I'm in a Sunshine State of Mind (updated 20th Nov!)

Velvetia

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jun 16, 2012
Hi all!

Here's a little pre-trip report here before we head to Florida next week (woo - hoo, I have waited sooo long until I can say that, can I just say it again...we head to Florida next week!).

The travellers are myself, my Mum (Granny) and my two sons (DS10 and DS8). We are from Scotland and we're all massive Disney and Universal fans.

We've been to Florida once before, all together, in 2011, and loved it of course. This time we're really looking forward to seeing the new Fantasyland and Diagon Alley - neither of which were there last time we visited. This is also our first encounter with pre-booking FastPasses and using Magic Bands...it's a Whole New World...(yes I sang that in my head when I wrote that!).

We have also been to Disneyland twice in 2012 and 2013 - there is an unfinished trip report about our 2012 California trip here:

http://www.disboards.com/threads/to-a-place-perhaps-you-have-seen-in-your-dreams-updated-05-19.2943416/page-4#post-48441004

I solemnly swear I am going to start and finish this Sunshine State trip report when we return, as I've really enjoyed reading other trip reports on here and have got some great information and tips from them...it's good to share, so I will finish this one, promise!

I'm the uber organiser of the clan, and I have got loads of stuff planned for our Sunshine State days.

Here's some of the things we've got planned:

Harry Potter land - an absolute must! We are all Potter fans, we have been having Harry Potter Sundays for the past few months, watching the movies in order...we're going to be watching the very last one this coming weekend.

Jurassic Park Land - very important for palaentologist-to-be DS10, he has always loved everything dinosaur. He would probably just live here if he could. See also TRex Cafe!


Vinylmations - DS8 discovered these in Disneyland and is keen to get trading and adding to his collection.

Typhoon Lagoon - both DSs are really looking forward to swimming with sharks! Boys, eh? ;) Not my idea of fun, but there you go...What's my idea of fun? Well...

Cinderella's Royal Table - I am really looking forward to this, we've got a breakfast reservation! Yes, I booked it 6 months ago! As it's for my birthday I get to indulge my girly side! I don't often get to do that with 2 boys!

Grand Floridian - no we aren't staying here...but DS10 and DS8 are going to attend an Unbirthday Tea with the Mad Hatter, we all love Alice in Wonderland too...you might be able to tell that from this picture of us in our Halloween costumes at Mickey's Halloween party at Disneyland:

http://www.disboards.com/threads/mhp-2013-check-in-thread-join-us-here.3139112/page-13#post-49898078

The Mad Hatter only has tea with kids :( so Granny and I will be having afternoon tea at the Garden View at the hotel at the same time. I love afternoon tea, I am really looking forward to pretending to be la-de-dah, will be holding my pinkie out, while I hold my tea cup...

So, I hope you'll read along, and stop by to say hi...did I mention we go next week..."excited eek"!
 
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Velvetia

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jun 16, 2012
Chapter Headings

Wed 8 July - Travel Day 1: http://www.disboards.com/threads/im-in-a-sunshine-state-of-mind-updated-6th-august.3423868/#post-54187264

Thurs 9 July - Travel Day 2: http://www.disboards.com/threads/im-in-a-sunshine-state-of-mind-updated-6th-august.3423868/#post-54187264

Fri 10 July - Hogwarts here we come!: http://www.disboards.com/threads/im-in-a-sunshine-state-of-mind-updated-21st-sept.3423868/#post-54422546

Fri 10 July - Hogwarts here we come! part 2: http://www.disboards.com/threads/im-in-a-sunshine-state-of-mind-updated-17th-sept.3423868/#post-54430280

Fri 10 July - Hogwarts here we come! part 3: http://www.disboards.com/threads/im-in-a-sunshine-state-of-mind-updated-17th-sept.3423868/page-2#post-54435763

Fri 10 July - It's a Brand New Era: http://www.disboards.com/threads/im-in-a-sunshine-state-of-mind-updated-21st-sept.3423868/page-2#post-54456087

