there.  We were at Epcot Saturday morning, and suddenly realized by the time we went to our hotel, changed and got over to Hollywood Studios, we would have missed the meet up at the Chinese Theater.  While I was a little disappointed, our outfits weren't up to par anyways.  Eliot and I saw plenty of other dapper people and we've decided that if we're going to do it, we're going to do it right.  Thankfully, he's completely game for next time!

°o°  Go to O’Hana with my Key to the World friends again
This was so much fun.  We'd planned to go to dinner after KeyCon and Eliot wasn't planning on joining us.  (He doesn't like most of the food on the menu.)  However, they let him sit at the table and order a drink instead!  I'm so glad we got to spend one more fun dinner with my closest KTTW friends.  They really are my ohana.

°o°  Breakfast at Be Our Guest
Eliot and I also enjoyed having breakfast with my KTTW friends at Be Our Guest.  We had lunch there on our honeymoon but we haven't been since.  Breakfast was pretty good.  I also really enjoyed sitting in the ballroom this time!

°o°  Order a Glowy Drink
I finally got another glowy drink!  When we were at Ohana, I enjoyed another Blue Glowtini.  My glowing ice cube collection grows once more!

°o°  Go on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
We still didn't get on the mine train ride.  Eliot tried to get us FastPasses for it, but that didn't pan out.  Next trip, we're going to set up the FastPass for this way in advance.  I'm not too disappointed though.  We'll get on it eventually!

°o°  Check out the Food and Wine Festival
I did enjoy checking out some of the Food and Wine Festival booths.  But sadly, I didn't get to eat any food this year.  I caught Eliot's cold our last day at Universal.  My throat was killing me and my food already didn't taste right.  It didn't seem worth it to stand in those long lines when I could barely taste the food anyways.

°o°  Attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP)
This is always one of my favorites!  Eliot and I went to MNSSHP our last night at Walt Disney World.  It was a great end to the trip.  We got pictures with characters, we enjoyed the parade and fireworks (which are our favorites) and we got plenty of candy.

°o°  Buy something special for our new house
I found a ton of ideas for our new house.  I didn't go too crazy buying things this trip, but I did get a few new art pieces for our new house!  (More on that below.)

°o°  Go on the Characters In Flight Hot Air Balloon
We barely spent any time at Disney Springs this trip and we prioritized since we were only there for four days.  The Characters In Flight Hot Air Balloon didn't make the cut.

°o°  Get a Picture with Duffy (He’s left WDW!)
Since Duffy was leaving Epcot, this was very high on our priority list.  So high in fact, that I had Eliot ask multiple cast members what day was his last.  We stood in line with many other Duffy lovers to get one last visit in with our favorite teddy bear.  The line for Duffy was longer than any of the other characters lines I saw my entire trip.  I was incredibly sad to say goodbye, but Duffy had a great send off. 

°o°  See the new Hocus Pocus Show at MNSSHP
This show was awesome.  I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I really enjoyed it.  I loved Hocus Pocus and it's my favorite Halloween movie.  The Sanderson sisters joined some of our favorite Disney villains to create a spooktacular show.  I hope it's going to be around for many more Halloween parties.

°o°  Look in WonderGround and in the Disney art stores
I did not get to WonderGround this trip, but I did check out the art stores at Epcot and at the Magic Kingdom.  I will definitely make sure to check out WonderGround next trip!

°o°  Do Hollywood Studio Favorites (shows)
Eliot and I spent a lot of time at Hollywood Studios.  We made sure to go see Beauty and the Beast, Indiana Jones and Lights, Motors, Action!  We made sure to walk through One Man's Dream one last time, just in case.  We also just barely got in to see the Frozen Sing Along.  Unfortunately, I didn't get in to see the Voyage of the Little Mermaid.  Hopefully it won't be gone the next time we go.

°o°  Go to the Water Park(s)
This wasn't even a thought this trip.  As much as I really wanted to go to the water parks, I was so sick during our Walt Disney World trip that it didn't seem worth it.

°o°  Get a picture with a new character
Eliot and I got a few photos with new characters during MNSSHP.  We got our photo with Tinker Bell, Captain Jack Sparrow, Aladdin and Abu and with talking Mickey!  I was so excited to get a picture with Captain Jack Sparrow.  I love pirates!  Talking Mickey was really cool too!  He was interactive and it was so much fun.

