Yer a Wizard Daddy!

Back in October ConnieLou informed me that I needed to plan on taking off work after Christmas.  The conversation went something like this:

ConnieLou:  Hey, you need to plan on taking off work Christmas week and clear your calendar.

Me:  OK.  Why?  What’s up?

ConnieLou:  Jenna wants us all to go somewhere…but I can’t tell you where.

Me:  Ummmm, OK…

ConnieLou:  We might fly but we will probably drive.  That’s all I can tell you.  It’s a surprise.

I knew better than to try to ask any more questions but my mind had kicked into high gear.  Now where could we go that Jenna would be suggesting that would be within a reasonable day’s drive?  Hmmmmmm.  Of course I had my ideas about where our destination might be but I kept them to myself because I didn’t want to spoil the surprise.

Christmas morning finally rolled around and we all headed downstairs to see what Santa had left.  ConnieLou and I usually let the girls open their presents first then we open ours.  This year was no exception.  As the girls handed me and ConnieLou our presents, Jenna told me that I would have to find mine.  I noticed Jenna do something with her phone and thought she had started playing Hedwig’s Theme by accident on one of her apps…but then I noticed that the music wasn’t coming from her phone but from somewhere over near our Christmas tree.  I looked at her funny and she said “Follow the music.”  Safer than following spiders, I guess.  I started to look in the branches of the tree but quickly realized that the music wasn’t coming from the tree.  It didn’t take long to find a package behind the curtains in the front window in our den.

I opened the package to find an owl with an envelope tucked into a bed of red and yellow tissue paper.  Of course the tissue paper was red and yellow, I’m a Gryffindor after all!  It was at this point that I began to realize just how much effort she had put into her Christmas plans for all of us.  The paper and envelope had been stained to look like parchment, the Hogwarts crest was hand-drawn, the text written in green ink and it was addressed to me in “The Largest Bedroom”.

My Hogwarts letter had finally come!  I guess the owl had gotten lost somewhere but somehow made its way to Jenna.  It was forty-one years late but it finally made it and I finally knew where we were going…to Universal Studios in Orlando for a visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

OK, I’ll admit it, in addition to being an outdoor nut I’m a bit of a geek.  I’m happy to say that Ashley and Jenna have grown up to be geeks like their dad.  Over the years they’ve learned to enjoy my fandoms including Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Pirates of the Caribbean and they’ve introduced me to some of theirs, namely The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.  ConnieLou claims not to be a geek and says she has no interest in the most of those movies but we catch her peeking up and watching every now and then while we’re watching one of them on TV.  As one might expect, conversations around our house are often peppered with quips and quotes from one or more of the books or movies.

We packed up Christmas evening and the next morning we loaded up the car.  Unfortunately we had luggage and had to take the dogs to the kennel so traveling by broom was a bit impractical and no one had arranged a portkey so we were traveling by car…a non-flying car at that.  With the pups dropped off, we finally got on the road to Orlando.


Long road trips always mean a couple of potty stops, a stop to eat, and a stop for gas and if there happens to be a convenient geocache nearby…

We were up bright and early Wednesday morning to head to the parks. We made a quick stop at the Will Call booth to pick up our tickets and headed on in…

Once in Diagon Alley, we looked around a bit then stopped in Ollivanders to get our wands…

(OK, so that was a photo of Ollivanders’ Hogsmeade location, don’t critique, just go with it.)

Of course we had to try casting spells with our wands at the ‘interactive locations’ scattered around Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade…

We saw Gringotts’ dragon. By the expressions on the faces of many of the folks in Diagon Alley, one would think they had never seen a dragon before…

And then we visited Gringotts…

Lunch was at the Leaky Cauldron.  Fish and chips for ConnieLou and the girls, bangers and mash for me…

Of course there was butterbeer…

By late afternoon it was time to head to King’s Cross Station to take the Hogwarts Express over to Hogsmeade to visit Hogwarts and see the light show…


ConnieLou and I took a break while the girls waited in line to ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.  Anyone missing an owl?

As darkness fell, Hogwarts castle lit up…

We wrapped up the day watching the muggle parade…

Thursday morning we returned to the Wizarding World for a little while then explored some of the rest of the parks.  As we were walking in I discovered that I had been doodled by my buddy John Trotter, aka The Paintmonkey, who claimed that I caused a bit of a scene…

Strangely, none of us seemed quite as energetic as we were the day before.  The girls rode a couple more rides and we met a velociraptor before taking one last trip on the Hogwarts Express back over to Diagon Alley then leaving to go pick up a pizza and call it a night.

Friday morning found us heading back home with a stop to pick the pups up from the kennel.  I think they were happy to be home…

(Photo Creds: Jenna Davenport)

This entry was posted in Butterbeer, Harry Potter, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios Orlando. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Yer a Wizard Daddy!

  1. blake says:

    very cool sir, i am green with envy!


  2. Clare says:

    I love this, looks like you guys had an amazing time.


  3. mrbream says:

    We did! Definitely one of my best Christmas presents ever. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to go back sometime. Would also like to take the Universal’s HP studio tour in London someday.


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