Today is a Just Pics day! I hope you enjoy these shots from Springfield!
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.
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.
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.
When we made it to the ride que the sign already said 105 minutes! Haha, that would actually prove to be an under estimation.
We wove through a bunch of ropes, chains, and hallways until we ended up here. Oh man!
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.
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:)
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.
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.
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:)
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:)
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.
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.
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?!
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!
Haha, you can tell more with Cam. Not an inch of dryness.
Back at the hotel I burned off some sugar while the afternoon down pour was going on.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
K. While Val was still Menehune hunting, I was stalking Chip and Dale. I just refuse to act my age 🙂These 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.
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. Ah, 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 😉
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 🙂
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.
Ah I love Hawaiian Mickey!
Val was somewhere in that pool behind me. Probably hiding from her embarrassing Mom:)
For real, the burn lines, I’m going to have to photo shop these. Now if only I knew how to do that…
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.
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.
There were lots of tables teaching guests how to make bracelets and head dresses. It was so much fun!
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.
My cute sis-in-laws also enjoyed the pina coladas. Oh man, I could really go for one of those right now!
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:)
This is the strawberry colada version of deliciousness! I’m getting a sugar high just thinking about it.
There must have been some spear throwing potion in that drink because Cam rocked at the spear throwing!
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.
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.
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.
Making flower bracelets on the beach. Does it get any better??
Oh wait it does. Flower bracelet done and the hubby brought over a new tropical drink to try:)
They even had people doing fun tattoos! But you gotta be careful, they smear.
Here we are waiting for a kayak.
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.
K, I’ll paddle…just one more selfie with Cam:)
Hello!! One of the most lovely scenes I’ve ever witnessed.
Happy happy happy
I swear this is the last shot.
Let’s go eat!!
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!
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.
But the Tahitian hotties were my favorite.
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!!
Day 6 of our Hawaiian adventure was very busy. We were all up pretty bright and early, ready to take on another day in paradise. I headed to the gym, while the family spent a little more time poolside.
I ran a bunch on the treadmill and then decided to give some of the weight equipment a try. Um, I couldn’t find a taller box jump to stand on, so I improvised:). Several dudes watched me like I was a crazy person. But I had to get my pull ups done! #shortgirlproblems
After the gym I headed out to the beach for a little bit of boot camp. Working out in the sand is hard! I got my booty handed to me every class because the sand was just such a challenge for me. Of course that is a good thing. I had to burn off all those treats!
So after a nice morning, we all got cleaned up and headed over to Pearl Harbor. Did you know that you can reserve tickets to the USS Arizona online? There is a $1.50 processing fee, but then you don’t have to get there super early and stand in a giant line. Totally worth the buck fifty.
Valie got a nice history lesson.
It was crazy to think that I had been here 12 years ago.
After Pearl Harbor, we grabbed some lunch to fuel up for our next activity.
A little afternoon hike up Diamond Head!
I was pretty stoked about this activity. It’s not everyday you get to hike a giant volcanic crater!
And then, Woohoo! We made it to the top! It wasn’t that far, a little steep at times, and dark, but a nice quick hike with an amazing view.
We took a bunch of pictures!
It was so cool to look out over the city and the beach and the actual crater. I highly recommend adding this to a Hawaiian itinerary!
SHAVE ICE!! What did people do before iPhones and urbanspoon? I’m guessing they didn’t eat as much shave ice and drove around in circles a lot:)
After shave ice and a long traffic filled drive back to Aulani, we were all pretty tired, but we couldn’t miss the Starlit Hui! Aulani does a fun show a couple nights a week for guests. We could see the stage and hear the music from our balcony!
We didn’t really care if we were close to the stage, but if you had little kids I would get there early so they can see better. Our party was there more for the experience and atmosphere.
They lay out mats for your family to sit on and everything, so fun.
The ukulele guys were pretty awesome!
After the show a big dance party started. Characters came out and a DJ, it was lots of fun. We danced for a bit before heading out for a late dinner. It was a great way to end another action packed day.
Hope everyone is having a great week!! See ya soon with Day 7 of our trip!!
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?
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!
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.
Time for some character spotting!
Well hello there Goofy! Smoooooooches!
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.
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!
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.
Ok time for bed! But one more pic in the lobby first!!
K K, now we can go to bed:)
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.
The ocean was gorgeous! I am not a fan of running on sand trails but I made an exception on this fine morning.
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:).
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!
We drove past a bunch of spots where movies scenes were filmed. It was pretty cool.
On our way back we had a great view of the China Man’s Hat.
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.
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.
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:).
I tried a poi doughnut. Much tastier than just plan poi. Plus they were all purple and cute, I had to have one.
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.
Hope you are all having a great week!! xoxo
Welcome to Day 3 of our Hawaiian Adventure!
Sweaty Sweaty good times. We were so not used to the humidity! It looked like we went swimming instead of running.
We also found a giant banyan tree. So cool!
After a tasty carb fest we dropped Val and her Aunties off at Kokololio Beach Park while Cam and I went back to the resort to get the PCC tickets…because I forgot them:)
But I’m so glad I was an airhead, look at this beautiful beach the girls were able to explore!
