Orlando Family Vacation!

The last week in February, Shane, myself, the kids, my parents and my brother took a family vacation to Orlando! We had been planning the trip for nearly a year. It was a celebration of both my parents’ 60th birthdays and their 40th anniversary. 

We had a great time, hitting up Universal Studios (The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!), soaking up some sunshine, and getting to relax while spending time with family. 

When my brother and I met outside of our hotel rooms one morning, we just happened to both be wearing our Raygun shirts, proclaiming the awesomeness of Iowa. Seriously – it was a coincidence. 

Proud Iowans
Proud Iowans

I was so excited to go to Harry Potter World. I’m basically like a 12-year-old when it comes to Harry Potter. It did not disappoint! The first day we went to Islands of Adventure which has Hogsmeade. It was so cool to see the little shops with snow covered roofs. Unfortunately, a lot of the store fronts are fake, and the real stores are very narrow! But it was cool nonetheless. Butterbeer is delicious. As are chocolate frogs 🙂 

We stopped in Honeydukes and got some candies. We bought lots of overpriced merchandise! One of my favorite stores was Weaselys Wizard Wheezes. If you’re a HP fan, visiting Universal Studios is a MUST!! 

At Islands of Adventure, there is a Dr. Seuss World too. It was a great stop for Norah to burn off some energy and see some of her favorite characters. She’s still too small for most rides, but she did get to go on the carousel! 

Riding the carousel at Dr. Seuss World
Riding the carousel at Dr. Seuss World
Norah playing in the stream at Dr. Seuss World.
Norah playing in the stream at Dr. Seuss World.

We also spent a day at Universal Studios, hitting up Diagon Alley. I liked this park more than the other. It was bigger and there was more to see. I even liked Diagon Alley more than Hogsmeade! Shane is not a Harry Potter fan, so he took Norah to the Curious George Playground and Fivel Goes West Playground while the rest of us explored Diagon Alley. 

I knew staying on my diet would be tricky. I managed pretty well though! I ate a lot of rice and steamed broccoli – luckily most restaurants have this. One of my favorite meals was the half rotisserie chicken from Wolfgang Pucks at Downtown Disney. It was a plateful of awesome, soaked in butter. Mmmmm, butter. 

I ended up getting two migraines on the trip. The first one was on the first day. My guess is because we flew over lunchtime and I basically skipped a meal. Big no-no! The second was on the fourth day. I don’t know why. It just happened. I took my meds, and dealt with it.

Also you may remember from my Thanksgiving post that my brother has Celiac Disease aka he can’t eat gluten or he will be a hurtin’ unit. 

My dad turned 61 while we were there. We celebrated with a great lunch at Lombard’s in Universal Studios. 

Happy Birthday Dad!
Happy Birthday Dad!

The girls were AMAZING on the trip. Seriously! Based on Cece’s last hotel stay, we assumed we would be getting zero sleep. But she slept all night, almost every night! I may have had to feed her during the night twice. Norah was also awesome, as usual 🙂 She just rolls with whatever we were doing. 

We also did some non-theme park stuff. Our hotel had a waterpark attached to it, so we spent the first day (the warmest day) doing that. It was Cece’s first time swimming, and she seemed to like it! Norah loves swimming. She’s basically a fish. 

Enjoying the Florida sunshine!
Enjoying the Florida sunshine!

There was a billboard right outside of our hotel advertising M&M World. After seeing it several times a day, the ad worked and we all ventured to said M&M World. It was awesome! Expensive, but awesome.

M&M World, aka Norah's idea of heaven.
M&M World, aka Norah’s idea of heaven.

 My favorite picture of the trip? Cece threatening my brother with a five-finger death punch:

Cece fist

 

My second favorite picture? My parent’s getting photobombed in front of the Universal Studios Globe:

Photobomb 

That was our vacation in a big nutshell. It was unbelievably helpful to outnumber the kids 5-2. I could not – and would not – have done it without all those extra hands! 

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