We were so lucky during our time in Orlando, because the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival started during our last day in Orlando. I had been to this event before, and it’s really awesome. The World Showcase at Epcot hosts dozens of carts where you can sample food and beverages from that country. Entry to the food and wine festival is included in your park ticket, but you do have to pay for the samples (between $3-$6usd generally).
Halloween starts early at Disney World. Even though we were visiting in September, Magic Kingdom was already hosting Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party a few nights a week. I was very excited to go to the party, because I was lucky enough to go twice when I was working at Magic Kingdom back in 2011.
Because we would have until Midnight at Magic Kingdom with our party ticket, we started the day off at Hollywood Studios.
After our 4 nights staying on site at Universal Orlando at the Hard Rock Hotel, it was time to check out and head to our hotel for the second part of our time in Orlando – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.
The Art of Animation resort was Disney’s newest resort and falls under their ‘value’ resort category (although, more expensive than the other value resorts).
When we booked our vacation package through Universal, we also booked tickets to Busch Gardens in Tampa. Busch Gardens is about 1 and a half hours away from Orlando, but when you pre-purchase a ticket, you can book in on a complimentary shuttle to the park which picks you up from Universal Studios. This was super handy for us staying at Hard Rock Hotel.
Apart from Diagon Alley, Universal Studios had added another new part to the park since the last time I visited – Springfield! As a big Simpsons fan, I was pretty excited to see this as well. Springfield was pretty cool – Krusty Burger, Lard Lad Donuts, Moe’s. Dad and I stopped in at Moe’s – he had a Duff Beer and I had a Flaming Moe’s. It was pretty cool.
Diagon Alley was probably the thing I was most excited about on this trip! I had been following the Wizarding World of Harry Potter expansion since it was announced, and after visiting Hogsmeade/Hogwarts in 2011 and I was so excited to go back and see Diagon Alley!
The package deal that we had for Universal Studios included Early Access to Diagon Alley, as well as breakfast at The Leaky Couldron and The Three Broomsticks. Continue reading
Today was my last day in New York City (a few others were staying on in the city after our tour ends but I was flying out to Orlando the next day). I had joined the Contiki Optional of biking through Central Park along with Sam. Our tour manager walked us down to the meet up point (and it was a really long walk!). Once we got there, we meet up with our biking tour guide and split up into two groups and headed off. Turns out you have to be semi-fit to bike around Central Park – it’s not as flat as you’d think it would be. Of course, it didn’t help that I was starting to get sick. Central Park was really pretty though.