Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Disney & Universal 2017


We added Universal to this years Orlando trip because the kids (and I!) love the Harry Potter movies.  We've seen them all, multiple times.  The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was split between two Universal parks- Universal Studios and the Islands of Adventure.  Universal did a wonderful job of re-creating everything from the movies.  Diagon Alley looks just like Diagon Alley.  The inside of restaurants look like you are having a butter beer in the middle of Hogwarts. Even the train to go from Universal to Islands of Adventure looks just like the Hogwarts Express! It included holograms of the Harry Potter characters outside your train car doors.

We started by talking to the bus driver right outside the secret entrance to the Universal portion.  After that we were immediately submerged into Diagon Alley.  We headed straight to Ollivander's so that the kids could pick out an interactive wand.  It allowed them to use their wands around the park for various "spells".  I would definitely suggest doing this first.  When we walked back by an hour or so later, the line was out the door and wrapped around the building.

Then we rode all of the rides and went back and forth between Universal and Islands of Adventure.  Our favorites were the Escape from Grigotts and Forbidden Journey.
For lunch, we ate at the Three Broomsticks restaurants to get the full Harry Potter experience. The food was only ok but maybe I ordered the wrong thing.  The Butterbutter and Frozen Butterbeer were delicious.
Other rides and things that we enjoyed in Universal were the Dr. Seuss/ Cat in the Hat rides and characters.  They were on Hollins' level and she had a great time.
And, of course, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride was a HUGE hit!
For dinner we ate at the Monster Cafe because the boys, like me, love anything related to Horror movies.  The atmosphere and old movie pariphealia were great but the food was not.  When we go back I will leave the park to eat in City Walk right outside the park.  There were better restaurant choices like Cowfish. 

The rides, the food and the character experiences are our favorite things at Disney World. Over the years, the "most important characters" have changed but all three kids still light up when they see any characters! Each child had a favorite ride this time that they are still talking about it to this day!

Hollywood & Vine
This is where your kids can dine with their favorite Disney Junior characters.  From Sofia the First to Doc McStuffins to Jake and the Pirates-they were all there.  The breakfast buffet was delicious.  There's all the breakfast foods you can imagine from an Omelet Station to a yogurt bar with all of the toppings.  Plenty of choices for kids and adults.  We left there full and happy.
Hollins with Sofia the First

Hollywood Brown Derby
This is hands down one of my favorite Disney restaurants.  I started with a champagne flight, then had the Tomato Bisque and finished with the Cobb Salad.  The kids had the whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce.  The service was terrific also- always a plus!  We didn't have dessert because of the dessert party later but I'm sure it would have been terrific too!

This was our first time riding the Hollywood Terror of Terror... we enjoyed if so much that some of us rode it twice!

Star Wars Dessert Party
This was great for the kids- they got to eat all the sweets they could cram in their little mouths!  I enjoyed the desserts and they served Star Wars- themed cocktails. After the party we were escorted to special seating for the amazing Star Wars-themed firework display.

Darth Vader Cupcakes
Hanging with the Dark Side


Toy Story Mania is our FAVORITE RIDE! The whole family loves it.  It's a must for a FastPass!

Chef Mickey
(Contemporary Hotel)
Every time we've gone to Disney this is where we go to meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto.  It, also, has an amazingly delicious breakfast.  Mickey-shaped waffles, hashbrown casserole, bacon, fresh fruit and a zillion other yummy breakfast things. It is one of my favorite places to eat in Disney.

Aloha Isle
(Adventureland at MK)
The Dole Whips.... that's all.  Amazing and yes, I had two within an hour. And I could have had a third.

Be Our Guest
This was our first lunch at Be Our Guest.  It was delicious.  I had the Potato Leek Soup and Tuna Nicoise Salad and they had cold Perrier in a bottle.  It made my day. My kids enjoyed the Mickey's meatloaf- shaped like Mickey of course and fruit.

Food Cart with our delicious lunches
Hollins meeting Elena- her new favorite princess!!
Riding the teacups!

This is the perfect spot for your little girl to meet the majority of the princesses! They parade all of the children through a Princess Processional which is so much fun to watch.  And they have a great breakfast too!  They bring huge platters of eggs, bacon, sausage and hash browns to the table and have additional items on the buffet.

 Breakfast time with the princesses
Other highlights for Hollins' was meeting Elsa and Mary Poppins!

 The new Frozen ride was a hit with all of us!

And Mission Space is always fun, and educational for school-age kids

Nine Dragons
For Valentines Day, Allen and I stopped and ate appetizers here in the middle of us walking the World Showcase.  The potstickers and spring rolls were yummy.

Great things to try Food Carts in Epcot
Grand Marinier Slush
Crepes for Dessert

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