We had this magnificent blog post prepared for you all to read. Then an unholy crap storm stuck down upon us from the heavens and deleted 90% of what was written. An argument of massive proportions erupted between the the Wife and myself over who's fault this might have been. I lost. Here is our best effort after the argument and my subsequent punishment. I believe she's going to make me see The Smurfs movie to atone for my sins.
The Wife: For our first day spent in Florida, we ventured out of the Disney area to the land of wands, magic and spells. Yes, we went to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. Including this recent trip, I have been to Disney seven times, but I have never been to Universal. I stand by my word that Disney is better, but the Harry Potterness makes the trip to Universal worth it. In the mini blog (and a recent paragraph that was deleted by incorrect use of the space bar... NOT BY ME!) I discussed the park experience in detail. I refuse to write about all of that again, but I will highlight my favorites. For one, I cried when I first laid eyes upon the Hogwarts Castle. It was breathtaking! I got to experience everything I wanted to at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I had butterbeer and pumpkin juice, which were both delicious, visited all of the Hogsmeade shops, where I purchased the famous Harry Potter chocolate frog in the Honeydukes shop. Each frog contains a trading card like from the books (only you get one of the four house leaders not the Dumbledore card). I got the Rowena Ravenclaw card, not my favorite, but I'll take it! We also saw Hagrid's Hut and visited the Ollivander's Wand Show, which was awesome, even though I should have been picked to receive the free wand instead of that little kid! I had an amazing meal at The Three Broomsticks as well, which looks exactly like the movie!
Our favorite ride was Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey, a simulator type ride located within the castle. The Harry Potter actors recorded scenes for the ride, which uses both screen movement technology mixed with animatronics. During the ride, you fly over the castle and Quidditch field as well as encounter spiders and the evil dementors. I can't tell if the husband was amused or embarrassed when I shouted "expecto patronum!" at the dementors. Winning! The ride line queue was even epic as you toured the castle, saw the greenhouse, moving portraits, Dumbledore's office, the entrance to Gryffindor and of course, the famous sorting hat! It is one of the coolest rides I have ever been on, but if you choose to ride this, be sure to pop a dramamine if you are prone to motion sickness!
Basically the attention to detail spent at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, whether it be on the Hogsmeade shops or the Hogwarts castle, is amazing. If you are a true Harry Potter fan, like me, this is a must see. I made a vow last summer when the park opened that I would go in 2011, but I never really thought it would happen. Needless to say I was quite a happy little muggle wannabe Gryffindor during my time at the park. I already anticipate my next trip! If only I could take the Hogwarts Express to get there!
(Here is a paragraph that was not deleted! Hooray!) Well we can't wrap this re-cap post without actually talking about Disney. As usual it was a great time. I know we got lots of exercise walking around the parks each day too. We visited the core four parks: Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. I can never pick a favorite park as I love them all. I really like the rides at Hollywood Studios, but I also really enjoy Epcot — a park that has become more fun to me now that I am older. The Animal Kingdom has one of my favorite Disney rides, Expedition Everest, so I like it too. Of course, The Magic Kingdom will always hold a special place in my heart as it is the symbol of all things Disney. It has Cinderella's Castle and my beloved rides, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion and my favorite of all the attractions, Splash Mountain! Sporting my Minnie Ears, each day at Disney was awesome. Sure it was hot, but it didn't matter because we were in Disney, duh! My favorite part of Disney was our character dinner experience at The Garden Grill in Epcot. Along with amazing food (best meal of the trip!) we got to be kids again and meet Chip, Dale, Pluto and of course, Mickey! I loved taking pictures with the characters and was just as excited as any child in the restaurant. I also loved that I finally tried the famous Dole Whip at Disney. It was worth the hype. My favorite evening of the trip was spent at Hollywood Studios, where I munched on the famous Mickey Ice Cream Bar and watched the "Fantasmic!" show. Fantasmic was great and is easily the best of all the Disney Park shows! If you are a lover of all things Disney and grew up watching all the classic movies, this is a must see show!
I already miss Disney. I am very much a type-A personality and tend to be stressed constantly. In Disney, I was never stressed. It is the most relaxed I have been in quite sometime. I love how at Disney you can temporarily re-visit the carefree days of childhood. I have spent holidays, birthdays and even my honeymoon at Disney. Needless to say, I can't wait to return to "The Happiest Place on Earth!"
On an unrelated note to the husband, I look forward to seeing The Smurfs!
Hobo Dan: So yeah, Disney is awesome. This coming from the guy who hates lines, large crowds, noise and general tomfoolery. They also make it so easy to see and do everything thanks to the easy pass that allows you to go to any park any time you're there. Not to mention the giant Lego store at Downtown Disney. I'd say MGM... I mean Hollywood Studios is probably my favorite park. It has great rides including the recently revamped Star Tours ride. Now you can ride it over and over and get different rides every time. I think someone said there are 50 different combinations for the ride. If you like Star Wars, go ride it. Hollywood Studios also has the best other rides (outside Expedition Everest).
I also can't write about Disney without mentioning The Magic Kingdom. It was really fun too, other than watching a girl puke her guts out right beside me in the line for Space Mountain. What is really awesome is the new part of Fantasyland they are working on for 2012. They are building the castle from Beauty and the Beast. Sweet. Epcot is also really cool and has the best food. Even when people are walking around pronouncing it Ep-i-cot. I love when people add letters to words.
What's this? A paragraph back from the grave from our original post. I had it saved in my email: Apparently July is Brazil month at Disney (it actually is). During the month every annoying teenager in the country uproots and travels to Florida to haunt my dreams. The encounter starts innocently enough; small over the horizon your eye caches a glimpse of a flag or inflated marker of some type. As it closes in you realize the flag is surrounded by a sea of kids wearing matching, brightly colored T-shirts. Before you know it they are on you. They are the mob, the swarm, there is no escaping their destruction. As one of our bus drivers put it: “When you see that flag, run the other way.” Being from Brazil, they obviously speak Portuguese; a language no one else speaks. I guess there is no word for line in Portuguese because they can’t comprehend what one is or how to wait in one. Single file? Screw that, they mass around the entrance, pushing their way in. They have no problem pressing themselves against one another or you. In the hot July sun and humidity this only served to make me miserable and irritable. I guess in Brazil they test structural integrity by mindlessly beating on something until it falls over or they tire. Since they never tire the pounding goes on endlessly until the line moves past what ever object they felt the need to test out. In this case a door adorned with marbles. It made a super awesome noise when they bashed their hands onto it. It’s probably good we were in a confined space. If I’d had room to swing my fists I’d probably be in jail right now.
The Wife: I should mention quickly, since my post about this magnificent man got deleted due to aforementioned misuse of the spacebar, that we did encounter king of the rednecks while in line for The Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios. This man also wasn't fond of the Brazilians and he felt the need to loudly proclaim that he wanted to "smack 'em in the mouth." He also gave us fun facts about how Disney rents out the parks for two weeks for a fee of $20,000. First of all that would be super cheap to have Disney all to yourself, and secondly, um no, pretty sure they don't completely close parks for two weeks just to rent them out to groups. They don't even close the park for celebrities! He also leaned over my shoulder and played 20 questions about my blackberry. I was never so relieved to get on a plummeting elevator!
Hobo Dan: Next time we go on vacation and choose to write about it I'll make sure I learn to properly use the keyboard so another deletion situation does not arise.
So there you have it, our 2011 Dump Family Vacation! Now here are some pictures for your enjoyment: