So I turned 50 this year. Wow. I decided that I had 2 options, I could be completely depressed, or I could embrace it. I decided that a theme park vacation would be fun. My family had just spent a week at WDW at the end of 2015, so I decided a Universal vacation was in order. We have only been to Universal a few times (IOA only once) and it was always as a side trip from WDW. This year we would embrace Universal and leave the mouse for another time. I started planning this trip on July 4, and got lots of great information from these message boards. Let me start with the introductions. I am “T” - age 50, a receptionist in a mental health counseling office, Ravenclaw. Dh is “C” - age 55, college professor, Slytherin. Our daughter is “B” - age 17, high school student, Ravenclaw. Yes, we are all HP geeks. December 15: Travel day - I was beginning to think this would never happen. I week prior to this day i was diagnosed with strep throat. Really? I was joking about acting like a child for my birthday, but I never thought I would get a common childhood illness. Thank goodness for antibiotics. We had to get up early on Friday because B needed to get to school to take her las 2 mid-term exams. Exams were actually scheduled for December 18-20, but all of her teachers agreed to let her take her exams early so we could have this trip. After dropping B off I stopped by the grocery to buy stuff needed for Christmas dinner. I didn’t want to be grocery shopping when we got back. (2 days before Christmas.) I got home, put some laundry in the machine, and then had to get the cat into his carrier to go to the pet sitter. The rest of the morning and afternoon was pretty much a blur. I washed sheets and towels, cleaned the house, finished packing, and I think I ate lunch at some point. Around 3:00 we loaded up the car and headed to the school to pick up B. We headed straight to the airport from the school. Although we live in Virginia, we decided to fly out of Charlotte, NC because the flights were so much cheaper. It is about a 3.5 hour drive for us. Our flight didn’t leave until 10:30, so we had plenty of time. I think we got to the airport around 8:00 or 8:30. It was quite busy, so I am glad we got there early. We eventually boarded only to be told there would be a delay due to problems witht he bathrooms. Do flights ever leave on time? We finally got going, but with only 2 working bathrooms on a full flight. Thankfully the flight was short. It was sometime around 12:30-1:00 in the morning when we arrived in Orlando. We had prepaid for transportation to the hotel. I called the transportation service and they told me they were sending a cab. While we were waiting I happened to notice that one of the prongs on my engagement ring was broken. Not a good thing to discover right before spending a week in a theme park. The cab arrived and took us to the Royal Pacific Resort. It is a beautiful hotel, but we were too tired to appreciate it at the moment. We got checked in and I was given buttons And balloons. At this time it was 2:00 in the morning. We found our room (Tower 1), I put my ring in the room safe, we all changed into pyjamas, and collapsed into bed. Birthday celebration tomorrow.