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Monday, June 25, 2012

The Wonderful World of Disney Part 3

Day 9 – The Boy’s Day Off from Vacation
Today was supposed to be spent at Universal Studio’s Islands of Adventure; however, The Boy woke up with tummy troubles and a temperature of 101°. So our plans changed. We’re hanging out in the room watching TV. I'm blogging, updating my Facebook status, playing FarmVille (I know, I know, I’m the last one who’s still playing that ridiculous game), and surfing the web. Mom and Dad went to Downtown Disney for a little retail therapy and a late lunch. When they return, The Captain and I will go while M&D watch The Boy. We’re hoping to be able to go to Universal tomorrow and do Kennedy Space Center on Sunday. My dear auntie texted asking for details on how we liked Harry Potter World and put The Boy on the prayer chain at church instead. It’s nice to be loved.


Day 10 – Hogsmeade and Butter Beer
Ollivander's Wand Shop, Universal Studios'
Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The Boy went to bed last night fever free and woke up this morning good as new. He was ready for Universal Studios’ The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It’s only about twenty minutes from WDW but it took us as long to walk from Preferred Parking (only an extra $5 and well worth it) through the shopping district and to the far right side of the Islands of Adventure park to Harry Potter's neighborhood. We waited in line about twenty-five minutes for the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey broom ride through Hogwarts Castle then for thirty-five minutes for the Flight of the Hippogryph (video below). After that it was off to Ollivander’s Wand Shop and the bit about getting chosen by your wand… not worth the hour wait. Of the thirty people at a time they allow inside to be chosen, only one actually gets chosen. We were all very disappointed. However, not disappointing was the Frozen Butter Beer, which we enjoyed while standing in line. The Captain had a regular butter beer, which is like a soda. Mom and I had frozen ones, more like an Icee. We all agreed frozen in the way to go. I found a recipe for butter beer, which I haven't tried yet but thought looked like fun. If you want it frozen you'll have to invest in an Icee machine. Next was the Dragon Challenge, a fast-paced roller coaster with lots of corkscrew turns and loops. How much fun was that??? SOOOOO much fun. The Captain and The Boy decided to wait in the FIVE MINUTE line again, this time waiting for the front row. It took longer to walk through the corridors to get to the line than it took to wait in the line. Amazing! I stayed behind and waited with my parents as I wasn’t sure that butter beer would stay down when tempted a second time.  


video




Me and Butter Beer
On the way out we waited twenty-minutes for Sneeches In in Seuss Landing. Lame doesn’t begin to describe this ride. We continued on to find The Hulk roller coaster. Although it looked like fun, I decided to sit it out. You see, Mom, The Captain and I had decided to enjoy a second butter beer because we knew it wasn’t available anywhere else. I guess we’ll be able to get some in Los Angeles when Universal opens TWWoHP there but we only get to that area every other year or so. One way or another, we justified a second frozen butter beer. A little bit of enabling may have taken place… hey, they’re really yummy!! By the way, I ordered Pumpkin Juice at lunch. Although tasty, kind of like a juice-thin liquid pumpkin pie, it didn't hold a candle to butter beer.


Most of the storefronts in Hogsmeade are dummies but we did get to go into Honeydukes and Zonkos. There were Cauldron Cakes, Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, Licorice Wands and Peppermint Chocolate Frogs. The Boy brought home a Headwig plush toy whose head moves in circles. I was intent on buying him a Griffindor Robe... that is until I saw the price tag. $120. Really??? I would have paid half that happily but -- REALLY??? When we left for the park that morning, The Boy just new he was going to choose either the Elder Wand or Voldemort's Wand as his souvenir. He ended up with a wand that belonged to no one in the books but was instead based on his birthdate. Very cool.   

We’re off to dinner at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Day 11 – NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC)
First off, dinner last night at the Yacht Club was great except for Mom’s and my desserts. We had cheesecake and it just wasn’t good – at all. One bite was all it took. The waiter offered to bring us something else but we passed. Otherwise, great and fun to see yet another beautiful Disney Resort Hotel.

