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Alohomora: Unlocking the Secrets of the Harry Potter Studios

Did you see what I did with the title there? Dorky Clever, right?

At one point during our June 2012 trip, the mom of the children that I taught asked them, "What was your favorite thing that we've seen so far? And you can't say Harry Potter."

She was hoping against hope that what the kids took away from our intense trip had an element of history, of high culture, of literature. But she was fighting a losing battle because the Harry Potter Studios tour was so cool.

Sisters' Trip 2012: Orlando Bound (Part 2)

For those of you who didn't read yesterday's post, my sister and I went on a "just us" trip this past weekend to Orlando. We had a blast! Yesterday, I posted about the beginning of our day, as well as our fun times in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter  (inside the Universal Studios Islands of Adventure park). Today's post showcases the rest of our trip:

After we'd gotten our fill of Harry Potter, us Muggles headed to the other portions of Islands of Adventures.

Side note: If you're thinking about taking a trip to Orlando any time soon, know that timing is everything. We purposefully chose this past weekend since it was too late for spring breakers and too early for the summer break crowd. Not to mention the weather was perfect--slightly overcast (so no sunburns!) but warm (in the mid-70s). The forecast had called for 100% rain, but we were totally lucky and it didn't rain a single bit until we were eating supper--and the rain was over by the time our meal was!

Anyway, we spent the rest of the morning and the early afternoon exploring all of the fun things Islands of Adventure had to offer:
I remember when the original Jurassic Park movie came out--I was in the 2nd grade and absolutely obsessed with dinosaurs. My favorite was the protoceratops, and I wrote the world's most awesome 2nd grade science report on them!
We went on the River Adventure in Jurassic Park and got wet. And then we went to ride on Dudley Doright's Ripsaw Falls and got SOAKED. We definitely looked like wet rats for at least an hour after we had this brilliant idea!
If you know my sister, then you know she is the popcorn QUEEN. Note the delighted smile she has on her face--his was just after she found out she could get popcorn refills in her bucket for only 89 cents all day. 
We ate at Circus McGurkus Cafe Stoopenous in Seuss Landing.
Amber with her hamburger at Circus McGurkus. She ordered a hamburger, but of course she got cheese on it--Amber is picky and only likes the bread, burger and ketchup, but somehow everyone messes her order up!
We caught the cute (and sometimes cheesy) Sindbad show after lunch.
Then, it was back to Seuss Landing to ride the Caro-Seuss-el.
Caro-Seuss-el Amb
What is it about a carousel?!? I'm in my 20s and I STILL love them!
I know I'm no spring chicken, but I hadn't realized just how old I've gotten until my sister and I got onto the Hulk (the biggest coaster at Islands of Adventure) and got horribly, horribly nauseous. I used to be able to go on any coaster as many times as I could, then immediately get off and eat dinner. Now, I feel bad for making my dad go on all those crazy rides even after he said he felt sick!

After we finished up with Universal, we headed to Downtown Disney to do some shopping and eat dinner at the Rainforest Cafe there. I got a new Mickey scarf (which I wore to work yesterday) and a new wallet, and Amber got a new shirt.
Downtown Disney's best kept secret: the make your own rice krispie at Goofy's Candy Company. you get to choose your own dipping chocolate flavor, topping and drizzle. YUM!
We headed back to Charleston on Sunday morning; I wish we could have stayed for a week!!

I can't wait until Sisters' Trip 2013--any suggestions on where we should go? We'd like to go somewhere that isn't more than a 7 hour car ride from Charleston, SC, but other than that, we're up for just about anything!

Sisters' Trip 2012: Orlando Bound (Part 1)

For our second annual (sort of) sisters' trip, my sister and I headed down to Orlando, Florida for a few days  of fun (well, actually just a weekend--we left on Friday after work and came back Sunday). 

Our destination: Universal Studios...and in particular, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which I've only wanted to go on since it opened about two years ago.

My sister and I always have so much fun together no matter what we're doing. She came to get me after school on Friday and we headed down to Orlando. We stayed in a fun hotel called "The Castle" right on International Boulevard and only a few miles from Universal Studios.

I think Amber's ready to hit the park (Saturday morning): 

We made shirts to wear to the park--they got lots of comments. Among our favorites: "Oh, a sisters' trip? What sorority?" and "I hate my sister. You'd have to PAY me to go on a trip with her."
Also, note that the purple sister on the left (me) is slightly taller than the pink one. Amber tried to be as realistic as possible when making the shirts!!
SOMEONE is excited about going to the park. We were amongst the first few let into the park on Saturday!
HARRY POTTER WORLD!!
First stop: HOGSMEAD (!!!) and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Another view of Hogsmead
Yours truly in front of the Hogwarts Express
We're in Hogsmead!
Approaching Hogwarts Castle. I loved the ride, though I may or may not have closed my eyes and screamed like a tiny child when the huge spider was in my face!
Some of the fun displays in Hogsmead. This one was in Gladrag's front display, and is a replica of Hermione's dress that she wears to the Yule Ball in the fourth movie/ book.
The Butterbeer cart! I had some of the frozen Butterbeer and it was amazing. It tasted like a caramel/ vanilla/ butterscotch Icee. YUUUM.
Also, I had a picture of me with my Butterbeer, but my camera malfunctioned and ate half of the picture. Boo.
In front of Zonko's Joke Shop, also in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Amber checking out Gilderoy Lockhart's newest books--I wonder if she knows that he is a five-time winner of Witch Weekly's Most Charming Smile Award.
The Hogwarts Frog Choir treated us to some of the wizarding world's favorite a cappella tunes. 
I also got a new Harry Potter shirt, which I will definitely be sporting when I go to the Warner Bros. Backlot Studio Tour of Harry Potter in London this June!


I don't want to overload you with pictures, so I'll share the other half of our trip tomorrow. I already want to go back!

Have you ever been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? If so, what did you think?