Springfield @ Universal Studios

Today is a Just Pics day!  I hope you enjoy these shots from Springfield!

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Day 5 and 6 Orlando Trip

Happy Friday everyone!  Today we are moving onto day 5 of our time in Orlando!

If you remember, we stayed out a little late the previous night, partying with McKesson.  So the 5:00am wake up call was definitely not welcome.  We had to load up all our junk into the car,  drive to Cabana Bay hotel, check in, and get on a bus to US before early park opening.  I was questioning my sanity at that point.  So was my family.

Val was pretty much zombie girl.

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We made it through the park turnstiles around 6:40am and headed straight to the new Harry Potter area.  Along with every other person staying at a Universal hotel.

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The reason I decided to book a room at the new Cabana Bay was strictly for the early access to Harry Potter.  I knew that without that extra hour, we would never get to ride Escape from Gringott’s, and I just had to ride it.

This line/mob of people is the line to get into Diagon Alley!  They started letting people in right at 7am and it we pretty much just stayed in this giant line in order to get in line for Gringott’s.

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When we made it to the ride que the sign already said 105 minutes!  Haha, that would actually prove to be an under estimation.

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We wove through a bunch of ropes, chains, and hallways until we ended up here.  Oh man!

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I knew that the 105 minutes was how long it would take up to just get into the bank part.  The sad thing is that there is nothing really cool to look at when you are outside waiting.  We were all bored out of our minds and tired, very tired.

By the time we made it into the bank it was kind of hard to appreciate the amazing detail and how perfectly replicated Gringott’s was to the movies.  I’m glad I have some photos to jog my memory since I felt completely foggy that morning.

So the wait ended up being more like 140 minutes, ugh.  But compared to people arriving around 9am and waiting 5-6 hours, I guess I can’t complain too much.

Was it worth it?  Kind of.  I never would have felt satisfied if I didn’t get to experience it.  The atmosphere was uncanny and the ride itself was really cool.  But honestly, I prefer Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.  My advice would be to wait until the hype dies down to make a trip to Diagon Alley.  Otherwise you may end up feeling underwhelmed by the new headlining ride.

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After a mind numbing morning of waiting, a butter beer was just what the doctor ordered!  After that we rode a couple other rides and then headed back to the hotel and crashed.

But before zonking out I had to get a pic of my Hogwarts shirt!  It won’t be making an appearance again for a long time so it had to be documented:)

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I think we slept for 3 hours!

Val was dying to swim in the cool pools at Cabana Bay, but we got rained out 😦

So we pretty much just explored the hotel, snacked in the dining hall, and waited for the rain to stop so we could go have dinner and re ride favorites at Universal.

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I must have been suffering from party hangover still because I really can’t remember much from that night.  We went to Springfield, took a bunch of pics, had a Squishee, bought Cam some awesome shirts, and then I think we wandered Diagon Alley.

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Don’t you just love this shirt?!  It had to be purchased.  This is one of my favorite Simpson quotes despite the fact that I love salad:)

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Ok I think I’m remembering now.  Cam and Val shared some fish and chips at the Leaky Cauldron and I decided that I was going to eat ice-cream for dinner:)

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There was a line to get in line at the Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour!  But this was a line worth waiting in.  They had unique flavors that all sounded fantastic.  I wound up getting sticky toffee pudding.  It was so good!  All buttery and brown sugary (drooling).

I really wanted to try caramel apple strudel, pistachio, and butter beer, but at $5 a cup I stuck to just the one.  Also, I didn’t want to repeat the previous night with another food coma.

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After dinner/ice cream we rode the Hogwarts Express over to IOA wandered around there, made a candy stop and called it a night.

Moving on to Day 6!!

We were much more rested for early entry on our second day with the Universal guest privilege.  Not totally fresh, but enough to get by:).  IOA is way way way less crowded for early entry compared to Diagon Alley.  We arrived just after 7am, no crowd and basically walked on to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.  We even had space to wander the shops and streets, it was so nice to feel non claustrophobic in Hogsmead.

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We rode some coasters, despicable me, and whatever Val wanted to do since Cam and I were both pretty theme parked out.

I even let her get Dippin’ Dots at 9am.  It was the last full day of our trip so why not?!

