Day 6: Jump Scares & Sore Feet (Islands of Adventure) 

The truth is in the name, Islands of Adventure always proves to be some kind of adventure or another. We went in with the energy of someone who knows they’re in the last leg of a race. That is, with great enthusiasm only barely covering the masked pain. 

I checked our Health vitals on my phone, and we’d been basically covering 8.5 miles a day. And that’s considering my phone was in a locker for a good portion of time. 

Once we entered (on time, I might add), we headed straight to the new attraction in town. 

Skull Island


As of now, Skull Island only has one attraction: The Reign of Kong. Its a pretty great ride! There’s 3D goggles involved, and you get to ride an “expedition vehicle” (which basically looks like a huge jeep). 

The 3D effects are quite impressive and there’s also some really cool animatronics involved near the end. 

My only complaints about it were: 1. I hate giant worms, 2. The Skull Island natives scared the shit out of me, and 3. Did I mention I hate giant worms? 


If you hate giant worms like I do, I’d recommend sitting on the far left side of the tram, where I thankfully happened to sit. As for the natives, the people at Universal decided it would be a good idea to hide scare actors in the queue. As you’re walking through the darkness, at any moment a “Skull Island Native” could jump out and scare you. 

I may or may not have let out a blood-curdling scream. I got really scared ok! 

Jurassic Park

I love this area, its such a classic. The Jurassic Park River Adventure is always one of my favorites, although this time around we kept getting told off for taking pictures while the ride was in motion? 

 

 I really wouldn’t have a problem with this, but their only rule had been no flash photography, beforehand. Our phones were in a plastic protector! Nothing would’ve happened. It kind of harshed my mood while on the ride, but it was still lots of fun like always. 


My favorite newish attraction in this area is the Raptor Encounter, where you can meet with a raptor trainer who lets you pose for photos with an animatronic velociraptor. 

I knew that it was an animatronic but somehow it was still scary? The raptor reacts in real time to anything you do and the noises are so lifelike! For a moment I was genuinely terrified. 

Seuss Landing


This area is great for kids! As a teacher I kind of went wild buying things in this area, because, well, finding good Dr. Seuss merch is nearly impossible. 

All the rides are geared towards children in this area, so it would be a great destination for little ones. 

The Lost Continent

 This area used to be a lot bigger before the integration of the Harry Potter area, so The Lost Continent now boasts a total of two attractions: The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad (a live stunt show) and Poseidon’s Fury (a walk-through show). 

Both of these are great but haven’t been updated in a very long time. I’d say Poseidon’s Fury is my favorite of these two, just because the effects are super cool. 

Marvel Superhero Island

 

A part of me loves seeing the old comic book heroes come to life in this area of the park. There’s something very nostalgic about the cheesy, old-fashioned, original superhero costumes that makes me happy. 

The Hulk is the must-ride roller coaster in the park, its so good! Fast and thrilling, the coaster never stops being a favorite. 

We also happened to eat in this area, we did lunch at Captain America’s Diner, where sure enough, Captain America was hanging out for photo ops. 

Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hosmeade

The crowning glory! Who doesn’t love seeing the Hogwarts castle in the distance? It made me all kinds of emotional. 


The Forbidden Journey is the ride inside of the castle. We did the whole queue despite single rider being available because, well we wanted to walk through the whole castle! 

I think its possible to do the walk through without having to do the ride, but I love the ride so I didn’t actually bother asking. 


After a quick ride in the Twiwizard Tournament Dueling Dragons, we sat for a quick frozen butterbeer. It did wonders to combat the Florida humidity. 


We did a bit of shopping and saw the Twiwizard Tournament Pep Rally, where you get to see Drunstrang and Beauxbaton students perform on stage, much like their intro in Goblet of Fire. 


Like I said before, I really do love the performances over in Diagon Alley much more, but both of the ones in Hogsmeade are still worth a look. The second performance is the Hogwarts School Choir performing various acapella songs, complete with frogs! 


It just so happened to be International Ice Cream Day on the day we were in Hogsmeade, so I nipped in to The Three Broomsticks to get a bit of ice cream to celebrate. I got Strawberries and Peanut Butter while my little sister opted for a Butterbeer Ice Cream. I liked mine but I really wish I had gotten the Butterbeer flavored one, it was delicious. 

The biggest issue with Hogsmeade is space. While it is technically rather big, it always feels so cramped with space! There’s never anywhere to sit. Thankfully, this year I discovered a bit of a hidden nook! 


