5.21.2012

2012 Vacation: Universal Studios

And the vacation posting begins... :) We left from the SLC airport Tuesday afternoon-ish to arrive in Florida that night (and it was pretty late for Florida time because they were two hours ahead of us. Most of us hadn't been on an airplane for a while so it was fun to be there again. Gracie absolutely loved it, being her first time on a plane, although as you can see below it also exhausted her.

We got to Florida late that night and then we still had to go pick up our rental car, which took a while. When we got to the hotel, they of course didn't put our rooms next to each other so we were separated--me, Carina, and Sidney in one room and my parents, Gracie, and Cee Ryle in the other. My sisters and I actually went to one room and it smelled a lot like smoke, which we weren't fans of, so we had to ask the people to give us a different key and switch us. Kind of annoying and I don't remember what time we finally got to bed but it was pretty late. And add onto that no dinner because all we'd had on the plane were snacks they provided.

The next morning we woke up early because Universal Studios opened up at 8 am and we wanted to get there when it opened. Let me remind you though, that this was 6 am our time and since we had gone to bed so late, we didn't get much sleep. The hotel had a continental breakfast, but their idea of breakfast was bagels and orange juice. So we didn't get much for breakfast either. We got to Universal Studios at about 8:30 and our tiredness was replaced by huge excitement instead!

First stop? Harry Potter world of course! All of us were beyond excited for this, especially me! This is what it looked like when we came in, although it wasn't this busy yet (this picture was taken later in the day):

We had to take a picture by the famous Hogwarts Express and I of course brought my wand with me! I don't know if I've said this before, but man, it feels so natural to carry a wand around. Call me crazy, but I love it. The whole place was so cool and so very realistic. Everywhere you turned made it seem like you were living in the magical world. Even the bathrooms had Moaning Myrtle's voice floating through!

There aren't a ton of rides (only like three) and the really worthwhile one to go on is the Journey Through Hogwarts ride. Man was it sweet! And while you were walking to the ride, you felt like you were walking through Hogwarts, seeing places like Dumbledore's office and the Herbology classrooms. The ride made you feel like you were flying on a broom with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. I don't know how they did it but it felt so realistic! They had you put your stuff in lockers before you went on the ride, which is a good thing, because I kept my phone with me in my pocket but I almost lost it on the ride because it flew around so much!

Honeydukes was awesome! They had all the food from the books and movies and it was all so amazing and real...and expensive. I'm sure everything would have tasted delicious but the only thing I got was Pumpkin Juice...and MAN was that good! New favorite drink! I still have the taste in my mouth and it was completely worth every penny.

After Harry Potter world was Suess Landing, an area of the park based entirely off of Dr. Seuss books. Gracie loved it of course, but it all was really pretty fun. I do have to say that one reason I love going to amusement parks with my family is because I hate big roller coasters so it means that I'm not pressured to ride them since there's usually someone else who also won't want to. We had fun going on rides here and meeting different characters, although Gracie was a little scared of the Cat in the Hat and we had to really push her to take a picture with Things 1 and 2.

They had this cool little walk through place with all kinds of fun Dr. Suess stuff that you just did on your own. The machine Sidney is stepping on below made funny sounds when you stepped on it.

There were other cool areas of the park as well, like the Marvel area and Toon Lagoon.

We went back to Harry Potter world to eat lunch at the Three Broomsticks, and lets just say it did not disappoint. It looked just like it did in the movie and food was delicious and totally belonged. And Butterbeer...yum! It was soooo good :) The froth at the top of it was the best.

I really liked this conductor guy..he had a British accent and was talking to me just like I was a really Hogwarts student. Really funny and cool!

We had to take a picture by the houses because on Pottermore so far all of us are in different houses (except for Carina, who hasn't been sorted yet)! So Carina stood by Hufflepuff, I was Ravenclaw (the best house, obviously!), Cee Ryle was Gryffindor, and Sidney was Slytherin. We are so cool.

There was a little show/ride thing called Poseidon's Fury in the Land of Adventure. Here are my sibs waiting in line. It was a cool show that you walked through and the rooms kept changing and getting bigger with lots of water and fire and special effects. Definitely a favorite.

We went on this water ride that we thought was just going to be a gentle normal ride where we got fairly wet. We didn't want to get too soaked and also my mom, Sidney, and I really don't like big drops in roller coasters or anything. And since Gracie was tall enough to go on this ride we figured it couldn't be too bad. But it turns out that we got incredibly soaked from this unexpected huge drop at the end of the ride. It took a picture but it was a lot to buy it, but it was so funny. Carina was covering Gracie's eyes, Cee Ryle looked like a hyper maniac and the rest of us were shocked or closing our eyes. I wish I had a copy of the picture because it was so funny!

Meet Popeye and Olive. I'm not in a lot of these characters because I ended up being the photographer for them.
I thought this picture was funny :)
They had this pixie stix candy stuff in Suess Landing that wasn't too much money so we each got 3 foot long (the longest ones they had) sticks of them. Lots of candy=lots of deliciousness (and unhealthiness ha).

Universal Studios closed at 6 and we actually got to do everything that we wanted to do in the park, which was great. But dang were we tired by the time we were done. Living off of little sleep and only one meal (though it was a big one) tired us out and when we got back to the hotel, we laid on our beds, watched a little bit of Disney Channel and then fell soundly asleep, awaiting to go on our cruise the next day... :)

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