Florida! The obligatory holiday roundup, delayed due to the fact that I’ve spent quite a lot of time over the past few weeks wanting to leave the planet. I ended up leaving my job instead. Oy vey.
Before we start, shout out to Dan who came round a while ago and informed me, when conversation turned to this blog, that he “doesn’t care about the content, [he’s] here for the tone and the sarcasm”. Thank you Dan, I’m delighted to learn that I’m giving the fans what they want.
Last time I came to Florida I was ten and refused to go on anything that I thought might upset my fragile disposition. For this trip I decided that since I am now (allegedly) a grown up I should probably do theme park stuff, since I’d spent an entire month’s mortgage payment on the tickets.
This approach had mixed results.
It got me on Space Mountain, which I loved, in probably the biggest surprise of the trip given my jangly nerves and my preclusion to suffer from motion sickness. I went on it three times, entertaining Megan and Andrew with my “rollercoaster noises” all the way through. (A demonstration of these noises can be provided upon request.)
Then there was Expedition Everest.
It’s worth pointing out that Megan and Andrew actively conspired to get me to go on Expedition Everest. They knew if they explained it I’d refuse, but if I enjoyed it I wouldn’t be scared any more. Exposure therapy.
So they told me it was a higher up version of Thunder Mountain. “Sounds neato!” said I, skipping into the queue.
Reader, they lied to me.
I certainly don’t remember Thunder Mountain shooting off backwards in the dark and culminating in an 80ft drop. Once I realised I’d been had all bets were off and I spent the rest of the ride terrified, which culminated in this now-iconic photo.
At least my dad appears to have found serenity throughout the experience, whereas I could barely walk when I got out of the ride vehicle. At least my family have stopped lying to me.
Circue Du Soleil
Prior to this trip I had no idea what Cirque du Soleil was. I assumed that it was ballet-type twirlings with ribbons and shit, and I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic.
As you all know I live to be proven wrong, and I was. Highlights included the clowns – who I could have watched for an hour and a half on their own – and the little Chinese girls who have more co-ordination and talent at about ten years old than I have ever had.
Honestly if you’re anywhere in the world and Cirque du Soleil are performing, go.
Remember when I said I was going to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios for my 26th birthday?
I was summoned to Hogwarts instead.
So off I went to Diagon Alley to get my school supplies, including robes (which I wore until I got unbearably warm) and a wand. Ollivander’s wand shop both looked and smelled exactly like I always imagined it would, although I was quite perturbed by the face that my family kept elbowing me in the back while we were waiting.
It made sense when I was duly summoned to perform wand choosing ceremony. It’s very cool – right down to the “I wonder…” line just before you get given YOUR wand, and then the wind starts and the lights go mental like they do in the movie and CHILLSSSSSSS. My mum cried.
The whole thing is very, very authentic – there’s a real Hogwarts Express steam train, a real Hogsmeade and a real Hogwarts castle containing my favourite ride in the whole of Florida, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. I didn’t know being swung around on a hydraulic arm could be so much fun.
Miscellaneous memorable moments
- Telling Megan and Andrew that I’d give them $10 each if they could recreate the “lift” scene from Dirty Dancing in the pool. They didn’t, but it was hilarious to watch, particularly given Andrew nearly accidentally drowned my sister.
- “Meats cheese millet” – the ultimate gluten free breakfast.
- Chef Brandon in the Boathouse in Disney Springs, who promised me a gluten free Bundt cake that would change my life. It did, and when I confirmed this with the waiter Brandon was duly whisked back out so I could tell him in person. He sat with us at our table, told us how to make it ourselves and then gave me his business card so I could email him when I got home if I forgot anything or had any questions. I LOVE BRANDON. He’s the real MVP.
- Watching the video of the Irish family trying to catch the bat in their kitchen at least once every single day and laughing until we cried every time.
- Not dying on any of the flights (score!) and only bursting into strangled tears once when we hit turbulence. Apologies to the nice Australian man on the end of our row – I was the Scot who cried and needed to pee a lot.
I miss Disney World. Who wants to go back, and drink Le Fou’s brew in the sun and watch the fireworks?
See Ya Real Soon.