Saturday, December 29, 2018

Our Celebration Trip

To celebrate the end of my active treatment, we wanted to do something pretty big, so we decided to take a trip  - to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!  I'm a big Harry Potter fan, as is Gisèle.  Miles is really starting to get into it, too, and Jamie is tolerant of our obsession.

We paid for so many medical bills with our Southwest card this year that our points covered free flights for all 4 of us, and we found a combo deal for the hotel and tickets since we were going in the winter time.  We took the first half of Thanksgiving week, Friday - Tuesday, for our trip, which gave us 3 whole days at the park.

Miles hand-lettered a sign to hang so we'd see it as soon as we got home.

We stayed at the Cabana Bay Resort on Universal property, and really liked it there.  The hallways are the longest hallways I've ever seen, though, so if they ask if you want to be near the lobby, say yes.  (My "no, thank you" is the one thing I regretted about the hotel.)  They even have a Starbucks in the lobby which was really nice for a pick-me-up on the way to the park each morning as we caught the free shuttle.

Our first glimpse of The Wizarding World was Hogsmeade, and it was truly magical.  Staying at Cabana Bay gave us early access to the park, so we were able to get in before it got too crowded.  I snapped a picture of the kids right after they got their first glimpse of Hogsmeade, and Jamie got one of me.

It really does look exactly like the movies; the details are incredible.  I didn't get many pictures of the shop windows because the pictures would have been full of people's reflections, but the windows, especially, are amazing.

We went inside Ollivander's (there's a small one in Hogsmeade; the larger one is in Diagon Alley) and watched Ollivander choose a girl from the crowd and go through the wand selection ceremony.  The effects were really fun!

The first glimpse of Hogwarts itself almost made me teary.  We had beautiful weather, so the castle was framed by a clear blue sky.  You actually go inside the castle for one of the rides (The Forbidden Journey) and get to see some of the classrooms, Dumbledore's office, etc.

Since we had park-to-park passes, we were able to take the Hogwarts Express over to Diagon Alley in the next park.

(to be continued...)

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