Sunday, April 2, 2017

Orlando February 2017

Last time we took a trip to Orlando it was for Disney. Alice was soooo into Princesses then, but her likes have changed over the years, and the family has been enjoying the Harry Potter books and movies for the past few years.
We loved the time of the year we went to Disney last time so we decided to go about the same time of year this time too.  Call me a bad mom, or a great mom, but we took Alice out of school to travel and experience the magic with our little family.
We arrived in Orlando on a Monday morning. We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel because it was the closest to the Universal parks and we loved being within walking distance. There were also water taxis and bicycle rickshaws available for when we were too tired, but staying on property was awesome.

We arrive early in the day and had some time to wander about the hotel, and then we decided to take an uber ride to see the Titanic exhibit nearby.  Titanic has been another one of Alices obsessions over the past year, so this was a perfect addition to our trip.  The exhibit had actual artifacts from Titanic along with supplemental items, either replicas or from other ships from the time. When you start, they give you a 'character' card of someone who was actually on the ship.  At the end of the exhibit you see lists of people who either lived or died.  Mine and Larry's characters died, but Alice was lucky to be a survivor.

Tuesday was our first day at the park.  We spent approximately 8 hours at the park the first day.  We visited Hogsmead the first half of the day and Diagon Alley the second half.  With the low season and the fast passes from staying at an onsite hotel, we were able to ride everything with minimal waiting, so of course we rode everything multiple times.

Our first experience within the park was a visit to Olivanders to select a wand for our trip.  Alice was chosen to be part of the experience, and her wand selected her, so of course we had to buy it.

Alices favorite ride was the Flight of the Hippogryph. Larry's was the Forbidden Journey at the Hogswart Castle (the castle was pretty amazing), and mine was the Revenge of the Mummy (outdated but still loads of fun)

We also enjoyed the Jurrasic Park ride, Men in Black, ET, Escape from Gringots, Hogswart Express, Dr. Dooms Fearfall, Amazing Adventure of Spider-Man, and Storm Force Acceleration.  We did NOT enjoy Reign of Kong (Alice did not like this one AT ALL) and no one enjoyed Popeye and Blutos Bilge-Rat Barges (came out looking like drown rats).

Most mornings we ate in the lobby with donuts and breakfast sandwiches.  One lunch we ate at the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmead (fish and chips like proper Englishmen). Each night we ate dinner at the Universal City Walk, pizza, Italian, burgers and sushi. One evening we got a free dinner because the whole City Walk lost power and there was no way to run credit cards, but we did leave a good cash tip!

Each night we spent time down at the Hard Rock pool. Yes we swam in February!  The pool had a nice water slide that was the perfect entry level slide for Alice. Alice and mom went on the slide multiple times each night, even though it was a little cold.

Each night we went to sleep thoroughly exhausted. Moms Garmin said we walked over 7 miles a day, and one day it said over 10!  We had a lot of fun and have great memories to take back home.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Miranda Sings!

Alice is a big fan of Miranda Sings, the You Tube personality. For her birthday this year, Alice asked to go to the Miranda Sings concert in San Antonio. For weeks prior to the concert, Alice would talk about how she was going to get on stage to meet Miranda. As her mom, I tried to prepare her to enjoy the concert even if her dream of meeting her in person did not happen.
We arrived at the Tobin Center (awesome venue by the way). We were in the mid orchestra section, which is pretty much in the middle of the seating for the floor.  Good enough to see, but definitely not front row seating.  During the show Alice yelled and screamed with the audience, danced in the aisle, and sang along with the show.  Several times Miranda asked for volunteers to come up on stage to help out in a skit. Most of the time, Miranda picked someone from the first few rows, but each time she asked for volunteers, Alice would run down the aisle closer to the stage and try to get Miranda's attention.  We thought for sure this tactic would not work, but didn't see the harm in her exuberance.  
The last time Miranda asked for a volunteer, Alice ran up and did her best to get her attention.  To our surprise, Miranda picked 'the girl with the yellow jacket'. Her dad and I looked at each other and I said 'I can't believe that just happened....'
Alice proceeded to be led on stage for a You Tube Challenge called 'Chubby Bunny'.  The basic rules were each contestant (Miranda and Alice) would put a marshmallow in their mouth and say "chubby bunny" until one of them could not talk.  Miranda's marshmallows were the small ones you put in hot chocolate, while the marshmallows she gave Alice were each the size of their fist.  Hilarity ensues when Alice only has one marshmallow in her mouth and can't speak.

At the end, Alice got a hug from her You Tube hero, a bag full of giant marshmallows, and a memory to last a lifetime!