Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The OctoNovember Birthday Vacation ~ Day Two With The Dragon

After a good night's sleep Abbie and I were ready to hit Cabana's Bay Liner Diner again for a fabulous breakfast. They were serving such fulfilling meals at breakfast that Abbie and I were easily skipping lunch and indulging in Butterbeer and Ice creams instead.

We ordered the vegetable omelettes again with the biscuit and breakfast potatoes sides. It was delicious! The cheese melted in our mouths as we sat in our room devouring the deliciousness. Abbie made some desi chai for us later so we could start off our day right. We sipped the chai, finished our breakfast, and got about getting ready to leave.

It was another Bestie Day today when Abbie and I would be heading to the park alone while the rest stayed back. We decided to dress alike, as we mostly do on vacations because half of the dresses in our wardrobes are doubles, and looked great. The only difference in our outfit today was that I had a half jacket pulled over on top and Abbie had Jack Skellington sleeved worn under the dress. Our dresses were finds from Hot Topic and had roses and skulls all over in shades of red, white, and a little bit of blue. With our tickets and cameras in place and our Hogwarts bags on our backs, we stepped outside the room all excited for our Potterhead day ahead of us!

Cabana's shuttle always excited Abbie and I because it was part of some our best Bestie Times that we'd had over the years. We stood on our way to the park but we didn't mind because Cabana is super close to Universal Orlando Resort. When we reached the place the familiar rush of excitement filled up inside me. Today, we had decided we'd be visiting Diagon Alley on the Universal Studios side of the resort. Before we walked all the way to Diagon Alley to see our favorite dragon we stopped to pose against the famous Universal globe. I always have a great time posing and this is one of my favorite photo spots. The sun was shining from all the wrong angles and I was worried Abbie would run out of patience. Thankfully she didn't and we were able to get some beautiful shots of me ... oh, I meant the globe ... ahem.

When we reached the 'London' front my knees felt weak with excitement. The feeling I got every time I reached one of the entrances to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter always brought tears of joy to my eyes. This was literally the place I'd made my happiest memories at. Abbie and I took in the beautiful view; the record shop was gleaming under the sun right beside the beautiful entrance to King's Cross Station behind which we knew the scarlet engine choo choo-ed away gloriously, the Knight Bus stood as purplish as ever with an overly enthusiastic conductor standing against it and the shrunken heads blabbering away at visitors, and the brick entrance called to us as if it stood in waiting the past year for our selves to walk through it once again. We approached the magic brick entrance, where touching the bricks for the first time on this trip felt like just the right thing to do. Our excitement was beyond control by now.

The dragon was perched on top of the crooked Gringotts Bank with a fierce expression that meant it was about to breathe fire any second. The Weasley twins' head produced a bunny out of its hat magically on our right and the classic Leaky Cauldron on our left spread a delicate smell of rich food in the air. We headed straight to ride The Escape from Gringotts because the lines were noticeably shorter again today. I guess we were really lucky and the stars had aligned, knowing how badly we'd needed a vacation, to give us this moment to enjoy!

The Escape from Gringotts gave us a great thrill. We got off the roller coaster with a kind of fast-forwarded feeling inside of us. When we came out of Gringotts and collected our bags from the locker our insides growled to indicate the dire need of ice cream. So we headed for Florean Fortescue's where we ordered our favorite flavor, The Salted Caramel Blondie, and tried the new Clotted Cream. I'd been craving the Blondie since last year and the instant it touched my tongue my senses transported me to ice-cream heaven. It was delicious beyond explanation, the chunks of caramel in every bite drove me crazy, and looking at Abbie by my side I knew she was going through similar, if not equally exaggerated, sentiments. The clotted cream tasted like the better and tolerable version of frozen yogurt. I am not a fan of frozen yogurt at all, but this flavor, although yogurty, did not taste bad at all.

By the time our ice creams finished it was time for one of the live shows to begin. Last year we'd loved the Deathly Hallows themed live show but hadn't had the time to check out Celestina Warbeck. This time we had a lot of time on our hands so we stayed back to watch her and her banshees. The show was great, Celestina was one full-of-herself lady and just as annoyingly awesome as she'd been in the books!

We stopped at Gringotts Money Exchange next where I fell in love with the chocolate coins. Had those sacks been a little more printed I'd have totally bought them, but maybe next time? Ahem. More importantly though, we spoke to the sulky goblin in there. I asked him why he was always sulking to which he had a rude reply ready for me. Before we left I asked him, "Can you smile for my camera?" He made an angry face at me and exclaimed, "No!" We left the exchange falling over each other laughing!

Before it was time to leave, Abbie and I wanted to go to Knockturn Alley where Abbie was hoping to find some cool merch. The dark alley always stirred up spooky excitement within me. Though the goth department is more Abbie's than mine, I love being in Knockturn Alley. The creepy products, Bellatrix's face looking at you from random places, and all the death eater stuff gives me a bad ass sense of awesomeness. Abbie and I made our way to Borgin and Burkes where we posed with the Vanishing Cabinet and drooled over the merchandise. I almost forced Abbie into buying a mug that had Voldemort's silhouette on it but she decided otherwise.