°o°  Check out the Halloween & Christmas Merchandise 
I looked at the Halloween merchandise multiple times since it was everywhere.  Eliot and I didn't see as much Christmas merchandise since it's too early for that.  However, we did go into the Christmas shop in Liberty Square so I could look around.

°o°  Explore Disney Springs (formerly known as Downtown Disney)
Eliot and I didn't spend much time in Disney Springs this trip, but we did do a little exploring.  We went to Disney Springs with a few of my KTTW friends after having dinner at Ohana.  We parked in the new parking garage.  We took a quick peek in Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar.  We saw the amphicars parked for the night outside of the Boathouse restaurant.  We also went into the Boathouse to explore really quickly.  I'm looking forward to checking out more of Disney Springs next trip!

°o°  Buy a character candy apple and yummy sweet treats
I bought a candy apple and a marshmallow stick while at MNSSHP.  I ate it the other night and it's the perfect way to bring some Disney magic home.  Eliot and I also had plenty of treats during the trip- marshmallow sticks, rice krispies, ice cream, etc.

°o°  Collect Walt Disney World Pressed Coins
Eliot and I did a few pressed penny machines.  We didn't get a map before this trip, so it was more of us finding coins of characters and rides we enjoy.  There are penny machines everywhere at Walt Disney World.  Thankfully, there is a map online, so before our next trip, we'll try to have more of a plan of attack.  

°o°  Get My Name Painted in Princess Letters
This wasn't even an option.  I assumed that since you could do it at Disneyland, you could also get a print made at Walt Disney World.  Apparently, not the case.  I'm a little bit disappointed, but I can always have Eliot's family get one for me!  Or I'll wait until our next trip!  I'll get one for my new office eventually!

As with most trips, we also had a few experiences I wasn't expecting:

°o°  Meet Captain Jack Sparrow
I mentioned this above, but it deserves a little more explanation.  I've always wanted to get a picture with Captain Jack but I'm never around when he comes out.  There's always the option to get a picture during a Run Disney event, but his line is always the longest.  I'm so excited we got a picture with him at MNSSHP!!!

°o°  Meet Larry Dotson
This is another case of really good timing!  Larry is another one of my favorite Disney artists.  He makes beautiful paintings of the landscapes around the parks and Disney resorts.  He also created a Frozen painting that I've been admiring for a year and a half.  Lucky for us, Larry was at the Art of Disney store in Epcot during our trip!  Not only did I get the Frozen print I've wanted, but we also got his Wedding Pavilion print, he signed both of them and we got to talk to him for a few minutes!

°o°  Meet Casey from Park Bound Buttons
I love Parkbound Buttons and I've placed two orders over the past few years.  (And I'm positive I'll be placing many more.)  I follow Casey on Instagram, and I saw a girl that looked like her at the Magic Kingdom.  I quickly jumped on my Instagram, saw she was at the park and realized I was right!  It was her!  I went over to say hi and Casey was so sweet.  She gave me two buttons: one saying that I met her, and then she gave me the option of picking one from her bag!  I ended up getting the Boo To You one I had planned to buy, but it was sold out when I went to purchase it.  Thanks Casey!

°o°  Find Mr. Gold's Pawn Shop
This should have been on my original bucket list since I've been dying to see the shi since I found out about it.  Mr. Gold's Pawn Shop is on the Streets of America at Hollywood Studios.  I'm a huge fan of ABC's Once Upon A Time; I was so pumped to see this!  I enjoyed examining all of the props in the window.  Emma's unicorn baby mobile was my favorite.  We also took a few pictures of me with the sign!  Yay!!!

°o°  Celebrate the Magic Kingdom's Birthday at the Magic Kingdom
In all of the craziness over the past month, I totally lost sight of the fact that we'd be visiting Walt Disney World during the Magic Kingdom's birthday!  Someone had a birthday button on and it hit me like a ton of bricks!  Eliot and I had a blast spending most of October 1st at the Magic Kingdom and it was magical.  I can't wait for 6 more years when we're planning to be there to celebrate the park's 50th anniversary!!!

°o°  See Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
Finally, I was excited that I could experience part of one of my favorites at Disney, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  This is the last year of the light show, and I'm very sad that I won't be able to see them one last time.  However, this was a nice consolation prize.  Some of the lights were already up.  Eliot and I took pictures of a few of the displays.  I was the crazy lady taking pictures with the Christmas light displays in the beginning of October.  I took a picture with my favorite- Mickey and Santa shaking hands.  Goodbye Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  I really hope Disney finds another place for you to call home.

