Animal Kingdom!

Hey hey!!! I was putting this post together and realized it was basically 99% food pics per usual. I shook my head and thought to myself, “ya dun it again, kid”. I guess food is just too darn photogenic, but I’ll fill in the gaps with words (also per usual) haha. Y’all have your snacks ready? Let’s gooo!

After wizarding our way through Harry Potter World we passed through Jurassic Park and The Comic Book Land to ride the Hulk Ride (what a blast!) & then went back to the hotel. We were all pretty tired and chilled to the bone after the cool day. We decided to order takeout from a hotel restaurant and stay in the cozy community room to play CodeNames with the whole gang. If you guys haven’t played this game, ya need to! It’s soo much fun and perfect to whip out with the family for the holidays (or anytime).

For our meals we ordered from Todd English’s Blue Zoo (located within the hotel). I had the Blackened Florida Grouper and da-da-dannng was it ever delicious. It came with black eyed pea puree, polenta “johnny” cake, jumbo lump crab meat, and creole cream. Every bite was heaven.

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DJ had the lobster carbonara. Obvi, it was good. I mean it has “lobster” and “carbonara” in its name after all. Can’t go wrong with that!

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After several rounds of seriously our new favorite game ever, we called it a night. I definitely slept more that night than the one before! On December 6th I woke up at 6:45 am (3:45 my time… oy vey!) to study & get my training run in for the day. It was worth it though when followed by a stellar breakfast (and lots and lots of coffee). We had a hotel breakfast with my mom-in-law and stepdad in law, Gordie, before meeting up with the rest of the group. This breakfast had so many nomz!!! Here is a little roundup.

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Gosh, this breakfast was sooo tasty & fresh & delicious. Mmmm! I love the combo of a muffin, fruit, yogurt, and granola.

Time for Animal Kingdom!

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Immediately after going through the entrance we were greeted by a walking tree. Only in Disney!

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And thennn we were greeted by the tree of life!

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We first went to Dinoland to ride the Dinosaur ride. Too fun!

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Then we headed in the direction of Expedition Everest. This may have been the ride I was most excited for yet.

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SOOO. much. fun! Also that kids face in the back….poor thing doesn’t know what he got himself into. hahah.

We walked around a bit more and had lunch at the Tusker House Cafe.

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This buffet had alll the goodies- there was something for everyone! I loved every bite, but their hummus was particularly yummy!

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Time for the Safari ride. Buckle up!

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This guy below is definitely my Monday mood.

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I was amazed at how close we were able to get to the animals.

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It’s a real life Lion King!!! Naaaaaaants ingonyama bagithi baba

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The whole fam in front of the tree of life 🙂 <3 Just love this group so much.

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PANDORA TIME! I love love loveeed the movie Avatar when I saw it for the first time. I remember watching it when I was in high school.. I was home on a weekend recovering from being sick and just got lost in the beautiful world while lying on the couch like a log. I was awestruck by this recreation of Pandora at Disney. My pictures do not even come close to doing any type of justice. It’s just one of those things y’all will have to see for yourselves 😉 Blogger meet up in Disney?!

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Below are some epic adult beverages you can grab at the stand Pongu Pongu in Pandora. They have boba right on top. On your left is the Rum Blossom and on the right is the Mo’ara Margarita. Mmmm!

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*PS. Thank you to the fam for being so patient and helpful ( and for being hand models) through the trip*

Time to head to the Avatar Flight of Passage. ok….WOAH. Where do I find the words?! This is easily one of the coolest VR rides ever ever ever. I didn’t know this type of technology existed?!?! If you go to Animal Kingdom you HAVE to ride this ride. Definitely get the fast past though, because the regular line is crazyyy long (rightfully so). This and Tower of Terror were probably my two favorite rides from the week. Although Escape from Gringotts was up there too.

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After going back to the hotel we got dressed up then went to Shula’s within the hotel for dinner to celebrate DJ’s sister, Renee’s, birthday! I love that her birthday fell during the trip- we rarely get to see her with all our crazy schedules, nonetheless on her birthday, so the fact that we could celebrate ALL together was very special <3

We started off with warm, fluffy, perfect bread… *insert drool face* good lawd. That bread… I will dream of it for all of my days…

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For an appetizer DJ and I split the seafood trio of shrimp cocktail, crab meat, and lobster tail served with a trio of sauces. My mouth is watering all over again!

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For my main, I had maybe the most delicious scallops I have ever tasted..

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DJ’s steak… (once again, probably needs no description 😉 ).

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And sides that will blow your socks off!! Crab mac and cheese.. me oh my was this ever good! Holy moly, I could have ate that as my meal alone!

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& Some scrumptious asparagus..

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Dessert was a chocolate souffle DJ and I split. 2018 has been the year of souffles—savory, sweet, and pancaked! If it’s on the menu, we basically have to try it. We compared this to Cafe Jacqueline– yes .. that good!

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Picture is a bit pixelated since I stole it from the good ole’ f-book, but ya get the idea 😉

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We slept so well that night after such a phenomenal meal. In the morning, DJ and I snuck in a run then grabbed some coffee from Fuel downstairs in the lobby. That coffee touched my very souuul. No no, that statement is not dramatic at all.

