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Old 10 Sep 17, 01:44 PM  
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'Going the Distance' June 2017 - Day 1 - IOA+US, Margaritaville.

Saturday 10th June

Day 1

Index: 'Going the Distance' June 2017

I woke up at 5am to find Chris was on my pillow despite the bed being 3 pillow wide. This happens all the time at home but Iíd have thought in an American king bed that I would have had some room.
Apparently not.

I didnít really go back to sleep, just messed about on my phone reading the Dibb. Chris woke at 6 and we stayed in bed until 6:30 when the alarm went off.

It took us around an hour to get ready - I take a while as I have a lot of hair and tend to faff. We had a coffee and some of our Walmart snacks for breakfast as well. I had one of the sugar cookies and a yoghurt and Chris had a blueberry muffin. The sugar cookie was sugary heaven Ė all soft and yummy.

We left the room at 7:30. I took a quite outfit photo first though. I love this Dobby t-shirt from Redbubble. Dobby is one of my favourites and heís my mums all-time favourite, in her eye no one compares to Dobby.

We headed down the path. It was a lovely temperature at this time, not too hot or humid at all. Chris was wearing what I call his ridiculously bright City shirt. It makes him easy to spot at least.

We went through the resort security which was a little busier than it was last night with all the resort guests heading in. It only took a few minutes though and the staff were always friendly.

We were heading towards Islands of Adventure by 7:50. When we arrived at the gates they were already open. If you are going for early entry Iíd recommend getting there for 8:30-8:40 just in case. We werenít in too much of rush though so it didnít bother us.

We were heading through the arch at 7:53. Excitement levels were crazy at this point. We were ushered through towards Hogsmeade by the staff and had to show our room key things just before Dr Seuss land.

It was bang on 8 when we made it to Hogsmeade and I had to take a few minutes to stop and take some photos. I thought that the theming was incredible. Everything I had imagined and so much more. The buildings with the snow and the Hogwarts Express I was so overwhelmed.

We headed towards Forbidden Journey which was listed at a 10 minute wait. Oh my god. The caste. I think I wanted to cry when I saw it in all its glory. They have done such a good job. The details are incredible. With the music playing in the background it was so magical. I wish I could go to Hogwarts for real!

We entered at 8:03 and got some lockers. God I hate locker rooms Ė these ones seemed really small too and there were just too many people pushing and shoving for my liking.

We walked through the queue and ended up in the greenhouse at 8:15.

I loved all the details in the queue Ė unfortunately I couldnít really get many photos as the queue was moving fast and itís quite dark in places.

Iím a Ravenclaw Ė we werenít doing too well with the house points!

It took near enough 10 minutes from the greenhouse to getting on the ride. Chris loved that you were on a conveyor belt when getting into the ride vehicles. He absolutely loves technology and figuring out how things work. I was blown away by this ride. I donít go to many theme parks Ė only been to Blackpool and Alton Towers at home and so the rides in Orlando were really impressive to me. The last time I went to Orlando I was 6 and scared of everything.

As a first ride of the holiday, it was a fantastic start. The concept is fantastic and I was grinning ear to ear when I got off. Chris also loved it and we were excited to see what Gringotts was like to compare!

We were back outside the castle by 8:33. I have so many photos of the castle. Think I was just snapping away crazily. We had planned to get the Hogwarts Express over to Universal Studios to get to Diagon Alley before it got too busy, but we decided to grab a butter beer first.

We decided to get the frozen version. I found this way more enjoyable than the normal kind that Iíd tried at the studio tours. We decided to share one as I didnít think we would manage one each really. Price was $6.49 but we were expecting things in the parks to be on the expensive side.

I decided that we should have a quick look in Honeydukes before it became super busy later. Itís so brightly coloured in here! I was tempted by all the nice looking sweets but it was quite expensive and we did have a butterbeer to drink.

It was 8:45 at this point so we decided to get a move on and head for the train. The Hogwarts Express pulled up at 8:57 and we all boarded. I was very impressed by the cabins Ė exactly like the ones at the studio tour. We were sat nearest the corridor and had a pretty good view of everything going on. I thought it was very clever and a good way of getting between the parks. Hermioneís voice though! I know everyone mentions it but it really is terrible.

We exited the train just past 9am. I loved the attention to detail in Kings Cross and it was good to see the poster from Half Blood Prince make an appearance.

We entered Diagon Alley at 9:05. All the Ďgeneral publicí were already in by this point but it wasnít too busy. As soon as I saw Diagon Alley I nearly burst into tears Ė it was so perfect. The detail and the atmosphere is just incredible and I think they have really done it justice. I snapped a few quick photos and we headed to Gringotts via the lockers.

The first look you get when you walk through the bricks is amazing - they did a good job with the staging to make it so dramatic.