This was definitely a whirlwind Disney trip, but it was a lot of fun.  I'm so thankful for our annual passports and all of the fun we've had with them over the past year!  I can't wait to see what the next year of annual passes has in store for us!  °o°

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Results- Universal 2015 Trip Bucket List

As I mentioned the other day, Universal and KeyCon 2015 were awesome!  I had an amazing time with Eliot and my Key to the World family.  Not only did we have a great time, but I also accomplished most of my trip bucket list goals!  This is the closest I've ever become to completing a full list!  Here are the results: 

Melissa's Universal 2015 Trip Bucket List:

⚡️ Learn More About Universal Resort
I learned so much about Universal Resort this trip!  My Key to the World group stayed on site at the Hard Rock Hotel (which was awesome).  We had an entire presentation on Universal at our KeyCon meeting.  Our group also toured the other Universal Resort Hotels.  While on our tour, we saw one of the few Minion themed suites!  I loved seeing the other hotels and now I want to stay at all of them!  Finally, I used my three day tickets to explore Universal and Islands of Adventure!

⚡️ Meet New KTTW Travel Agent Friends
I met a lot of new friends!  It was great to spend time with my KTTW friends from last year, but I also enjoyed meeting new agents this year!  I finally got the chance to meet a few of my fellow Mainers!  I also had a great time getting to know Team Slytherin.

⚡️ See the Dragon Breathe Fire in Diagon Alley
This is so cool!  I had to wait quite a few minutes the first time I went to Diagon Alley, but it was totally worth it!  I learned that the dragon growls before it shoots fire so you can get your camera prepared if you're really quick.  It's totally worth seeing in person!

⚡️ Ride the Hogwarts Express
I had so much fun on the Hogwarts Express.  It takes you back and forth between Universal and Islands of Adventure.  The train compartments have "windows" to look out.  Each way you experience a different ride.  It's definitely my favorite ride there.  

⚡️ Go to the Hard Rock Hotel Pool Bar
Eliot and I finally got to a pool bar.  Sunday night after seeing the Blue Man Group, a bunch of us returned to the hotel and went to the pool bar for drinks.  We had a great time talking and laughing before shutting the place down.

⚡️ Go to Ollivander's Wand Shop
I did go into Ollivander's Wand Shop to buy a wand.  However, I still haven't seen the "show" where a wand chooses a wizard.  I'd really like to see that next time!

⚡️ Get Butterbeer in Souvenir Cup
I finally got my butterbeer in a souvenir cup.  In fact, Eliot got a frozen one in the other style of cup so now I have two cups!  I'm looking forward to enjoying many at home butterbeers in my new cups!

⚡️ Wear my new Happily Ever Hatter Harry Potter IllusionEars
I wore my Harry Potter IllusionEars during our park touring day.  Team Slytherin loved them and we had them in a few pictures before it started to rain.  I couldn't wear my ears with my poncho (without choking myself) so I didn't get to wear them as much as I wanted.  But I did wear them when Eliot and I went back into the park after KeyCon.  I got a lot of compliments from Harry Potter fans and Universal employees.

⚡️ Try Butterbeer Ice Cream
Butterbeer ice cream is delicious!  I really enjoyed my butterbeer ice cream and I'm looking forward to enjoying many more in the future!

⚡️ See Kreacher at 12 Grimmauld Place
I saw Kreacher in the window at 12 Grimmauld Place.  I insisted we go look for him during our park touring day so Team Slytherin camped out and got our cameras ready!

⚡️ Exchange Money at Gringotts Bank
Eliot and I exchanged money to get $10 worth of wizarding money.  The bill is really cool and you can use it at any location in the Universal parks.  I'm definitely getting another one the next time we go!  I think I'm going to frame it or put it in my scrapbook!

⚡️ Dial 62442 (MAGIC) in the phone booth outside King’s Cross
While on our park touring day, I jumped into the phone booth with the rest of Team Slytherin and dialed MAGIC.  The recording told me that the Ministry of Magic was unavailable and the visitor entrance was closed.  It was pretty cool.  I don't think many people know about this trick so I made sure to spread the word.

⚡️ Explore City Walk
I can definitely check this off the list.  I've never spent much time in City Walk before this trip.  Now, I've been to the Blue Man Group, Margaritaville, Antojitos, Cowfish, Vivo, Menchies, and taken the water taxis to and from City Walk.

⚡️ Get a Margarita at Margaritaville
This was the first thing off my bucket list!  Once Eliot and I got settled at the Hard Rock Hotel, we met a few of my Key to the World friends at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville for a light dinner and drinks.

