March '19 Mother Daughter Mini Break - Cabana Bay, Harry Potter Here We Come!

Travelgrrl

Disneybounder
Joined
Mar 30, 2014
The first time I went to the Wizarding World, we handed out Platform 9 3/4's tickets at the Kings Cross and Hogsmeade stations. I found the image in a coffee table book of Harry Potter artifacts, scanned it, laid out about 12 to a sheet, printed them on heavy stock paper, and cut them out. They made a nifty little souvenir (great for scrapbooking!) and people really seemed to like them.

This is what they look like:

Platform ticket.png

If you want to make your own, you'll probably need a version with higher resolution than what's allowed on this site. They're each about 2 inches by 4 inches, printed and cut.
 

Travelgrrl

Disneybounder
Joined
Mar 30, 2014
(I've made a little stack of them for our March trip. They fit easily in the smallest of fanny packs or bags!)
 

Travelgrrl

Disneybounder
Joined
Mar 30, 2014
A smart apple polisher needs a Prefect badge!

Prefect.png


(This is one of the only souvenirs I bought on our last trip. Adorable and screen-perfect!)
 
  • elfling8

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 6, 2013
    I just booked our family trip for April Vacation - looking foward to reading your planning and trip!! I'm a Hufflepuff, DD16 a Ravenclaw, DS14 might just be a Slitherin, and really have no clue about DH LOL We are also staying at Cabana Bay. DH and I went to Universal for our 10th anniversary without kids. Stayed at the Hard Rock and was there for HHN. So much fun. Looking forward to seeing all the new stuff!
     

    Travelgrrl

    Disneybounder
    Joined
    Mar 30, 2014
    No new photos to post, but we got our park tickets in the mail! Woo hoo! Somehow a theme park vacation seems much more real when you've got those tickets in hand!

    I bought ours from Undercover Tourist rather than Universal because they offer hard copy tickets mailed to your home for the same price. I hate to squirrel around with a Will Call window that first day. They recommended making a photocopy or taking a photo of the back of the tickets in case something goes awry. So I did both!

    I'm pretty much packed, though still finding fun little gifties for my daughter, room decorations and snacks to sneak in there. Almost all of the swag I ordered from China has arrived, missing only a Snitch bracelet, a Ravenclaw key ring, a Hogwarts crest pin, and a Spectrespecs necklace!

    The weather has been awful here (Midwest, Illinois) this winter. I mean, truly awful. In the past three weeks we've had heavy snow or freezing rain or bitter cold weather (-31 below zero, never mind the windchill which made it 55 below), or a combination of the three, almost every day. I even managed to snap the handle off my driver's side door last week during a bitter evening. So I am READY for a little bit of sunshine and palm trees!
     

    Travelgrrl

    Disneybounder
    Joined
    Mar 30, 2014
    Goals for our brief trip:

    Ride ET one more time. I rode it in 2009, the first time we went to Universal Florida, but spaced it when we returned in 2017. I'm a bit afraid it'll be gone the next time I'm there!

    Go to Toothsomes for dessert. I originally planned dinner there, but the reviews have been decidedly mixed.

    Go out for a nice dinner at Vivo, or Clownfish, or other Citywalk / Universal

    Catch the Frog Choir, Beauxbatons / Durmstrang show / Celestina Warbeck / Three Brothers puppets. We raced right by these last time because we had fewer days.

    Last time we ate at Three Broomsticks. Maybe the Leaky Cauldron this time?

    The USF night time show and also the Hogwarts Castle lights.

    A voodoo donut from Voodoo Donuts. I want to stab it and see jelly, man!

    Of course, FJ, Gringotts and the Hogwarts Express, multiple times! Never rode the Hippogriff one, so will make sure I do this trip.

    Posing with Jaws. Obligatory.

    Ride old favorites: Spiderman, Mummy, Men in Black, etc.

    The Mardi Gras parades are fun! "Throw me something, Mister!"

    Lazy river at Cabana Beach Resort. I'm looking forward to the resort quite a bit! I dig the retro look and feel, right down to the VO-5 and Zest!


    Things I'll skip:

    The super wet rides. Not unless I wear a swimsuit underneath my clothes, and just visit some afternoon to get wet!

    Fast and Furious. The reviews have been terrible.

    Not into super big roller coasters, so RRR is out.

    The Poseidon show leaves me cold. I also don't love Universal characters (well, maybe the Simpsons) so I'm not too into their character interactions or parades, etc. However, I will say that the laid back atmosphere of character meets at Universal is much more chill than at Disney, so if you DO have an interest in comic book characters or whatnot, you'll likely really enjoy them.
     
