Thursday, November 12, 2015

The OctoNovember Birthday Vacation ~ Day One at Hogwarts!

I woke up that morning feeling oddly light. There was a crazy kind of calm stirring up inside me, the kind of calm that combines both patience and impatience together. The first morning at Cabana Bay Beach Resort began as we got dressed and ready to avail the free breakfast included in our stay. Last year, we'd had a great experience at Cabana's Bay Liner diner. The taste was still fresh on my tongue, being the food lover of the family, and I couldn't wait to help myself to some breakfast. Abbie and I approached a confused looking guy and placed the order for a Vegetable and Cheese Omelette. There is some kind of special charm in watching your food being cooked in front of you. The man cooking our eggs flipped away the omelette with the air of an expert around him. One biscuit and a side of steaming hot breakfast potatoes were added to our order before we headed for the baked section where we got two whole wheat croissants for mama.

Breakfast had never been this enjoyable. The diner's beautiful retro-vintage theme brightened up our morning and the food was delicious. I grabbed a few potatoes and put them in my mouth while Abbie cut our omelette in half so we could share. Strings of warm melted cheese pulled away from our plates as we dug into the omelette with our forks. We devoured the breakfast hungrily before heading back to our rooms to get ready to leave for Universal Orlando Resort.
Due to a confusion created over text messages we didn't leave immediately for the Universal parks. When we asked about the day's plans bro texted us back saying that they'd be ready by eleven. We thought he meant we were all heading for the park together and waited until it was eleven when we called him up to find out they'd be going late. It was then decided that bro would drop Abbie and I at Universal and the rest of the family would join us later once the sun cooled down a bit. Before we left we got to play around with Gubby in Cabana's lobby. The bright colors of the hotel had her excited the way my bedroom excited her back at home. She was dressed in vintage roses that made her look like an adorable tea cozy and was bouncing around the couch when Abbie and I reached the lobby.

When bro got his car from the parking lot, Abbie and I rushed to climb inside. When we got through the bag check we grabbed each other's hands and charged towards Hogsmeade. A few minutes later the entrance was in front of us. The next second we were walking through the magical entrance and Hogsmeade's crooked roofs and buildings welcomed us warmly. The same feeling washed over me again, taking over all my senses and leaving me void of thinking sensibly. This was the feeling I'd experienced thrice before on each of our visits to this magical place. In this moment all that existed was two sisters - two best friends - in their favorite magical world.

Abbie and I were wearing our matching red Harry Potter outfits. The outfits had nothing to do with Harry Potter themselves but it was the mere fact that we had put these together solely for our Harry Potter trips on our second visit to the park. We'd worn the same matching outfits on our third visit as well and this was the fourth time we were continuing the tradition. Over black jeans we wore a red tail dress that had a sequined black top. Black half jackets and tops completed the outfit and we accessorized it with our Hogwarts backpacks, Gryffindor colored mufflers, and pins to convert it into a Hogwarts Gryffindor House dress.

As soon as we reached Hogsmeade we knew what we wanted to do. What was most important was to satisfy our year long thirst of Butterbeer. I got in line and asked the server for a frozen butterbeer mug. Abbie was clicking my pictures as I posed against the Butterbeer barrel right outside The Three Broomsticks and the server was more interested in posing in my pictures than he was in getting me my Butterbeer. Soon enough the Butterbeer was in our hands and Abbie and I were sipping away. It was liquid magic. I made my Butterbeer mustache before continuing to enjoy the delicious drink as Abbie and I headed in Hogwarts' direction.

It was unbelievable. The park had very few people compared to last year when we'd visited around New Year's. Abbie and I walked over to Hogwarts' entrance where, for the first time in four years, a bigger joy than seeing the majestic castle standing in all its glory was the waiting time that flashed at us on The Forbidden Journey's board. Twenty minutes! Last year we'd stood in a line that had extended all the way to the Jurassic Park beside Hogsmeade thanks to a one hundred and twenty minutes long waiting time. "Sara, forget everything and let's do this," Abbie said, grabbing my hand and heading towards the Hogwart's entrance. We took a selfie outside Hogwarts that came out beautiful, packed away our bags in the lockers, and made our way through the castle. Unlike the last three times, we reached the Gryffindor common room rather quickly this time after which began what is possibly the best ride they've ever been able to create.