Fri 10 July - Last Chapter of a busy day: http://www.disboards.com/threads/im-in-a-sunshine-state-of-mind-updated-24th-sept.3423868/page-2#post-54459131

Sat 11 July - More Universal Adventures: http://www.disboards.com/threads/im-in-a-sunshine-state-of-mind-updated-24th-sept.3423868/page-2#post-54459518


Sat 11 July - More Universal Adventures (continued): http://www.disboards.com/threads/im-in-a-sunshine-state-of-mind-updated-24th-sept.3423868/page-2#post-54476626


Sat 11 July - Bubba's and Luau: http://www.disboards.com/threads/im-in-a-sunshine-state-of-mind-updated-29th-sept.3423868/page-2#post-54495394

Sun 12 July - Our Last Morning at Universal: http://www.disboards.com/threads/im-in-a-sunshine-state-of-mind-updated-29th-sept.3423868/page-3#post-54499890

Sun 12 July - Disney Time! http://www.disboards.com/threads/im-in-a-sunshine-state-of-mind-updated-29th-sept.3423868/page-3#post-54500172

Mon 13 July - Magic Kingdom : http://www.disboards.com/threads/im-in-a-sunshine-state-of-mind-updated-30th-sept.3423868/page-3#post-54505894

Mon 13 July - Downtown Disney: http://www.disboards.com/threads/im-in-a-sunshine-state-of-mind-updated-30th-sept.3423868/page-3#post-54511462

Tue 14 July - Ready, Steady, Jedi! : http://www.disboards.com/threads/im-in-a-sunshine-state-of-mind-updated-1st-oct.3423868/page-3#post-54511824

Tue 14 July - Dancing and Dinner: http://www.disboards.com/threads/im-in-a-sunshine-state-of-mind-updated-1st-oct.3423868/page-3#post-54511832

Wed 15 July - Gators!: http://www.disboards.com/threads/im-in-a-sunshine-state-of-mind-updated-6th-oct.3423868/page-3#post-54537781

Wed 15 July - Apricot!: http://www.disboards.com/threads/im-in-a-sunshine-state-of-mind-updated-6th-oct.3423868/page-3#post-54602974

Thur 16 July - Time for Tea!: http://www.disboards.com/threads/im-in-a-sunshine-state-of-mind-updated-19th-oct.3423868/page-4#post-54608604

Thur 16 July - Nobody's Perfect: http://www.disboards.com/threads/im-in-a-sunshine-state-of-mind-updated-20th-oct.3423868/page-4#post-54609026

Fri 17 July - Animal Kingdom: http://www.disboards.com/threads/im-in-a-sunshine-state-of-mind-updated-4th-nov.3423868/page-4#post-54658333

Fri 17 July - More Animals!: http://www.disboards.com/threads/im-in-a-sunshine-state-of-mind-updated-4th-nov.3423868/page-4#post-54680561

Fri 17 July - Horror in Hollywood! http://www.disboards.com/threads/im-in-a-sunshine-state-of-mind-updated-4th-nov.3423868/page-4#post-54680771

Sat 18 July - Swimming With Sharks! http://www.disboards.com/threads/im-in-a-sunshine-state-of-mind-updated-4th-nov.3423868/page-4#post-54758831
 
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  • Velvetia

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2012
    We're back from our wonderful Florida trip!

    We had three nights at Universal, at the Royal Pacific and 10 nights at Disney at the Port Orleans French Quarter. It was a fabulous holiday and we packed in loads of stuff: fantastic meals, brilliant character meets, rides we'd never tried before, and gators! - I've got over 1000 photos (wow!) including the Universal Photoconnect and Disney's Photopass...as soon as I sort them out, I'll get on with the trip report properly!

    Some of our highlights:

    1900 Park Fare/ Teppan Edo/ TRex Cafe/ Trader Sam's/ Luau at the Royal Pacific/ Diagon Alley/ Be Our Guest/ Airboat Gator Spotting/ Amphicars...and so much more...

    I will be back with Chapter One soon...
     
