Expecto Patronum!

I have screamed myself hoarse.

We set our alarm clock for 7:15 this morning, and got up, after several snooze button slaps, at 8am. So much for our early start.
A quick breakfast, several minutes fussing with the car’s Bluetooth connection and we were off to Universal.

We have 3-day 2-park passes for Universal Studios and Universal’s Island of Adventure. After a 20 minute drive we park in “Spider-Man 453.” Last night we both downloaded the free Universal app to our phones. This app tells us the wait times for the rides we choose, we can set an alert to tell us stuff like “the wait time for the Simpson ride is 20 minutes” instead of 30 minutes. It also has a “Guide Me” feature to help you find the ride or area you are looking for; shows you where the bathrooms are and provides a screen to record your parking space. It is also a huge battery drain! But useful…

The park entrance was a 20 minute walk from the parking garage which is no big deal unless when you get to the gate you realize that your wallet and hence your photo ID are back in the car (Jeff!). But, being Jeff, he has a photo of his photo ID (driver’s license AND passport) on his phone; but would they be accepted? Yes! In fact, neither of us was asked for an ID. It’s a darn good thing we didn’t walk all the way back to the car.

Before leaving Colorado Jeff had been monitoring the weather forecasts for Orlando. Rain every day – like 60-80% chance every afternoon; we made sure to pack ponchos and umbrellas. Today we have the ponchos in our pack, and, ever the optimist, I also threw in the sunscreen. Darn good thing. The weather was gorgeous! Sunny, hot (and humid, of course). No rain at all! Around 3, some cloud cover appeared and there was a nice breeze. Perfect!

I won’t tell you about all the rides and walking we did or the WONDERFUL Diagon Alley area, the Night bus, seeing Celestina Warbeck perform,

Celestina Warbeck

the displays by the Durmstrang and Beaubaton  students, the Leaky Cauldron, Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes and the Hogshead.

Owl post
Platform 9 3/4
Jane and the Hogwart’s Express









We rode the Hogwart’s Express from Platform 9-3/4 and saw the countryside whiz by the train windows.

I won’t describe the dark and sinister shops down Knockturn Alley, seeing the hand of glory or cursed necklace. You’ll just have to imagine the taste of cold butterbeer and the feel of a Pygmy puff in your hand…

One of the fun things we saw involved interactive wands. You can buy a wand at Olivander’s (you can also buy a Gregorovich wand – but who would?!).

Olivander’s wand shop

The interactive wands come with a map of places where you can “do” magic. For example, on the sidewalk in front of a water fountain there is a small round metal disc showing the wand movement needed for the spell. Children (teens and adults as well!) wave their wands in that motion, and in the case of the water fountain, water comes out of the toads’ mouths. We asked a little girl to do some magic for us so we could fill up our water bottles. She was very proud of her abilities, though I did have to remind her to say the spell, “aquamente.”

The Sorting Hat

Our hummus wraps, apples and carrots were an excellent cooling lunch. We saved the Clif bars for a late afternoon pick-me-up.

Oh, it was the new “Escape from Gringotts” ride that had me screaming. It had great effects and was definitely worth the 45 minute wait to experience. That 45 minutes was the longest wait we had. Jeff had checked for information about park crowds and wait times online and discovered that today is a historically “moderate” day crowd-wise and the rest of the week is “slow.” As there weren’t big crowds today we think we may not see any long lines on our remaining two days.

We got to the park about 9:30 this morning and left at 6pm…tired but happy with our experiences.

Back at the condo we’ve finished some very good rotini with steamed carrots, leftover steamed broccoli and onions in the canned spaghetti sauce. Time to wash off the sunscreen and relax.


2015 Adventures                                    Back                                        Chillin’

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