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DJ enjoyed a ham and cheese sandwich, and I had some leftover breakfast from the day before- fruit, granola, and yogurt.

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Next we go to Epcot!!! Wooohoo!! I probs should edit this post, but I’m too excited to share.. so we’ll just post it with all errors and whatnot, k?!

Question for you:

  • Favorite Disney movie of all time?

xo <3

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Harry Potter World!!! (mostly)

Okay all, hold on tight to the Portkey, as I am transporting us Muggles to Harry Potter world today! (and finishing up the rest of our time in Universal).

We left off in “San Francisco”. A bit past SF you will see King’s Cross– the first hint of our entrance into the fantasy land! There are a few little Harry Potter references in a crossway that leads to other side of Universal. If you directly cross through King’s Cross you will end up in HP land.

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Knight Bus, anyone?!

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I am forever convinced this is the creepiest creation below in all of HP… even above the noseless He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named.

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Before exploring HP land through King’s Cross, we decided to first explore that side of Universal Studios. We entered into Krustyland- a Simpsons Fan’s dream. I have never watched an episode of the Simpsons, but it was still fun!

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For lunch we had Moe’s, which is a big cafeteria providing many options that are odes to Simpson’s food. (sorry to all the innocent bystanders that I captured in my photos- whoops)

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I was still able to sniff out a vegetarian option. I had some hummus and pita with a veggie sandwich that was tasty & filling. I did notice that nearly everywhere we went in Universal Studios and Disney had accommodating options for people who don’t eat meat.

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But most would opt for their delectable burgers & curly fries! This is the “Clogger Burger” below. That name…. hahah.

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The big group of us also all had a try of the Lard Lad Donut!

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It was so yummy! Even better than I expected. Mmm ! I thought it would taste like straight sugar, but it actually had great flavor that came through too.

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Okay, zipping back to King’s Cross — crossing through we entered into Diagon Alley.  Even if you are an expert in Harry Potter I think it’d be impossible to absorb all the details. It’s ah-may-zing.

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First things first! Gotta grab a wand 😉 If you buy an interactive wand, you are given a map that leads you to place in the park where you can use your wand to “cast spells”, marked by a circle symbol on the ground that you step on, with a pattern for how to use your wand to activate the “spell”.

Each wand corresponds with a character from the series. Can you guess whose is whose?

img_4536-2img_4538-2img_4539-2img_4537-2img_4589img_4588img_4590img_4593facetune_14-12-2018-10-35-14Originally we all grabbed our character wands (Amy and I chose Hermione), but then we realized you could trade it in for personalized wand at Olivander’s. Basically they take your birthday and tell you what wand is specific for you. For my January birthday, I received the  “Birch” wand!

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Below is one of the spots you can use your wand I was describing earlier. In this one you can control the eyeballs. That’s a sentence I never thought I’d write? haha.

Next, we rode the new Gringott’s ride which was just insanely incredible, easily one of my favorite rides we did the whole day. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. Virtual reality + roller coaster= mind blowing experience. Wow oh wow- Did I mention I loved that ride?!

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Time to finally try a Butterbeer!

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The gang with our wands and butterbeers 🙂

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They were SO gooooood! It is like a cream soda, but thicker. it’s very very sweet, and typically I don’t like any drinks too sweet- but gosh, I loved that. It almost had that root beer float type of creaminess. There is actually no alcohol in Butterbeer despite the name, so it is safe for kiddos & trust me- they’ll love it!

Below is a building that you can turn the lights on and off with your interactive wand.

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Time to enter Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes!

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In order to get to the second part of HP world, you have to take it Hogwart’s Express to get to the second part of the park. But first- you have to run through platform 9 3/4, of course. 

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All aboard!! We shuffled into a cabin that perfectly resembled the ones in the movies. There is a screen that has passing images of rolling hills, a simulated invasion of dementors, and finally your arrival to Hogwarts. Too cool.

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We heeeereee! This is the Hogsmeade portion of the park.

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Breathtaking.

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It was really chilly that day, so it added to the real feel of the fake snow on the rooftops.

HoneyDukes was one of the “must-visits” for the day…

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It did not disappoint! I was blown away by everything you could try that was straight from the books. Anyone brave enough to try the Bertie Bott’s Beans?

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I opted for a chocolate frog. I mean you havee to get a chocolate frog, right? Next time I’ll be trying the pumpkin pasty. That is something in the book that always sounds so delicious too.

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It was wonderful milk chocolate! I am not even a fan of plain milk chocolate usually (I prefer dark), but this was lovely & smooth.

Oh, and you get a trading card just like they do in the books. I received Bertie Bott!

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Last, but not least, we saw THE Hogwarts. There is a ride called The Forbidden Journey inside the castle we rode too- it was a blast, but Gringotts still has it beat. Better just do both to be sure 😉 I was just wowed by the attention to detail, the magnitude, and again, the total immersion of the experience.

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Okayy, I’m off to finish up The Order of the Phoenix now! Have a magical weekend, my friends 🙂

Questions for you:

  • What is your favorite Christmas movie?
  • Anything fun happenin’ this weekend in your world?

xo <3

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