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    Velvetia

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2012
    :wave: Hi Tony - I've really enjoyed your trip reports, so great to have you along - I'm still fighting/ playing with Photobucket and Photopass but I will start the trippie 'real soon...'
     

    Tony Bush

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 25, 2001
    Took me a while to master it - its simple once you get the hang of it !!!!!
    looking forward to reading - I love a good trippie ! :)
     
  • Velvetia

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2012
    Wednesday 8 July 2015 - Travel Day 1

    Me, Granny, DS10 (C) and DS8 (J) were all packed and ready to go...

    Are you following along?

    :D Here we go...

    We travelled by train from Edinburgh to Gatwick Airport to spend the night before our flight at The Premier Inn, North Terminal. C loves the colour purple and so by extension loves Premier Inns – which are purple as far as the eye can see. We’ve stayed in this hotel before – it’s huge and basic but clean and pleasant with great, friendly staff and it’s very convenient for flying out of Gatwick…

    I checked in for our flights online whilst on the train (did I mention I am uber-organised, it drives most of my friends mad…) and we did the ‘Twilight Check In ‘ with Virgin. Turns outs it’s not vampires and werewolves checking you in at the Virgin desk…mildly disappointed (#teamJacob), it just means you can drop your bags in the night before…

    The (mortal, human) Virgin staff checked our luggage in very quickly and gave us our boarding cards. Woo hoo! – we’re all ready for our flight tomorrow!

    Some friends came to meet us for dinner that night at the Purpley Premier Inn Restaurant and it was nice to catch up with them - the food was great but the service a little slow, meaning C&J had quite a late night, as I had promised that they could watch some TV before going to sleep. They think it is the coolest thing in the world that hotel rooms have a TV that you can watch from your bed!

    We’re quite basic with tech at home, we have just 1 TV in the living room and 1 laptop and 1 tablet that we all share, and C&J have limited ‘computer time’. Yep, strict-no-fun-mummy! :( I am fun, I promise, but I just know there’ll be plenty of years in the future when C&J don’t talk to me (it’s not long til those grumpy teenage years!) so I cherish the current times that we take time to talk to each other until those days when they'll be playing computer games on their own phones or watching tv endlessly in their room...

    Holidays are a different time however, so lounging on the beds watching TV is in. (see also ice cream for breakfast and candy whenever you want!).

    (sorry there’s no photos of this day at all – there are plenty coming up!)
     

    Velvetia

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2012
    Thursday 9 July 2015 - Travel Day 2

    We all slept well and were up bright and early to enjoy the Premier Inn buffet breakfast, which is really good apart from the coffee which is dreadful. Urgh! :crazy2:

    :tigger:J loves a buffet.. he bounces around the room like Tigger whenever we’re at a buffet, making frequent visits to the buffet and coming back with random things (“here’s a Marmite for you, mummy”…" thank you, J, that’ll go nicely with my Muesli “ – :confused3)

    So, tummies full and bags on back (we all had carry on rucksacks) we left the Purple Palace of Premier Inn and hopped on the monorail thing to South Terminal…

    We headed to The No.1 Lounge at the South Terminal which was really lovely, I’d recommend it. At the time I booked it they were doing a discount for Virgin Atlantic Flying Club members, so it cost £20 per adult and you collect Virgin airmiles too:

    http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/gb/en/flying-club/flying-club-partners/local-partners/no1traveller.html

    I think it was well worth it, not only do you zoom through security with access to the Premium Security Lane, the lounge was a lovely environment to relax in whilst we waiting for our flight.








    For the price you also get drinks from the bar and a hot meal from the menu and free newspapers and magazines to take away with you and fast wifi/ computers stations. I thought it was well worth the money and I’d definitely book again.

    We got a table right by the huge windows with a perfect view of the runway…it was amazing to see the frequency of flights arriving and departing. Really makes you appreciate how hard the air traffic controllers work!



