Archive for Libby Withnall

USA Trip : Day 26 – Universal Studios

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This morning we were out the door by 7.15am and on the boat to Universal Studios. We had about a 20min wait until the gates opened…

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then it was walk as fast as you can over to Hogsmede. It was our first time visiting here and we were so excited. Even though I’d seen video of people entering Diagon Aley for the first time – it still has that WOW factor.

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Unfortunately we soon found out that Gringotts, the ride everyone wanted to go on during early entry, was down and no-one knew for how long.

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Instead we took the opportunity to explore the shops and take photos while the crowds were still light. The attention to detail in both the Harry Potter lands is unbelievable.

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We had missed getting breakfast on our way in so chose to go to The Leaky Cauldron and share a few dishes.

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Christy had been a little moodier earlier this morning (no doubt due to lack of sleep) so in effort to make up for things offered to buy Athena (and herself) one of the interactive wands so they could do magic together. Such a sweet gesture.

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After we saw this…

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we visited….

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and the kids did some magic.

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By now the area was getting a lot busier.

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so we decided to head out.

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We got to meet the conductor (and driver) of the Knightbus. Christy got told to be careful waving her wand around as there were muggles about.

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Next up was the Men In Black ride.

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So much concentration…

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Time for some popcorn..

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while Christy went on the Simpson’s ride (another of those 3D simulator rides that Kevin and I aren’t a fan of).

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Then we got to meet the Simpsons.

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And Kevin had a lot of fun in Spongebob Storepants.

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It was another extreamely hot, humid day so even though we hadn’t had lunch yet, we all felt it was time for some dippin’ dots.

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Unfortunately the colourful ones (above) that Athena got weren’t that good so they ended up sharing my chocolate ones. Christy had cookie dough (and also shared with Athena) and Kevin had banana.

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After enjoying our ice cream we went on the ET ride. Always cute.

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And then the kids got to have photos with some of the Despicable Me girls.

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We had been going to do the Transformers ride but there was quite a wait so we decided on the Horror Make Up show instead.

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We had really enjoyed this last time but I didn’t think the guy this time was quite as funny. Still good though.

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Christy opted to stay at the parks a little longer when the rest of left. We stopped at City Walk and finally found somewhere for lunch. Athena had chinese and Kevin and I got Mexican again.

I had another salad bowl. For some reason I said sour cream instead of dressing so it wasn’t as good as it should have been.

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When we got back to our room, Athena went for a sleep while Kevin and I got changed and headed for the pool. We relaxed in the shade (since it was too hot in the sun even at 3pm) and had a swim. Kevin got himself another cocktail. Such a nice way to relax on holidays.

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I decided not to go back to the parks with the family in the evening as I just wasn’t feeling that amazing and wanted to be ready for another early entry in the morning.

Here’s a few photos to show what they got up to…

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I settled down with a cup of tea (after working out the kurig machine, which wasn’t hard at all). Not long after they left I started feeling a lot worse with pain, so it was lucky I hadn’t gone.

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I spent the evening watching vlogmas videos on YouTube and with the “kids” I was babysitting :-).

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USA Trip : Day 25 : Checking in to the Hard Rock Hotel & Islands of Adventure

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This morning I woke up just as the ship was pulling up to the terminal in Port Canaveral. I’m always so impressed at easy they make docking look.

My just-out-of-bed-still-in-my-jammies-shadow.

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At 6.30am we made sure everyone was awake and met at 7am for breakfast in… you guessed it… the Park Cafe…

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For our last bagel with apricot cream cheese.

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After breakfast it was back to our cabin to collect the remaining bags and check we hadn’t left anything behind, then it was time to say farewell to Oasis of the Seas.

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After clearing customs, picking up our luggage, getting a lift in the car park and then finding, and packing, our car, it was back on the road for the hour long drive to Orlando.

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It went quickly and before we knew it we were arriving at the Hard Rock Hotel.

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We got checked in. Unfortunately our room wasn’t yet ready but we were able to get our express passes…

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and head on over to the parks. We opted to walk the first day…

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and just 5mins later Universal City Walk came into view.

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By 10am we had entered Islands of Adventure. It was SO HOT and HUMID today. Not pleasant at all.

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The first ride was Hulk. After having trouble getting a locker, Kevin decided just to sit this one out since he’s not a big fan anyway. Like with a lot of rides here, Thee had to transfer to a wheelchair and I pushed her.

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I’d forgotten how fun this ride is and it was longer than I remembered. Once was enough though so I must be getting old :-).

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Then the kids and I did Storm Force – Kevin gets sick on ride like this.

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Then Christy and Kevin rode Doctor Doom’s Fear Fall.

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Before we all went on Spiderman. I really like this one too.

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Time to meet Captain America.

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and take a photo with Hawkeye (Athena’s favourite).

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By now we were getting a little hungry and, not being able to get a reservation for Mythos, we decided on the Confisco Grill.

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This was a new place for us but we all had a delicious meal. Kevin and I both had a really yummy salad – but I forgot to take a photo.

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With fuller tummies we headed into Seuss Landing.

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Where we rode The Cat in the Hat (cute ride)…

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and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish…where we all got quite wet…

Before waiting in line to see Grinchmas…

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This was a really cute show, one we’d not seen before.

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And we all agreed the dog was the star of the show :-).

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Time to ride the Suess Trolley – which I don’t think we’ve ever done before. Cute but very short.

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Then we re-enacted this photo from our first trip in 1999. Athena was then 9 months old.

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Then in 2004. Athena was 5 and Christy was 3.

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In 2012, Athena was 13 (forgot to get a photo with Christy).

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Then 2016. Athena is now almost 18 and Christy is 15.

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We were finished with our touring for the day but Kevin desperately wanted a frozen Butterbeer so we headed into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter…

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and all got a frozen Butterbeer. So good on such a hot day.

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Then it was back to the hotel around 3.30pm. Thee rode the scooter back and the rest of us caught the boat.

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We collected our room keys and headed to our room. It is lovely. We ended up booking a deluxe room so we’d have extra space for the four nights and get a sofa bed for Christy (so the kids didn’t have to share – Thee is a very messy sleeper).

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We didn’t unpack but got our luggage sorted before Kevin and I went out to do some laundry.

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While the washing cycle was on we went to check out the pool.

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Love that iced lemon water and plain water is provided for free.

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After switching the clothes to the dryer we headed back to the pool (with the kids) for a swim and spa. The pool was a little cool now as the temperature had finally dropped (a little) but the spa was lovely and warm, and we ended up having a nice chat with another couple in the spa (or whatever it is called over here).

Back in the room the kids showered and we all got dressed again and went back poolside to have dinner at the Beachclub.

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Kevin ordered himself a fancy cocktail.

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and shared this huge plate of nachos with me for dinner.

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So delicious. After dinner it was back to our room for an early night since we had to be up again at 6.30am for our Early Entry Morning.

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