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We also figured that since it was our last day we should ride the water rides.  I am not a fan of water rides.  I am that girl wearing a poncho on Splash Mountain.  I do not care what people think of that.  Because I don’t like walking around humid Florida with wet underwear!  But that day I was throwing all caution to the wind, mostly since we planned on leaving immediately after:)

Before and After.  Yeah it’s hard to tell.  But let me tell you.  The raft ride will soak everyone from head to toe and everywhere in between!  Don’t even think you might get lucky and only get a little wet.  There is no lucky on that ride!

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Haha, you can tell more with Cam.  Not an inch of dryness.

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Back at the hotel I burned off some sugar while the afternoon down pour was going on.

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But hooray it didn’t last as long as the past couple of days and we were able to get in some pool/beach time.  Cabana bay has a lazy river, two big pools, hot tub, and water slide!  But believe it or not, I think my kiddo liked all the games they had the most.

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That evening was pretty relaxed.  We went back to Universal one last time to grab some dinner and ride the Simpson’s and the Hogwarts Express.  We actually closed the park and hung out in Springfield for quite awhile enjoying the atmosphere.  It was my favorite thing about the parks.

And so ends our time in Orlando.  Until we meet again…in October;)

Have a great weekend!  I’ll be back on Monday with my “just pics” posts for all the Harry Potter stuff and also Springfield!!

 

Day 4 Orlando

Wake up, wake up, wake up! Time to start the day with a run!  A sweaty, sweaty, sweaty run.  Day 4 in Orlando I did another long bout on the treadmill since I knew we were going to an end of conference party that night and there would be lots of fabulously fatty stuff I wanted to consume.  I was basically a puddle after that workout.  My entire outfit except the very hem of my shirt was drenched.  I grossed myself out, I can’t imagine what all the other gym goers were thinking.

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When I got back to the room I found this.  Apparently she had gone to breakfast with Cam and then fell right back asleep, face down, zzzzz.  I decided not to disturb her and let her get a bit more sleep since I planned on staying out late having some F-U-N

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When lunch time finally rolled around though, I was starving and had to wake sleeping beauty.  Oh how I loved not having to worry about cooking or even finding a restaurant.  McKesson is the man.  They had minions and mini desserts at lunch!

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The rest of the afternoon Val and I goofed around, went swimming and waited for Dr. Dawson to finish up some conference stuff.  I was like an impatient child waiting for the evening to come because McKesson was hosting a party at Universal and it was going to be awesome.

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When it was finally party time we got our cute lanyards and tickets and boarded a bus to Universal.  We had park to park access from 4-close so we hit up some rides before the dinner.  Thank goodness we rode the coasters before eating:)

Antojitos is one of the new restaurants on City Walk.  McKesson had a food set up in there that was very tasty.  But honestly I wish I had wandered around more before eating a giant plate of mexican food.  There were soooooo many food options, it was foodie heaven.

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Love that they had a red carpet, adorbz.

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They had everything from paella, to seafood, to bbq.  Oh but I loved the mini burger station and the hot dog station.  Probably just because we were in a theme park.

The food was so good I tried to restrain my sweet tooth.  But if it has coconut, I must eat it.  These little coconut cuties were so good, can’t believe I stuck to just one.

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Thank goodness I did!  We found an incredible cheese display, another one of my favorite things. And don’t look now but yes…coconut shrimp!  Cheese and coconut shrimp in the Karaoke Lounge!  It doesn’t get any better.  See my crazy face?  That is pure foodie joy right there:)

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K, by now i was literally going to explode.  Thank goodness there were balloon guys on stilts to distract me from eating anything else.

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When the dinner party part was over we headed to Springfield to ride the Simpsons and then over to Diagon Alley to wonder a bit.  Diagon Alley was surprisingly uncrowded.  We were the only ones in the owlery!

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We explored Knockturn Alley as well without crowds.  It was so cool and creepy and amazing.  I’ll do a post of just Harry Potter pics later.  I took a ton.

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When the park closed I swear I was more full than when dinner ended.  It was definitely time to head back to the hotel and go into a food coma.  Which is exactly what I did.

Ta-da, end of Day 4!  Tomorrow we move over to the new Universal hotel Cabana Bay!  See ya then!

Day 3 Orlando

Hey there my fellow obsessors!  I hope your week is going well.  If it’s not, here’s your virtual hug xxxxx!  And you know what always makes me happy.  Food pics!  And guess what?  I have a bunch for ya:)

Day 3 in Orlando, Cam was up early and off to sessions all day so Val and I were left to our own devices to dig up some trouble.

While missy was passed out in the room I ran a few miles in the fitness center.

