What?! Where are we? I apologize for the surprise, I meant to update you all that we're visiting Florida this week for a personal/ business trip, but alas, time slipped by my fingers and... voila! We're already here!
The 90 degree heat and daily midday thunderstorm did not deter us- we headed straight to where we always knew we'd visit some day- the Harry Potter theme park (or if you wanna get all technical: "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter"), opened just 4 days ago! Coming during opening week.... crazy!! I know!! But that's how things work out with my work trip, and being die-hard HP fans, we just couldn't bear coming all the way here and not paying it a visit.
So this Harry Potter theme park is located inside Universal Studio's Island of Adventure, and this time being Eva's first foray into theme park world, we knew we had to start slow and see how things go.
We started with Seuss Landing, a very cute and charming replication of the characters and stories of the wonderful world of Dr. Seuss, and in addition, offering the closest air-conditioned ride without a mile-long line, we dashed straight in.
Cat in the Hat officially became Eva's first ride ever in her 11 months of existence. She sat sandwiched between me and hubby, and as predicted, about 5 seconds into the ride, she tried desperately climbing onto my lap or daddy's lap. Thank goodness she decided she need to sit still after we tried to convince her with fake laughs and squeals how fun the ride really is (not that the ride wasn't fun, we were just too worried that at any moment she could have wiggled out of her seat).
We decided that maybe the cat in the hat ride was just scary coz it's dark inside. We gave the One Fish Two Fish ride a try. Well, either she has warmed up a bit or being in the open wasn't so scary, she was better at first, but protested immediately when we kept being squirted by jets of water (we're supposed to "steer" our fish up and down to avoid it). It must be pretty entertaining for people waiting in line to watch 2 adults trying to restrain a wet and slippery infant in her seat 20-some feet off the ground in an open-side fish pod.
"I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them, Sam I Am..."
Despite of some close calls (see above), she's been a real trooper- not one melt down all day despite of the jet lag and lack of naps (she normally naps almost 3 hours each day at home, today she had a combined 50-minute nap, poor child).
Even during a brief shower that was actually kinda cooling during our 2.5 hr wait to get inside Hogwarts Castle. Yes, you read it right. We lugged our 11-month old and waited in the heat and rain for HOURS for a theme park ride. We're horrible parents. We also forgot to bring her stroller's rain cover (sitting back in our hotel room) and had to resort to covering her with an ill-fitting rain poncho which got her porky little feet all wet:
"My parents make me wait in the rain under this ugly poncho. Help me."
In all fairness, we had a hand-held fan, bottles of juice, water, formula and music playing inside her stroller the whole time (from hubby's phone). What you would do to have a successful meltdown-free journey to Hogwarts.
2.5 hours later (yes, once again, 2.5 hours, people!), we're finally inside Hogwarts castle and getting on our ride! En route there, we sampled butter beer and pumpkin juice (the former like a very VERY sweet cream soda and the latter like a very VERY sweet liquid pumpkin pie). So sweet even sweet-loving infants make this "ick" face:
(OK, before you report us to CPS we don't normally give Eva soda, we just dabbed her lips in the foam to see her reaction and a photo op. Chill.)
Speaking of chill, butter beer comes in frozen (left) or regular (right). Both ickily sweet (and mind you I have a mighty sweet tooth).
Hogwarts Castle- which you can see from most places inside the park- is a pretty impressive replica of the CG version in the movies. I'd have really enjoyed it if not for the heat, crowds and hyperglycemic attack from the butter beer.
The other part of the HP theme park is Hogsmeade, which has stores like Olivanders (selling wands), Zonkos joke shop, Gringotts (an ATM machine), 3 Broomsticks (pub), etc, none of which we went into as I didn't particulary want to be trampled to death.
We didn't get much good pictures once inside the castle, plus I don't want to spill the bean for you. I'll just say that as much as I hated the wait in the heat, I did not come out regretting it. Hubby- also a die-hard HP fan- may say otherwise, even with a pair of Sea Band, he came out looking quite green.
Oh, and by the way, if you wonder what you'd do with a child who's not tall enough to ride, you can do this thing called a "child swap" (no, not like a "wife swap" you see on tv), this is where the whole family get in line, when their turn comes, one parent ride first, then the other parent can hand off the child/baby and ride as soon as the first parent is done. I didn't realize it but apparently most rides in Disney/ Universal now has this option. Good thing coz I would not be happy to have to wait 2.5 hrs x 2.
This is how we all looked (or felt, at least) when we left the park:
More pix of our trip here.
By the way, if you're wondering about Bryson, he's now safe and sound under the care of Chorizo's human (Auntie~~). These are the pics we got since we left. I think it's safe to say that he's happier there.