the main reason for our trip to disney world and orlando in november was because we are in the midst of reading the harry potter series to our older three kids and pretty much everyone over here at the davis household is a major potter fan (i can’t speak for madalena and beatrice on this one, but i have a feeling!)
i’ve had a few questions about when we started the books with the kids and what we think about the content being appropriate/not too scary for little ones. i think this sort of thing will totally depend on your what your little one can handle, is into, isn’t into, etc. i will say though, that i really do not recommend the illustrated books, i recommend the regular original series when reading harry potter to kids. we made the mistake of reading the second book through the illustrated version and those drawings are pretty scary (although so beautiful, too?! it’s hard). when you’re reading a book and you’re little, your imagination can only make the character or scene as scary as you allow it, and so my kids really aren’t bothered when we read from the original series. but some of the drawings in the illustrated book were a bit spooky (we hadn’t watched the movies at this point) and so a couple of times we were covering the pictures when reading the words. we haven’t finished the series either, since i think the books get a little more scary and the content for someone a bit older towards the end. but my kids love the first two or three books (and movies) and so going to harry potter world has been high up on their list for the past year or two.
photos in this bunch from harry potter world at universal studios and also from hollywood studios. i mentioned in my previous post from magic kingdom that our disney experience felt overwhelming and like a lot for our family to digest over the few days we were there. i know a lot of people go first thing in the morning and then do a break mid day with naps and resting at the hotel and then go back later on. my older three don’t nap anymore and i knew if we took a break midday at our hotel, it’d be impossible to get back out to the disney parks when the hotel pool was kind of magical in and of itself. so we decided to just start each day as early as we could with our family, map out what was most important to us that we wanted to do at each park that day so we weren’t back tracking or going in loops, and trying to plan as best we could with our fast passes (which helped a lot with waiting in line for rides. although fast pass or not, the lines were insane pretty much everywhere.) we knew we wouldn’t be able to get to everything and i also knew we’d go mad if we tried, so i think it helped to pace ourselves and just do what was most important. this plan worked pretty well for us the first few days but the last day at hollywood studios, we were all beat and we really weren’t feeling that specific park (i think we’d enjoy that one more if our kids were older. or maybe if they were into toy story more?) we enjoyed a few star wars things but we decided together we’d rather swim and play at the hotel pool so we left after lunch and never looked back.
some photos from harry potter world and also hollywood studios…
after we got our robes and wands, we wandered through diagon alley and did a lot of fun magic with the interactive wands. those were pretty awesome. the thought behind the details with those things was impressive.
i have some video from harry potter world i haven’t put together yet, but you’ll have to watch the highlight videos on my insta stories if you missed it of conrad putting a spell on the gringotts dragon on top of gringotts bank. i think he really believed he was doing it! and he didn’t care about a soul around him as he cast his spell. i love this age so much.
me and what i came for. the sweet shop which i found an excuse to wander into like 3 different times during our morning. lol.
my three cuties all ready to hop on the hogwarts express and head to school!
we knew we could end up spending a lot of money rather quickly on this trip on ALL OF THE THINGS, so at the beginning of each day, we gave the kids a budget for the day (this excluded their robes on the day we were at harry potter world, which we planned to purchase for them when we arrived. ) each of their budgets had enough to cover an interactive wand if they decided on one plus some other smaller things. both eleanor and samson used their remaining money on an owl (like harry’s) and in a shocking plot twist, it was our 3 1/2 year old who decided he wanted to save his remaining money (besides buying some bertie bott’s every flavor possible jelly beans) and not spend his remaining dollars on anything else. proud of you, conrad! how sweet are these little owls though? our kids have a thing for stuffed animals apparently, because it’s what they seem to gravitate towards whenever we are in a hotel gift shop or toy store.
we timed the smaller roller coaster at hogwarts (after we took the hogwarts express over to hogsmeade at adventure island) just right and were able to go 3 times in a row without waiting in any line! it was a godsend after the lines at the beginning of this day. we had started the day at ollivander’s wand shop in diagon alley where the line was out the door and once we were inside, we were shoulder to shoulder with people the entire time. i was a bit worried in the morning as we started out our day this way because nothing was really feeling all that magical when you’re standing hip to hip with a lot of people in a tiny shop (it was impossible to try to squat down and kneel beside conrad as he chose his wand with me because this crowd was rather insane) so this was a better moment for us during our day together because it was the first time we weren’t waiting in a 40 minute line for something and listening to my three older kiddos squeal and giggle and yell with excitement as they rode this ride made me so so so happy. all of it, worth it for those laughs at the end of our day.
a family photo at hollywood studios!
and probably one of my favorite photos of my bunch from our trip. for those asking about the kids watches, those were the fast passes we purchased ahead of time at our hotel for each day at the parks. you’d just scan your watch at each ride depending on if you were using the fast pass or not.
like i said before, TROOPERS. someday we will go back when they are at an age to enjoy all this disney and potter magic! i’m so glad that time isn’t anytime soon ;)
first week of november and disney had full blown christmas decorations and christmas music playing. i really appreciated it.
and had to include this photo from our very first night of conquering harry potter world at universal studios. celebratory dinner of churros, hot dogs, pretzels and a bucket of popcorn. woot woot!
this concludes our disney world orlando trip of 2018 that i finally blogged about in 2019. merry christmas to meeee!