Hello! I am home! And I am sorry for ever complaining that Florida was cold, because it was a million times colder and snowing when we got to the airport in Buffalo (it is almost half the price to fly from Buffalo to Florida than it is to fly from Toronto).
I only blogged once from Florida as we didn’t have the internet in my parents condo and blogging is kind of time consuming for me, so I didn’t want to spend a lot of time holed up in Starbucks. I wanted to be out enjoying the sunshine, because I am very happy to report that it warmed up a couple of days after we were there. It warmed up so much that Evan and I both got sunburnt. I am also happy to report that we stopped eating so crappily and actually checked out some decent restaurants. More on that later though, because it’s Universal time!
Thursday morning Evan and I made the drive from Bradenton to Orlando to hit up Universal Studios.
We chose to go on Thursday because we thought it would be a lot less busy than the weekend. This was a false assumption, and I just have one piece of advice for anyone planning on going to Universal. Do not go while the children of Florida are on spring break. This was a big mistake. It is insanely busy and frustrating, because you will pay a lot of money to spend your entire day in line. You may spend two hours waiting to get into the park, as we did. That lineup took forever and I was getting pretty antsy in my pantsy.
The lineup for Spiderman was over three hours long!
I don’t care how cool Spiderman is, no thank you. The only attraction I would wait that long for is Harry Potter, since that was really why I wanted to go to Universal in the first place.
We figured that the lineup for Harry Potter would also be quite long, so we headed straight for that area as soon as we got into the park.
But then we were shafted. The Harry Potter area was so busy you had to sign up in advance for a time to visit. The earliest time we were able to choose was 3:50pm, and we originally tried to get in at noon. What in the name of Dumbledore’s magnificent beard is up with that? I really feel like everyone and their mother and their sisters and their brothers and their uncle and their dog’s babysitter was at Universal on this day. Walking through the park was literally like walking through a mosh pit.
Anyway, we occupied ourselves for the nearly four hours we had to wait until Harry Potter time by wandering around the park. We didn’t really do a lot during this time, since the lineups for everything were so incredibly long. We only went on Twister and Shrek, as they are now the old rides that children are too cool for and therefore had short lineups.
But at least it was a gorgeous day, and even just walking around was fun.
Just ask Evan.
Epitome of fun right there.
And eating sure was a good time.
Ohhh yes funnel cake. Yes yes yes. I must get one of these every time I go to a theme park. Evan and I annihilated this baby and it was gone in minutes. We were also looking around for something for lunch/snack and eventually decided on pizza (I know, more pizza), but you couldn’t just get a slice. You had to order an entire pizza. I probably could have handled it, but I wasn’t crazy hungry yet so I just split it with Evan.
We walked through the Jurassic Park area, which looked pretty cool…
But again, super long lines over there, so wandering around was all we did.
And finally it was time for Harry Potter.
I had heard so much about it and was really looking forward to checking it out. The first thing I did when we got into the Harry Potter area was line up for Butterbeer. Everyone had recommended the frozen Butterbeer to me, so that was what I had my eye on. A short 30 minute wait later and I had that deliciousness in my clutches.
Well worth it, it was delicious.
It would have been nice to get a picture of Hogsmeade without 8 million strangers in it, but what can ya do. It also would have been awesome to go into Ollivander’s wand shop, but the lineup for that was 40 minutes so…no.
The lineup for the Hogwarts ride was two and a half hours but there was no way I wasn’t going on it. So we took our frozen Butterbeer and lined on up. At least we had refreshments. And the line wrapped around the castle and it was cool to look at.
Half of the lineup was even inside the castle, and once I was inside I actually felt like I was at Hogwarts.
They did a very good job. It was extremely detailed and I thoroughly enjoyed looking around.
The ride itself was probably the coolest thing I have ever been on ever. Outside the castle there is a small roller coaster going around, so that’s all I thought it was. But ohh no no. You are strapped into a chairlift type seat and it takes you through all of these experiences from Harry Potter, including the dementors, dragons, quiddich, spiders, the whomping willow, etc. It was amazing. I can’t imagine them doing a better job and I loved it so much I would have ridden it a million times had the line not been so long. Best ride ever. Even if you don’t like Harry Potter (which, if you don’t, we probably can’t be friends anymore), you would love it. It was funny and thrilling and scary all at the same time.
Afterwards Evan and I headed into the village to wander around and check out the shops, and the Hogwarts Express.
Honeydukes, the sweet shop, was my favourite, but it was so jam-packed in there I could barely raise my arm to take a picture. I did grab a chocolate frog and some Bertie Botts every flavour beans though, so I was a happy girl.
We ended up eating dinner at the Three Broomsticks.
It was delicious, and actually decently priced for a theme park. I got the shepherd’s pie and a salad, and Evan got the quarter chicken which came with corn on the cob and potatoes.
I was happy to find actual real food there, and not just pizza. We both got Hog’s Head beer also, which was also delicious.
I wished the Harry Potter area was a bit bigger and not quite as busy, but overall I really enjoyed it. I would recommend going, just not on spring break!
After our adventures in the land of Harry Potter, Evan and I headed to Paula‘s house so I could finally meet my long lost best friend!
We liked each other quite a lot.
We had a REALLY fun night, and I’ll post a recap of those shenanigans tomorrow, but in the meantime you can read Paula’s here.