By the time we had faffed about with the locker it was 9:15 and the queue said 30 minutes. I wish I could be the sort of person who doesnít need a bag but we had suncream and quite a few drinks with us as we tend to get dehydrated quickly and Chris burns if he doesnít top up the sun cream.

We didnít mind queueing really Ė the queue again was very detailed. I loved the main hall with the goblins and we thought that the lift and time with Bill Weasley really helped to break everything up.

It took around 25 mins in the end until we got into our cart. I honestly donít think I could tell you which ride out of this and Forbidden Journey I preferred. I think this had more rollercoaster elements that I enjoyed but honestly I loved both.

We were back outside by 9:45 and the crowds had really started to pour in at this point.

We took some more photos and decided to head into Weasleyís Wizzard Wheezes for a browse. I loved this shop Ė exactly how I had imagined with lots of things stacked haphazardly around. Chris loved the U-NO-POO, think he wanted some :P

We didnít buy anything at this point as we were conscious it was our first day and I didnít want to go mental with the spends just yet. We decided to head out into the rest of Universal Studios at this point and return later for another look round.

We spotted that ĎStaní and the shrunken head were meeting out by the Knight Bus and there was only 2 groups in the queue so we got in line.

The couple in front of us asked if we would take some photos of them and then return the favour. I let Chris do this as he is miles better at photos than I am.

It was soon our turn. I thought that this interaction with the head was so clever. We talked about what house I was in (Ravenclaw) and then the conductor spotted Chrisís City shirt and the talk turned to football (as if I donít get enough of that already!).

The guy who took our photos was really interested in Chrisís phone Ė it was the Samsung Galaxy S8+. He hadnít seen it yet and was impressed by the camera quality. We thanked him for taking our photo and headed on our way to Grimmauld Place.

It was 10:05 now and we had just received a message from my friend Sophie. Her and her fiancť James were in Orlando for 10 days prior to us and were due to have flown home the day we arrived on the 9th. However their flight was delayed and upon getting up on Saturday morning they were informed that the flight had been moved, again, until the Sunday. They were being put up in a hotel with breakfast and evening meal provided but wanted to get out for the day. Sophie whatsapped say that they were just about to get in an Uber and come and meet us in about 20 mins.

We headed round to the Simpsons ride as this was the neatest to where we were. The express queue wasnít very quick here, the wait said 20mins and it took us that even in the express queue so not sure what was going on there. We enjoyed the ride but I have to say that it made me feel abit off. I never normally get motion sickness and to be honest I recovered in about 5 mins after but I think itís a ride I would only do once a trip. It was a fun ride though, we were sat in a car with a large family and they had some fantastic reactions.

Alot of the 'nice landcape' shots are from Chris as he likes taking photos of places rather than people. If I left him to it there would be no photos with us in.

It was 10:30 now and Sophie said that she and James had just entered the park so we decided to stay where we were and wait for them to get to us.

We were so excited to see each other that we practically ran towards each other and had a huge hug in the middle of the path. I can imagine it would have been quite romantic if our other halves werenít standing around watching.

We had a quick catch up where she told us about their holiday. They had gotten engaged at Animal Kingdom about 3 days prior. I was so happy for her. Apparently James had been carrying the ring round for a week as he was going to propose at Magic Kingdom but ended up bottling it. :P Poor thing.

The whole delayed flight situation was obviously a slight downturn in their holiday but she was happy that we got the day together as we have both loved and experienced Harry Potter together over the years.

We therefore headed back towards Diagon Alley as they wanted another ride of Gringotts. It said 30 minutes wait, and it was Ė we were off by 11:20. We all loved it. Soph and James were glad that had gotten one last go on it.

We then had an explore around the areas that me and Chris had missed out before such as Knockturn alley. The level of detail was again fantastic. I loved that they had a vanishing cabinet.

We left Diagon Alley at 11:40 and decided to have a go on Men in Black which was a 10 minute wait. I actually won this Ė I scored 179,375, Soph sat in the front with me and got 130,200, and both the guys got around the 150,000 mark. I think this was the only shooting game I won on the holiday though.

It was now nearly 12 and we were all getting hungry. We decided to head towards the Simpsons area again via the toilets and eat there.

^ This is James in the red hat. I think Chris was pleased that now me and Soph were having lots of photos together at it meant he could hide behind the camera

We decided on Cletus' Chicken Shack at Fast Food Boulevard. It was quite busy in here, but we got our food in about 5 mins. Soph and James managed to secure a table outside as they were ahead of us in the queue.

I had the chicken thumbs with tater tots. Which was just over $10.
Chris had the chicken waffle sandwich which was just over $12. Which he enjoyed even though it was quite messy. I also liked mine even though it was basically a plate full of yellow!