    We had some coffees and juices (just a little too early for booze!) and some food from the good selection at the buffet:








    Soon it was our departure time and we made our way to the gate to board our plane “Barbarella”..(“Ba – Ba – Barella”:cool1: ) – I had to explain to C & J about the 60s comic/ movie. I love this movie and this would be the first of a long list of ‘we must watch that movie when we get home’ promises that we made to each other…maybe I’ll count them as we go along the trippie…but there’s enough to watch to keep us going for a good load of movie nights! ;)… I love that my kids are old enough to watch stuff I like now, and I am so thankful that I never to sit through Thomas and the Magic Railroad ever again!! :rolleyes: ha ha!


    Barbarella zoomed up into the air (“Barbarella, Rise and Shine”) and we were off! I was so excited. We all cued up our lists of stuff to watch on VERA – the fantastic Virgin in flight entertainment system. You can watch anything from the huge library, any time you want…

    Now, my friends and I have long since shared five word movie reviews with each other…I don’t know how that evolved but it is kinda silly and useful at the same time…so…I’m going to keep that going here for you, my DISboards friends.

    Here’s my reviews for my inflight movie choices:

    Kingsman – cooler than Bond, stylishly executed

    Gone Girl – twisty, went on a bit

    What We Do In The Shadows – vamps house share – hilarious comedy

    The on board food was really good and our Premium seats were really comfy. Being a shortie I love having a footrest so my legs don’t dangle!





    We all really enjoyed the flight, there was only a tiny bit of turbulence.


    The flight didn’t even seem like if dragged…Soon we were Orlanding! (ha ha – see what I did there!?) :rotfl2:

    (continued in next post)
     
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    chocolateMinnie

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 1, 2008
    great start and lovely photos. The lounge looks nice - we have only tried the Vroom before. Looking forward to more :)
     

    Velvetia

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2012
    Hi chocolateMinnie ! Thanks for reading along...the lounge was lovely...I've never tried the Vroom, maybe I'll have to try that next time...
     
  • Velvetia

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2012
    Thursday 9 July 2015 - Travel Day 2 continued

    We were off and through security very quickly but had to wait a fair while at the luggage carousel – Granny and C & J’s bags came off really quickly all together and yet my case was nowhere to be seen.

    I wasn’t panicking, but enough time passed that I had done that working out “in the event of lost luggage” scenario in my head… (my internal dialogue: “ okay, I could keep going for 4 days with the clothes I’ve got in my carry on ruck sack…I’ve got my PJs and my toothbrush and make up…it’s not the end of the world if I don’t wear my Hogwarts T shirt at Diagon Alley…”).

    Maybe 30 mins after the rest of the bags, my bright pink case decided to make its appearance…on a different luggage carousel completely…ah well at least it was here now…
    We joined the queue for the last bit of customs, which was maybe 10 minutes and then wandered the airport for another 20 minutes of so trying unsuccessfully to find our driver…but we did eventually. He was (where we had arranged) by the Virgin luggage carousel, we just couldn’t find it! At the time we were all a little grumpy but looking back it really hadn’t taken us all that long to get to our transport, but it was very frustrating at the time!


    I’d booked Orlando Transfer – they took us on a few trips during this holiday and I would heartily recommend them, they were great…really professional and friendly and great vehicles and driving.

    Sergio our driver loaded us in and it wasn’t long before we were pulling up here:


    The Royal Pacific Hotel. Wow oh wow! This place is gorgeous! Such a beautiful hotel!

    You cross a bridge from where the cars drop off:










    The foyer and courtyard are gorgeous:





    Check in was really fast and we got our Express Front of Line passes issued from the machines just by the concierge without any problems.

    Time to check out our room – we were on the 6th floor of Tower 1 (I can’t remember the exact room no. – I’m not very good with numbers…)

    The room was beautiful:







    The shower was my dream shower:

    I LOVED this hotel!
     

    Tony Bush

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 25, 2001
    The usual travellers panic over a missing suitcase !!! MY DW always does our packing and makes sure that she distributes clothes across all cases, meaning that each case contains some of everyone's clothes so if 1 goes missing you haven't lost everything ! The hotel looks lovely ! Fab room. - what was the dream shower like ?
     