She seriously slept like 12 hours!  I finally woke her up, dressed her, and hauled her booty down to the convention center for lunch.  Steak is always a good motivator for Val:)

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My motivation?  If you don’t know by now, this is clearly the very first post you have ever read of mine!  Oh the desserts!  I never eat dessert at lunch, but heck I just ran 6 miles, so why not?!

 

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Oh wait.  Shut the front door.  They had a dude making ice cream with liquid nitrogen!

Can’t say no to that!

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After Val and I were done eating and properly sugared up it was time to hit the pool.

These are the faces we make after 3…ok 4 desserts 🙂

 

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It was the perfect afternoon at the pool with my chickie.  We even played her favorite trivia game.  Which is where we ask each other questions about our favorite things, hobbies, junk like that, and if you get it right you get dunked.  Yeah I know, you should not get dunked for getting it right, but Val made up the game when she was like 5 and she still loves to get dunked.  Anyway, my girl knows so much about me!  I think she might know about me than I know about me:)  Love that girl!

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After swimming, I decided to round out my mileage for the day with an extra run.  Since I was going for a record of desserts eaten in one day I had to burn them off somehow.  So Val did some strength exercises in the room and showered while I sprinted it out in the gym one more time.

When I got back…she had popped out her last baby tooth!  She was doing burpees and said that it just came out!  I love that she tries to keep up her cheer/tumbling fitness while on vacation and I can’t believe that is how her last baby tooth came out.  That molar will forever be know as the burpee tooth.

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So after I finally got it together and realized my baby would be getting her last visit from the tooth fairy.  It was time for dinner!

Haha, desserts first please.

Then shrimp of course.

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Oh yeah, and I suppose I should eat some salad.

Ooooeee glad I did, that was some tasty salad!  I must make salad with pineapple and blue cheese now.  It was so good.

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We lingered for awhile until I thought Cam was going to fall asleep in the banquet hall.  Poor guy he literally crashed at 8pm and didn’t budge until the next day.

Ah I almost forgot to tell you!  Cam attended a meeting that day for IPC and they had a raffle for 3 trips and he won one!!  No Joke! A trip to Miami.  What a day.  Swimming, 10 miles, 10 desserts, last baby tooth, and a trip to Miami!  What are we going to do next Val?

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Froyo?  Sounds like a plan.  Add it to the dessert pile.

And a trip to the arcade to top it off.  Don’t tell Daddy we spent $10 playing crappy games, only to get a prize worth a quarter.  Shhh he was passed out upstairs, he’ll never know 😉

 

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So ends our day hanging out at the hotel/conference.  Stay tuned tomorrow for more Dawson antics!

Day 2 Orlando/Universal

Our second day in Orlando, we decided to hit up Universal early in the morning since Cam had meetings in the afternoon.  It was definitely an early wake up call since we were still on Utah time.  Riding simulators and coasters when your body thinks it’s 6am, not always the best plan.

But Miss Val just loved the Despicable Me ride and I have to say it is pretty cute and funny.  This ride always had a massive line so you have to ride it early in the morning unless you don’t mind 90 minute waits.

My favorite ride had to be the Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket.  Everyone gets to pick their own song to play while they ride, so fun.  We rode this one back to back times since there was zero line, score:)

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A fun spot we found was the Fievel Goes West play area.  I’m sure it was meant for little kiddos, but I’m really immature and loved it.  There are lots of water features and tons of things to climb.  I was dying to climb all the ropes, but alas…wore a dress and didn’t feel like flashing the other mom’s.

Val and I did do the water slide though!

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Ok, time for some Spongebob!  I just love how Spongebob is cute, gross, and ridiculous all at the same time.  I mean come on, he lives in a pineapple and has a pet snail named Gary.  How can you not love that?:)

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Selfie!

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One thing I found interesting about Universal is that the parades don’t actually move.  They just roll out to an open space and do a little show.  Kinda weird, but I don’t think many people come to Universal for parades so they require less crowd disbursement.  Unlike Disney, where parades require an overnight campout.

I loved how the characters just came down from their floats after the “parade” and did pictures.  OMG if Disney attempted that, there would be riots in the street for sure!  Haha, I can just see it.  It’d be like black friday and the $99 laptop would be a picture with Anna and Elsa!!

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Totally went off track there for a moment, sorry.  Back to more characters!

You would not believe how excited I was when I saw Side Show Bob chillin’ by the graffiti wall.  He was the first Simpson character we saw and yeah…I bounded toward him like a crazy person.

