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It’s A Worthey Trip: Our Vacation House, Downtown Disney & Harry Potter

Arriving in Florida this afternoon and being able to pull off the winter boots, put the coat away and slip into my sandals felt like a breath of fresh air.

For most of the day we hung out at our Vacation property. This is just amazing. It’s through All Star Vacation Homes.

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With over 3000 square feet, 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, our own pool & spa, movie theater, full kitchen, game room and more– we felt that as soon as we arrived, we were at home. Yes our home doesn’t have all of these luxury amenities, but it felt like home. And that’s just it! All Star Vacation Homes design their properties to make your stay feel like you’re at home. You can read and see my full review of my All Star Vacation Homes here.

All Star Vacation Homes

After doing a run to the grocery store (Target & Publix), we were stocked and ready to go. I brought a lot of food from home, so being able to have food and do our own cooking we are saving quite a bit of money. For most of the day we hung out at the pool and just relaxed.

I don’t believe in going on vacation and running all the time to different amusement parks and sights. Part of my vacation is just to be able to relax and do nothing.
The next day we slept in, but were awakened by the smells of breakfast being prepared.

Homemade buttermilk pancakes, thick cut bacon and scrabbled cheese eggs anyone? Hey, just because we’re on vacation some things mustn’t change. The designated cook of our clan still has his responsibilities and naturally we love him for taking good care of all of us. After breakfast the boys double-timed to the pool under the watchful eye of dad, while I took up residence in the home theater and watched a movies.

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 2.26.22 PM    Downtown Disney

Later on, we got ourselves down to Downtown Disney. One of cool things about vacationing out­ of­ season is the reduced crowds. Compared to the last time we were here this was, excuse my pun, a walk in the park. One thing I noticed though, there was a lot of construction going on, but I did take note of signage advertising Starbucks’ which is scheduled to open summer 2014.

Yes, Downtown Disney just got potentially a whole lot better.

Downtown Disney

We visited the Lego Store and chowed on some cinnamon sweet churros. We only spent a couple of hours here, but finished up with a trip to another familiar haunt, the Ghirardelli® Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop.

Downtown Disney

The next day we set out to Universal Studios, specifically speaking to The Wonderful Wizarding World of Harry J. Potter. Now, we were here about three years ago when the TWWOHP first opened, the twins and our youngest had been not so subtlety suggesting we return, especially our little Zayd’n. Recently, he has developed an interest in just about everything Harry Potter.

He has watched all of the DVDs I don’t know how many times. Also, it is not an uncommon to see him, with broken wand in hand, waving enthusiastically reciting various incantations and would be magical spells.

Butterbeer at The World of Harry Potter

Once in the park we set out on the most important mission. A quest really of the utmost importance and we were not going to be denied. We sought the most coveted elixir in all of Harry Potterdom, BUTTER BEER! If you haven’t experienced the joy of Butter Beer then my dear friend you haven’t lived. It is a butterscotchy, cream sodaish concoction with a fizzy frothy finish (I should have been a sommelier), though in my opinion an adult version should be made available for parents who have to deal with frenzied children hopped up on this stuff, just sayin’.

Anywho, we pretty much conquered every ride and I am pretty sure we broke the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride or mayhap we’re just cursed, this was the same ride we got stuck on, albeit for a lot longer, the first time we rode it a few years ago. Hubby and the twins tackled the Dragon Challenge™, and much to Zayd’n’s disappointment he was just wee shy of being tall enough to ride this one. Don’t worry kiddo you’ll get ‘em next time. And so, while they rode the Dragon Challenge Zayd’n and I drowned our sorrows in yet another mug of Butterbeer™.

Wand Shop

I must say the folks at Universal Studios did a great job at replicating J.K. Rowling’s world. Fromthe Hogwart’s Express train engine to the various shops you read about at Hogsmeade, all the most important ones stand before you in very accurate detail. Honeydukes™, Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods™ and Zonko’s Joke Shop™, but our most memorable experience came when we waited the thirty or so minutes and entered the legendary Ollivanders™ Wand Shop. As we entered the dimly lit space all around us were boxes and countless elongated boxes of wands.

zaydn at the wand shop

The shop keep descended the stairs and stood before us, and who does he pick to choose his very own wand? Zayd’n of course! This was so cool. The shopkeeper went through the whole spiel, just like in the book when Harry was being fitted for his very own wand. He had Zayd’n try various wands until he selected the right one. And now our little Zayd’s has his very own wand!

zaydn and his wand

It is not one of the character wands which you purchase inside the wand shop, but his very own wand. Beyond cool beans. What a fitting way to end our time in Harry Potterland, that, and a delicious parting draft of Butterbeer. Here, here.

zaydn

Other highlights, as we were making our way through the Dr. Seuss area, Ziah and Zion had rode some of the rides here before and this time Ziah wanted to ride one of them again for old times’ sake and said, “Let’s make another memory to go on top of the last memory we had here,” and so he and Zayd’n took off to ride another kiddies’ ride, and thus created another stackable memory.

Priceless.

zaydn at universal

After we were accosted by an overly ambitious Goblin the twins took on The Incredible Hulk® Roller Coaster and Zayd’n and I rode another kiddie ride. Then the brief rain shower came through and cooled things down a bit. If you’ve been to Florida you know how quick these fleeting storm impressions can be, in and out in no time flat. We finished our fun day at US with a bite at Antojitas Mexican Restaurant. Delicioso!

boys surfing

Sad but true, our three days in the Sunshine state came to an end, so with a heavy heart we packed up our belongings and headed north.

Where have you traveled recently? Have you visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Disney? Stayed in a Vacation House? Leave me a comment below! I would love to hear what you have to say!