"Observatory!" I screamed as Hermione instructed us to on her count of three. Then we were soaring above Hogwart's grounds. Harry and Ron were with us on their brooms. Hagrid was talking about the escaped dragon. The dragon was breathing fire on us, the warmth of which made my skin tickle. There was the whomping willow trying to knock the living daylights out of us. Giant spiders attacked us from all around. The basilisk's skeleton lay beneath us on the ground as we saw the giant head that was in the Chamber of Secrets. We were soaring through the winds again, this time our brooms flying over a game of Quidditch where Malfoy was being an ass for Harry. Dementors had attacked and I was screaming, "Expecto Patronum!" Harry shouted, "We did it!" and we were soaring over the Great Lake towards the castle again. Dumbledore stood in front of us, clapping and cheering for us with a group of students behind him. "Don't forget to retrieve your stowed belongings," he said, as our feet touched the ground again and we were off the ride and standing inside Filch's Emporium of Confiscated Goods. Once our bags were with us again, we checked the time and sadly realized it was time the rest of the family arrived at the park. We were to walk all the way back to the entrance of Universal after which, we knew from experience, we'd see the expression of, "why again!?" on bro and SIL's faces. Before our bestie time was over for the day, we checked out all the gorgeous merchandise in Filch's Emporium. I stopped where they had displayed the beautiful Gryffindor's Sword. It was so majestic, so perfect, so breathtakingly beautiful ...

When the rest of the family joined us we headed over to the Islands of Adventure again. The last time Gubby had been with us here she was a new born. She wouldn't react to anything or give much expressions. This year she was a lively and active beach ball who was melting our hearts with the adorable reactions she had for everything. The colors and funky things at Seuss Landing hadn't changed this year, but with Gubby beside us we had a totally different experience in the park this time. The first thing we decided to do was to get on the carousel with Gubby. SIL isn't much into pictures and I am crazy about getting my pictures snapped so it was decided that I'd be the one who sat with Gubby darling on the carousel. Sadly though the dude responsible for the ride's operation told me that only one of us could be seated and if the kid didn't want to sit by herself then we could take one of the carriage like seats instead. So Gubby ended up with Abbie and mama and I decided to take some selfies of my own as I rid one of the stupid looking things going round the carousel. We stopped in one of the shops next because it was really hot and Gubby needed to cool down a little. I turned away for a second to look around the merchandise they had; there were shelves full of plush toys out of which I recognized Horton. When I looked back at Gubby she was pressed against the window, jumping on her toes, and waving at the Thing 1 and Thing 2 who were standing right outside. It was such an adorable sight. Abbie called for me then and when I went over she was showing me a Thing 1 plush toy. We made a mental note that we'd buy it for Gubby as a surprise the next day when we were alone again. The rest of our stay inside the shop involved a silly drawing, crayola crayons, adorable Gubby, and crazy aunties. Of course, when we came out of the shop we had a colored drawing, ready to go home with us as a souvenir that Gubby had created.

With Gubby along, we headed back to Hogsmeade where, once again, the Hogwarts castle took my breath away. The glorious sight, as always, seemed new. Each time I came to Hogsmeade and looked at Hogwarts I felt like I was seeing it for the first time, as if somehow magically the castle was stunning me into admirable silence all over again. While bro and SIL sipped their Butterbeer, the only part of the park that they have no problems with or at least none stated so far, Abbie and I rested a little bit. I went crazy with my camera again because I needed something to keep me busy and away from begging Abbie to get another Butterbeer for the day.

When their Butterbeer finished, and with neither of them nor mama too fascinated about Harry Potter, we started walking back in the direction of the exit. I wasn't sad because Abbie and I had another fabulous bestie-day planned for the next day. We stopped at The Lost Island where we had earlier reserved ourselves a spot for a gourmet delicious dinner. Mythos really had all the fair reasons to be awarded the number one themed restaurant for consecutive years. Like last time, the food was delicious. I had been craving their Pad Thai ever since we'd left their doorstep after a satisfying dinner last year. When the food arrived I could kick the over-friendly server away so I could dive into those noodles! They were delicious, warm, and exactly the taste I'd been craving for an year. A layer of scrumptious desserts, which we all shared, added the cherry on top of the cake - pun intended.

The day had begun in a brightly decorated comfortable room. A delicious breakfast with steamy hot potatoes had filled up my morning. Abbie and I were finally back at our most favorite Bestie spot in the world. Butterbeer had poured down our throats like liquid magic which gave us a brain freeze but warmed up our insides with excitement and satisfaction. We'd experienced the thrill of The Forbidden Journey after what had been the craziest short waiting time we'd ever seen. The adorable Gubster had filled our evening with fun and cuteness as we'd sat there coloring ourselves away silly. The Hogwarts castle had shined under the sun in front of our eyes once again. The day had concluded with a tasty dinner in Mythos, where we'd satisfied our stomachs perfectly. I couldn't have hoped for more that day ... it was really, in all true meaning, the most wonderful time of the year!

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