Hope you all had a wonderful week and a Happy Easter :) Sorry for unexpectedly being MIA last week - I planned on getting some posts set up last weekend before I left but I never got around to it in between coming home on Saturday and getting ready to leave on Monday! I'm working a little bit backwards, seeing as how I did the Weekend Shenanigans recap yesterday and now I'm going to give you the recap of my Spring Break!
|Beers at the airport before our flight!|
Monday: My boyfriend drove down to Chicago to meet me and pick up some last minute necessities for the trip. We ate at a couple of my favorite spots (breakfast and then a post shopping/pre-flight snack), did some shopping, and drove around to see some of my hometown. The boyfriend was not exactly thrilled to be shopping but he quickly realized that I knew what I was doing and that if he trusted my judgement we would get done very quickly! After our little shopping adventure he has decided he's never going shopping without me simply because I know "exactly what to look for" (direct quote!). In the evening we headed to the airport and our flight got into Orlando around 11pm. When we got there the boyfriend had a surprise for me - instead of having one of his family members come pick us up, he had a limo ordered to drive us to the rental house! It was funny because he had planned this a couple of weeks in advance and hinted about a "big surprise" and jokingly I had guessed that he would rent a limo... guess I was right!
|Mickey underwater in the aquarium at Epcot|
Tuesday: This whole day was devoted to visiting Epcot! We got to the park around 11am and went on rides in Future World until we had lunch. After lunch we headed to the World Showcase and walked "around the world" for a few hours. Once we finished up there, we hit up more rides until the park closed. I definitely did more rides and activities in Future World than I have in the past, and unfortunately less than I had hoped to in the World Showcase. (More for the next time I go, huh?) This might be stupid, but I had no idea that there was a ride in the Epcot globe! It's one of my boyfriend's favorites and I really liked it - it was all about how technology changed the world and it tied in very nicely with the themes of my Material Culture classes! (#nerdalert) I also loved touring the aquariums and seeing all of the underwater creatures. OH - and the Coca-Cola world flavor taste testing area was so cool! I loved being able to try all of the unique flavors - if only we could get some of them in the U.S.! I couldn't pick a favorite but the watermelon flavor stood out to me the most. Next time I go to Epcot I definitely want to eat a meal in the World Showcase and take my time sampling drinks/snacks and shopping (picking a pearl in Japan was at the top of my list but it was too busy when we were there... next time!).
|Lobster Mac & Cheese at the Coral Reef Restaurant in Epcot - YUM.|
Cinderella's Castle during the day and night! (Cue the Kid Cudi song, obvs)
Wednesday: We got an early start on Wednesday so we could cover as much of the Magic Kingdom as possible and hit a couple of sights in Animal Kingdom. Magic Kingdom was actually open until 1am so we had a lot of time to get through the park! We covered more rides than I was used to again (which was a refreshing change from what my family normally does. Both ways are fun but I need a little balance between the two styles for myself) and I'll admit, most of the ones I remember as kind of "scary" or thrilling from seven years ago were not as bad as I remembered. I know a lot of rides have been remodeled (the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and some others) so they seemed a lot more like real life models of films. They were fun (and probably much scarier in some cases for young kids!) and it was interesting to see how my perception of these rides has changed since my last visit. In the early evening we headed over to Animal Kingdom to go on the Safari ride and the Forbidden Journey roller coaster. We cut it very close to the cut-off for the safari ride - much to my boyfriend's panic - and made it juuuust in time! It was really cool to see how a part of Florida had been transformed into a close replica of the animals' natural habitat and that the animals were studied by researchers. The Mount Everest Yeti roller coaster was also super cool - I went on it twice and I hate roller coasters! After Animal Kingdom closed we went back to the Magic Kingdom and went on more rides: Space Mountain, Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid, the Jungle Cruise, It's a Small World, Peter Pan's Flight, and a few others. We got a behind the scenes tour on the Jungle Cruise because it was just our little group on the boat. It was very interesting to hear how the ride was almost exactly the same as when it first opened. Once 1am rolled around, we were all exhausted and so glad to be going home!
|The teacups in Fantasyland|
Thursday: This was the day my boyfriend and I went to Universal Studios to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We had high expectations for the park, and our standards for theme parks had also been set really high from spending the past two days at Disney, so we ended up being disappointed in our visit to Universal. There were huge crowds because of Spring Break and there were tickets being distributed just to enter the Wizarding World - we had no idea and walked almost to the entrance of the Harry Potter part of the park without knowing! We had to retrace our steps and go back, wait in a 45 minute line, get a ticket, and then hike all over the park again to finally enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Once we got in, the crowds were even worse. We headed straight to the back of the park to grab a butterbeer (which was delish! Glorified cream soda, but so yummy frozen) and get in line for the Forbidden Journey through Hogwarts. Once we got in line there, we waited for almost two hours before finally entering the castle. We were tired, we were cranky, I had to pee, and we were not expecting much from the ride. Thankfully, once we entered the castle things changed - the tour of the castle was really cool, complete with appearances from Harry, Ron, and Hermione and magic snow. The ride itself was phenomenal. I'm not going to say it was worth the 2-hour wait on a crowded day, but if you are visiting Universal and the crowds aren't horrible, well then I would say it is definitely one of the best rides ever. Beyond the ride, the park didn't offer much for me. I wasn't very interested in the merchandise but it was cool to walk around Hogsmeade. My boyfriend and I got dinner at the Three Broomsticks and were overall pretty meh about the experience. My boyfriend got the chicken and ribs dinner (he was less than pleased with his food - the chicken was not thoroughly cooked), I got the fish 'n' chips (which were pretty great), and both of us got Hog's Head Brew beers. The beer was darker than I was used to, but not unbearably bitter. Once we finished dinner we stopped at the Hog's Head to get a drink. I was too full to drink anything else but my boyfriend was excited to see what was on tap. He got a Yuengling's beer, which I actually really liked. He was definitely happy to hear that I liked something that was a little different than what I normally drink! Once we left the park, we headed back to the rental house and went to the pool/hot tub to relax for a while. We had a fun rest of our evening and a good end to our vacation!
|Me and my butterbeer (via my Instagram)|
Hogsmeade & Honeydukes!
Friday: Well, the end of our vacation was bittersweet. We had to get up early in the morning to catch our flight back. We split our time on the flight between napping and watching the Hobbit (which I surprised him with as a gift). Once we got back to Chicago, we went back to my house to hang out and ended up napping until my family came home (no shame in napping... we had a busy few days!). We went out to dinner with my family and recapped our trip for them. After that, my boyfriend headed back up to Wisconsin and I watched a movie with my mom and sister.
Alright so that's my spring break recap! I can't wait to go back to Disney World - not getting to do everything makes me really excited to go back. It was so much fun to be there with my boyfriend too. I can't wait to go back again as an adult (and without kids) but I am also looking forward to the day when someone in my family has kids and they get to experience the magic of Disney World too.