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Posted on Feb 21, 2012 in Dear Diary, Food | 13 comments

The Girl Who Lived

Before you even ask: yes, it was awesome. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter fully met my (wildly high) expectations, I had an amazing trip with my parents, and I am roughly 6.8 times happier now than I was when I left. As I’m still having a bit of trouble readjusting to Muggledom, you’ll have to excuse me while I get my bearings back. Also, I took 287 pictures this weekend and narrowed them down to a gentleman’s 75 just for you, haha. This means it still may take juuuust a little while to get through the entire magical experience. I assure you, however, it will be well worth the wait. (And that sentiment goes for the trip as a whole, most definitely.)

The Adventure Begins...

What better place to start than at the beginning, hmm? Friday morning, my parents and I set off on our way down to sunny Florida. After dealing with the normal travel logistics (bags, nourishment, car rental), we arrived at our hotel, which was my aunt’s timeshare property that she generously gifted us time at, the Wyndham Cypress Palms.


We settled in for a bit before meeting up with an old friend of my mother’s, from her Hong Kong days! We had dinner at Seasons 52 Orlando, which I believe is the original one!

Seasons 52 Orlando

Still armed with fond memories of my blogiversary celebration at the one up here, it was a fantastic meal (as well as the first and last healthy meal of the trip, haha).

MusselsGoat Cheese & Artichoke Flatbread
Ahi Tuna SaladOld Friends

We all shared mussels and a goat cheese & artichoke flatbread to start, and I got an ahi tuna salad. Fresh and delicious! Naturally, as Seasons 52 claims they originated the idea of the “shot glass dessert”, we had to get a sampling of those as well to finish the meal:

Red Velvet Shot

Red velvet for me, please! After dinner, my parents dropped me off at Downtown Disney, the bustling (and free!) area outside of the Disney parks, where I met up with blog reader Alicia and her boyfriend!

World of Disney

I was so glad to have been gotten a little taste of Disney while I was in Orlando, since even though this was a trip with a VERY specific purpose, you know I love me some Disney.


Alicia was a fantastic tour guide! There’s a lot of cool stuff in this little pedestrian area, including a Disney Store that does so much business that it singlehandedly accounts for an entire percentage point of Disney’s revenue. Let that sink in for a sec.

GenieBuzz & Woody
Candy CauldronD Street

The real gem in this area though? The Ghiradhelli Soda Fountain, where the three of us shared one of their incredible signature hot fudge sundaes.


The calories don’t count if you split it, right?


Admittedly, after getting up uber-early to travel, by the time we were done walking through the area (and getting to see more awesome things like the House of Blues and the Cirque du Soleil tent) I was pretty exhausted. I did have to conserve my strength, after all! The next morning I would be headed onto great things — terrible, yes… but great.


Despite my very best intentions to get an early start, we didn’t end up getting to the park until around 11. Which ended up being just fine, because it gave us a chance to fuel up before I reverted to my 7-year-old self again. 😉

Mommy & me

Universal has an area called Citywalk that sits outside of the actual parks and is filled with shops and restaurants, similar to Downtown Disney. We grabbed some grub there before charging into Islands of Adventure, full-speed. I had talked a big game about meandering through the rest of the park first, working our way over to the Harry Potter area at a time that it might be less crowded, but…

Islands of Adventure Wait Times

I mean, C’mon. Are you really surprised that I wasn’t able to wait? Everything was just beginning!

HP World Cover Photo

To be continued…


  1. Ahhh! So exciting to read from the perspective of a non-floridian, going to HP World for the first time!! Can’t wait for Part 2!

  2. To be continued? How can you leave us hanging? Good thing I already stalked all your photos on facebook last night! =D

    Glad you had fun!

    • You’re going to be sorry you said that when you see tomorrow’s post. It’s a beast, and I’m barely through Day 2! Aahahahaha.

  3. It sounds like your trip was epic- can’t wait to hear how you experienced the rest 🙂

  4. Gah! I want to see it all NOW! That looks like so much fun. Added to the list of places to go in the next 5 years.

  5. Is it ridiculous that I teared up a little bit thinking about how much I love Disney World and Harry Potter. Oh, how I wish they were part of the same parks. DARN YOU UNIVERSAL!!

  6. cant wait to hear!! I am still 100% jealous that you got to go! I need to take my son, so I have an excuse to get there haha

  7. I am dying to get to Disney. I went when I was 6, 14, 21 and 24. My husband has no desire- he says we are too old. Forget that- I LOVED it at 24 and would love it even more now!
    Your trip looks so awesome so far- I’m so happy for you that you got to experience it! Can’t wait to see the rest. 🙂

    • I went to Magic Kingdom for the FIRST time when I was 15, and I loved it. I want to go back so badly! You’re NEVER too old for Disney magic!

  8. Looks like you had a fantastical time… can’t wait to hear about the rest!

  9. I’m still so proud of myself for capturing such a perfect “Gretchen eating” picture, haha! So glad we got to hang out!


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