Next to the Girl’s Restroom, where Moaning Mrytle lives, there’s a small passageway that leads to the back of the Hog’s Head. 


Tables galore! And with wonderful shade no less. We spent a good half hour here. This seating area has wonderful views of the lake and of Hogwarts! It seems like most people don’t know about it because it was practically empty. 

I love that I can still find secrets at Hogwarts, no matter how many times I’ve visited. 

We called it quits rather early. Not only we’re our feet insanely sore and bruised up from so much walking, but my inner thighs had a rash from so much rubbing together. Thick thigh girl problems, eh?

Either way we were able to finish this park surprisingly early, considering how long it took us to finish Universal the day before. Not that I’m complaining, I needed a rest. 

xx

Day 5: Mostly Potter (Universal Studios) 

Since the last time I’ve been to Universal, there hasn’t been a great many positive changes other than one: the new Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon attraction.


However, the Twister and Beetlejuice Concert were given up as a result to this. I can say that the ride was fun and the queue inside of “Fallon’s Studio” was a blast. They had live performances from the Ragtime Gals! 


Hashtag Panda also made an appearance but by the time he stepped out on to the stage to dance, our ticket color had been called for “recording”. 


Maybe it was because the day before had granted me the best motion stimulator ride I’d ever been on, but Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon was just … alright. It’s worth getting on, especially since the queue is basically watching a performance, but it was just alright. 

More to the point, it seems like this year Universal had more removals than additions to their park. Previously mentioned Twister and Beetlejuice Concert were retired, as well as the Disaster Studios ride, which is one of my classic favorites. 

I couldnt really stay angry though, considering that the Harry Potter Diagon Alley section is still something that exists. 

  

Its every Harry Potter fan’s dream. Everything from interactive “magic” points that you can do with the wands at Ollivanders, to the shops and food sold on location. 


Diagon Alley is actually my favorite place to chill out in-park. It feels like it has much more space than Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure, and the performances are so much better! 


The Tales of Beetle and the Bard are told using elaborate puppetry by very talented puppeteers. Its absolutely beautiful and you cannot miss it! 


In the same area, every hour on the hour, magical songstress extraordinaire Celestina Warbeck performs the top hits, including Molly Weasley’s favorite “A Cauldron Full Of Hot Strong Love”. 

 

The featured ride in this area is the Escape from Gringotts Bank, where you get to escape the safest bank in the world via dragon riding. 

Universal kind of surprised us a bit by cutting Single Rider queues for a few of the rides. We usually depend on those to cut our waiting time, so we had to wait the full 30 minutes to get on the bank cart. 


I wasn’t too upset about this because 1. the queue is in air conditioning, and 2. it’s just really fucking cool. 

For lunch time, we boarded the Hogwarts Express to cross over to Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure. We went to our usual, and absolutely best place to eat: The Three Broomsticks. 


We had to pay for park-to-park tickets beforehand to board the train but I think it’s well worth it. The next day’s schedule would be too hectic to allow lunch at Hogsmeade. Our usual order is The Great Feast. Its a platter for four people and a cool chef in a funky hat brings it to your table. 


How good does that look? Its insanely delicious, I’ll tell you that. With our bellies full and appetite sated, we boarded the train again to go back to Universal and hang out in Diagon Alley. 


My little sister bought an interactive wand and had lots of fun figuring out all the spells throughout the area. I’m an idiot and left my interactive wand at home, so I spent my money on something I’d been wanting for a long time. 

A robe! 

Slytherin Pride!


Univeral Studios is honestly more shows than thrill rides, so we got a slight rest on our feet after hour days of walking parks from morning till night. We did leave a bit early to rest up for our final day, but not before taking the required photo at the phone booth in London 


If you happen to visit this phone booth, be sure to call the number on the phone for the Ministry of Magic! There’s a cute little message that plays. 


By 8 o’clock, we were heading back to our hotel. One more day and my feet will get a breather! 

xx 


Day 2: It’s Raining Wookies and Jawas (Hollywood Studios)


We’re on time today! 8:55AM, we’re at the gates ready to enter and run to the first destination. Only… it was already open? 

I know the park is open to Disney Resort guests early, but the park was letting everyone in! It was weird and threw us for a loop, but thankfully our usual first destination, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror only had a 10 minute wait. 


We did the Rock & Rollercoaster right after that. Yes, that’s both fast-paced attractions before 10:30AM. R&RC has a “Single Riders” line that my family always uses to cut our waiting time. We have to be separated, but I think the wait time is so worth it. Besides, you get to meet interesting new people this way! 


