Disney world & Universal Studios, Orlando

Can you guess where I’ve been?

Here’s a clue….

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Okay, here is another clue…

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Okay one more….

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Yes yes yes, I’ve spent the last week in Orlando, Florida. It was my first time and I was SO excited! I knew as soon as I got on the plane that the whole trip was going to be absolutely MAGICAL! However, no matter how much planning you do or how ready you are to have the trip of your life, there will always be things that surprise you along the way!

We spent our first afternoon at Disney Springs. It was lovely and got me even more excited to see Disney. Well, that was until I realised I’d gotten food poisoning at the most magical place in the world…

 

Unfortunately, it hit me hard on day 1 of the trip. I spent most of my evening feeling nauseous and unable to sleep hoping I’d feel better for Magic Kingdom the next day – No such luck!

We attempted to go shopping the next morning, but that was too much for my poor stomach to handle. So in true Brit “hangover” style, we pulled up outside the house and before Hemma could even park onto the drive, I’d opened the door and vomited EVERYWHERE. Yuck!

After a couple of hours of relaxation we decided to go to check out the Crayola Experience instead. Despite my feeling terrible, we made the best of it and the baby had the best time!

The Crayola Experience

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Disney World

Whether you’re a kid or an adult, everyone has heard of the happiest place on earth and there is nothing better than visiting Disney World for the first time. Up at the crack of dawn, although still not 100% and unable to eat, I was super excited to hit the park. For many people, the highlight of a trip to Disney is spending time with family and making magical memories with the people you love – and for me it was just that – when everyone finally woke up that was ;).

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We took advantage of the fast passes and meandered around the park at our own pace. I was a little disappointed that characters weren’t walking around the park throughout the day as expected, but I really did have the most amazing day and cannot wait to go back.

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Universal Studios

A trip to Orlando would not be complete without visiting Universal Studios. And what better way to watch the Eclipse, than in the park!!

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Universal Studios is one of the biggest movie-based theme parks in the country. We planned to explore The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Kidzone in particular, (although I’ve not actually watched more than one of the Harry Potter movies ha!). The attention to detail in the park is absolutely incredible and in some ways Universal is even better than Disney World itself. Even if you don’t count yourself a fan of Harry Potter or you’ve not had the chance to get into either the films or the books, the Harry Potter section is still amazing and I’d definitely go again.

You can take a walk through Diagon Alley:

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Or enjoy a butter beer at the Leaky Cauldron:

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You can wander through Springfield:

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And feast on some sweet treats…

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There really is something for everyone – check out the rest of the photographs below 🙂

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Disney and Universal put sooooooo much effort into creating an incredible experience for everyone and I really did enjoy every second.

I had an absolute blast in Orlando!

Next stop… New Orleans!!! 

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Portland & the Oregon Coast

My schedule this month is going to be a little hectic (well, that’s an understatement) but it is most certainly going to be a great month of trips and adventure.

First stop… Portland.

After a long flight from D.C. and a couple of episodes of Portlandia to get me in the mood, I couldn’t wait to see Rory and enjoy four days in a city I hadn’t yet explored. I met Rory at University when she did a year abroad in 2008/9 and we became besties instantly. In the years since leaving university, we’ve managed to keep in touch so it’s always amazing when we get to see each other again. Rory had an action-packed itinerary planned with hiking, beach visits and exploring the City, so I knew it would be lots of fun.

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Portland is one of the most unique cities that I have visited in America.  It is compact, quirky and super easy to get around. Everyone was friendly and the food was delicious (though the portion sizes were a little bit on the HUGE side). The heart of the city is downtown around Pioneer Square. It is a great place to shop, but we spent our time hanging out in the square and just wandering around. Unfortunately, due to the fires in the south it was really hazy so the pictures didn’t come out too well.

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Tillamook Head

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I am obsessed with pretty views so this was a must do on the way to the beach house. Tillamook Head Trail is located at the south end of Seaside. The beautiful Forrest, the sound of the wildlife and rain hitting the trees made for the perfect muddy, midday voyage. The drizzle followed us throughout the hike, though I guess this gave us the unexpected benefit of a cool, less humid hike. On our way up, we bumped into a man heading back to the ground who’d told us about a fallen down tree resembling a cliff just off the trail, so we had lots of fun exploring! We danced our way up the trail and took lots of photos that you can check out below. As long as you keep your footing and keep an eye out for those muddy spots you will most definitely enjoy the trail.

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After losing our minds exploring the Forrest we headed to the beach house for a rest before heading back out to explore the coast for dinner.

 

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Our first stop was Cannon Beach, an artsy coastal village. Cannon Beach is located 200 miles southwest of Seattle. I immediately regretted not taking a jumper as it was absolutely FREEZING.  I couldn’t believe that it was this cold in August, although when you’re catching up with a friend that you don’t see all too often, it doesn’t really matter so much. I went to a cute little tourist shop, bought myself a hoody and enjoyed some delicious fresh salmon.

 

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This beach was spectacular despite the weather’s quite uncooperative conditions. Whilst it wasn’t cold, the fog dramatically clung to the sky in the distance. There were so many hidden caves and sneaky hideaways so it meant that we could find a more secluded spot for our picnic. I would probably say that it is best to visit at low tide as I can imagine it is very easy to become stranded if the tide is strong.

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Astoria

The next morning we went for breakfast in a small town called Astoria. While Astoria is a small town, it has some massive sights, including the Columbia bar where the river meets the Pacific Ocean and the HUGE Astoria-Megler Bridge. You may have heard of Astoria as it has hosted films such as the Goonies, Kindergarten cop and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 to name a few. It has elements of beauty mixed with industry so it was really cool and pretty to see.

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Seaside

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We had the best time visiting Portland and the Oregon Coast. We wandered miles of sand, ate picnics on the beach and took advantage of our non-existent to-do list. It was the perfect time to relax with my best girl and explore places that I’ve not seen.

I am absolutely loving getting to crack open my passport to hop on planes and visit such lovely places with lovely people. This week I’ll be heading to Orlando and will be sure to take lots of pictures to share with you!

Claire xx