This morning it was The Captain’s turn to stay home with a fever and aching belly so he missed KSC. He would have loved it too. We just didn’t dare put it off another day. He’ll have something to look forward to the next time we come to Orlando.

If you haven’t been to KSC, it is very well worth the time and money ($45/adult). We spent an additional $40 or so to have lunch with Astronaut Roger Crouch who was funny and engaging. Even The Boy was interested and I was certain he’d be bored to tears. The buffet lunch offered the best veggies we’ve had since we arrived in Florida along with grilled chicken, fish, and raviolis; oh, and the first cloth table linens we’d seen for a while. (Okay, we’ve had cloth napkins but no tablecloths.) This lunch beat the heck out of the $7 hot dog they were offering at the fast food counter, which was the only other option at the main complex. Included in the price of admission is a two-hour (or more depending on how long you like to hang out) tour of a tower overlooking the launch sites and a museum. The museum stop had everything from original astronauts’ suits, moon rocks, equipment, and memorials, as well as the rockets themselves – some suspended from the ceiling. It is open from 9 to 6 and we arrived closer to 10:00. We spent about six hours there and could have spent more time – would have spent more time had we not been anxious to get back to The Captain. We skimmed over or skipped several things we’d have liked to do but there just wasn’t time. A second day would have been warranted.

We spent that evening at Downtown Disney where we enjoyed Disney Quest, a five-story arcade – no quarters needed after paying the $44 entrance fee. Our tickets included Disney Quest and the water parks, as well as a round of golf, which we never even considered because there wasn't time. I left early with my parents because I thought it was my turn to have tummy issues. The Captain and The Boy played for a bit then went to see The Avengers.

While sitting in the room NOT having tummy troubles (apparently I was just hungry), I was listening to the rain getting heavier and the thunder getting louder and closer to the lightening strikes. We were in the middle of the most significant electrical storm since we’d arrived in Florida. And my boys were not safe and sound with me at the hotel. Later The Captain said at first he thought the thunder was noise from a neighboring movie but soon realized that wasn’t the case. The sky was alight for a good two hours. When The Captain and The Boy left the theater, the storm had subsided but left tree limbs strewn about their path. The next morning’s news reported more than 20,000 lightening strikes.

Day 12 – Animal Kingdom and Packing
This morning we had our last of five character breakfasts at the Ohana Restaurant at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. The food was served family-style and we loved the scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage (mmm), potatoes, biscuits, sweet breads, Mickey waffles, and passion-orange-guava juice (or was it papaya). Anyway, we all enjoyed it and since we had a 10:30 reservation, we didn’t eat again until dinner… okay, we had an ice cream about 2:00.


The Captain and The Boy in matching Mickey Aloha shirts
on our way to Animal Kingdom via Disney shuttle
After breakfast we were off to Animal Kingdom since we were rained out the last time. Today was hot. No rain. Not even any clouds. Nope, not one cloud to shade our sweaty, little bodies. Finally we were able to go on Expedition Everest, which we’d been looking forward to for months after watching a Netflix program about WDW. Unfortunately, we were all a little disappointed. After the Dragon Challenge at Universal, Expedition Everest was left wanting. The line for Kali River Rapids (water ride) was too long to interest us and I really didn’t want to soak my shoes through again – this time by choice – and they wouldn’t let me ride without them.


The stage production of Finding Nemo is well worth waiting for. It was so hot out that the air conditioning was very welcome and would have been worth it even if the show wasn't great... which it was so go see it!

Back at the room, packing our suitcases went much more quickly than I expected considering the number of items we were taking back. However, I had the foresight to pack a smaller suitcase into a large one on the way out knowing that we might fill them all on our return. It was brilliant (if I do say so myself) and we even had room for several of my parents’ extra items.

Time to sign off now. It’s almost midnight and we have to be up and at  ‘em at 05:45. Not really sure why I feel the need to sign off; I never sleep the night before traveling. Oh well, one has to try! Nightie night.

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