So Thursday we used our second pass for Universal. We woke up and it was raining unfortunately which is a common occurrence this time of year in Florida but instead of light rain for a few minutes we had it most of the day. We decided to start the day at Universal Studios since we had spent the majority of the previous day at Islands of Adventure. Ws started the day in Daigon Alley because we wanted to ride the Gringott’s Bank ride and it fills up rather quickly.
The above picture is of Kreacher. If you knock on the doors below he will eventually look out the window. It’s actually pretty cool to watch the crowds just waiting in anticipation for his appearance. After that we headed to the other part of the park so we could go through the Simpson’s section. We walked all through the Simpson’s area and we even had a giant apple fritter as a snack. The stores and attractions were really cool and we took some really silly pictures.
We even took our picture in front of a replica of the DeLorean from Back to the Future.
We even rode a ride that was fashioned after ET.
As the day progressed we started wandering through all these really cool side stores and I was so surprised to find a cool life-size statue of Harley Quinn so of course I had to have my picture made with her.
I absolutely love Harley Quinn so I was super happy. It was quite the coincidence that I also happen to be wearing one of my Harley Quinn t-shirts.
Then we rode this really cool ride that was Jimmy Fallon’s race through New York. The ride was mostly 3D and kind of odd but it was also really cool.
After Jimmy Fallon we got on the Hogwarts Express so that we could go to Hogsmead and have lunch in the Three Broom Sticks.
Then it was about break time so we rode The Mummy’s Revenge which is a really cool ride and then we went to hangout in an Irish Pub called Finnigan’s. We ended up chilling there for a couple of hours and then eating dinner there too. My boyfriend’s brother decided to come out again so he met us and had dinner with is at Finnigan’s.
After dinner we didn’t take any pictures but we did ride three rides starting with the Simpson’s, then Men In Black and finally we finished the day the way we started riding Gringott’s again.
So on Wednesday we took a break from Universal and headed to Epcot. I was completely surprised at the difference in Epcot from Universal. My boyfriend kept trying to tell me that Epcot is an experience not really an amusement park. It is really interesting how they have the park setup. You have one half the park that is set up like a learning environment about things like the land and the sea. The other half of the park is setup in countries. The country part was our favorite and is honestly where we spent the majority of our day. We spent the morning wandering from country to country looking at cool shops and all sorts of neat architecture that has been recreated from the originals. We started the day in Mexico and then proceeded to Norway, China, Africa, Germany, Italy, United States, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, and finally Canada. The first time through we spent a lot of time in most of the countries except Canada because we were trying to make it to the Soaring Ride in the land area by a certain time.
After Soaring then we rode several cool rides in the Land, Sea, and Spaceship Earth areas of the park.
Since the rides at Epcot are so much gentler than Universal we were actually able to take a lot of fun pictures on the rides. The one all the way to the right is in Spaceship Earth during the part where it is all stars around us.
After those rides we headed back to the countries where I was on a mission to find small flags from each country for my classroom this year. As a future geography teacher I thought it would be cool to have the flags to add to my classroom. We had some wonderful food and alcohol thought the day. It was a relaxing day compared to the one before.
So the last few days have been insane because it has been non-stop amusement parks. Monday morning we drove to Orlando from Sarasota for the last leg of our vacation and the last family introduction of the trip. Orlando is the home of my boyfriend’s brother. Tuesday morning we got up and headed to Islands of Adventure at Universal. We got a park hopper pass and we ended up spending part of the day at Universal Studios.
We started our day by riding the Hulk which is an insane roller coaster. We had some previous warning about the speed and structure of the ride but it was awesome. Next we wandered through many cool gift shops and then we headed towards the other side of the park. We of course headed to Hogsmead me because we both enjoy Harry Potter. Hogsmead was insanely crowded but we enjoyed the ambience of the setup.
The crowds were a bit much for us so we wandered back around towards the front of the park and spent an hour or so chilling in a bar with some decent Sangria. After a nice rest we headed to the Universal side of the park so we could visit Daigon Alley. Before you actually reach Daigon Alley you are in a section of the park that looks like London. As we walking around we came across the Knight Bus from Harry Potter. I got to talk to the bus driver and the shrunken head.
We arrived in the late afternoon so the sky was beautiful over the buildings.
The stores inside Daigon Alley were so cool. They had robes for all the houses as well as interactive wands that would enable you to do magic in the park. We had a lot of fun just wandering around looking at everything. That evening my boyfriend’s brother joined us and we had dinner in The Leaky Cauldron. It was interesting because of course the food was more British inspired but it was really good. This was also our first encounter with Butterbeer. I have to say it is really sweet but we opted for the carbonated from rather than the frozen option. We honestly didn’t ride as many rides on Tuesday but it was still a very cool day. The lines were so long earlier in the day that we walked to the other park rather than riding the Hogwarts Express. So tonight we rode the Hogwarts Express back to the other park.
We finished off the day watching an amazing light show on the side of Hogwarts Castle back in Hogsmead.
So today we visited the Ringling Museum Gardens. I would have loved to tour the museum and the mansion but sometimes when you are visiting with family you do what is cheaper instead of what you really want. The gardens are very beautiful and we had a really nice walk around the grounds. We were able to take a lot of nice pictures.
I am not sure what is on the agenda for the rest of the day but I do know that Sarasota is very beautiful. It is interesting to me that summer is not the peak season in Florida the way you would normally think of it. Apparently all the snowbirds like to visit Florida in the winter during the snowy season. It has been wonderful traveling with my boyfriend because he is so great to me. I didn’t have any doubts about our relationship at home but I have even less doubts now. I love him and I love exploring the world with him.
So we have started part two of our vacation in Sarasota, Florida visiting my boyfriend’s mother. Today we traveled to the Selby Botanical Gardens which was utterly beautiful. It was hot but because of the shade beneath most of the foliage it wasn’t too bad. It was a very nice tour around the gardens.
After we toured the gardens we went to Saint Armand’s Circle which is a very touristy part of Sarasota. It was a great place to shop and have lunch. I was able to buy a cool t-shirt for my son and a neat turtle to add to my mom’s collection. This has been a different part of our trip because it has involved more activity. I am looking forward to what else we will see while we are here. I am hoping we will have time to get a cool picture in front of this cool statue that looks like the famous picture taken in New York after World War II.
I got a pretty cool picture of it today but I am hoping we can get one with the two of us in front of it.
On another funny note I found out that one of my high school friends that has lived here forever moved back to Texas like two weeks ago. Her sister still lives in Tampa though which is pretty cool. If we have time maybe I can at least see her before we leave to go back home.
So far during June our break was pretty low key. We finished a couple of needed projects in the first week or so and now we have been mostly relaxing. We have of course done yard work and cleaned house but most of our days have been spent playing app and computer games. Last night, we had a much needed date night. We drove to Granbury and participated in a Painting With A Twist that was also a Stranger Things trivia night. We had a lot of fun and my competitive nature came out pretty strong. It was also pretty obvious what a perfectionist he can be. All in all it was a great night though.
My kids left yesterday for a visit with their dad so we actually have some time to ourselves. I am not sure what we will do for the fourth tomorrow but right now I am just enjoying this time we have together at home. In a couple of weeks we will be traveling to Florida to “meet the family” and while I am extremely excited to meet this wonderful man’s family, I am also nervous. I am happy in my relationship though so I know that getting to know his family is definitely the next step.