hi! i'm alive! i swear. life has been a bit nutty for the past couple months. i've been swamped with gigs and end-of-year concerts at my various 6 schools. 7 if you include my youth orchestra. (holy crap, how am i teaching SO much??)
that being said, here's an incredibly overdue post with too much detail all about our trip to walt disney world and universal studios orlando!
this was my fav park, hands down. the vibe there is super chill and it's less busy than any of the other parks. and it's absolutely beautiful! it's really half-zoo, half-theme park. you'll be walking along a random path to an attraction and bam a monkey. just hanging out.
there's not an enormous amount of things to do (which i learned is the deal with all the parks. they're all smaller than disneyland but there's 4 parks, so...) but i could've spent a week there.
we rode expedition everest 5 times. it's like matterhorn meets a more extreme version of thunder mountain railroad. i never thought i'd like a backwards rollercoaster but it was just the right amount of scary and fun for this little rollercoaster ninny.
we rode kali river rapids (a more disappointing version of grizzly river run at DCA. only 1 drop!) went on safari, rode the dinosaur ride (the exact same track as indiana jones), and saw all the shows. we danced with musicians, saw the "park opening" welcome with the tropical birds of flight, and savored dole whips with coconut rum under the tree of life.
it was pure magic, people.
my first thoughts as we entered this version of main street was "it feels like home... but bigger." the buildings were taller, the castle is obviously huge, and the train station was grander.
we rode nearly everything. haunted mansion (a slightly different but equally cool take on the classic), big thunder mountain (totally different track but all the same nostalgia), splash mountain (waaay smoother and more pleasant), and even the jungle cruise.
our fav was space mountain. we rode it 3 times. it's completely different from the disneyland version in a refreshing way. this one was slower but longer and had more "drops". and we sat single-file instead of side-by-side. joe loves it more than the disneyland one!
our third day was spent "drinking around the world" at epcot's world showcase. (for those who don't know, theres a mini-land for various countries around the world that exhibit authentic food and attractions.)
first, we rode all the rides, of which there aren't many. test track, mission space, spaceship earth, and the finding nemo dark ride.
we saved all our pennies for this day, when we knew we wanted to eat and drink lots at every "country" in the park. we started at mexico where we had chips & guacamole with margaritas for lunch. we rode the gran fiesta tour inside the mexico pavillion which is a mild boat ride themed to the three caballeros. it's cute and it was great on a full stomach.
norway was my favorite thing holy cow. i tried a glacier shot and met a very nice young norwegian man who sold me dessert leftse. my family is norwegian (and lots of other things) and leftse is a common food in our lives, so i was ecstatic to see it at a theme park! and we rode the new frozen dark ride that blew my mind! it's a boat ride that moves along at quite a clip, goes backwards, and has incredibly advanced animatronics. i may have been tipsy, but i couldn't stop yelling about how much fun i was having!... maybe i was tipsy....
then we went to china where i got mango wine and we visited a little exhibit all about disneyland shanghai. the wine was quite tasty and only $5, in case you're looking for a cheaper option.
africa was small but joe got a really cool alcoholic coke float that was quite refreshing, as it was starting to get really warm at this point in the day. joe played on the african drums and gave everyone a show.
germany brought us pretzels and beer and a really cute christmas ornament shop.
italy, the land of my husband and future babies, involved limoncello and shade from the sun. it looked like vatican city and had a plethora of restaurants that i wish we could've tried.
we skimmed america. cuz hello. but they were playing nickel creek music through the speaker system, which made my day.
japan was awesome and i wished we had spent more time there, but we had a fast pass to catch. the shopping was the best thing for sure.
morocco was so amazing and i wanted more time. but alas, we were there for a spicy sausage and that was it.
france was home to a delicious jambon sandwich and a creepy "emma watson as belle" doll.
the united kingdom almost got me with its overpriced-imported teas and biscuits. but the nod to peter pan in the topiaries made me very happy.
poor canada, we didn't give you any attention. i apologize and i promise to visit you first next time. you looked really pretty, if that counts for anything.
this place was funny to us LA folk because they didn't have "lands", they had sunset boulevard and hollywood boulevard, etc. and even though the park was only half open due to the construction for star wars land and toy story land, we loved our day in the park. my fav ride was rockin' rollercoaster which was super intense but totally fun. we rode it 3 times. the others rode tower of terror without me (ninny) and said it was fantastic. and i was quite inpressed with the pixar area that was designed to look just like pixar studios in emeryville, CA.
but the highlight of the day was absolutely the star wars dessert party and reserved fireworks viewing that marissa scored for us. we had scrumptious star wars themed treats like blue milk, BB-8 cupcakes, and galactic margaritas. then we were escorted to our own special area to view the fireworks up against graumann's chinese theater. it was magical.
universal studios orlando
we visited both universal parks, but we know that diagon alley is all that mattered to me.
it was completely immersive and the right amount of london grime + magic.
the gringotts bank ride was completely thrilling.
we had a delicious lunch at the leaky cauldron that made my heart so incredibly happy.
we rode the hogwarts express to the other park, which connects to hogsmeade.
their hogsmeade has a roller coaster that CA doesn't have. it's called dragon challenge and it's the most intense roller coaster i've ever rode. (roller coaster ninny, remember.) and i loved the triwizard tournament theme!
it was the hottest day of the trip, even though we were blessed with amazing weather the whole week. therefore, we took full advantage of the water rides in universal's second park, islands of adventure. these parks blew our CA universal out of the water... heh. puns. but really, i was amazed by how impressive orlando theme parks are.
and now that you're thoroughly bored, i'll end this post by reiterating how much fun we had. we went with our dear friends aaron & marissa who are not only fantastic friends, but fantastic theme park buddies. we had a blast together.
this trip was gold. we are so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to relive childhood for a week. i don't know if i'll ever get to go back, but i already can't wait.