And then oh my goodness! Homer and Lisa!  (Insert squeal of delight here) I adore Lisa Simpson.  I told her that I want to be just like her when I grow up:)

They were standing outside of the Simpson RV!  And guess what?  The RV actually works and moves around the park!

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Alright, so much excitement.  Carbs were needed.  PB and J cupcake!

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Universal really knows how to set a scene.  The streets were so much fun to explore.  We even found the perfect photo op for Mr. Pharmacist:)

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I’m just tossing a bunch of random photos right in the middle of this blog post, because I can:)  Do you like my blue tongue?!  Blue raspberry Jolly Ranchers had to be eaten while waiting in lines.

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We didn’t do many shows at the park, but if there is anything involving animals, I must see it.  The animal show was cute, but it made me miss my little fur baby.  So Val and I loved on this cutie after the show.

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After we had thoroughly worn ourselves out that morning it was time to head back to the hotel/conference.

I blogged about McKesson last year and how family friendly they are.  They give all family members badges and allow them to attend everything.  Not that Val and I wanted to sit through CE stuff or sessions on pharmacy things we know nothing about, but it’s cool to know you can hang out with family.

Oh man, the best thing about McKesson though…the food!  That night we went to an open floor/party event and it was way fun.  Cam was running around talking, getting info, being productive, while Val and I  were ummm, eating everything in site.

Whoever decided on the potato chip nacho bar, they need a raise.

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Ah and a cheese area!  Heaven.

I did eat some veggies too.  They had chinese take out boxes for salad.  How darn cute is that?!  And if the drinks are green they must be healthy right?

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One box of salad, done.  Desserts? Yes please!

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On our way back to the room we stopped at the Koi pond.  This would become a theme for pretty much every time we left the room.  Val loved those dumb fish.  Haha, I suppose it’s the little things in life that can bring the most joy.

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See ya tomorrow! XO

Orlando/Universal Studios Day 1

Hey there stranger!  I hope you are ready for a marathon of blogging from yours truly!  I am back from our trip to Orlando and I have tons to tell you!  This trip was mostly business for my hubby, but we managed to squeeze in quite a bit of fun as well. Our first day in Orlando was just registration for Cam’s conference so we headed to Universal right after to hit up all the awesome attractions. Val had super cute Simpson’s nails to match the new Springfield that opened up not too long ago.  I actually think I was equally excited about Springfield as I was for Diagon Alley, go figure. We went to Island’s Of Adventure first.  Hit up the coasters and super hero rides.  Then we moved over to the Jurassic Park area.  Since my girly just finished paleontology camp, she was very into the whole theme. IMG_2603IMG_0906 The Jurassic Park indoor area was super crowded since it decided to pour rain.  So Val explored all the little thingies they had.  She even cross bred herself with a dinosaur.  Haha, kind of creepy, but she was fully entertained:) IMG_0904IMG_0907 Ok, now I’m going to skip ahead to Springfield over at Universal Studios because I’m lazy and don’t want to rearrange my pics:).  We took the Hogwarts Express over to US, OMG I can’t wait to tell ya about that…so cool!  But first… I just loved how they did Springfield!  There are so many details and the humor is fantastic.  I took lots of pics and I’m planning on a whole post just for Simpson’s pics.  But for now I will just highlight our afternoon. IMG_0928IMG_0930 We had a late lunch on Fast Food Blvd which had restaurants like Krusty Burger, the Frying Dutchman, and Moe’s Tavern.  We all took a turn at the Love Tester!  Ummmm I got “Cold Fish”!  Clearly this is a very smart machine since I am anything but a casanova:) IMG_2632IMG_2633 I may not be romantic but there is one thing I know…DESSERTS!  Look at this pink glazed beauty!  And let me tell you, it was delicious.  I may or may not have eaten 3/4 of this myself. IMG_0945IMG_2627 Oh yes, and we had to order The Clogger!  It’s basically a double cheese burger with bacon on steroids. This is definitely a meal to share.  I forgot to get a shot of our Buzz Cola!  It’s just cherry coke, but you get to feel all special drinking it in Moe’s Tavern. Fittingly we rode the Twirl N’ Hurl right after 🙂 IMG_0941IMG_0958 There are tons of fun photo ops in Springfield!  I enjoyed taking pictures and just looking around more than the actual rides. IMG_0960 Oh my child.  We are moving into the crazy pose/face stage.  Gotta love her. IMG_0951 It really was like walking into a cartoon. IMG_0935 Alrighty, moving along.  Let’s go back to that whole Hogwarts Express thing!  The London facade was perfect!  It looked so much like the movie.  You scan your park ticket at the station since you have to have a park hopper to ride and then make your way to the platform.  I have to say, this is the most clever way to milk more money out of vacationers that I have ever seen!  Kudos to the dude/dudette that thought up this genius plan. And look at this sign!  I was jumping up and down.  It was just so exciting and felt so real!  I had to explain the sign to my husband and kid!  How could they have not remembered!  What a travesty 🙂 IMG_0923IMG_0920 When we finally got to Platform 9 3/4 I was literally spazing out.  Seeing the Hogwarts Express pulling up to the platform was insanely cool! IMG_0914 I took a little video while I was getting on the train for the first time.  Please ignore my high pitched excited voice.  I know it’s annoying, but I just can’t help myself.  I think my voice goes up an octave when I ‘m trying to contain excitement but it’s trying to explode out of me. Ok, a few more Harry Potter pics. Grimmauld Place! And of course a frozen Butterbeer.  Mmmmm so good.  Especially when the cream on top gets all frozen like ice cream about half way through your drinking experience and you just want to smash your face in it.  Oh wait, that’s just me…K…well you should really try it 🙂 IMG_0925IMG_2618 Have I mentioned how much I love this little nugget?  Sometimes a mama just has to snap random pics of their babies adorableness. IMG_2620 Eeeeeee! It’s the Night Bus!!  Oh my goodness they should make this a ride someday! IMG_0924IMG_2638 And lastly for today…Honeydukes! I could stare at this wall all day. IMG_0912 I bought some Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans to entertain us while waiting in lines.  An excellent way to pass the time.  I however forgot that these were “Every Flavor” for the first few candies and freaked out when I thought I was going to be eating peach and it wound up being spaghetti.  GROSS!  And the flavor just lingered in my mouth, ewe. I didn’t get a pic of the spaghetti one but I did get shots of these two.  The one on the left is dish soap and the one on the right was some kind of vegetable soup or something.  See the tiny nibble?  Yeah, that’s how I went about eating these. IMG_0927IMG_2622 That is all I have for today! Tune in tomorrow for more Universal Studios antics! Hope you have a wonderful Monday!!

