This past weekend, Ryan, Grace, Randy, and I traveled to Tallahassee, Florida for Uncle Doug’s college graduation from Florida State University. We met up with the family on Friday afternoon and spent some time with each other and then all of us headed back to our hotel in Bainbridge, Georgia (which was about 50 minutes away). Unfortunately, since it was graduation time, we were unable to get hotel rooms close to the university.
Doug’s graduation was at 9:00am in the morning. We got up early and drove to the convention center (and we made it on time!)
Ryan was very well behaved during the graduation, even with the noise and very large crowd.
We took pictures and then we headed out for the drive down to Orlando Florida for the family celebratory dinner.
And then we hit traffic.
A lot of traffic.
So we left around noon and got to Orlando around 6:20pm with our dinner reservation at 7pm.
That was a total of almost 7.5 hours in a car and then we expected Ryan and the other kids to sit through a nice sit down dinner.
Grandma Chris to the rescue! She had gotten us a private room for our party of 19. Ryan and the other grandchildren, all 9 years and under, did great.
At the beginning of the meal, we had a champagne toast to Doug and all of his siblings made a special toast in honor of him. Several other family members did as well. Ryan was sitting next to me and I held up his board. He spelled: CARING TO SAY SOMETHING TOO.
So everyone quieted down and he spelled:
DEARLY HAPPY TO CELEBRATE YOU UNCLE DOUG.
I LOVE YOU SO MUCH.
CARING TO BE LIKE YOU WHEN I GROW UP.
One of the things that several of us were looking forward to was our big trip that we had planned to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. Ryan and I have read all seven books and we loved them. This was a big deal. Randy had to return to Texas for work, but the kids and I joined a lot of my family to do the parks.
It was 90 degrees, but we still brought the robes and of course the wands.
We had a great day. We spent a majority of time in Diagon Alley (in Harry Potter World in Universal Studios), but we did see some other attractions and we took the Hogwarts Express to Islands of Adventure and spent time in Hogsmeade too. And we got to do it again the next day, but we were down to a party of six (and Grandma Chris joined us for a while to make seven).
We had Butterbeer (okay the kids wouldn’t try it), Chocolate Frogs, Bertie’s Every Flavor Beans, Fizzing Whizbees, and Pumpkin Juice. We walked through the stores and shops and went on all of the rides. I even braved some of the ones that I wouldn’t normally go on just because it was Harry Potter! My kids love rollercoasters though.
When we got to the park, one thing that was beneficial was to get an Attraction Assistance Pass. Ryan can have a difficult time waiting, we thought that it would be best to get this just in case. Since we went on a Monday and a Tuesday, it wasn’t so crowded, but because of the pass, we were able to get right on to most rides. This was extremely helpful, especially since the heat was killer.
It was a great two days and it went by very fast, but I also want to be candid with all of you. Some times were hard. Ryan’s impulses still get the best of him and we lost a wand (it was tossed in the water) and some ribbons (dropped down a sewer). He is so fast and I was unable to stop him. He does regret these things after he does them, but it is hard for him not to.
Ryan and Grace were amazing though. Throughout all of the travel and waiting and heat, they were so well behaved. I am always proud of them, but really they were awesome yet again.
We FaceTimed Randy when we got back to the hotel after the first night and Ryan spelled this:
CARING TO SAY BEST DAY EVER.
DEARLY LIKED ACTING LIKE HARRY POTTER FOR A DAY.
Here are Ryan’s thoughts on the trip once we got back home:
REALLY LOVED THE TRIP. MY FAVORITE PART WAS HARRY POTTER WORLD. LIKED ALL OF THE RIDES TOO. REALLY WANT TO TOTALLY GO BACK AGAIN.
REALLY TOO MUCH FUN BEING AROUND THE LEVINSON FAMILY.
THEY ARE MY FAMILY TOO.