⚡️ Mail a postcard from the Hogsmeade Owlry
I mailed a new Diagon Alley dragon postcard to myself and one to my best friend Katie while Eliot went to ride Dueling Dragons.  Unfortunately, I forgot my stamps at home and that Universal makes you buy an entire sheet of them instead of selling them individually.  I'll make sure to remember next time!  But it was totally worth it to get the Hogsmeade postal stamp!  Maybe next time I'll write them with a quill instead of a pen!

⚡️ See Knockturn Alley
I explored Knockturn Alley with a few KTTW friends while the rest of the group was going on Escape from Gringotts.  It was dark and creepy and definitely felt like I pictured it from the books.  After a few minutes of exploring, I found the Vanishing Cabinet (complete with sounds of tweeting birds) inside of Borgin and Burkes.

⚡️ Order Ice Cream at Florean Fortescues 
Not only did I get butterbeer ice cream, but I also ventured to try a few other flavors from the menu.  The chocolate chili was good, but the after kick didn't sit so well with my sore throat.  However, the chocolate raspberry was perfection.

⚡️ Get an Interactive Wand
I bought my interactive wand on our last day when Eliot and I went back into the parks after KeyCon.  It's probably a good thing, because it was so much fun that it would have completely distracted us from touring the parks!  It was so much fun to "do" magic.  I can't wait to bring my wand back with me the next time we go to Universal!

⚡️ Explore the Wizarding Shops of Diagon Alley
I did get to explore the shops in Diagon Alley.  I really enjoyed Weasley's Wizard Wheezes.  It's so much fun.  The quidditch store was pretty cool.  I spent a lot of time in Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, the store outside of Gringotts, while friends were on the ride.  The Gringotts money exchange was really cool.  I enjoyed asking the head Goblin questions.  I also explored the Magical Menagerie.  I didn't realize they made so many plushes of things from the movies!  And as mentioned before, I also went to Borgin and Burkes, Florean Fortescues and Olivanders.

⚡️ Get a picture with the Minions
This was the only thing on the list that we didn't accomplish.  Apparently, there isn't an area to meet the Minion characters at the park.  I heard you might be able to at a character breakfast, but we didn't have time for that this trip.  However, if there was something that I couldn't do this trip, this would have been my top choice anyways.

We also had a few experiences I wasn't expecting:

⚡️ Eat at Both Leaky Cauldron and Three Broomsticks in One Day
During our park touring day, we had breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron.  Then, later in the day, we had lunch at the Three Broomsticks.  This was a lot of fun.  It definitely made the Harry Potter experience feel more complete.

⚡️ Celestina Warbeck
We didn't have a great view, but Eliot and I did catch a glimpse of Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees while we were enjoying our butterbeer.

⚡️ Tale of the Three Brothers
Eliot and I did see the Tale of the Three Brothers from a closer vantage point.  I'd heard this was a must see if you were able to.  The puppets and props were really cool.  I really enjoyed the show and thought it was a great way to tell the tale.

⚡️ Picture with the Knight Bus Conductor and the Shrunken Head
I knew I could get a picture with the Knight Bus but I didn't realize the conductor and the shrunken head would be there for a photo op as well.  Simon the conductor was very nice and it was a lot of fun to interact with him and the shrunken head!

⚡️ Try on Robes at Madame Malkins
During our park touring day, those of us from Team Slytherin who didn't want to go on the Escape from Gringotts found ourselves exploring the shops in Diagon Alley.  I suggested we go take a photo in Slytherin wizard robes and the next thing we knew, one of the ladies at Madame Malkins was helping us into robes.  She was in perfectly in character and it was a fun experience.  I'm saving my Galleons up so I can buy some robes the next time I visit!

⚡️ Menchies Frozen Yogurt
This probably sounds ridiculous to most of you, but I think it's worth mentioning!  I didn't realize a place like Menchies existed; we don't have them in Maine.  After our group split up on park touring day, I went to Menchies with my friend Ryan and we got frozen yogurt.  I got the cake batter and it was delicious!!!  I'm already trying to figure out the closest store to Maine.  Must get more yummy!

As you can see from our bucket list, Eliot and I had a fantastic time at the Universal Resort.  In fact, we're already planning to add a day at Universal to our trip next fall.  I'd really love to go back to the Harry Potter sections and spend more time playing around with my interactive wand and pretending I'm a wizard! ⚡️o-o⚡️