(Birthday) Week in Review

Do you know what day it is today, bloggy readers? Yes, it is 10/10/10, which is cool in and of itself, but it also happens to be my birthday. Which is pretty cool, too. My belly is full from my birthday breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes (yum) and I've got a cup of hot peppermint tea by my side (to help digest the chocolate explosion that was my breakfast), which can only mean one thing -- it's time to write my (Birthday) Week in Review post. And away we go...

So I was lame in the blogging department this week -- I only posted three times:
But I'm going to make it up to you by telling you (and showing you!) all about my week-long birthday celebration, which began last weekend in Orlando. (Yes, I celebrate my birthday for 7 days. You should try it some time. It's awesome.)

Last Saturday morning, Ricky was at my house bright and early at 6 AM. After some last minute packing and an emergency stop at Dunkin Donuts (must.have.caffeine.), we were on our way!

Nothing but blue skies up ahead... oh, and suicidal bug splatter on the windshield.
The weather, as you can tell from the picture above, was perfect road trip weather. Not too hot, not too cold, just perfect. We played our favorite CD's and sang along, stopping when we got hungry, and talking about everything and nothing.

We arrived at Islands of Adventure about 1 PM. I was jumping up and down like a little kid, so eager to get my first glimpse of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. And reader, I have to say... It didn't disappoint.

woo...

oooo....

ooow....
As you can see from the pictures, they did an amazing job creating the world of Harry Potter. Walking into Hogwarts felt like you were walking into the movies. Plus they play music from the film soundtracks, which really helps get you into the mood. Here are some pictures from both Hogwarts and Hogsmeade:

I look short in this picture, but I'm really not.

I love the effect of the fake snow on the rooftops of "Hogsmeade." Especially when it's 80-something degrees out.

Look, that's a quaffle! A quaffle that you use to play in Quidditch! An actual quaffle! (Okay, I'll stop geeking out now.)

Ollivander's wand shop.

Zonko's. Please love my grossed-out expression over the puking pastilles.

Ricky and the Hogwarts Express conductor.
I love how authentic the stores were. Although Ollivander's had a line to get in, it was worth it just to see the wand-choosing experience. We got to see a little boy (with Harry Potter glasses but a Syltherin scarf marring the Harry Potter look) go through the experience, and I have to say, it's pretty cool. There's music, there's wind and light effects, and I confess I got chills.

Though I was a teensy bit bummed I wasn't selected for the wand experience (they randomly select someone from the audience), Ricky made my day by getting me Hermione's wand. It's a replica from the movie and so, so amazing to hold. Like you feel like you can actually produce an Expecto Patronum or something. (Or at the very least, brandish it menacingly.) Next time we go, we have to get one for Ricky -- he's thinking of getting Harry's wand.

I couldn't resist buying something from Zonko's shop -- I walked out with a pygmy puff, those little pink puff balls that Ginny is seen carrying on her shoulder in the film. The cashier working the register asked me if I wanted to name it, and so I did, and then he proceeded to ring a bell and yell, quite loudly, that my pygmy puff has been adopted into a Muggle household. And I smiled and blushed like a madwoman.

Here's my pygmy puff, "Lulu," my Hermione wand, and my beat up copy of Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, which I'm currently rereading. (Yes, I realize I'm being rather slow with this particular rereading cycle. I'm trying to time it with the movie!)
The cashier, along with everyone else working in WWoHP, is dressed up in costumes from the films, to help authenticate your experience, I guess. They even go around calling you "Muggles," which I did not enjoy much, I do confess. The guy working the line inside of the Forbidden Journey ride had a snarly, mean way of calling us "Muggles" that made me want to trip him. For. Real.

With that being said, the Forbidden Journey ride was a good time. I won't give anything away in case you ever get the chance to visit WWoHP, but suffice it to say that you feel as if you are part of a quidditch match. Pretty cool.

Other cool things about WWoHP: Butterbeer! (Delicious.) Pumpkin juice! (Surprisingly tasty, too.) Random performances by the Beaux Batons and the Durmstrangs! And so much more. We honestly did not take enough pictures because we spent so much time just oohing and aaahing over everything. Oh well, there's always next time.

Below are some other pictures from the rest of Islands of Adventure, along with Universal Studios, the Halloween Horror Nights experience, and Sea World, where we spent the morning last Monday before coming back home.

Ricky at the entrance to Islands of Adventure.

Some pretty store fronts in Islands of Adventure. Plus some random people.

The Incredible Hulk coaster, one of my favey-fave coasters.

Me, acting like a fool in the Jurassic Park store in Islands of Adventure. No big deal.

The Esqueleto Muerto scare-zone in Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios. (We would have taken more pictures but we were too busy trying to stay away from the scary men wielding chainsaws.)

One of the gorgeous views at Sea World.

The Dolphin Nursery at Sea World. I was dying to jump into the pool and swim with them, but Ricky recommended against it. Boo.
And there are even more pictures that I will post on Facebook when I get around to it. Including one or two from this weekend, when I celebrated my birthday some more at Gulfstream Park with some friends and also from today, when I will surely celebrate some more-more with Ricky. Good times. But hey -- you only get to celebrate your birthday on 10/10/10 once, right? So you've got to make it count.

 Thanks for reading! :)

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9 comment(s):

Brittany said...

Awesome trip! I'm thinking about going to HPW for my bday as well ... or I might do Disney .. not sure! haha :) ... Looks like tons of fun (although I don't know the majority of the significances from the books & such -- IK shame on me!) :) ... Anyways, hope you have a great bday! :)

--Britt

Hannahkin said...

oooh! i love love love everything about this post... especially the way you spell Hogwarts :) but ohmygosh, i'm so excited to one day go to WWoHP! (i totes copied that from your post... you know that i secretly call it the Harry Potter place :P ) it looks MAGNIFICENT, Annie!

everything else looks fun, too... but not nearly as fun as all the Wizarding World! woop!

happy happy happy birthday, Ana love - i really do hope you're having the best day ever, cause you deserve it :)

Annie Cristina said...

Thanks, guys!

And Hanny, thanks especially for pointing out the spelling error for "Hogwarts." I always want to substitute the "s" for a "z" for some reason. ;)

Hannahkin said...

oh, but i think it SHOULD be spelled (spelt?! oh, English...) the way you spell it :) it seems more magical with a "z"!

Hogwartz FTW!

Jenny☮ said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY on 10/10/10!
It looks like you had so much fun!
Have the lines died down at the WWoHP? I hate lines, hence why I haven't gone. I hope you have an amazing birthday today, with lots of fun and love.

<333

danielle and dinosaur toes said...

wait wait wait, you said 6am? i can't really believe that.

it sounds like you've had a good birthday week, and by reading about all the restaurants you've gone to via twitter and facebook, it sounds like you've eaten REALLY well!

happy birthday!

angelina la dawn said...

happy birthday! i'm so jealous you got to go to harry potter land. someday i'll go too!

Approaching Thirty said...

I love your pictures of the wizarding world of Harry Potter! It looks and sounds like you had a fantastic time! (BTW I am also a fan of celebrating my birthday not on one day, but for the entire week!)

pamela @vampiresmitten said...

I AM WAY JEALOUS THAT YOU GOT TO GO TO WWOHP! I won't get to go till May of next year! Is it really as magnificent as the pictures?