Magical Holidays

Our Christmas gift from my parents this year was a week-long trip to Orlando with visits to Disney World and Universal Studios Florida. It was, in a word, magical. The weather was perfect and our anticipation of the heavy holiday crowds helped us prepare for the parks and get the most out of our trip.

photo 4

This was our second trip with Miss L to Disney but the first since the Fantasyland expansion opened, so it was a must-see for us. Her grandparents were up for spoiling her on this trip so we started the visit with a makeover at the Bippidi Bobbidi Boutique, then hit up the rides. She loves meeting characters so there was a fair amount of getting in line for those experiences — including a mad dash to Belle’s storytime cottage when we arrived on the second day — but it was worth it. We also managed to convince her to try Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain Railroad, which were hits.

The crowds were pretty insane — Christmas Eve, especially — but we still managed to see and do everything we wanted during our two days there. I even had my first Dole Whip (it was good but I don’t know if I’d wait in line that long for a second one).

I was really looking forward to visiting Universal Studios Island of Adventures for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I loved the books — and the movies — and couldn’t wait to experience it. Miss L, on the other hand, couldn’t have cared less. She’d never seen the movies and wasn’t terribly interested in the first book, which I’d downloaded to the Kindle she received for Christmas.

Until our second day.

photo 1

I don’t know if it was the fourth butter beer of the week or her third time on the Flight of the Hippogriff coaster but 90 minutes into the day, she grabbed my hand while standing in the middle of Hogsmeade and proclaimed, “I’m going to become a Harry Potter fan, Mama!”

The girl who showed zero interest in Harry Potter before that day then chose Ginny Weasley’s wand for her trip souvenir (surprisingly less expensive than I would have thought — seriously, the T-shirts at Universal are $28; the wands, $32.95). And then she read. And read. And read.

photo 3

She’d nearly finished the first book in the series by the time we made it home. She’s since finished two more and would be further along if she didn’t have to wait for next month to roll around to borrow the next book from the Kindle Lending Library.

And, yes, she’ll be a Gryffindor for Halloween this year. I’m already collecting items for her costume.