Day 8 Hawaii: Last Day in Paradise

Our last day in Hawaii was unlike the usual last day of vacation.  We had a really late flight…really really late.  But that meant we could spend the day finishing up any things that we missed or still wanted to do.

Of course I had to get my calorie burn on.

Take that delicious pina coladas:)Image

Have I mentioned yet how sweaty I was in Hawaii?  I think I did early on in my trip report, but I’ll tell ya again, SWEATY!!  You see those sweat marks?!  Oh man.Image

After my lovely sweat fest it was time to pack up:(.  Getting everything ready to go took most of the morning.  But as soon as we were loaded up, it was off to the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet!  This was a double take for us.  The first time we just didn’t buy as much as we wanted since it was so early in our trip.  But as we shopped other gift places it was crystal clear that we had to go back.  Same stuff at a fraction of the cost.

Val loaded up on key chains, jewelry, and other trinkets.  I was just there for the candy:)Image

Shopping worked up an appetite, so afterward we tried out a ramen shop.  This was actually my first time in a noodle place and I couldn’t believe how huge the ramen bowls were.  One bowl could feed Val, Cam, and myself! Image

When we were done with our last minute shopping and lunching we headed back to Aulani to hang out for the rest of the day.  The resort allows guests to still use all the amenities on check out day.  They even have a specific lounge for guest checking out to shower, print boarding passes, and just chill.  I love Disney hospitality.

One thing we had to do before we left was the Menehune Hunt.  They give you an iPad with the game on it.  It starts automatically and tells you places to go all over the resort while also setting off a bit of magic at every stop.  Image

Our first stop was in the lobby.  I never noticed this little guy before playing the game!  He was right above our heads.  Once you find him and press the screen on the iPad, a fun surprise happens! All of the little surprises were adorable.Image

One of my favorite magical items on the hunt was this little statue.  It makes a bunch of noise and then pops out a kukui nut.  So fun.Image

Here is Val inside the volcano, you know, just saving the world:)Image

K. While Val was still Menehune hunting, I was stalking Chip and Dale.  I just refuse to act my age 🙂ImageThese little boys were totally mesmerized when Valie set off the magic by the splash pad.  They had no idea that she made it happen.  I miss that age of truly believing in magic.  It was so cute to witness.

