Jeffrey and I went to Orlando for 4 days to attend a family wedding. It was a busy, yet fun and relaxing trip. Unfortunately, we didn't make it to too many food spots or take many pictures... so the recap is a little short and not as full of detail as usual.
This was mostly taken up by sitting on an airplane. I did at least get to have one of my favorite embarrassing guilty pleasures before takeoff: McDonald's breakfast. Upon landing, we headed to one of the chains we missed from our time living in Illinois... Texas Roadhouse. It was heaven to have sweet tea, rolls, steak, and sweet potatoes.
Upon check in our hotel the night before, we found out there was a parrot named Merlot who was the hotel's lobby ambassador (and was 18 years old if I remember correctly). We got to see him(or her?) the next morning. I only know a bit about parrots (learned from a friend who adopted an African Grey), so it was interesting to me to see a parrot in this environment that seemed comfortable and, most importantly, happy. We certainly enjoyed seeing and talking to Merlot as we passed through the lobby during our stay.
We were got up early to head to Universal since I wanted to see the Harry Potter portions and as usual could not miss a stop by Dunkin Donuts.
Once at Universal, we headed straight for Diagon Alley and the Escape from Gringotts ride since it supposedly would have a long line. Thankfully, the wait was less than 10 minutes and the ride was fun. We wanted to knock all the big Harry Potter rides off the list as early as possible, so we headed on to King's Cross Station to board the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade Station. Once in Hogsmeade, we queued for the Forbidden Journey ride. It also didn't take long and was very different from any other ride I've been on. Finally, we used our fastpass to board the Dragon Challenge roller coaster. Totally fun and totally worth it for the fastpass.
By this time we were starting to get hungry, so it was time to try the butterbeer. We ordered both a regular butterbeer and the frozen butterbeer... turns out frozen butterbeer is way better than regular butterbeer.
We wandered around Hogsmeade a bit making a stop at Honeydukes and Fitch's Emporium of Confiscated Goods (the line at Ollivander's was too long) before moving on to explore other parts of the parks. Highlights include a run through Poseidon's Fury at Islands of Adventure before heading back to Universal for a trip through the Men in Black Alien Attack, lunch at Krusty Burger/Moe's, and riding the Simpson's ride.
Here are a few more randoms from around the parks:
Tired and having already hit 17,000+ steps on our fitbits, we headed back to the room to get ready for the rehearsal dinner. It was held at the Grand Floridian's outdoor space next to the Marina where we could view the nightly fireworks over the castle. Good food and fun had by all (and yes, I cropped us out of a family photo on the left for everyone's privacy)!
Jeff found out there was a Pirate's Cove mini golf near our hotel which was a favorite activity with his cousins from his childhood. He invited them all out for a morning round. The weather was just about perfect, we were one of two groups there, and we all had a great time.
We split for lunch at Tako Cheena, an Asian fusion restaurant. We shared a Korean burrito, Thai peanut chicken tako, Asian braised beef tako, Korean beef tako, and sopapillas. Of course, we devoured everything but the sopapillas before remembering to take a picture... oops. I think our favorites were the Korean burrito, Thai peanut chicken tako, and sopapillas. We'd definitely recommend this place to others!
It was finally time to do the main thing we came to Orlando to do: attend the wedding! It was held at Disney's Wedding Pavilion followed by a reception at the Boardwalk hotel where Mickey & Minnie made an appearance. Everything was absolutely gorgeous and again fun was had by all.
Another travel day. We had a ton of time to kill since our flight back to Seattle wasn't until 7pm, so we made a stop at another favorite chain from Illinois... Steak N Shake. There was a speculoos shake... enough said. We also headed to a theater to watch the new Captain America movie (which we enjoyed in addition to some delicious buttery popcorn).
All in all, a nice little trip.