We took our time eating and just had a rest. The heat was starting to build up and the sun had burnt through the clouds at this point. We were nice and shaded under our umbrella. At 12:45 we decided to make a move and head for the The Mummy. We passed Doc meeting and greeting. I love the Back to the Future films. When I came to Orlando in 2000 I was only 6 and the Back to the Future ride was the first ride that we went on. It scared me so much :p I would have loved to have gone back on it as an adult but I think it closed around 10 years ago.

I also had try on of Chris's hat. :P

As we passed Mels Diner we decided to have some photos taken with the lovely cars. The theming here is lovely all in pastel and we are both proper posers.

This is one of my favourite photos from the holiday. <3

The Mummy was a 25 minute wait. We found the ride times quite accurate at Universal. Obviously James and Soph didnít have any express passes so we just joined them in the normal queue. This didnít really bother us at all as we knew we had a couple more days to use them.

We really enjoyed The Mummy Ė I really hope they donít get rid of it. I love the film and thought the ride was fantastic although abit jarring in places. I thought I was going to get whiplash at one point. Sophie spent a lot of time screaming about how much she hated it and didnít know why she had gone on it again :í) I think she secretly enjoyed it.

When we got out we could see that the Blues Brothers were out doing their show. We stopped to watch and visited the nearby drinks fountain to fill up our bottles. We found that the water at Universal tasted better than the water at Disney.

We were quite near Rip Ride Rockit at this point. Sophie really didnít want to go on this one and James said that he hadnít been on it on their last trip to Universal. We offered to go with him and Soph said she would have a seat on the grass and mind the bags. The queue was only 20 mins and we were off by 2pm. Oh my god what an incredible ride. I picked Paralyzer by Finger Eleven. I absolutely loved it. The ascent and drop is just incredible. Soph said that she spotted Chrisís shirt when it was our go. :í) You could pick out that t-shirt anywhere I swear.

We were going to go on Transformers but unfortunately it had broken down so we continued around the lake. We saw these guys near Transformers Ė think they had strayed away from their ride

We visited Jaws to take some photos. . My dad loved the Jaws ride so I sent him the photos on whatsapp. He actually really wanted to come with us on holiday but my mum didnít fancy it and they already had a 2 week trip planned in the motorhome later in the year.

We headed for the Hogwarts Express. It was 2:20 at this point but we didnít make it to Hogsmeade until 2:50 due some technical difficulties. It had also started to rain by this point. When we got off the rain was heavier. We took shelter while we made a plan about what we were going to do.

The rain slowed down to more manageable light rain/drizzle but Dragon Challenge was still closed. Forbidden Journey was a 40 minute wait as I think people were heading to that as it was dry inside.

We decided to brave the weather, grab a butter beer and head round towards Spider Man in the hopes that the storm/lightning area might pass as we wanted to get on the Hulk at some point.

We walked through the Jurassic park area, all of the outdoor rides were down still. Me and Chris were exited to come back and do the water rides the next day. James was telling us how Soph sent him on the Jurassic Park River Adventure on his own to test how it was before she would go on it.

It was still abit wet but we couldn't be bothered to put our waterproofs on :P

We got to Spider Man at 3:40 and the wait said 40 mins. We headed in as we were hoping that we could have some time to dry off and let the storm pass.

The wait ended up around 35 mins which wasnít too bad, we found the queues went quickly as we were talking which helped pass the time. Spiderman also broke down when we were on it, all the screens and sound went out of sync so they just sent us round another time. We enjoyed it Ė I think you can tell itís quite old but it has a nice retro feel I think. Although we came to notice over our time at Universal over the next few days that they really love the whole wind, water, fire combination.

When we got out it was around 20 past 4 and The Hulk was up and running! We headed over and quickly shoved our stuff in a locker. The queue said 20 minutes but we ended up waiting more like 35 as I think they had some technical difficulties. The queue area is quite loud with all the sirens and I think we were stood under a speaker for a good 5 minutes at one point. The wait was worth it though, the acceleration when it shoots you off is so intense. It did rattle my head around a bit though. Such an adrenaline rush though.

It had gone 5 oíclock at this point. We decided to head back to Hogsmeade to go on the Duelling Dragons which we missed earlier.

The queue said 10 mins. The queue for this is so so long, I think it took us 5 minutes to walk up to where the line started. We were soon on Ė we did the red side first and then went back round to do the blue. We all had differing opinions as to which was one more intense. :P

It was half 5 now. We decided to head out of the park. During the day Soph was telling us how when they were packing to leave Disney on Friday they chucked out their toothpaste/some toiletries so had been struggling. We had some mini tubes of toothpaste etc that we had packed in hand luggage so offered to give them those. We decided to all walk back to RPR together and get the stuff. James said they would order an Uber from the hotel then.

