I have a lovely friend that I have known since we were Freshman in high school. She is someone I admire deeply, we have shared much of life together – the ordinary, the musical, the artistic, the silly, the ‘learning-how-to-manage-those-eyebrows’, the architectural, the darkest moments and some of the most beautiful celebrations. It is one of those rare, special friendships.
Well, we will be celebrating her (and her wonderful fiancé) in April for her wedding and in preparation, about a week ago, eight ladies joined her for her bachelorette ‘hen’ party in Orlando to visit two magical places. (Best big sister award goes to Rosie – the best bachelorette party planner I have ever encountered! She did so much to ensure the success of the weekend and then kept doing more! Thank you, thank you, thank you!)
First, we visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (which is a part of Universal Studio’s Islands of Adventure). We had pumpkin juice, butterbeer, enjoyed lunch at the Three Broomsticks and rode Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (which, oh my, the detail of waiting in line for that ride – totally blew my mind). On top of all that goodness, my friend’s lovely fiancé went way above and beyond and bought all of us wands from Olivander’s Wand Shop. Tonk’s wand ‘chose’ me (ok, I chose it) – she is one of my favorite characters in the book (because the movie does her no justice) and the hand hold of the wand is a pitcher plant – perfect for a plant nerd like me.
We did spend a little time in other areas of the park, Seuss Landing, Marvel Island (where I got to meet Rogue and Storm) and several of the ladies visited the Simpson’s Springfield. I also rode three pretty intense roller coasters. Yeah, my 31 year old body wasn’t so happy with me for that. But so much fun.
The next day we geared up to meet Mickey! We were lucky to have one of our party that was very familiar with the parks! We started at Magic Kingdom, ate lunch in Beauty and Belle’s ballroom (tuna niçoise – fancy!), rode some rides and headed to Epcot. Now, you all may laugh, but my strongest memory of Epcot from my childhood is Club Cool – the place where you can try soda’s from around the world. The girls were gracious enough to indulge me and my favorite soda as an adult was Beverly – a bitter, Italian soda! It’s similar to many apétifs that are popular in Italian culture. We quickly ran through all of the countries and settled down to a delicious pizza dinner in ‘Italy’! After we stuffed ourself to the brim, we headed back for late night rides at Magic Kingdom! As you can see below, we met Minnie, Donald and Snow White (not pictured – Daisy and the wicked step-mom and step-sisters from Cinderella).
The most impressive things to me about Disney were the attention to detail – beautiful mosaics and artisanship everywhere, great food and such happy ‘cast members’! It’s quite a treat to go back as an adult to enjoy many things I didn’t pick up on as a child.
It isn’t often that I get to cast off the need to be the ‘adult’ at all times and both of these parks allowed me to tap into a childlikeness that we all need to remember that we have. It was such a pleasure! Wonderful women, lovely vacation, perfectly planned, all to celebrate a very special bride!
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