Day 24 – Travelling to Hogsmead, Hogwarts and Home

I so can’t believe this is our last day. It’s gone slow and fast at the same time.

We were all up by 7am this morning to get ready for the Wizzarding World of Harry Potter.  We were out the door by 7.30am and headed back to Sal’s Diner to get a quick breakfast, most of which was eating on the boat on the way to the park.

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We arrived just on 8am, which is the early entry opening time, and quickly walked around the Hogsmead. Isn’t it amazing? It definitely has to be seen to be believed as the pictures really don’t do it justice. The attention to detail is incredible. And as you can see the crowds much less than they were the other day.

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We headed straight for Ollivanders Wand Shop (as recommended). A cute show for sure but one I wouldn’t have wanted to wait very long to see.
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We then headed to the castle. Oh, my. Breathtaking

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The ride was amazing. Though unfortunately for Kevin it was another partial simulator ride. I thought it was very innovative in how it was done and you really did feel like you were flying though a Harry Potter movie. Guess what happened next? Christy rode again. Amy wasn’t feeling good so opted out. If it hadn’t been for the LONG walk to the start of ride we both would have ridden again.

We then rode Flight of the Hippogriff. A cute kids coaster. And they even have Hagrid’s cabin.

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Time for a toilet break. I don’t normally mention this but in these toilets you can hear Moaning Myrtle. Too cute.  We then rode Dragon Challenge – which was an excellent coaster – I remembered that we loved it – and it was super smooth.  The girls rode again (no suprise there).

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Kevin and I checked out the post office – complete with owls (and owl droppings) – and a Monster book which moved.  We got the girls to go have a look when they got back, before we went to Honeydukes. So fun. Kevin got a caramel apple and the girls some fudge.
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One last stop – to buy Pumpkin Juice and frozen Butterbeers – and we headed back to the front of the park. The girls went to ride the Hulk one last time and Kevin started to feel VERY sick. Poor thing.

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When the girls got back we headed out, but Kevin felt so bad we had to stop for  a bit. The girls and I went to look at some shops while he tried to recover. When he felt a bit better we headed out and back to the resort.

Kevin headed straight to bed, hoping a sleep would see him feeling better. Amy went to shower and Christy and I went to the beach pool. We only had about 30min there but it was so lovely. The water was lovely. I had a dip, the laid out soaking in some last Floridan rays, which Christy swam and went on the waterslide. It would have been so lovely to spend more time here but at least we got to experience it a little.
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I loved that towels, sunsreen, lemon water and magazines were all provided. Not to mentioned the cushioned lounge chairs. Total luxury.

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Unfortunately we only had about 45mins to enjoy the pool before heading back to the room to shower and finish packing (which involved quite a bit of shuffling and weighing of bags) before our late check out of 12.30pm. Actually it was more like 12.40pm. When our car was bought round to us, we were offered some water for the drive home, which I thought was a lovely touch and a sweet finish to our stay here. If we stay here again I’m definitely booking 3 nights so we enjoy the pool and the whole resort.

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Since we didn’t have to be at the airport till 5.30pm we headed back to The Florida Mall (since it is right near the airport). We went back to Macy’s to get some extra luggage cabin bags for the trip home.

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We saw this sweet poster. Too cute.

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It was back to the food court for lunch, but the whole place was SO MUCH busier than a few weeks ago (guess it is just one week to Christmas). Kevin and I shared THE most delicious sub. Just grilled onions, mushroom and capsicum, topped with 3 different cheese and loaded onto a bun with salad. Will have to try and recreate this at home.

 

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We also stopped at Godiva for some presents and another peppermint iced chocolate.

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A quick visit to Sephora and Microsoft and it was off to the airport to return our car. Hmmm…. do you think we have enough luggage. To be fair  – 3 out of the 11 bags were small on board bags :-).

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We got checked in with no problems (thanks to pre-weighing all our luggage) with our bags going all the way through to Sydney. Then it was one last ride…. on the monorail.

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We were early enough to have time for a leisurely dinner at Ruby Tuesday.

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I got the soup and salad bar, though the soup was a little too cheesy.

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At 7pm our first flight to LA took off, with a photo bomber on board.

 

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In LAX we had the long (and very cold) walk to the international terminal where we got checked in with Qantas. One advantage of arriving just one hour before take-off…. no lines. I have NEVER seem the terminal so dead.

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We had a bit of time before boarding so went to Qantas club where we had some supper.

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Our flight ended up being delayed by about one hour, which was a pain but eventually it was time to board for the 14 hour flight home.

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Everyone managed to get a bit of sleep, though Christy scored the most as she was able to lie on Kevin and I. And she had her hippo to cuddle.

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After getting a few hours sleep I watched a few episodes of The Gourmet Farmer, which I really enjoyed. Then 3 hours out of Sydney we were served breakfast – which was surprisingly good.

 

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We got to enjoy night turning into day as we fly high above the clouds.

 

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Unfortunately we when arrived in Sydeny we discovered that 3 of our bags were not on board. We had to fill out the relevant paperwork before walking right through customs (I was so pleased as our bags would have exploded (figuratively) if we’d had to open them as they were stuffed full). Finally we were out and met by our driver for the trip home. Because of our flight delay and baggage problem Mum & Dad weren’t home when we arrived but we were met by two very excited puppies, who were happy to back hanging out on the couch (they aren’t allowed at Nan & Pop’s).

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We made some jaffles for lunch then spent the afternoon pottering about unpacking some stuff, doing the washing (that would be me). Later we had Vietnamese for dinner with Nan & Pop before heading to bed hoping for a good nights sleep.

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