First we went to Legoland. Evan refused to go on a single ride. A. Single. Ride. But he throughly enjoyed sitting in this car.
I was impressed with all the cool lego charaters and the details the artists added.
I went on one last ride all alone, and then Lucas and Ben went on this spraying ride before we hit the road. They each got a toy before we left, too. Evan scored an Ironman set.
Check out our mad skills!
Mom and Lisa headed back that very night. The next day we decided to be crazy and go to Universal Studios, despite our bad luck at LegoLand with Evan's fear of everything that moved and cranky kids. It was the BEST DAY EVER! Lucas is obsessed with Harry Potter, so it was a great time to take him there. I have also been known to be obsessed, but he is MUCH more knowledgeable than I will ever be about all things Potter.
We got passes to Universal Studios - Islands of Adventure, where Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade is, as well as regular Universal Studios, where Diagon Alley was due to open THE NEXT DAY. Lucky for us, a sweet boy told us they were having a soft opening that very day at 2:00! So, we got to go walk around Diagon Alley and shop, but the Gringotts Bank ride wasn't operating. It was still fantastic!
That is where I learned that Diagon Alley was indeed open and we could ride the Hogwarts Express over to see it!
After some delish butterbeer (both kinds - we like the frozen butterbeer better). Lucas and I rode the Flight of the Hippogriff first (where we saw the Weasley's old car). Then Ben and I rode the Dragon Challenge, which was fast and terrifying - especially because we just drank butterbeer.
And THEN we found the Hogwards Express!
When you step off the train you see this London street....
Until you find the entrance! You really have to just squeeze in between the wall here.
Inside you find all of Diagon Alley, perfectly designed down to every last detail!
Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes!
Gringotts Bank - the dragon periodically blows fire.
There was a line to get into Olivander's Wand Shop. Lucas really wanted to go in. They take a small group in at a time and give you a little tour... then you get to meet Olivander. Olivander chooses one lucky kid to choose his wand. Today it was Lucas! He had Lucas try a few wands, just like Harry in the book. First, things go wrong. Then, when the kid picks up the third wand a magical beam of light cascades down onto the child and you know you've found your wand. And that you've just spent $47.
Look at all those wands! The first picture is before you go in Olivander's room.
The second picture is of the store.
We ate lunch at The Leaky Cauldron. I got a kid's cottage pie, which is basically a shepherds pie. It was good. Ben got fish and chips and the kids got a chicken sandwich and macaroni and cheese. The food was good. We also ordered a sticky toffee pudding for dessert, which they forgot to give us, but they just brought it to us outside, no questions asked. Everyone is so nice there!
Here are a couple more shots of Diagon Alley
We managed to find Sirius Black's house, and even got a glimpse of Kreacher peering out the window!
By this point, the boys needed a little rest to avoid core meltdown. We found a Curious George water play area. The boys were just starting to have a blast, when the lightning and rain started. We went inside to this room where you can shoot balls all over the place. And being the mean parents we are, we made the kids nap while we waited for the rain to stop. It was a challenge to get the kids to sleep with noisy kids everywhere and balls occasionally pelting someone in the head. But it worked!!
We had a wonderful day and I can't wait to go back some day. Such a fun place! And I'm seriously impressed with the employees of these parks. Oh, and I think we were happier because we just gave up on saving any money whatsoever and bought our kids $12 hamburgers, etc. Less whining = happy parents. But, our kids know not to whine too much about gift shops... at least after we bought that $47 wand :).
I love these boys.