We did a quick round of the Toy Story ride and the Muppets area. I just recently found out that this park will be getting a fully fleshed-out Toy Story Land soon! They had concept art up for the area and it looks amazing! 


Slinky Dog is such an underrated Toy Story character, so I’m especially excited to see that Slinky themed rollercoaster! 

We had lunch today at a pizza place called “PizzaRizzo”. Its a Muppet themed restaraunt. This was previously a “Pizza Planet” restaurant modeled after the Toy Story restaurant of the same name. 


Because of construction for the Star Wars additions and Toy Story additions, this restaurant ends up being quite a bit out of the way for most people. It was awesome! Barely any people were around, and the food was great. We sat in a beautiful empty room and relished in the sweet sound of quiet that’s so rare in the hustle and bustle of an amusement park. 

But honestly, the weirdest thing I realized from visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios is that it’s basically Star Wars Land already. 

So many of the events and shows are Star Wars themed! They’ve even gotten rid of the giant Sorcerer Mickey’s hat in the center of the park to make way for a brand new Star Wars themed center stage. 


There’s an Imperial March Parade starring Captain Phasma, which was ridiculously cool to witness first hand. 


There’s troopers all over the park! My favorite change has been the refurbishment of the old Animation Courtyard into what’s now called the Launch Bay. 


There’s everything from Storm Troopers to Jawas, walking around and fully immersing you in the world of Star Wars. 

The Jawa accidentally scared me and it shuffled off! It was so cute, I felt really bad because it just wanted a picture and I might’ve scared them with my scream. The Jawa was going around meeting small children, though, it was really cute to watch. 


And the best pet of all, I GOT TO CUDDLE A WOOKIE. There was a Chewbacca Meet and Greet available with only a five minute wait. I obviously jumped at the chance! Who wouldn’t? Just look at him, super fluffy! 


He makes me look so short! Makes me wonder if the cast members who play Chewie are actually that height… who knows. 

This entire new addition to the park made me even more excited for the addition of Star Wars Land. 


There’s a brand new night show in Hollywood Studios as well, right after “Fantasmic!”, the Sorcerer Mickey show. But at around 6:30PM, it started pouring, and it just. Did not stop. 

By 8:00PM, we were sat in the Fantasmic! arena, best seats in the house, but the announcer said that there was a possibility of cancellation due to weather and … well we just assumed. We left early that day, and sure enough, we found out later that the show had been cancelled. 

Good thing we did leave early though, we got back to the hotel to find out that there was a leak in our room! The carpet near the beds was completely soaked in water. 
Apparently our lovely top-floor neighbors left water running and the pipes leaked on to our floor. We spent most of our “free evening” gathering all our belongings and moving to a different room. 

It was pretty inconvenient, mostly because the second room didn’t have beds as comfy as the ones we’d had in the first room. At least now we have a dry carpet and non-wet-smelling room. 

Epcot is tomorrow! Let’s hope nothing else goes wrong. 

xx


Shopping Bucket List: Disney Springs

I’ve been to Downtown Disney, or “Disney Springs” as it’s called now, many times throughout my childhood. It’s changed drastically since I was little, from simple shop additions to a complete revamp of the area. The biggest change this time around comes from my end: I have a job. Which means I can actually shop! Can you tell I’m excited? Because I am. Here’s my top 7 shops I want to take a peek at, hopefully tonight.

anthropologie1. Anthropologie – I’ve only been able to step foot into an Anthropologie once, and I was dead skint broke at the time, it was horrid. I wanted so many things! I really want to go in to see everything they have, although it’s going to suck being limited by airline weight on the trip back. I want a candle! I’ll just have to take a sniff around and order the one I like online.

fp

2. Free People – For all the reasons in Anthropologie, basically. You don’t understand the amount of longing I had for this one pair of boots on the FP website, but I was broke at the time and now they’re completely sold out. I’ll have a look round and try things on for later purchase, hopefully some nice boots. 🙂

kiehls

3. Kiehl’s Since 1851 – I’ve never been in a Kiehl’s store. That’s illegal. Honestly, I my wishlist has about five Kiehl’s products so I might pop in for a cheeky purchase or two. I can’t wait for this!

zara

4. Zara – I’m not in too much of a hurry to get in here, I’ve been in Zara before. But the we’ll be getting a Zara in my home town soon! I mostly want to go in and show my mom the clothes that they sell and how pretty everything is, so that she’s a bit more understanding when I go crazy at the store opening.

basin

5. Basin – They have cute Mickey themed soaps! I don’t know how likely it is that I’ll be buying any, but I definitely want to go in and look around (smell around?)

sugarboo

6. Sugarboo & Co. – I’m really looking forward to this one. The site says that they specialize in the “whimsical” and they have so many cute looking uplifting prints! I’m always on the lookout for cute things for my room, so this is a must-go-to store.

christmas

7. Disney’s Days of Christmas – Because I’m a Christmas person who doesn’t wait until December to find the perfect yearly Christmas ornament. I’ve never bought one here before but I’ve always wanted to!

