Brrr. It’s starting to feel like October. We miss the warm breeze in Orlando. We needed to recoup from our theme park extravaganza, so we’ve been quiet for a bit. Four days, four parks, from open to close. We meant business. And we can’t even use the excuse that we were trying to get our money’s worth, because we had free vouchers for three of those days [thanks to an awesome friend]. Nope, no reason other than plain determination. We even paid to extend our stay inside Magic Kingdom until midnight for their Halloween party. The Headless Horseman rode again, the best Villains made an appearance and plenty of guests showed up in costume. We trick-or-treated from town to town and land to land, smiled when Mickey danced on his float and took this menacing photo of Sleeping Beauty’s castle [it was much more chilling in person].
We lucked out at Epcot and arrived during their food and wine festival. As we circled the world [a few times over], we stopped at every eatery stand. Along the way, we’d pause to breathe and admire the impressive architecture. You almost feel like you’re in Morocco, China and France… and how great is it that just 10 feet away you can watch Taiko performers in Japan? Epcot was definitely more of an adult park, so we weren’t too worried about getting our toes squashed by speeding strollers and crazed children in their Cinderella heels. But by the time we left, our entire lower bodies were hurting anyway.
All good things come to an end and now we’re back to the daily grind. No more funnel cakes, smoked turkey legs or Mickey-shaped waffles. It’s time to put the mouse ears away. Boo.
We spent last week working, cleaning and getting ready for our trip to Orlando. We took advantage of a deal using a Virgin America voucher. It’s always a pleasant flight when you travel with VA; neon lights in an airplane make an otherwise crappy flight fun. Another perk is taking off from the International Terminal, where you might catch some interesting art. These paintings and sculptures caught our eye. Mainly because they were huge pieces that you couldn’t miss, but they were also really well done and nice to look at. The painter is originally from China and the sculpturist was born in Hong Kong. Both artists currently reside in the Bay Area… neat.
The largest attraction that brought us to Orlando was Big Mouse. However, we’ve heard such phenomenal things about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, that we decided to squeeze in a trip to Islands of Adventure. Supposedly, Rowling insisted that everything in The Wizarding World stay true to the books and movies as much as humanly possible. That means you won’t find any branding within the gates of Hogsmeade. There is no Coke, but there is Butter Beer. There is bottled water, but it bears no label. There is food, but it’s not Burger King… try Shepard’s Pie with Roasted Potatoes and Grilled Corn. The fare is actually decent, isn’t ridiculously expensive and it won’t make you vomit when you ride the Dragon Challenge. These photos don’t do the dining hall justice. Everything is in the details and unless you’re well versed in the stories of Harry Potter, you might not get it. We’ve never read the books and have barely seen the movies, so much of the stuff we saw didn’t really mean anything to us. Though after today, we’re quite intrigued and want to read the books… all seven [yikes] of them.
It was time to let our vocal chords rest from the roller coaster, so we wandered into Honeydukes and Zonko’s where they sell sweets, sweets, more sweets, plus knickknack wizarding tricks and toys. Their candy prices were offensive. Ten bucks for a ‘chocolate’ frog smaller than your palm. Steep. Did we buy one? Yeah. We are suckers.
Somehow, we were also lured into waiting in line for Olivander’s Wand Shop. We still don’t know why we stood there for 90 minutes baking in the heat, only to spend 2 minutes in the store and come out empty-handed. A few of the kids didn’t mind. They got a kick out of choosing their wand and cape, along with their geeked out parents.
After eight hours of in the park, we were grouchy, hungry and suffering from sensory overload. Emeril’s restaurant looked like a good place to eat, until they sat us next to the kitchen with the automatic sliding door that opened and closed each time the wait staff walked through, which was about every 25 seconds. Annoying as heck… all we wanted was to dine in peace. We paid through the nose for our meal, but it was tasty nonetheless. At least, that’s what we keep telling ourselves.
We are home from spending nearly two weeks in China. We can do without the heat, humidity, rain and thunder, but we do miss the food. We’re still adjusting to the time difference, while trying to prepare for Indie Mart tomorrow. It seems we might have brought the wet weather home with us – weather forecasts call for a slight chance of drizzle on Sunday, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed… that would really suck if it poured on us. Hope to see you tomorrow, rain or shine!