Today is our one of our down days –  a day to sleep in (we did) and relax – which we did big time! Seriously, I don’t have much to write about. Let’s see, I went to the Activity Center to get a book from their yellow shelf library because I want something to read while laying by the pool.

Jeff went to the workout room while I swam a bit. I went to the pool in the early afternoon because I knew it would be less crowded with families still at the theme parks. It was so relaxing!


We went over to Walmart to pick up wine and more salmon and postcards. If I’m in the U.S. there is no excuse not to be able to figure out the postage. LOL

After dinner we read for a while and then turned in.  We didn’t have a lot planned for today, but that was because we thought we’d have other down days and we may not… Stay tuned!


2015 Adventures                        Back

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.


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And we’ve arrived.

Our flight to Chicago was a little bumpy but otherwise uneventful. The man who sat next to Jeff was fun and interesting to talk with – and we bonded by helping him with his Fitbit and Fitbit app. Hahaha!

We have less than an hour to change plans in O’Hare and are hoping to be able to grab a bite to eat. Of course we pack snacks, but the carrot sticks are almost gone and we’ve put a dent into our bag of peanuts.

When we deplaned we found an arrivals/departure board and discovered that the plane we had just gotten off was the same plane we would take to Orlando – and we have the same seats! How weird is that?
Well, there was no time for food, just a quick bathroom stop and off we went. We definitely needed something to eat so each of us got a hummus and crackers snack on the plane and finished off our carrots with the hummus. Dessert was apples that we brought from home. This flight was a little longer than the first one, but soon we were touching down in Orlando.

Got our rental car and drove about 5 minutes to the Holiday Inn Express at the airport. Actually, it was a little more dramatic than that because we were relying solely on my phone’s GPS for directions and had no connectivity until out of the parking garage and actually driving who knows where. This led to a wee bit of snarling as we struggled to figure out how to sync the stupid phone to the car’s Bluetooth as we drove wherever the road was going. All eventually worked and we were soon on track. We knew the flight was scheduled to arrive late in the evening so made reservations close to the airport. I’m so glad we did because we are tired.

If you’ve read any of my other blogs you’ll remember that we almost always stay at Holiday Inn Express properties. Free breakfast, free wi-fi, and I am a “platinum” member so sometimes the rooms are free! In all of our stays, we’ve never had a room like this one. There was the normal king sized bed and little couch/sitting area –

but, around the corner was a small but full kitchen! Of course, I had to take a photo…

We haven’t bother to unpack because we’re staying just one night and it is 1am. Time for bed!



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Are broomsticks faster than airplanes?

It is 36 degrees and snowing – hard.  Raise your hand if you care.

Jeff and I don’t care! We are driving to DIA (Denver International Airport) to go first to Chicago and then on to Orlando, FL for a week.

For those of you who don’t know,  I am a huge, huge Harry Potter fan. Ummmm…it actually borders on obsession to be honest.

My birthday is next week and what an awesome birthday present from my wonderful husband – 3 day tickets to the “Wizarding Worlds of Harry Potter” theme parks at Universal Studios.  We have been to one of the parks, but a new one opened earlier this year; and the Hogwart’s Express connects the two.
Grab your broomstick and come along!

If you prefer not to come on this adventure with us, please let me know by sending me an email to: and I’ll not send you a link with each new post.  (My feelings won’t be hurt.)


2015 Adventures                                                            And we’ve arrived…