Orlando By the Numbers

The number...

of times Thing 2 exclaimed, "I am not a liar! My teacher will call me a liar! I wrote in my journal we were going to a hotel and the children's museum. Oh god!"  2
This happened during the big reveal. Instead of heading to a hotel with a pool and the Minnesota Children's Museum, we told them we were flying to Orlando. I had to turn off the video camera because his wailing drowned out Lucy's sounds of happy surprise.

of times Thing 1 inquired about the time.   Maybe306,000. It's only a guess.
We stopped counting when we realized she was in her serious traveler mode. This involves hyper-awareness of airport security procedures, gate location, and all thing regarding TIME. Surprised?

See here:  http://www.restlessgraygirl.blogspot.com/2012/03/its-about-time.html

She rivals Grandpa Wilfahrt in her attention to detail when getting somewhere in a timely fashion...and I say this lovingly. This included consulting the Universal Studios wait-time app Big Man installed on our phone for this trip.  Curse or a blessing? Still not sure.

of people who asked how much alcohol was in the ButterBeers we were consuming.  6
By the second request, Thing 1 suggested that only real Potter fans should be allowed entrance to the park. She remained polite, however, and only rolled her eyes at me when those who were ill-informed were no longer in view.  I remained silent while pondering the number of parents who seemed a bit too curious about the effects of alcohol on their child's personality.
On a differeent note, I highly recommend the frozen ButterBeer with a creamy butterscotch foam. It makes waiting in the 85 degree sun for the fourth time to travel again through Hogwarts and The Forbidden Journey line much sweeter.

wands purchased.   4
Indulgent parents found themselves embarrassingly captivated by Olivander's Wand Shop and couldn't say no to a wand with the hair of a dragon and blood of a newt. I know I have this wrong and Things will surely chastise me, but they are not here for reference. You get the idea, though.  The big highlight occurred after waiting 45 minutes to get into the wand shop. A snotty, self-appointed cool child who was ahead of us in line repeatedly told us that he knew where to stand to get chosen by Olivander to test wands because he'd been chosen 3 times.  Thing 2, with her Gryffendor tie and Harry Potter T-shirt stood quietly looking at all the wands when Olivander began speaking and pointed directly to her and said, "You! Let us find the wand that finds YOU!"   Take that snotty UN-cool child from one self-appointed snotty parent!

number of times I teared up on the ride, The Forbidden Journey.  2
It was so real, so purely everything you would want your kid to experience in having a book come to life, that it just blew me away. All of life's lessons were thrown at you in a dazzling, heart-thumping 3 minutes.  Repetition did nothing to diminish the excitement. Oh well. I am a sap and will not apologize for it.  I can only imagine what Ms. Rowling must have felt upon riding it the first time.
Best of all, we were ALL captivated...every single one of us.  And anything that brings my kids together in a conversation that is not competitive or nagging in nature will forever be priceless. 
of 3:30 a.m. spell casting sessions.  1
After the purchase of Wand #1, Thing 2 went to sleep dreaming of spell-casting only to wake up and 3:30 a.m.  Big Man found him in the bathroom casting spells so as not to wake the rest of us Muggles. He continued this mission until 4:30 a.m. when he drifted off to sleep saying, "Wingardium Leviosa!"

of rides we had to be escorted off of due to technical difficulties?     
Only 1, thank God.
We were attempting to fly on bicycles through E.T.'s home planet, but the bikes kept stalling. Forward we would move 2 feet only to stall again.  Our lucky bicycle made for 16 died right in the midst of some fantastical playground for baby E.T.'s while some psychadelic circus-like music played and played. Brightly colored E.T.'s romped on martian-esque plants over and over again. Did I mention the music kept playing while we kept sitting? Even when they gave up on ambiance and turned on the lights, the E.T.'s kept playing, and did I mention the music kept playing?  For our patience (torture), we were issued out-of-date "Fast Passes" to jump the lines on any other working rides we wished to enjoy (endure).

Good times were had by all. Actually, Big Man and I had more fun that we anticipated. Not being of Disney-ilk we fretted about the cost, the in-your-face consumerism, the over-the-top way that seems to be Orlando.  But, we found our way into it and discovered that suspension of disbelief isn't just for books and movies. It truly was an escape.  Pick any book you longed to walk into from your childhood and imagine that happening. That's what we did --we stepped into someone's imaginary world, and I believe our own imaginations are better for it.

It was also a not-so-subtle reminder that little ideas can become big things.  No one needs to hear this more than adults who often become jaded and easy to dissuade when it comes to dreaming.

I also realized that the highest cost to most journeys is not the price, but the willingness to take them.  And so, I thank my Things and Ms. J.K. Rowling. They pushed me out of my comfort zone.  I feel refreshed, reminded, and a little freer than ever to dream my own dreams.


  1. wow! That’s a wonderful post. It’s nice travel information for every traveler. Well! These information are really so helpful and most important. Thank for this. I really am grateful for your job, keep it up. Cheap Flight to Orlando

  2. Sometimes magic only works when you are open to it.


Now it's your turn...what do YOU think? Leave a comment to join the discussion!