We were back just before 6. We were abit tired and feet were definitely feeling the steps at this point. Soph really liked the hotel room and her and James had some sugar cookies before they headed off. I gave her a big hug and said I would see her in 18days :P
It had been so lovely to spend some time together. An amazing start to the holiday.

We had a rest for an hour before getting ready to head to Citywalk for some food. We were starving as we had last had lunch at 12 and only a butter beer in the afternoon. We shared a blueberry muffin whilst getting ready but didnít want to eat too much of the room snacks as we wanted a proper evening meal.

We left the room at 7:50 and headed back out. We decided to try Margaritaville and headed towards the podium. The lady said it would be about 30-40 mins and we left our number.

We decided to go and take some more photos around Citywalk in the meantime. A kind lady offered to take a photo of us both.

There was some live music down on the stage as well which really helped the atmosphere. We found that Citywalk was really lively and fun in the evening.

We took some photos outside the Universal Studios entrance as we had entered and exited from Islands of Adventure today.

We got the text at 8:40 and headed back to Margaritaville and were seated on the patio. There was live music on and the gentleman played some great songs

To drink I ordered a 5 o'clock somewhere and Chris ordered a bahama mama. We also ordered fried chicken wings for starter. We have a thing about chicken wings Ė always seem to order them.

You can see Chrisís hand going in for the food here, I had to be super quick when taking my food photos :í). These were lovely. Think we preferred these to last nights at NBC although we enjoyed all of our chicken wings, didnít have a bad lot.

For mains I had the blackened mahi mahi tacos, which were overflowing and barely contained in the taco. The flavour was amazing but I always have this knack for choosing really difficult foods that fall everywhere.

Chris had the Jambalaya. He loved it, the portion was very generous and he hoovered it all up.

We also had some more drinks.
I had a bama breeze. And Chris had an incommunicado.

There was a large party on the table next to us, it was a birthday celebration. There was a man on stilts going round making balloon animals for kids etc. He approached the birthday lady (must have been in her 30ís) and asked if she wanted a balloon and congratulated her on her birthday. Someone who was obviously her boyfriend/husband majorly kicked off accusing the balloon man of trying to flirt with Ďhis womaní. He was clearly very drunk and his friend had to escort him outside. We were trying not to watch too much but it was honestly like car crash tv. They all left not so long after.

Chris also ordered one of the booze in a blender things and picked to have a zombie in it. We ended up walking back to the hotel with most of it and ended up finishing it in bed like the classy people we are.

The meal cost $145 including tip. Quite expensive but then we expected our evening meals to be quite costly as we tend to have a few drinks. Plus souvenir cups donít help.

We left at about 10 and were in bed (with the blender) by 10:30. Chris was watching UFC on the tv. We went to sleep at about 11 after what was an amazing but long day.

This is a photo of the sky slingshot which we think was on I-Drive. It was all lit up at night. It looked scary but Iím assuming people were going on it as it was running quite often.

Steps: 21,978

Thanks for reading! See you soon for Day 2 - its HERE!

Edited at 07:59 PM.
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Old 11 Sep 17, 02:09 PM  
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Cocktails in bed, I love it

Looks like a great day, your excitement is infectious, my 11 year old is a massive Potterhead and I can wait to see his reactions in the park!
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Old 11 Sep 17, 05:20 PM  
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Originally Posted by 2littleboys View Post
Cocktails in bed, I love it

Looks like a great day, your excitement is infectious, my 11 year old is a massive Potterhead and I can wait to see his reactions in the park!
Oh he will love it honestly! They are including the Harry Potter rides in the express pass too now!

enjoy your trip!
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Old 11 Sep 17, 07:29 PM  
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Looks like a great day, you got loads done.
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Old 11 Sep 17, 11:41 PM  
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Love all your details!

Dinner looks great, especially the jambalaya.
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Old 12 Sep 17, 08:23 AM  
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Originally Posted by debsym62 View Post
Looks like a great day, you got loads done.
I was surprised how much we got done to be honest! Especially without using the express passes.

Originally Posted by collybird View Post
Love all your details!

Dinner looks great, especially the jambalaya.
Dinner was fantastic - great atmosphere too.
Enjoy your trip - so jealous of your countdown!
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Old 21 Oct 17, 03:28 PM  
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Looks like an amazing day! I can't wait to try some of those food places when we go back again!
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Old 22 Oct 17, 02:31 PM  
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Originally Posted by klr15 View Post
Looks like an amazing day! I can't wait to try some of those food places when we go back again!
love the food in America. I'm sure you will enjoy planning where you are going to eat next time you go!
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Old 25 Oct 17, 08:42 AM  
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Great day. btw, the Back to the Future ride at Universal is basically the Simpsons ride now.
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Old 21 Jan 18, 10:44 PM  
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Lovely day. We are huge chicken wings fan - our last trip was basically a tour of chicken wings for appetisers around Florida!
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