    Velvetia

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2012
    Thursday 9 July 2015 - Travel Day 2 continued

    So, I'm back, sorry for the delayed update - life got busy during August but I'm back now, to make good on my unbreakable vow that I'll finish this trippie...

    I'm going to start with even more enthusing about the Royal Pacific and in particular the shower in our room!

    I LOVED this hotel! I love TIKI style, and this hotel was styled in a TIKI style just beautifully!

    The shower...ah it was gorgeous – for a start it was HUGE, probably bigger than my entire (small) bathroom at home – and the water jet was really powerful. The shampoo was coconut too, so close your eyes it was like being in a tropical paradise...like those Bounty adverts in the 90s!




    The area just outside the shower and loo:



    We did a very quick unpack, as C and J were desperate to try out the pool. They got their trunks on and we headed to the pool area - it was really great.

    It’s a quite big pool but really cleverly designed so that it seems quite intimate. I was impressed that there's loads of life guards around doing a great job. There’s a beach area and a boat play area complete with loads of water cannons!:




    We hung out here every afternoon during the time we were here. It was a great place to spend to hot afternoons, and the DJ was good fun and the pool side service was great!

    We found a poolside table all ordered food and drinks from the Bula Bar and Grille. The food and the service were great, the servers were so friendly and they gave me a menu as a souvenir.

    We all relaxed – hooray, we were on holiday! But boo, we were TTFC (Too Tired For Cocktails) – don’t worry we’ll make up for it later on in the holiday! So soft drinks and yummy food… go!

    Granny had a pulled pork slider:




    I had the fish tacos:



    The kids had cheeseburgers and milkshakes.

    We loved the families of ducks and little ducklings wandering around – they went into the pool too. So cute!

    After our swim and our dinner we headed to the hotel shop to get some cereal and milk for breakfast, steered J away from spending all his souvenir money in one go, in the hotel shop, and then went back to our gorgeous room for a lovely night’s sleep! Such comfy beds and pillows! I love this hotel!
     
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    Velvetia

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2012
    Friday 10 July 2015 - Hogwarts Here We Come!


    We got up and had a quick breakfast in our room – we had a date with Diagon Alley, so no messing about with a leisurely breakfast!!

    We all donned our Hogwarts tshirts (hey, we’re tacky tourists…why not…we revel in our ridiculousness!) and piling on a little more ridiculousness, C and J donned their Hogwarts robes and Gryffindor Scarves!

    We walked to Universal Studios along the waterside path – it’s less than 10 minutes walk and really pretty. You go through a bag check security just before you come out on to Citiwalk (which is just along from Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville).

    At the gates to Universal Studios there were maybe 10 or so people in front of us waiting for opening. I dashed over to the Will Call booths to collect our PhotoExpress pass, this was on the recommendation of the Universal staff member who’d said that the Will Call booths got really busy later on, and he was right, they were really queued up when we left later. Good call Uni queue guy!

    We were all really excited! We only lined up for around another 5 minutes and then we were in! I thought we’d be held in the park somewhere, but no, we walked straight through to Diagon Alley.

    On the way we passed the Minions ride, promising we’d come back to ride it later on, and the Transformers ride, ditto. I really love the layout of Universal Studios, walking along the wharf bit is great and I loved the Rat Pack swing type music that they played in that area.
    And then…wow we entered London!

    It’s Incredible, it is so true to life! We’d only been at the real King’s Cross station two days before…








    The Knight Bus is parked up looking brilliant, straight out of the movie, right by the Eros statue from Piccadilly Circus. We entered Diagon Alley to the sounds of the red bricks moving to allow us in…

    Wow wow wow! Words cannot describe just how amazing Diagon Alley is. I’m not ashamed to admit, I welled up! Wow! The wizarding folk – gently – ushered us up around the Market bit to get to the top of Diagon Alley and Gringotts, you can’t walk right up Diagon Alley at this early entry time. Didn’t matter – we were all completely awe struck! There is so much to see and it is so true to the books! We came through the Market (which reminds me a bit of Covent Garden in London, with the Victorian glass roof) and up to the lockers to stash our bags and then straight into Gringotts and straight through the queue – it was a walk on! Well a slow-as-we-could-without-annoying-the-people-behind-us, slack jawed walk on as we were all stunned by Gringotts itself!

