WHOOSH ok so this year has flown by so fast it’s making my head spin. It’s already been 3 weeks since I got back from Orlando, but I haven’t posted the pictures yet! So here we are, photos of our trip to Florida the first week of May.
I was at the end of my leave from work and had an American Airlines credit (for our cancelled Panama trip) that needed using or it would expire, so we thought we would do something fun as a pick-me-up and we booked a trip to Orlando, Florida, pretty much solely to see the Simpsons and Harry Potter theme parks at Universal Studios. Two things I really love to help cheer me up following a brutal mental health winter? YES PLEASE!
Well, most of the trip was great, but it was definitely pretty overshadowed by my anxiety, which was in full force for the first time in a long, long time. We made it through Universal studios, though, and we really enjoyed it.
Perhaps the high point of the trip; eating at Krusty Burger! THEY HAVE A VEGAN BURGER! Thank the gods for Lisa Simpson and her love of baby lambs. The burger was a black bean patty with tomato, guacamole, lettuce and a pickle, served with a side of curly fries. I loved every moment of being in the Simpsons park, obviously.
And now for HARRY POTTER [hyperventilates]:
We almost missed the entry because it was meant to be hidden, but we found Diagon Alley across from the entrance to the Simpsons park. And WOW it was so incredible. The dragon sits on top of Gringotts and breathes fire on a timer. Inside Gringotts are all the goblins as you wind your way down to the basement, where there is a ride with 3d graphics of the original actors while you ride in a mine car into the vaults of the bank. I LOVED IT. Ahhhh it was all so amazing.
Hogwarts also looks AMAZING. The amount of detail that goes into the park design is absolutely nuts. It’s like this place really exists!
^ The only shot I could get of the Sorting Hat – it talked!
^ The portraits were really alive, obviously, because Universal Studios does not mess around.
^ SHERBET LEMON
There’s a ride inside Hogwarts as well, this time you are lead around by Harry on a broom while dodging Dementors, the Whomping Willow, and Aragog and his children. So incredible.
^ Right after I bought a wand at Olivander’s (I got one of Hermione’s).
Who knew that enamel pins were so big at Universal Studios! Here’s my modest haul; 3 from the Simpsons park and 3 from the Harry Potter park.
We also went to Disneyworld! This leg of the journey was a real disaster; after all the hassle of taking 2 different buses to the park, buying the crazy expensive tickets, going through the fingerprinting, riding the boat to the entry, and finally getting into the park… the pressure was just too much and I had a complete meltdown. More on that to come in another post. We did do a walk down main street, bought a hat and some sunscreen (I was so burned already), and rode the Pirates of the Caribbean (or Carrots of the Pirabbean, as I used to call it), and did a quick walk around the rest of the park, but then my anxiety timer went off and that was all I could do. The day was a bit of a waste, and I only took two photos. At least they both turned out ok! You win some you lose some, I’m trying not to beat myself up about it too much.
^ I spent a lot of time nerding out over the tropical plants in the landscaping, ha.
For our last day we ventured into downtown Orlando to see the sights… only there weren’t really any! Haha. Orlando is obviously tourist driven, and I guess they really want you to go to the theme parks because there wasn’t much to see in the downtown core. This art installation by Lake Eola was pretty neat, and there were some cute birds around the park.
We also took the time to visit the site of the Pulse Nightclub shootings to pay our respects. What a horrible tragedy. It was a beautifully touching memorial with photos, candles, succulents, banners, rainbow flags and art pieces. RIP angels!
We went to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on our final night in Orlando, and I’ve gotta say that they really have the perfect oversized movie theatre seats! Hahaha.
Overall a great trip, but really exhausting and definitely impacted by my anxiety disorder, which sucks. Lots of memories for sure though and I definitely recommend Universal Studios Orlando for your Harry Potter / Simpsons fix ❤