I quite enjoyed the ones that gave you sticks to play with:)
This dude here, totally inspired me to want to process coconuts at home! He drained the water, shaved the meat, squeezed the milk out, and then started the process of making coconut oil. Amazing! I have to try this out.
I should have opted for a face tattoo! It would have saved my dress!
They had a poi tasting station as well. I’m not a fan :). Reminds me of starchy baby food. As an ingredient in something else it’s great. Alone…not so much.
Oooooo we also saw a traditional Tahitian wedding ceremony. So cool to see the different traditions.
The day went by way too fast! We barely had time to squeeze in the movie and a canoe ride at the end of our day. My suggestion would be to skip the movie and do something else like hula or spear throwing. The theater itself is super cool, but he movie is a snoozefest.
After a day of touring it was luau time!! We did the dining and show with our entrance ticket. I highly recommend it. The food was good, the dinner entertainment was fun, and it was the perfect break before the big show.
Ha Breath of Life is the main attraction at night. The dancing was wonderful. I wasn’t a fan of the story, but was still completely entertained. My family liked it as well. We all had way too much pork though and the last 20 minutes none of us could stay awake. I think this was the latest we stayed up the whole trip!
When we got back to the resort, I hardly remember anything. Zzzzzzzzz.And that is the end of day 3!! Hope you are enjoying our crazy antics! Tomorrow is Kuloa Ranch, and Asian casino, and Disney’s Aulani!!
Do any of you have trouble eating healthy, consuming a reasonable amount of calories, and maintaining your weight on vacation? I know I do. Often times I feel like since I’m on vacation I can eat whatever I want since I try to eat healthy the majority of times in my everyday life. Well, after much much much trial and error I’ve come to decide that throwing all caution to the wind is not the greatest idea. I’m all for indulging some on vacation, but my new approach really helps keep weight gain down and good moods up.
This post focus on Disney World, but you can apply these tips to any vacation.
Disney has salad on the majority of menus. Always a good choice as long as the meat isn’t fried and you get dressing on the side. This particular salad is the turkey cobb from Wolfgang Puck Cafe, delicious.
Another idea is to order a chicken sandwich without the bun and extra lettuce and tomato. Lots of places have a grilled chicken sandwich. Also, be on the lookout for condiment bars. If the sandwiches come undressed, they will have a condiment bar. Load up on the veggies!
Rotisseri chicken is something you will also see often at Disney. I get this and split it with my daughter. We remove all the skin and it’s the perfect amount for the two of us.
Also, don’t forget to order a cup of water (free) and make sure you drink it! It hydrates and makes you feel satisfied.
Oooo this is one of my faves! At the Pop Century food court as well as some other resort food courts, they have a make your own salad option. I like to do chicken, all the veggies, and feta. A low calorie dessert option in most food court fridge areas is fruit. I happened to get the strawberries with chocolate sauce and a little cool whip. So good.
If you are going to Disney World soon you will want to catch the Food and Wine Festival. This one is a little tougher to make good choices. Lots of dishes are cooked in oil, butter, are cheesed, fried, and fantastic. But not the best for the waistline. Non fried seafood and meats are most likely the best choice. From what I saw and sampled, these were the best bet.
Disney is doing a great job at making healthy choices available in my opinion. Everyday I made sure I ate an apple. They are a great filling food, low in calories and cheaper than most Disney snacks! $1.49 to be exact. The giant pickles are the same price and a fab option as well. Oh, and don’t forget to look for boiled eggs. $2 for quick protein! I also packed my carry on with apples so I didn’t have to fork over the $ as often for an apple:)
I’ve posted about this before, but the Colombia Harbor House is great for those trying to make healthy choices. They have a menu with low cal options and suggestions. I always get the salmon with double broccoli.
And lastly, sushi! A nice light dinner and available in lots of food courts.
I tried to order healthy at least half the time. The other times I just split a dish with my daughter and we got whatever she wanted, plus I’d zip to a stand and buy apples or pickles.
I hope this gives you some ideas for your next traveling adventure!
I’m totally fighting with WordPress today. I published my post and it said congrats you just published you whatever post! Well guess what, it lied! So there will be little witty commentary and mostly pics since I’ve utterly peeved.
Traditional Magical Express pic
Afternoon arrival at Hollywood Studios since we didn’t get to our hotel until 1:30am. Met a soldier and rode Backlot tour. Lines were very long for everything!
A little muppet time.
Playing around with the merchandise.
How cute are these little guys?
Completely amused by everything Muppets since that was our costume choice for the Halloween party.
We also, rode Tower of Terror, Rockin Roller Coaster, Star Tours, the Great Movie Ride, ate linner (yeah I said linner), and learned to draw Rapunzel.
We saved Toy Story Mania for the end of the day since the line was 110 minutes long all day. Luckily at 7pm it dropped to an hour and we hopped in line. Amazingly it only took 30 minutes to get on the ride, woohoo!
Val is getting good at this game. I could ride this all day. Never gets old.
So the verdict on late arrival at Hollywood…meh. It’s doable, but not my favorite. We definitely waited in lines longer than I’d like. We were unable to utilize Fast pass for most rides. Only the end of the day Tower of Terror passes were available. Whenever possible we’ll stick to rope drop:)
Any Hollywood Studios fans out there? What’s your favorite attraction??