ImageTime was starting to run low by now, but Val had to get one last swim in.  I just soaked up a bit more sun and checked out the lounge.  I even signed the guest book:)Image

When it was time to say goodbye to our beloved Hawaii, Aulani, and vacation, we saw the giant group of Japanese tourists that had been at the luau with us the night before.  They were hilarious to watch.  Look at all those matching outfits!  There were seriously like 500 of them.  The ladies even had look-a-like haircuts.  ImageAh, and I didn’t take anymore pics after that, because going home is seriously not exciting.  It was an amazing trip though and I have so many wonderful memories from it.  Thanks for reliving it with me on my blog!

Feel free to shoot me any questions you have about Turtle Bay, Aulani, the activities we did, or just Oahu stuff!

Have a fabulous Thursday!!

 

Day 7 Hawaii: Pool Day & Paradise Cove Luau

Day 7 in Hawaii was one of my favorite days.  We didn’t have any big plans during the day and we were able to just relax and enjoy Aulani.  I was up early though, I just couldn’t shake my mainland clock.  So I was in the gym burning calories because I knew I was going to enjoy some awesome luau food later:).  I even had a personal best 5 mile run!  I don’t know if it was the lower altitude, the warm weather, the excitement of travel, or just all the shave ice, but my running was better than it ever had been.

I knocked out 5 miles in under 40 minutes!  I was giddy:).  Oh yeah, totally skipped around the gym like an idiot after that run.

I also did more strength training and went back out to boot camp right after.  I was determined to leave Hawaii with the same bod that I came with.  Not an easy task with all the delicious island food just screaming your name at every corner.

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But let’s not talk about maintaining girlish figures!  Boring!

Let’s go snorkeling!  We definitely got our moneys worth out of rainbow reef.  Val just loved it.  She’s part fish, I just know it.  I took this pic from the viewing windows.

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I also took this video from the viewing window as well.  Valie and Cameron have a handshake that they do.  It’s pretty darn cute and funny and I hope she never gets too old to do it.  They add onto it a couple times a year so I can’t imagine how long it will be in a few years!

After snorkeling a cold treat was a requirement.  They have a self serve ice-cream machine in one of the shops by the pool.  I wanted to swirl and obscene amount into the cup, but I decide to stop just shy of embarrassing:).  You can’t really tell from the picture, but it was pretty tall.  Girly was happy.

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Beach time!

K. Feel free to laugh at my insane tan/burn lines.  Yeah, I had too much fun in the sun and yes, it was worth it.  Oh and did I mention that my hair was like crazy huge in Hawaii?  Well, it was.  Totally out of control.

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Look what we spotted on the wall by the beach!  Our state and last name!  Cause ya know, we totally donated $10,000 to have a tile at Aulani 😉

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Time for more character pics!!  The lines were so short to meet character, it was the best.  I just love Miss Minnie.  When I grow up I want to be just like her 🙂

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Awe I love this pic.  Um yeah, there’s no Val because she was busy swimming.  But Cam knows I love characters and humors my stalking.

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Ah I love Hawaiian Mickey!

Val was somewhere in that pool behind me.  Probably hiding from her embarrassing Mom:)

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Aloha!!

For real, the burn lines, I’m going to have to photo shop these.  Now if only I knew how to do that…

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Oh well, let’s just put on some clothes and quit looking at my terrible tan!

Ta-da!  Who’s ready for a luau????!!!

We walked over to Paradise Cove from Aulani.  It was only about 10 minutes.

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Right when you come through the gates, you take a pictures with two Hawaiian hotties and they hand you a beverage.  Right then I knew this was going to be a fabulous evening.

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There were lots of tables teaching guests how to make bracelets and head dresses.  It was so much fun!

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They give everyone 2 additional drink tickets to use at the bar.  The non-alcoholic pina colada was too die for!!  I could of just spent the whole night making crafts and drinking these and been happy as a clam.

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My cute sis-in-laws also enjoyed the pina coladas.  Oh man, I could really go for one of those right now!

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Sometime during the beverage/craft time a dude climbed a coconut tree and sprinkled flowers over the guests.  I was pretty impressed by his leg strength, maybe I should add climbing trees to my exercise regime:)

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This is the strawberry colada version of deliciousness!  I’m getting a sugar high just thinking about it.

