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We decided where we wanted to go on our honeymoon in June. We knew that we needed to go see Jody, a travel agent at the AAA center in Suffolk, per my mom’s recommendation.
We thought we wanted a week at Disney World.
What we ended up doing was so much better!
When we met with Jody, we told her we were thinking of Orlando and Disney World for the week before Thanksgiving. She listened, thought about it, and then said,
“Have you heard of our Harry Potter Experience package?”
… Say what now?
When we left to get Mexican food on that June Saturday morning, we had signed up for three days at Universal with park-to-park passes, spending the whole week at Universal’s Cabana Bay Resort, breakfast vouchers at Three Broomsticks and The Leaky Cauldron, and a session at Shutterbuttons Studio. Wow!
Believe me, we certainly were excited for our wedding, but we couldn’t wait for our honeymoon!
Day 1 – Sunday, November 15th
Waiting for our flight! So excited!
After our wedding, we stayed overnight at the Hampton Inn near the Norfolk airport. We flew Southwest, thanks to my parents for snagging an awesome deal! It was a direct flight from Norfolk to Orlando, so we landed around 2:00 p.m. Our travel package instructed us to go to the Universal Orlando store. There, we received our shuttle information and our special “We’re Celebrating Our Honeymoon!” buttons. I received a series of texts indicating where our shuttle would be and what time.
Sure enough, this fancy black shuttle came to pick us up right on schedule. The driver took our bags and we settled in. It was about a 20-minute drive from the airport to Cabana Bay, our home for the week.
Cabana Bay Beach Resort is one of Universal’s newest resorts. It looks like a classic resort from the 1950s! Imagine a lot of neon and bright colors. It was massive – Five wings of rooms, two pools, a bowling alley, an arcade, a full-service diner, and more!
We spent most of Sunday exploring the resort, which felt like it went on and on. It was so awesome!
One of the two pools.
The front of the resort, all lit up.
They had these classic cars permanently parked outside the resort.
This was a cool clock in the lobby.
Day 2 – Monday, November 16th
We used our Disney World Hopper passes on Monday and Friday.
We decided to hit up the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom!
All of Disney World had their Christmas decorations up! This was just beyond the entrance to the Magic Kingdom.
The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse.
Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor.
The Animal Kingdom Christmas Tree. Every park had a huge tree, and they were all different!
The Tree of Life.
Beautiful macaws and parrots!
One of the staff holding a gorgeous great horned owl before the “Birds of Wonder” show.
Expedition Everest! We were in the front row! It was an awesome ride.
Day 3 – Tuesday, November 17th
Day 1 at Universal!
As part of our package, we were able to enter the park an hour early!
The entrance to Universal CityWalk. CityWalk has shops, restaurants, a movie theater, and even mini-golf!
If you haven’t been to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, it is totally worth it. I felt like I was on the set the entire time. The sheer amount of time and effort that was put into researching these worlds – Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley – was evident. Everything looked perfect. There were several people that were visiting from the U.K., and they were impressed!
The Hogwarts Express!
We had our first of two breakfasts at Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade. Delicious! I tried the pumpkin juice there – Not bad!
The entrance to Three Broomsticks.
I rode the Dragon Challenge roller coaster – Front row, and with only one other guy on the train, and he was in the very back!
Hogwarts! This had the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride – So cool!
We rode the Hogwarts Express into Kings Cross station. The Hogwarts Express connects the two parks! After leaving Kings Cross, we set foot in London in Universal Studios. Amazing!
Diagon Alley. It was truly magical!
Welcome to Springfield, U.S.A.!
After exploring Universal, we went back to the resort and enjoyed the Galaxy Bowl bowling alley!
Day 4 – Wednesday, November 18th
Day 2 at Universal!
Breakfast at The Leaky Cauldron!
Superman! This was in the gift shop after riding Terminator 2 3D: Battle Across Time.
Kings Cross Station!
We experienced Butterbeer! It was amazing! The frozen kind was perfect because it was warm and humid!
The day before, we tried to eat dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp at CityWalk, but the line was insane! We decided to make a reservation for Wednesday night, which was perfect.
We timed the reservation for after the Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Memories show in Universal Studios. It was a unique experience – It took place on the lagoon, and they used waterfall screens of amazing movie moments, with amazing music, fireworks, and narration by Morgan Freeman!
Back at Bubba Gump Shrimp, they took us early. It was packed, but we enjoyed a delicious meal! Our waitress was fantastic, and the manager stopped by to wish us well during our stay. All the staff quiz the tables with Forrest Gump trivia at some point during the meal, and between Al and I, we got all the questions right!
Day 5 – Thursday, November 19th
Last day at Universal. We took this day to explore Islands of Adventure!
You can enter Jurassic Park through Hogsmeade! It’s so awesome.
Welcome to Jurassic Park!
We rode the Jurassic Park River Adventure as soon as it opened. It was wild – We were the only two on the raft!
After exploring all of Jurassic Park, we made our way to Toon Lagoon! We strategically wore our swimsuits underneath our clothes, because we hit the three big water rides back-to-back-to-back. Unfortunately, that idea backfired – We were still damp a couple hours later!
We loved all the funny comics!
Marvel Superhero Island and The Adventures of Spider-Man!
In the afternoon, we made our way back to Diagon Alley for our Shutterbuttons studio session. It was awesome! We got to star in our own moving portraits, with robes and all! We love the DVD we received!
For dinner, we went to The Cowfish restaurant at CityWalk. It sounds bizarre at first – A sushi burger bar?!
It was amazing!
We both got bento boxes – Sushi and a burger slider in the middle! So good!
One of the best experiences that we had was a gift from our dear friend Key – She bought us tickets to Blue Man Group! The venue was right outside Universal. It was so fun!
Selfie before the show! We couldn’t take pictures or video, but it was an amazing show!
If you haven’t seen Blue Man Group, you are missing out! It’s totally worth your money. It’s an amazing experience!!
Day 6 – Friday, November 20th
Last full day in Orlando. Womp womp!
But, we thoroughly enjoyed Day 2 at Disney World!
After breakfast at the resort’s diner, we took a taxi to Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
First on the list was Star Tours, obviously. It was awesome! We got even more excited for Star Wars: The Force Awakens at this point – Check out my movie review!
We did The Great Movie Ride as well.
First in line for MuppetVision 3D!
Pixar Place! This place was nuts. We wanted to do Toy Story Midway Mania!, but it was over an hour wait! I guess we just have to come back again …
Instead of waiting for a Disney bus to head to Epcot, we took a boat ride! It was such a cool experience. We got to see several of the Disney resorts, and then we were dropped off at Epcot!
The amazing model railroad in Germany!
We ate lunch in China – Delicious!
Obligatory. Spaceship Earth!
We also rode the monorail back to the Magic Kingdom!
We had an absolutely wonderful time!!
Day 7 – Saturday, November 21st
The shuttle picked us up and took us to the Orlando airport.
Like our flight down, we had a direct flight back to Norfolk.
We came back home to sunny weather, but 54 degrees!
My wonderful parents picked us up and took us home.
If you take away any tips, I highly recommend leaving for a week-long trip on Sunday and coming back on Saturday. We needed that Saturday and Sunday to rest up and get ready for the following week!
We had an amazing week together that kicked off our married life.
I can’t wait to go back!
Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