Well we have finally arrived in Orlando! This was supposed to be a one week trip to WDW in March 2020 for DD’s 16th birthday. Two and a half years later it has turned into a two week trip to both Universal and WDW staying at three different resorts! We are starting with three days at the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal.
We left home at about 4 am on Sunday to begin the long drive to Florida. After stops in Virginia and Georgia we got to HRH at about 11:15 this morning. Checked in (room not ready) and walked over to Citywalk for lunch. Tried out Bend the Bao which was a nice, light lunch. Unfortunately the rain started while we ate. The heavy rain didn’t last too long but it has been thundering ever since.
We wasted some time checking out the Universal stores. There is so much cool Harry Potter I want to buy but I am trying to not go crazy with the spending. Especially since we end up spending so much on food!
We headed back to the hotel around 2 pm and did some exploring. We were hoping to spend the afternoon in the pool but it is of course closed because of the weather.
Relaxing on the balcony over the pool deck enjoying the cool breeze and waiting for the room to be ready. Hopefully not too much longer. Antojitos for dinner tonight then hitting IOA for early entry tomorrow!
There are a few ways to get to the walkway to the parks - you may be closer to one of the other ones. The closest is of course the wing on the bottom of this picture. But you can also cut across the pool during pool hours.
Antijitos was great for supper! We had the Tableside Guacamole to start. It’s so good when it’s freshly made with top notch ingredients. DH and I both had the Trio entree. It’s a chicken enchilada, pork tamale and chille relleno, which is a stuffed pepper. It came with beans and rice but I was too stuffed to even try them! Highly recommend it!
Before supper we decided to walk from Hard Rock to Portofino. @Wahoohokie ‘s pictures from her stay there were so beautiful that I had to see it for myself. It is gorgeous and a nice scenic walk as well. From there we caught the boat to Citywalk.
I hope the picture loads properly, but we were on a boat!
As I mentioned in the above post. Antijitos was a fantastic dinner. We walked over to Toothsome’s afterwards and bought some desserts to take back to the room. I got a peanut butter chocolate cookie sandwich which is delicious. I am still working my way through it!
DH and I decided on a brief swim to end the day while the kids relaxed in the room. It was so lovely and refreshing. The pool at HRH is top notch. I even tried out the water slide!
Now I’m back in the room in my pjs enjoying my dessert and preparing for our early start tomorrow. We hope to hit Hagrid’s and Velocicoaster at early entry before breakfast at Three Broomsticks. If we don’t manage both we will still have two more mornings!
We were all up bright and early this morning. Out of the hotel just before 7 am and taking the walkway to the parks. There were two families ahead of us at the tapstiles. Surprisingly they didn’t start letting people into IOA until 7:55! We walked swiftly to Hagrid’s with the crowds. I am not sure what was going on but the app claimed that the only rides open were Hagrid’s and Hippogryph. Velocicoaster had a delayed opening.
We sailed through the line pretty quickly and were off Hagrid’s at 8:30. What a fantastic ride! We will definitely be hitting it again tomorrow morning. Forbidden Journey was showing a 10 minute wait so we headed there next. It wound up being about 16 minutes, still not bad.
It was now 9 am and we had breakfast vouchers for Three Broomsticks so that was where we went next. It was a really good breakfast. Three of us had pancakes and DD18 had the continental. That one came with a huge amount of excellent fruit and a blueberry scone. All of them had a croissant as well.
Next stop was Velocicoaster (now open). Posted wait was 50 minutes but DH and the girls only waited 35. They loved it! I happily waited for them in the Jurassic Discovery Centre. I’m definitely getting older. A nice bench in the shade was heavenly.
We worked our way around IOA riding Kong and Spiderman. The others also did Hulk. By this time it was noon and we decided to take the Hogwarts Express to USF. In Diagon Alley we grabbed butter beer and ice cream (a nice nutritious lunch) and walked back to the hotel.
We had a refreshing swim in the pool. I tried to post this from there but my phone overheated! Now back in the room where it is much cooler. Hoping to pop into USF for a ride or two before dinner at Cowfish.
After the pool we walked back to the parks. We had an hour to kill before Cowfish so we chose to ride Escape from Gringotts then explored the Diagon Alley shops. The girls have their eyes on a couple of Harry Potter themed Loungefly bags. They are so cute!
Next was dinner at Cowfish. It’s such an interesting restaurant. We all had Bento boxes shared the different kinds of sushi rolls. Delicious!
It looks like rain so we didn’t head back into the parks. We’re going to have an early night so we can rope drop Hagrid’s again tomorrow.