One of the things I have loved so much about this trip is the variety of cities we’ve visited. Really, I’m getting polar opposites from one city to the next. This was perhaps never exemplified more strongly than the Washington DC to Orlando leg.
Orlando, Florida is of course home to Disneyworld and Universal Studios. We spent our first full day at the latter, which now includes the Harry Potter theme park. Admittedly, we were super excited for this. The following references will be best understood by those who are familiar with the series (if you’re not, um, as if…). So, you enter Hogsmeade, pass the Hogwarts Express, with Hogwarts Castle a dominating backdrop. Inside Hogwarts Castle is the best, coolest ride I’ve ever done. EVER. I don’t know how they do it, but you ride broomsticks and play Quidditch and escape Voldemort and meet Dumbledore and everything Harry Potter-related in between. It’s wonderful. After that we checked out Olivander’s, ate lunch at the 3 Broomsticks, drank Butter Beer and bought Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bots at Honeydukes. Can you sense my enthusiasm? It made me want to read the books all over again.
The rest of Universal Studios is pretty awesome too. A highlight was the Mummy ride, which is a roller coaster mostly in the dark. I am a bit of a scaredy cat when it comes to big rides, but Sabrina has no fear, and was rather persistent. I’m glad she was, because as scared as I was in the line up, I always came out beaming and didn’t regret any ride I went on.
Disneyworld isn’t just one world – it comprises about five different parks. We chose to spend the next two days at Hollywood Studios and the Magic Kingdom. Hollywood Studios has some brilliant rides, including the Tower of Terror and the Aerosmith ‘Rock-n-Rollercoaster.’ So much fun.
I have to mention the place we went for lunch, which Sabrina remembered from when she had been to Disneyworld a few years back. It’s set up like a drive-in cinema, and you are seated in cars facing a big screen showing vintage films. They serve delicious, greasy diner food, and it’s just wonderful.
In the Magic Kingdom, I felt like I was a kid again. There were fairy tale characters roaming the streets, and when I looked up there was Cinderella’s Castle. We ate lunch at Tony’s and slurped Spaghetti like Lady and the Tramp. The place is magical, no matter how old you are. We went on rides and watched the parade and stayed until dark to see the fireworks over the castle.
I can’t finish this post without mentioning what was undoubtedly a highlight of Orlando, and indeed the trip so far. We were lucky enough to catch up with another one of our London ladies, Tiernan. She lives in Orlando and is working for a Senator’s campaign coming up to the election. We had dinner with her one night, and it was absolutely fantastic to catch up and reminisce on our semester in London.
Arriving in Orlando, I was afraid I might melt into a puddle with the heat and humidity. It was close to 40 degrees every day. But I survived, and I loved it. I don’t remember the last time I had so much fun.