The plan was to visit a couple more shops, look around for stuff to buy so we can add to our collection back home, catch the Hogwarts Express, get off in Hogsmeade, and then head back to our hotel. On our way out we just had to go inside Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. I love that shop with its funky decor and silliest of merchandise lining the shelves. Inside, we looked around all the crazy stuff to see if there was something uber cool for us to buy. Then we saw it. Our eyes fell on the chocolate frogs at the same time. "Bestie, pick one!" Abbie said. I took a step forward nervously and then carefully picked the one buried just a little bit into the pile, hoping that somehow the one with a card other than Helga Hufflepuff would get attracted to my hand like a magnet and magically present itself to me. With a Chocolate Frog in my hand, which I could swear was vibrating in the bag alongside my heart which beat fast with the hope that I'd picked a new card this time, we headed for King's Cross Station where we were delighted to find a short waiting time to board the Hogwarts Express.

Inside the station I felt the familiar sensation, as if a gust of wind had brushed unusually gently against me, as we crossed the magical hidden entrance to Platform Nine and Three Quarters. I made Abbie film my entrance as I disappeared away and then we switched places and I shot her disappearance. It is one of the coolest effects they've created. The scarlet engine was in front of us soon, the sight of which was sending shivers down my spine. The Hogwarts Express had always been one of those major highlights of the parks that made me feel closest to the fictional Harry Potter world J;K Rowling had helped create in my head. The Hogwarts Castle was another one of those highlights and that is where we were headed. We got on board the train, were directed to a compartment, and got seated with some other people who clearly didn't even feel as excited as I was. Were they there by mistake or had they been forcefully sent to visit the park, I did not know. I settled on the guess that they were sad human beings (mundanes, in the new language I was now learning as I read Mortal Instruments and fell more and more in love with Jace!) who did not have anything to do with the magic of Harry Potter, but instead were only using the train as a transport facility between two parks so they didn't have to walk. How unlucky.

A video posted by @saraallie on

When we got off on the other end at Hogsmeade's station where a thestral invisibly pulled a carriage towards Hogwarts, it was almost time that we started walking back to the exit and the shuttle to Cabana Bay. We had dinner plans with the rest of the family and were planning to shower and change and then rest a bit before that happened. With a sad heart I asked Abbie if we could sit outside Hogsmeade and rest for a little bit before we began the long walk back to the City Walk. She agreed and suggested I check which card I'd picked up in the chocolate frog. Nervousness filled up inside me like helium fills up in a balloon when she mentioned that. I had three Helga Hufflepuffs from three separate purchases of the chocolate frogs back at home. I didn't mind collecting more Helgas because anything Harry Potter was okay with me. Still, it would be really great, I thought, if I could get any other card this time. Who knew when I'd next be able to buy a chocolate frog ... I BADLY wanted a different wizard card. Nervously I pulled out a pin from my scarf and began puncturing the wrapping on the frog as gently as I could so that the box wasn't scratched. The lid opened up and I peeked inside trying to get a glimpse of the card even before I'd picked up the chocolate frog off of it. When I couldn't see anything I reached forward and picked up the chocolate frog in my hand with my eyes closed and thoughts running frantic. Could it be? Could it be? Please please please? AH. Alas. Albus Dumbledore was staring back at me with his half moon spectacles perched on his crooked nose. Without any exaggeration, let me admit, I had tears in my eyes. Oh and just as usual, Abbie was staring at me as if she'd never seen a crazier stupid person in her life before. She still doesn't understand my overly active emotions sometimes ... laughs!

A lot of new traditions evolve when Bestie and I are enjoying at our favorite place in the world. This year too a new tradition began. Abbie bought us a warm soft pretzel which she topped with ketchup and some other relish kind of something and we shared it as a new Bestie tradition while sitting in the cave like seats outside the Mythos restaurant. Once we were eating and taking countless more pictures, we began walking towards the exit. It was always sad walking away from the Wizarding World. It always gave me the hollow feeling inside as if a large chunk of my body had broken off and fallen somewhere inside my stomach. On our way out though we passed Seuss' Landing and remembered how adorable Gubby had acted there yesterday. With Gubby's adorable face etched in our minds we made a detour, entered the shop again, and bought a Thing 1 plush toy for her which we'd seen and marked off as a gift for Gubby the other day. She'd love it, we knew!

Indeed, Gubby LOVED Thing 1 when she came to our room later that evening. She hugged it and shined her bright adorable smile at us which filled up our hearts with that auntie emotion I was still not completely used to experiencing. We headed out for dinner with the rest of the family that night to Kabab King where they had gone nuts and dumped the entire container of spices in all their dishes. When we ordered our food I insisted we get the Mirchi Fries (spicy fries) which turned out to be the least spicy of all the foods we ate at the restaurant. SIL really badly wanted the Bihari Kababs again and since we were ordering Biryani I decided another dose of my not-so-favorite bihari kababs won't be too much of a problem. After all, she wanted them so badly. Again, it wasn't like I didn't like the kababs, I just wouldn't prefer them as a first choice if I was asked to order from a list of delicious kababs. So the day concluded with an overly spicy dinner where the spices overpowered all, if any, tastes in all the dishes and all I was able to conclude when I left Kabab King was that I'd need some Gaviscon to calm the acidity attack the food had caused in my stomach.

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