Monday, July 21, 2014

Welcome Summer Vacation

Hi everyone:

Have you noticed me missing? I've been on vacation and just getting back into the swing of things quilt-wise. After school finished at the end of June, my family and I set off on vacation to Orlando, Florida. I know, what were we thinking heading to hot, humid Orlando in the summer? 
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Gardens outside the Japanese pavilion at Epcot Centre
We were thinking about Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, that's what we were thinking, especially about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the potential opening of their newest area, Diagon Alley. 
Heading into Universal Studios, Orlando
View of Hogwarts Castle on the Hogsmeade side of
the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
You see my daughter is a huge Harry Potter fan, having read all of the novels and watched all of the movies many, many times. What could be better after writing grade 12 diploma exams than to take a trip to the closest-you-can-come-to-Hogwarts? So off to Orlando we went!
Entrance to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride on the Hogsmeade side
While we were excited to visit Potterworld (as I call it), we also spent three days at Walt Disney World, visiting all the parks there. I also did a bit of shopping at Downtown Disney one day. We interspersed visits to the two parks (Universal and WDW) with a trip to Kennedy Space Centre and a day to visit a quilt shop and Cocoa Beach. All in all it was a very busy vacation with lots of walking. 
Entrance to Kennedy Space Centre

The real Atlantis space shuttle
The best part of the trip was that we were able to view Diagon Alley and take the Hogwarts Express (train) from Hogsmeade (the older area) to Diagon Alley (the new area) before the grand opening on July 8. 

We were fortunate enough to be at the right end of the park when Universal held their "soft opening" a few days before the official opening date. We were able to ride the Hogwarts Express and even visit the newest area, Diagon Alley, before the official opening date.
Hanging out with the conducer of the Hogwarts Express
Hogwarts Express pulling into Hogsmeade Station before
heading back to King's Cross Station in London (Diagon Alley)
This did not mean that we weren't there for the grand opening on July 8, of course. While we didn't arrive at the park before sunrise as some fans did, we did arrive early and waiting over 90 minutes just to be admitted to Diagon Alley
The dragon atop Gringott's Bank in Diagon Alley - lots of noise and heat!
It was definitely worth it and we marvelled at the attention to detail in every aspect of this part of the park. 
A glimpse at Hogwarts on the Hogsmeade side
We sampled butter beer (both the regular and frozen variety), watched some of the free shows and bought just a few things. It was worth standing in the 35 C weather (which actually felt like 43 C with the humidity) and the butter beer ice cream was certainly welcome. My daughter was thrilled and so pleased that our vacation coincided with the official opening - a date that wasn't released until long after we'd booked the trip. I'm sure she'll remember this trip for many years to come.
Entrance to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in Hogsmeade
Some of the colourful candies in Honeyduke's in Hogsmeade
I did manage to fit in a quick visit to one quilt store, The Quilt Place, on the day we visited Cocoa Beach. I managed to pick up a few fabrics even though I was in the store for less than an hour. I could've spent longer in this lovely shop, but unfortunately time - and hot kids - didn't allow for a longer visit. 

Now that I'm back, I'm working on a new on-line video class for, which I hope to be shooting in the next few weeks. If you haven't yet checked out my videos on, please do so and let me know what you think of the platform. I'm very excited to be working with them and can hardly wait to show you the class videos. 

One more thing: even though I've been away, there have been new videos posting weekly to my Youtube channel. Become a subscriber and you'll be immediately notified when new videos are released. 

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