I’ll definitely be going to the usual World of Disney store and such, but there’s so many new things to look at, I wonder if we’ll even have the time. Our flight might be a bit delayed, so if we don’t go tonight, we’ll go at some point during the week. Stick around for my vacation posts this week! And you can also follow my instagram and snapchat for more photos and footage!

If the air balloon is up and running, you can bet your ass I’ll be hitching a ride on that!

Well, we’re about ready to pack up all our bags and head to the airport. Hope you all are having a lovely Monday! If you’ve been to Disney Springs, please let me know your favorite shops so I can have a peek in this week! 🙂

xx

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What’s In My Bag: Flight Edition

I come to you live from my household, one night before our flight to Florida where everything is complete chaos because we’ve all managed to go above our weight limit for baggage. I’m sure we’ll figure it out, eventually. Travel always seems to be a bit stressful the few days before, and my family doesn’t really make it a habit of flying anywhere. I’ve flown a few places alone, but never with my family, so tomorrow is sure to be a hectic and interesting day.

Thought it would be interesting to do a bit of What’s In My Bag before the flight though! These are subject to change considering the chaos that’s going on in the hallway. I might end up having to shove my hair straightener in here as well, but here’s the gist of it:

list2

  1. The trusty ol’ Jansport backpack, survivor of the highschool days.
  2. Makeup Bag, with the usual suspects inside. (Going to be trying out BB Creams while I’m out there, but in case I end up hating them, I’ve got my usual foundation in there. Hopefully, I’ll be able to review them soon!)
  3. Snacks! I’ve opted for some Chocolate Chip cookie bites, Milk Duds, and a small Mio bottle to mix with water that I’ll get before boarding.
  4. Hydration Essentials. Including: EOS lip balm for chapped lips, St. Ives Skin Renewing Collagen & Elastin Body Lotion poured into a travel sized bottle, & Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask. Flights usually suck moisture out of my skin, so I’m stocking up!
  5. Spectacles. I talked about these glasses in a Recent Splurges post, and I’m so excited to take them on holiday! Follow me on Snapchat to get Spectacles footage from my trip.
  6. Laptop. I’ll hopefully be blogging while I’m out in Florida!
  7. Ipod + Headphones. I try and use this iPod for photos as well to save battery on my phone.
  8. Extra Headphones. You honestly never know, I can’t take chances with headphones. I’ll be taking my wireless Jaybird x2 headphones as well.
  9. Moment Lens. I bought this recently and will be using the trip to test drive how much I like it. So far it’s been AMAZING, I can’t wait to make a full post about it. Watch out for it!
  10. Bullet Journal + pens. This will be used less for planning (as I usually use it) and more to jot down quick thoughts at the end of the day. Some part of me always feels a bit more secure with my bullet journal around for some odd reason, even if I don’t use it.
  11. Kindle Paperwhite. I’ve been clinging to this for the past two weeks! I’ve finished through and entire series (finally) and have tackled reading The Martian. I haven’t seen the movie for the sake of reading the book first. I’m completely immersed and can’t put it down!
  12. Anker External Battery, just in case.
  13. Anti-Bacterial Hand Gel. I’ve got so many of these still lying around from student gifts last year, it’s so awesome. I’m never out of hand sanitizer!
  14. Contact case (+ contact liquid, not pictured), just in case my eyes dry out so much that I have to take those babies off.

That’s about it! My wallet and phone are obviously included as well, but I tend to carry those in my pockets anyway. The reunion went well, if a bit dull, for those wondering. I managed to twist my ankle playing kickball so most of the evening was spent chilling with my cousins in the shade. Good fun.

Phew, I’ve still got to finish putting together everything for tomorrow, so I’ll finish off here. Are any of you guys taking trips soon? What are you taking with you? I’m a novice at best at flights so it’d be lots of fun to read blog posts on stuff like that, link me in the comments!

Hope you guys had a wonderful weekend!

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