First things first: I love my family. Really, I do. But for my sanity (and in turn the well-being of my husband and son), every once in a while I need a break. And what better excuse is there to get together with my girlfriends than that?
I used to live in Orlando before moving to New York, and one of my best friends (Liz) moved there about a year ago. Throw in my love of all things Disney AND Harry Potter, and it was a no-brainer. We decided on the dates several months ago, and (thanks to an adorably crafty Christmas gift) the countdown began at the beginning of the year.
As the planner of the group, I sprang into action. Oh yes. There was a loose itinerary and (obviously) a Pinterest board dedicated to the highly anticipated getaway. Thanks to some local friends, we were able to get free admission to both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, and we decided to stay with Liz to save even more money.
Hey, there are better things for us to spend our money on!
After arriving late Thursday evening, we hit the ground running with a full Friday checking out Universal Orlando – and specifically all things Harry Potter. Usually, when you think of theme parks, you pictures families and kids running amok. So, this was a rare and awesome chance to explore the parks from a strictly grown-up perspective, OUR perspective.
Oddly enough, all three of us were sorted into different houses. Can you guess?
Liz is Gryffindor.
Erin is Hufflepuff.
And I, Cristina Fowler, am a proud Slytherin.
#SlytherGryffinPuff for the win!
(1) The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
All of it.
I have been lucky enough to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter once before, but at that point it didn’t stretch between the two parks, which means the Hogwarts Express didn’t go anywhere.
Now, from the moment you enter Diagon Alley through a brick passageway in “London” to the moment you exit Hogsmeade on the other end, you are completely immersed in and surrounded by magic.
(2) Poseidon’s Fury
Just kidding. It was pretty terrible.
My hunch is that it has a crazy cult following…because it was so out-of-date and over-the-top, I can’t imagine another reason it’s still around. But we laughed a lot, and it became the barometer by which we measured every subsequent attraction. As in:
“But is it as good as Poseidon’s Fury?”
Two of the three of us are parents, and all three of us have jobs and lives that keep us extremely busy. Something none of us have much of is free time. So, once we had gotten through most of the attractions on our list, we decided to stop in at Confisco for a couple of leisurely hours of drinks, girl talk, and nachos.
(4) The Cowfish – Sushi. Burger. Bar
They have sushi. And burgers. And sushi-burger hybrids. It’s all amazing.
Liz had a burger with brie, blackberries, honey, and pear.
Erin had a burger with shallots, mushrooms, and black truffle cheese.
I had a roll of sushi with lobster, shrimp, and ahi tuna.
Um… Take me back.
At the end of a long day of hopping back and forth between Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure, it was so nice to sit down to an awesome dinner at CityWalk. The service was amazing, and the company was even better.
Be sure to check out part two to hear about our next, very full day at Walt Disney World. Hint: we visited three of the four parks PLUS Disney’s Boardwalk in one day…and it was awesome!
P.S. My friends are pretty.