    Wow! EXACTLY the same as the film! EXACTLY! Goblins! Mahoosive Chandeliers! Marble Columns! It was just amazing!

    Along a corridor, and into Bill Weasley's office (incredible) then into a lift to go down down down into the depths of Gringotts, then up some spiral stairs and we boarded our ride vehicle straight away.

    So…we thought the queue to get on the ride was good…the ride itself was FANTASTIC. WOW! Just amazing, blew me away how good it was. Best. Ride. Ever. I don’t think this is too much of a spoiler…but Voldemort and Bellatrix try to stop you escaping from Gringotts. I am in awe of the technology that enabled them to be really there in person...Voldemort was looking straight at me as he uttered a curse (eek!) …I love Bellatrix, it was good to catch up with her ! There’s definitely an affinity with the dark side in our family!

    Our ride came to an end, we exited and went straight back on for another ride! Of course! We had a photo on the way in this time, which is part of the PhotoExpress thing that Universal do:




    After our second ride, we retrieved our bags, not easy, it’s a really cramped and user unfriendly locker room ( >:( not so well designed )

    We wandered a little way along the alley and right there in front of us was Ollivander’s Wand Shop with absolutely no queue. Well, little wizards gotta have wands…and no queue at all – wow, I was expecting this place to have a queue around the block from what I’d read.

    So, of course, we went wand shopping…an assistant led us to a heavy wooden door and opened it for us...we entered Ollivander's and the Wizard shopkeeper was there waiting for us. There was only us and one other family of 4 in the shop, and the heavy wooden door was closed behind us. The Wizard wandered up to us as soon as we came in, I though he was going to ask us to move over to the side of the shop, but instead he started chatting to C, totally in character:

    Wizard: So, are you here for a wand?

    C (taking it very seriously): Yes, I am.

    Wizard: Well, the wand chooses the wizard you know, come with me and we’ll see whether there might be something here for you.

    My lovely eldest son, at 10 and a half years old, is on the brink of teenagehood but sometimes he is still just like a little boy. At these times, he has this look of awe and wonderment and absolute happiness that come onto his face. This was one of those times…he was led forward and I’ll admit…I welled up! :hug:


    The wizard scanned the shelves and chose a box, he unpacked the wand therein and handed it to C to try, he had to hold it and say some spells, to try it out. Uh-oh this definitely wasn’t the wand for him…disasters all around the shop! :oops:

    Wizard: No, no, definitely not that one!

    The wizard took that one off him as soon as he could!

    Wizard (looking intently at C and tapping his chin): hmmm, I wonder…

    As he removed another box from one of the hundreds of shelves and took out the wand, he said:

    Wizard: this one is rather a rare specimen, it has a phoenix feather at its core and is made of Elder. Some say an Elder wand is bad luck, it is very very powerful, it must be used carefully and responsibly…

    C (nodding and still taking it very seriously, in awe - an Elder Wand!): Thank you.

    And as C took this wand from the Wizard – ta-dah! – a magical beam of light, the Harry Potter theme music played... it was clear the wand and the student wizard were a match!: pixiedust:




    We thanked the Wizard and were shown out by his assistant. C was extremely excited! An Elder Wand had chosen him!



    We were shown through to the actual wand shop. I asked J at this point if he wanted to go back through to the entrance and do the show again, as it was still so quiet, I thought there might be a chance that he would get picked, but he said very seriously:

    J: No, I felt attracted to this shelf over here, I think there is a wand that is choosing me over here...

