Orlando Vacation!

Hey, remember when we were going to go to Florida for our "Happy Birthday to Us We Need a Vacation - Orlando Sun & Fun" trip?

Well, we finally went! (back at the beginning of March) . .

We got into Orlando 15 minutes early at 10:10pm-ish. We got our rental car (just wait until you see it. It's pretty sweet . . ), and headed on our 30 minute drive to our resort. . .oh what's that?! There are toll roads where you HAVE to use cash. . and we don't have any.

Shane : "Do you take credit or debit card?"
Toll guy: "no. we don't. cash only."
Shane: "we don't have any cash"
Toll guy: " . . .. "
Shane: "we don't have any cash"
Toll guy: ". . . . "
Shane to me: "What do we do?"
Me : " i don't know . . i don't have any cash. they don't take debit card?"
Shane: "No. just cash."

. .. after about 5 minutes of us just sitting there and them not doing or saying anything, i finally remembered that i brought emergency cash in case we needed it. Gosh. Don't forget there are toll roads like every 1/2 mile from each other in Florida and you need CASH. (but do forget that I was an idiot who almost didn't have any cash on me).

And now for our swagger wagon . . .

err. . I mean . . granny car! Shane was holding his walker in this pic. I was so bummed. I'm never doing "special car" again. "Pick special car and get a mid-size car or greater at an economy price!"

Universal Orlando has two parks. . . Islands of Adventure and the one we went to on our first day, Universal Studios.

Kwik E Mart! They had this right by the Simpsons ride.

It was great. The lines were so short! Most every ride (except a few) you could either walk right on or have a short 5-10 minute wait. It's the way every amusement park should be.

View of the park. I wasn't too impressed with the "atmosphere" and landscaping of this park. It was nice, but it didn't have that "magical" feel that Disney World gives you.

The shows were awesome. This is from the animal actors show. I'll talk more in detail in the separate post I'm going to do about which rides/shows are worth doing/seeing.

From the parking lot to the actual park was quite a hike (I didn't mind it too much but I can't imagine having lots of kiddos and gramps and grams walking that much). But you get to walk through City Walk, the "entertainment hotspot". Lots of clubs. Restaurants. A Movie Theater. A Surf board. (We asked a little kid if he would take our picture, and he went and asked his mom first. I thought that was cute).

Day 1 ends (Man, walking around parks is exhausting! When did I get so old!?)

Here are some pics of our resort:

It was nice. Shane's awesome mommy let us share her timeshare with them. We wish we could have actually had some overlap of our vacations, but we got there late Tuesday night and they left early Wednesday morning.

Day 2 . . BIG day! One of the biggest reasons we (I) wanted to go to Florida . . . The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!! . . wait for it . . .

We pretty much got there right when they opened and high stepped it right over to the WWOHP because we knew it would just get busier as the day went on. Of course we had to stop and get a couple pictures on the way though . . .

Let's pretend this is where I didn't almost cry . . .

It was just amazing to see everything you read about and all the movies you watched come to life. Shane almost left me when I started to cry. I said, "don't you think it's awesome?!" And his reply was . . "yeah, but I'm not going to cry about it." Ha!

Ugh. Just incredible.

We went to this first because the ride was already a 30 minute wait and we knew it would just get worse as the day went on. I had to lock my purse in a locker for this ride, so unfortunately I didn't get many pictures. The inside was a line to the ride, but you got to see different parts from the books/movies . . like the hour glasses that showed which house was winning, it showed the triwizard cup, it had holograms of Ron, Harry, and Hermoine, and of Dumbledore. I really can't remember all the real names for all of these things, but it had the lady that you needed to give the password to in order to get into the Gryffindor wing. It had the pictures of all the old wizards on the wall and they were all talking to each other and moving around. It was pretty sweet. They called you muggles throughout the entire castle, and when you were getting on the ride they called you a muggle again, so i said "I'M A WIZARD!" and the guy said "no you're not! if anything you'd be a WITCH!" Ohhhhh snap.


The butterbeer was amazing! Tasted like butterscotch!

The Hulk! One of my favorite rides at Universal. Very smooth!

I was surprised how quick we went through this park. I thought we would've spent more time at this park than Universal Studios, but we were done by like 2pm! So we ended up going back to WWOHP to check it out again.

View from the top of the Hippogriff ride! (I'm still planning on doing a separate post that reviews the rides/shows).

You could pick from two different kinds of butterbeer . . . frozen (slushy) and cold (just liquid). You could also pay $7 extra for the souvenir glass (yes. I'm a sucker . . and it's not even dishwasher or microwave safe!)! I recommend trying both. If you are more thirsty, get the cold (and drink it fast b/c it doesn't taste as good when warmer).

After we had our last butter beer, we decided to call it a day. Two days walking around at parks is exhausting! (I seriously feel so old).

Day 3 . . . relaxing day at the resort!
I went outside that morning to take a picture of the pool and turned around and Shane locked me out . .

We decided to play some tennis:

Shane kept hitting the balls out of the court too much, so we got tired of chasing and decided to start jumping around instead (we were jumpers in high school and in college):

Then we played some games:

Shane kicked my butt!

Then the resort had a free lunch barbeque so we headed over to the pool area a little early to get a good spot and relax:

Food time!

Then pool time:

It felt soooooooo good to swim!

Later that day we went to Walmart for some things and saw this:

No one seemed to care though . . . they must get these every day. . but we were pretty excited about it!

Then I showed Shane my juggling skills:

Our last day we went to Gatorland!

They had several shows during the day:

And I don't know why I find birds so fun, but this was my favorite part of Gatorland (until we go next time and their zip line course is open):

We then went on a "swamp walk":

Then we got to sit on a gator (I felt bad for the poor thing though . . so I sat gently):

Then we got to feed the crocs (hotdogs), but the birds kept trying to steal the food!!

Then we headed to our hotel (our resort was a time share only good until Saturday, so we got a nice hotel on priceline for Saturday night).

This was funny because when we went in to explore the rest of the hotel, a guy came up to us and said "could you see me?" and we said "what?" apparently he was smiling and waving from the inside when I took this picture.

View from the top floor (needed special access)!

Shane and I usually keep it safe with chain restaurants but we saw this place online and saw it had good reviews, so we decided to try it out for ourselves:

It was delicious!

After that we headed back to our hotel . . . we needed to get up bright and early to catch our 6am flight.

Here we are waiting at 4am for our shuttle to the airport:

Beautiful morning sky we got to see from the plane:

And back to dreary Erie (Pittsburgh actually).

It was a great trip though! We really are so blessed and so thankful we were able to go on this vacation!

1 comment:

*kc said...

I already left my comments on your pictures. So I'll just say "YAY!"