  • Travelgrrl

    Disneybounder
    Joined
    Mar 30, 2014
    I almost bought this, but then I bought a Fantastic Beasts dress and a Luna Lovegood dress, and I decided that I really shouldn't spend anymore on themed clothing for myself :tongue: (Plus my Torrid spending was getting out of control anyhow)
    Oh, I'm dying to see the Luna dress!

    There's a student I know who has the loveliest Newt Scamander frock coat and I'm green with envy!
     

    Travelgrrl

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    Joined
    Mar 30, 2014
    10 days until we arrive. Need to make sure I call the hotel and let them know we're arriving LATE. Though it's a regularly scheduled, charter flight, our arrival and return flights couldn't be timed worse. We arrive at Sanford at 11:38 PM (Yikes! Won't get to the hotel until about 1 AM!) and we fly back out at 6:30 AM (Yikes! Have to leave the hotel by about 4 AM!).

    Luckily, we have Tony Hinds and co. picking us up and bringing us back, so I have no worries about that. Last time we used Sunshine State (which we've had no problems with in the past) and had a disagreeable interaction or two with the owner, so never again. I've heard great things about Mr. Hinds and his company, so we're excited!

    It's just that the flight times basically 'rob' us of two partial days of our trip (Sunday and Thursday), leaving us only 3 real touring days in a five day, four night trip. If the Sunday flight was in the AM or even afternoon, we'd have a relaxing start to our trip with a chance to visit a park that evening, and be ready for early entry Monday. Or - if our flight Thursday was in the afternoon or evening, we could squeeze another half day in. Don't ask me how a regularly scheduled charter has the WORST times! (Cheaper landing fees then?) We've got the "Buy 2 days, get 2 extra days" tickets but won't be able to use one of the days, due to this.

    Still: We're happy with what we've got. I plan to take it easy the first day, after our late night arrival, and not try to aim for early entry or arriving at the parks any particular time. We'll just get the lay of the land at the hotel, mosey to the parks a bit, swim, maybe another park jaunt in the evening, and have a nice dinner. But Tuesday morning I'll be snapping my daughter out of bed like the drill Sergeant in Full Metal Jacket!
     

    Spike101

    Affable gay geek
    Joined
    Dec 7, 2018
    10 days until we arrive. Need to make sure I call the hotel and let them know we're arriving LATE. Though it's a regularly scheduled, charter flight, our arrival and return flights couldn't be timed worse. We arrive at Sanford at 11:38 PM (Yikes! Won't get to the hotel until about 1 AM!) and we fly back out at 6:30 AM (Yikes! Have to leave the hotel by about 4 AM!).

    Luckily, we have Tony Hinds and co. picking us up and bringing us back, so I have no worries about that. Last time we used Sunshine State (which we've had no problems with in the past) and had a disagreeable interaction or two with the owner, so never again. I've heard great things about Mr. Hinds and his company, so we're excited!

    It's just that the flight times basically 'rob' us of two partial days of our trip (Sunday and Thursday), leaving us only 3 real touring days in a five day, four night trip. If the Sunday flight was in the AM or even afternoon, we'd have a relaxing start to our trip with a chance to visit a park that evening, and be ready for early entry Monday. Or - if our flight Thursday was in the afternoon or evening, we could squeeze another half day in. Don't ask me how a regularly scheduled charter has the WORST times! (Cheaper landing fees then?) We've got the "Buy 2 days, get 2 extra days" tickets but won't be able to use one of the days, due to this.

    Still: We're happy with what we've got. I plan to take it easy the first day, after our late night arrival, and not try to aim for early entry or arriving at the parks any particular time. We'll just get the lay of the land at the hotel, mosey to the parks a bit, swim, maybe another park jaunt in the evening, and have a nice dinner. But Tuesday morning I'll be snapping my daughter out of bed like the drill Sergeant in Full Metal Jacket!

    Ah now this is good, because I'm doing pretty much the same, I'll have a whole day at the park on Monday, but will be tired and a wee bit jet lagged so in all honesty probably wont do that.

    But Tuesday morning I'll be there first thing and raring to go, pick a place for us to meet and I'll be there!
     
  • Spike101

    Affable gay geek
    Joined
    Dec 7, 2018
    Ah now this is good, because I'm doing pretty much the same, I'll have a whole day at the park on Monday, but will be tired and a wee bit jet lagged so in all honesty probably wont do that.

    But Tuesday morning I'll be there first thing and raring to go, pick a place for us to meet and I'll be there!
    Oh and a time as well, I'm NEVER late!
     

    Travelgrrl

    Disneybounder
    Joined
    Mar 30, 2014
    I called Cabana Bay this morning and let them know we'd be in at O Dark Thirty on Monday morning (for a Sunday reservation) and they promised to hold a room for us. We have a Pool View room booked, and I asked if we could be in building 4 or 5 (based on recommendations from this board), and if we could be at one end or the other, so I could zip down to a smoking spot. I said we'd be even more chuffed if we could be at the lobby end, but would take the opposite building end if it was closer to an area I'm likely to haunt several times a day.