    And sure enough a wand chose him (!) that he was very very happy with, so we paid for our wands and left Ollivanders on a real high! Magic was in the air! My boys both warmed my heart! :love2:

    We all just loved this experience at Ollivanders. It was really special of course as C was chosen, but I think the whole scenery of the shop and the Wizard being so totally in character and setting the scene so well was just fabulous! :goodvibes
     
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    Mrs Doubtfire

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2006
    Love your style of writing it is so descriptive and enthusiastic. We too stayed at RPR but I would have just said " nice room with purple flowers on the wall" - well you get what I mean!

    Hope you get to finish it :goodvibes
     

    Velvetia

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2012
    Love your style of writing it is so descriptive and enthusiastic. We too stayed at RPR but I would have just said " nice room with purple flowers on the wall" - well you get what I mean!

    Hope you get to finish it :goodvibes
    Hi Mrs Doubtfire! - thanks for your lovely comment! - I'm going to try my darndest to get it finished...there's another update coming up...
     

    Velvetia

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2012
    Friday 10 July - Hogwarts Here We Come! part 2

    So, what to do now…well, we went for our second breakfast – ice cream from Florian Fortescue’s. Well you gotta have ice-cream for breakfast on your first day of your holidays!

    We shared a cup of Butterbeer ice cream and a cup of one scoop of Peanut Butter and Jam and one scoop of Earl Grey ice cream.

    All were really really yummy – personally I prefer the hard scoop consistency, and the Butterbeer is soft like Mr Whippy ice cream, but it was still really yummy.





    I guess not everyone has ice cream for breakfast on their Summer Holidays as we had the place to ourselves! (You’re missing out though... ice cream for breakfast rules! ;))

    We enjoyed our ice creams as we wandered around Diagon Alley soaking up the Wizardy atmosphere. It wasn’t long before that dragon made herself known! It’s really hot when she breathes fire!



    I could have stayed here all day, it is so wonderfully detailed:









    These are the signs for the bathrooms!:





    C and J broke out their interactive wands and cast some spells around the area. This is so cool! I was in awe of the technology that means Diagon Alley really is magic and you can do real spells with your wands!

    You are given a map with your wand showing where the spells can be cast. They worked beautifully, once we’d worked out that you look for a brass metal disc sign in the floor which tells you how to move the wand and the spell to chant.

    I loved the Umbrella spell and the Blacksmiths spell.






    There are wizarding folk on hand to give a bit of advice on how to cast the spells:



    We were all very excited to find Knockturn Alley…




    Wow this place is creepy in a very good way – it’s so dark in there (it’s also beautifully cool on those hot Floridian days)!

    We went into Borgin and Burke. We all loved it here…it’s that old affinity with the dark side! I’m with Tim Burton who says for some people it’s Halloween every day…

    They have some really really cool death eater stuff for sale here that you don’t see anywhere else in Universal. J loved Lucius Malfoy’s cane that has the snake head wand in it, which comes out. It was beautiful. C fell in love with a tshirt with Nagini on it, but we had all agreed we’d come back later in our trip to do our souvenir shopping.

    In Borgin & Burke, they also have, in a case as decoration, the mummified hand, just like it the movie, which moves just when you are least expecting it and scares the living daylights out of you!



    In Knockturn Alley here were also loads of places to do interactive spells with the interactive wands too, so C and J had fun:





    Again I was just astounded by the technology here that makes the magic real. The real magic wands were worth every penny, I think, there are so many spots to do spells, I don’t think we even found half of them in our three days in Universal!

    Next up: we get to ride the Hogwarts Express!
     
    Last edited:

    KProuty

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 20, 1999
    This is a fabulous report! We are staying one night at Royal Pacific so I'd love all of your inside scoops. Plus, it will be our first time for any of the Potter attractions. This is so helpful AND entertaining.
     

    Velvetia

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2012
    This is a fabulous report! We are staying one night at Royal Pacific so I'd love all of your inside scoops. Plus, it will be our first time for any of the Potter attractions. This is so helpful AND entertaining.
    Thank you KProuty! You'll love the Royal Pacific! If you can, email the hotel before you go and request a refurbished room. They don't guarantee it, but it worked for us! And the Potter attractions are just incredible - you will have such a wonderful time. I'm happy to answer any questions you might have at all...
     


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