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There must have been some spear throwing potion in that drink because Cam rocked at the spear throwing!

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I even got a video of his awesome skills!

Me with a spear…definitely not as graceful.  But I’m sure, very funny to watch.

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Even Miss Val got to throw the spear.  Yeah, she was better than me.

I know we are going to have to throw spears at the Spartan race…I’m in trouble.

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More games!  I just loved all the activities they had at Paradise Cove.  If I had to pick between Paradise Cove and the PCC luau, I’d have to go with Paradise Cove just because of the pre luau entertainment and drinks.

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Making flower bracelets on the beach.  Does it get any better??

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Oh wait it does.  Flower bracelet done and the hubby brought over a new tropical drink to try:)

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They even had people doing fun tattoos!  But you gotta be careful, they smear.

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Here we are waiting for a kayak.

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And then here we are in the kayak.  Isn’t Lesley cute?  She was happy to smile while my child is telling to put the camera down and paddle.

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K, I’ll paddle…just one more selfie with Cam:)

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Right before the show the sun was setting.  It was gorgeous!Image

Hello!!  One of the most lovely scenes I’ve ever witnessed.

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Happy happy happy

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I swear this is the last shot.

Let’s go eat!!

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Yummmm!  Oh yes that is pork, fried chicken, fish, salad, and pineapple!  And did I have 2 plates plus 2 desserts, yes sir I did.  I didn’t workout for 3 hours for nothing!

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Oh yeah there was a show too.  Honestly though the food was way good so I was distracted.  But what I remember, the fire dancers were amazing.

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But the Tahitian hotties were my favorite.

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Moral of the story, if you want lots of beverages, pre show entertainment, lots of yummy food, and really cute island dancers…go to Paradise Cove;)

Oh I’m sad day 7 is over!  That leaves only one day left and a red eye flight.

See ya tomorrow to finish up the great Hawaiian adventure!!

Hawaii Day 5! Hanging out at Disney’s Aulani!

Ok it’s official, I am the worst blogger ever!  I blog blog blog about the Hawaii trip and then…drop off the face of the Earth!  My apologies for being a spaz.  I am finishing up this trip report this week!  Pinky promise!

Let’s see I left off when we checked into Disney’s Aulani Resort.  K, I know I said it was beautiful, but let me say it one more time…BEAUTIFUL!  The rooms were comfortable and clean and the decor was lovely.  I slept so good!

So good, I was up at the crack of dawn once again.

I went to the gym, ran a 5k and then headed down to sunrise yoga!  Ah yoga, so peaceful, so calming…so NOT my thing:)  But I try to do it occasionally anyway.  And hey, when the view was as gorgeous as the one at Aulani, how can you not give yoga a shot?Image

After yoga I grabbed some breakfast and then headed back to the beach for a circuit training session.  The classes were all included with your stay!  It was seriously heaven for an exercise addict!

Once I had completely sweated myself into an oblivion it was time to swim!  Or snorkel, since that’s what baby girl wanted to do.Image

Aulani has an artificial reef called Rainbow Reef.  You can buy a day pass or a length of stay pass.  We bought the length of stay pass since we wanted to use it throughout our trip.Image

Warning, the water is COLD!  It definitely takes some getting used to.  I had to hang out for quite a while just to make sure that I wouldn’t hyperventilate once I was actually out there snorkeling.

Rainbow reef reminded of the set up they have at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, minus the sharks.  I actually think the whole experience would have been more fun with the addition of sharks, but I know that’s not as family friendly.Image

Time for some character spotting!

Well hello there Goofy!  Smoooooooches!

I just love tall, dark and big footed dudes:)Image

I definitely had more fun spotting characters than my kid.  I had to fish her out of the pools to take pics and then she was back in asap.Image

The week we were in Hawaii must have been a low time.  I had heard that Aulani gets so crowded you can find a chair anywhere and that there would be lines for everything.  Well, we lucked out then, because there were minimal guests.  It was totally serene.Image

I mean, hello!  I’m the only one in the infinity pool!  It was perfect.Image

So after an insanely lovely day and waaaaaay too much sun.  We got all cleaned up and headed out to find sustenance.  But not before taking a pic with the Aulani sign:)Image

We ended up grabbing dinner at a deli and then indulging in a little ice cream.  Oh did I say little, I meant large…large ice cream.  Oh my gosh it was so good.  We got all tropical flavors with lots of sauce and whipped cream, eeeeee!Image

And how do you end a perfectly perfect day at Aulani?  While stories by the fire pit of course!  Sorry my phone pics are terrible.

