harry potter take two

what did we do at harry potter world?
and i do mean everything... at least three times!

these two girls were in heaven... a bad analogy considering it looked quite the opposite. they were in their element. they had researched every corner of these parks weeks before visiting.  the details were amazing! 
the quick service food in this park was by far better than anything i have eaten at disney! the fish and chips... i don't even like fish and they were out of this world! 

the owl post... well that was adorable! it is a working post office! you can buy stamps (for three times their face value) and mail letter with the postage stamp from hp wprld. elizabeth was first on mc's list!

they last few hours on our very last day, i managed to talk them into visiting other areas of universal studios. 
the time spent with these girls was priceless! i admit that i am not a fan of theme parks, but i am a fan of quality time. this trip was filled to the brim ~ my heart was so full!
side note: upon retuning home, i was a little unnerved concerning some of the things i had seen in the parks. mary claire, jeff and myself had several serious discussions concerning witchcraft, the occult, magic and what the bible says about these things.  i am not anti-harry potter, but the spiritual world is real. forces of evil and satan are real.  that's all i will say for now. :) 

casting spells

when anna katherine left for college, we we had a dilemma. mary claire would now be home alone, for five years... living in the smallest bedroom. (first world dilemma)  switching bedrooms with bennett would be harder than moving our entire house. his numerous hobbies require a lot of space! so with anna katherine's blessing, the girls swapped rooms. anna katherine's new room got a makeover and mary claire's new room needed one. 

her birthday was coming up and all jeff and i had heard for months was how badly she wanted to visit harry potter world. so for her birthday she had a choice, "a bedroom makeover or harry potter world." 
so here they are, two of the biggest harry potter fans in dragon ally.  another trip to florida... another amusement park.  i may have mentioned that i am not the biggest fan of amusement parks. so two in two months was earning some major mom points. especially when one amusement park had us surrounded by "all things witchcraft." 

mary claire is our only child that caught the hp bug. we wouldn't let her start reading the series until she was older. old enough to understand real life witchcraft. even with her being older, i had my reservations. 

i purchased the first book on audio, invested hours of my life listening to this book. (the last audio book is something like 24hours long!) anyway. it was a cute book, really well written, it's easy to fall in love with the characters, and yeah... full of witchcraft.  (i still have my reservations) 
first thing first, let's purchase a wand. props to universal for getting every parent to invest in a $50+ interactive wand. without one, you would miss out.

first stop was olivanders. where mary claire's wand "choses her." 

my favorite part of this store was the self sweeping brooms and magic show.

throughout the parks, (there's two) interactive spots are set up for kids adults everyone to cast spells. the intricate details of these parks rivaled anything i had seen at disney.

the whole interactive wand thing was pretty neat. again, the detail was amazing. the only thing that made me go, "hhhmmm???" was the number of grownups with wands, waiting in line with the kids to cast spells. i saw grown men with leather "wand holsters" on their belts. finally a holster that bennett graves doesn't own.
then there was the whole "house thing" what "house do you belong to. i admit, i was hesitant to take the test. after book one, i decided i did not want to be a slytherin. no matter how many times i heard, "all slytherins are not bad," i preferred not to live in their house ;)   mary claire was a hufflepuff and eliza was a gryffindor.  i took the test twice (to test the accuracy of this life changing test) both times, ravenclaw.
 mary claire saved all of her birthday money for this trip. the souvenir shopping did not disappoint.  

i aske mary claire on the way home if she was happy that she chose the trip over a room redo... she said "absolutely!" that made me happy too.
(to be continued)

the strip

when our translators from ecuador visited south carolina we asked them where they would like to visit. without hesitation they said, "myrtle beach!" several times jeff has had work associates from other states mention myrtle beach. it seems like south carolina is synonymous with this beach. i realized when visiting with our translators that i had never taken my children to "the strip." i realized when my children think of myrtle beach, they think of broadway at the beach or outlet shopping. this is obviously a famous beach ;) and we've been ,missing out! so this year, on our annual new year's trip to myrtle, we would visit the strip.
a groupon for the sky wheel kicked off our day. (i momentarily forgot i was fiercely afraid of heights) 

so. the view wasn't quite as amazing as we would have hoped for. i am not sure what we expected. i do know that several businesses need new roofs. add a few old tires and i would be reminded of ecuador. 

twelve amazing minutes on the sky wheel. not really, but we did check it off our bucket list! 

the shopping did not disappoint! it lived up to it's reputation! 

you can't go to "the strip" and not walk on the beach. 

a few bags of snacks + segulls = more entertainment than the sky wheel!

my sister and birds... it's quite the show. crys hasn't been attacked or nibbled to death by a flock of birds yet... but she feels sure it's in her future! "they're vicious!" of course we had to throw snack around her... just for fun!

HELLO best iPhone picture i think i have ever taken!

we shopped, we ate, we played, we laughed until our stomachs hurt! this was the perfect start to 2018!
these cousins are so blessed to have each other! 

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