    They were super nice!

    My sister came in Thursday to watch my elderly mother while we're gone, my daughter just landed, and I'm at work about ready to lead Storytime! All packed (have been for a month!) and just a few little errands tomorrow before we leave in the evening Sunday.

    The weather in Orlando will be warm but with thunderstorms Monday (I did pack an umbrella and some cheap ponchos but perhaps might switch those out for slightly larger but better ponchos, and another umbrella)! Tuesday and Wednesday will be 'cold' in FL, with highs in the mid-60's, but that sounds A-OK with me!

    As Mary Poppins says: "Off we go!"
     

    Travelgrrl

    Disneybounder
    Joined
    Mar 30, 2014
    We're back! Apologies for waiting two weeks to finally start posting the trip report, but I guess it was a strain to get back to work and whatnot! Also, I might have needed a fortnight to thaw out. Because baby, it was COLD outside!

    More on our curious Florida weather later. First, we'll turn the clock back to Sunday, March 3rd. I took my first Uber ride with my daughter to our local airport, feeling thoroughly modern (Millie). My older sister had ordered delicious pizza to arrive right before we left to catch our 8 PM flight, and we each managed to wolf down a slice before our pickup. Since you can see who your driver is, in advance, I knew it was a youngish girl so I thought I'd bring her a plate of pizza.

    This is the sort of thing that generally embarrasses my daughter, my extroverted eccentricities and willingness to engage with strangers. Not as much as when she was a teen, of course, but it's still hilarious. So, I brought the pizza and of course the Uber driver was super happy, and later my daughter said: "You were right, she really liked it". :rolleyes1

    It was easy to fly out of our regional airport (rather that Chicago's O'Hare), and the same at Sanford. Tony Hinds was there to pick us up, and even stopped at a Walgreens so I could get some Coke, and my daughter some bottled water and mini bottles of wine. Before we knew it, we had arrived at beautiful Cabana Bay!

    IMG_4893.JPG
     

    Travelgrrl

    Disneybounder
    Joined
    Mar 30, 2014
    I guess I skipped over the whole flight, but suffice to say we got seats next to each other, without having had to pay for them in advance, and I gave my daughter a little Harry Potter makeup bag I got half price after Christmas, filled with HP and travel stuff.

    One of them was this ornament I got 90% off after Christmas - it was really from the movie The Nutcracker, but it sure makes a neat Hedwig ornament! I got one for each of us.

    IMG_4779.jpeg
     

    Travelgrrl

    Disneybounder
    Joined
    Mar 30, 2014
    So we arrived at O Dark Thirty at Cabana Bay, and it was bright and cheery inside!

    IMG_4895.JPG

    There were a few people milling around, even though it was 1 AM. Soon Rick from Cabana Bay was checking us in, and he was jolly as all get out! He showed our room area on a map (Continental Building, 4th floor - right near an elevator bay with a hand ground floor smoking area right at hand. Hooray!) and gave me an extra map for my scrapbook. :-)

    We were soon checked in, and since we had prepaid, only a penny was charged against my card. I brought cash to pay for this and that, and put it in the safe, drawing out each day's envelope as needed. Meanwhile, my daughter was hydrating:

    Hannah.jpeg


    Our room was every bit as cool as the lobby. We really dug it, Daddy-O! We unpacked a bit, and were off to dreamland!
     

    Travelgrrl

    Disneybounder
    Joined
    Mar 30, 2014
    I woke up early Monday morning, made a cup of room coffee (weak, muddy), and went outside to read. (An Advance Reader's Copy of Ruth Reichl's new memoir: "Save Me The Plums". Here's the peaceful pool area in the morning:

    Pool.jpeg

    When I figured it was the time my daughter was waking, I went to the food court (a quick walk alongside the pool area to the central area) and got us coffee and surprisingly good! pastries.

    (You pay for the coffee at the till and they give you a cup. Then you have to double back through a weird way to get to a coffee station. Don't ask me why they don't carve a pass through right by the coffee, but they make you walk halfway through the dining area, then double back. Oh well. The carpet AND the tables had boomerang patterns, so I enjoyed it in any case!)

    IMG_4902.JPG

    Back at the room, I had another little gift bag for my daughter. This one had a warm knit Ravenclaw scarf and we laughed at the ridiculousness of bringing such an item to Florida. By the end of the week, we were practically fighting over who got to enjoy its delicious warmth!

    It was a beautiful day! We got ready and headed off to the parks!

    Next up: Marilyn, Bruce, and NOT Mummy.
     

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