This charming older gentleman sang, told stories, and entertained us around the fire. Image

The night was so still and quiet.  It didn’t even feel real.  I guess that’s why they call it paradise.Image

At the end of the story time, they even had all the kids come up and “blow out” the fire.Image

Poof!  Oh I just love Disney magic!  Seriously, love it!Image

Ok time for bed!  But one more pic in the lobby first!!

K K, now we can go to bed:)

See ya in the morning for more Hawaii fun!!Image

Hawaii Day 4! Kualoa Ranch, Treats, and Aulani!

Day 4 of vay-cay starts out like the previous days.  Running through lovely Turtle Bay.  I went out solo that morning and took twice as long because I was so distracted looking at everything and following paths that led me way way far away:).  I have no sense of direction. It was ridiculous, but at least it was beautiful.Image

The ocean was gorgeous!  I am not a fan of running on sand trails but I made an exception on this fine morning.

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Oh, I just love this site!Image

So after running on sand for way too long, I finally turned around and decided I had no idea where I was going and I saw this funny rock.  Wait!  The rock moved!  OMG it’s a seal!  Giddy, giddy, giddy, a seal!  Oh it’s the little things that really amuse me:).Image

After I hauled my sweaty mess back to the room, I showered, packed up for a venue change and we headed out on our next adventure.  Hello Kualoa Ranch!!

I stumbled across this place on a travel site and as soon as my baby girl saw that Jurassic Park was filmed here, she just had to go.

Here we are on a bus, going to tour the movie sites!

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Ah, the famous piece of wood that Dr. Grant and the two kids hide behind when the T-Rex attacks the gallimimus.  Image

Ok, now if Val and I were in Jurassic Park together, I’m sure this picture is how our story would go…minus the smiles.  I would have twisted my ankle running away and she would of had to carry me.Image

Or maybe she would have just said “sorry mom” and taken off without me:).Image

We drove past a bunch of spots where movies scenes were filmed.  It was pretty cool.

A fun little surprise for my girly was getting to see props from one of her favorite movies, Journey 2.  We went inside a WWII bunker and they had lots of movie props just hanging out in there.  Image

On our way back we had a great view of the China Man’s Hat.

We had another excursion booked at Kualoa Ranch the day.  A little trip to their “Secret Beach”.  We boarded another bus that took us to a boat, that took us to the beach.  Image

The beach had a bunch of fun equipment to use and a glass bottom boat.  I had never been on a glass bottom boat, so we hopped on.  We saw a few turtles, but really not as much sea life as I thought we would.  My suggestion would be to skip the boat and grab a snorkel if you want to see fish.

What do you think of my sparkly sunglasses??  $5 at the Aloha Swap Meet!Image

Time to play!!  I can’t believe I didn’t take any pics of us paddle boarding, kayaking, or snorkeling!  Well, I guess we were in the water and taking my phone on the paddle board would have been a bad plan.

I love paddle boarding!  I tried it in Mexico a couple years ago and it’s so fun.  You must give it a try if ever get the chance.Image

Chickie loves snorkeling and all water activities.  I think she’s part mermaid.Image

After we had lots of fun in the sun we headed out in search of food and of course shave ice.  I saw this little place called Sweet Fanatic and was so excited.  I thought it was going to be a candy shop!  It turns out that it was more of an Asian casino:).  I thought that there were arcade games in the store, but realized only adults were playing them.  I guess you can play and shoot target and win money, or lose money, probably mostly lose money:).

Anyway, their shave ice was really good!  Super fluffy ice, flavorful syrup, beautiful bright colors, perfect!  I think we all came to love sweetened condensed milk on our shave ice.IMG_2009

I tried a poi doughnut.  Much tastier than just plan poi.  Plus they were all purple and cute, I had to have one.

Once we were all fed and sugared up, it was time to head to Disney’s Aulani Resort!!  Image

Despite a long exhausting day, my crazy kid still had to get in the pool!  I was just the picture taker.  Thank goodness for Dad’s and Aunties.

Aulani at night was quite the site.  I was just stunned by the gorgeous lighting and amazing architecture.  I couldn’t wait to go to bed so I could soak it all in the next day.

ImageTomorrow will be a recap of just Aulani!

Hope you are all having a great week!! xoxo