Monday, May 18, 2015

MSP ComiCon

Sunday (yesterday) we woke up to thunderstorms. I wanted to do something fun, but being outdoors was not an option! So after a quick Google, we decided to take the girls and Dylan to MSP ComiCon!

 Put on by the Midwest Comic Book Association, MSP ComiCon is an annual event held at the State Fair grandstand. There were a bunch of tables with comic book dealers, publishers, writers, and illustrators selling their merchandise. In addition there were some kids' activities, a costume contest (and a bunch of awesome cosplay!), and cool Lego displays!

I loved this cosplay! (Deathstroke and Black Canary, from Green Arrow. And if you don't watch Arrow, I highly recommend it!!! Past seasons are on Netflix!)

Maisie and Dylan spent what seemed like hours looking at Pokemon cards, trying to decide which ones to buy. The prices ranged from $0.50 to $30 per card!!!!! which seems insane to me.

They picked out a couple of cards that were more reasonably-priced, and were very happy with their purchases, which is what counts.

At one point the rain let up and we stepped outside for some ice cream, and saw a photoshoot!

I believe these folks are part of MN Superheroes United, but I'm not 100% sure. What I AM sure about is that I love the Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel cosplay happening on the left of the group there. Also, it was pretty windy, which made all the capes look awesome!

It was a very fun event! It was less interactive and more shopping-focused than CONvergence, but still a really good time. We'll definitely be returning!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Orlando pictures, part 2!

A lot less narrative, a lot more pictures on this post :)

Early morning flight out of Minneapolis

Day 1: let's swim in the pool!

Day 2, at the park!

In Diagon Alley... a bunch of muggles outside Weasley's Wizard Wheezes

Looking down Diagon Alley towards Gringott's

Inside Gringott's

Knight bus!

enjoying ice cream from Florian Fortescue's outside the Three Broomsticks

Peeking into the windows of Honeyduke's... so many choices!

Then back to the hotel for more swimming!

Park, Day 3 - the Hogwarts Express

We tried pumpkin juice... it was really good!


Day 4... heading for home.

So much fun! We can't wait to go back.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Orlando vacation & picture dump (part 1 of 2)

Oh my gosh you guys. My sister Laura and I took our kids to Universal Studios Orlando and it was So. Much. Fun.

This is going to be the recap post with pictures from my phone. I also brought my camera but can't find my sim card reader! So, once I either find it or buy a new one, there will be a post with better-quality pictures. But I didn't want to wait any longer to write up our AMAZING vacation!

We started with an 8 a.m. Sun Country flight on Thursday May 7, which meant getting up even earlier than we do on a normal weekday! It was an easy, direct flight and by 1:00...


we were poolside with Laura and Dylan!

We stayed at a Doubletree near Seaworld, and it was beautiful! We'd talked about heading over to Universal on Thursday afternoon, but Laura convinced me not too. Everyone was having too much fun swimming and running around in the sun after an early morning and a three-hour flight!

As you can see, the pool (pools, actually - there were 3 of them!) were outside. What you can't tell is that they were salt water! It made for a really pleasant swimming experience, without the super-dry skin and gross chemical smell you get from a chlorine pool.

We swam, played, relaxed, and chased little geckos in a futile effort to catch one. Ella said she wanted to grab one by the tail so it'd drop its tail, which she could then bring home! I am glad she didn't succeed!! Dylan managed to catch a few of them - he has faster hands than the rest of us!

Pretty soon the early morning, hot sun (it was 85 and sunny!), and exercise took its toll, and deck chair naps were had.

The next day it was time to head to the park, bright and early!! It was great going early, and on a Friday - the crowds were very light, and we hardly had to wait at all, even for very popular rides like Minion Madness. (That one was a particular favorite for some of us!)

I had to get it for her! It had her name on it!

The rides were very cool. Most of them were 4D, where there's a screen in front of you (sometimes 3D) that shows some kind of wild ride, and then your seat moves like you're bouncing around on a roller coaster or zooming through space. It was a LOT of fun!

After a few rides, we went to DIAGON ALLEY!!!!!!!!!!!! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was a huge draw for me (and the girls, but let's be realistic, mostly me) and it did NOT disappoint! When we walked through the brick wall hiding it from Muggle eyes, my jaw dropped. It was like walking on to the movie set!

Inside Weasley's Wizard Wheezes. Edible Dark Marks, Every Flavour Beans, Chocolate Frogs, Fainting Fancies...

We also caught the Hogwarts Express over to Hogsmeade, which was ALSO amazing! The castle was beautiful and the attention to detail was astonishing. I could've hung out in the Three Broomsticks all day!!

All the employees working in the park were 100% in character the whole time, which I was not expecting but really enjoyed. Whenever I'd buy something they'd say, "On the Muggle plastic" when I gave them my card. And when I bought the girls animals at the Magical Menagerie, they told me my total as "your adoption fees today come to $42.50..." It really added to the whole immersive feel of the experience!

Also, butterbeer is delicious. They served it hot, cold, or frozen like a slushee. Cold was good - it was like a butterscotchy cream soda - but frozen was AMAZING and totally worth the extra $1, especially given the heat!

After a full, fun day at the park it was back to the hotel for dinner, swimming, movies, and a solid night's sleep. On to Saturday!

Purple minion on the loose in King's Cross Station!

Ella'd gotten a bit of a sunburn on her shoulders on Thursday/Friday. She wore a tanktop to the park on Saturday, but the sun was pretty quickly hurting her shoulders, so I let her pick out this shirt. And we HAD to get the minion goggles to match!

Saturday was more of the same... Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley, and a few favorite rides from Friday that we wanted to go on again. The Simpsons, E.T., and (one of my favorite movies) Men in Black! It was a "training exercise" for new recruits - you had a laser gun to shoot aliens that'd escaped from a prison transport. The line was longish but it went past some cool things. like the MiB break room, featuring some of my favorite characters from the movie!

After a full day at the park and a delicious dinner, it was time to head back to the hotel for our last night. Because in the morning...

Airplane nap

back to the airport to head back home.

It was an absolutely amazing trip and I cannot WAIT to go back! There are so many things I want to see that I missed, and so many things I want to do again!!

And, a very special thank you Laura and Dylan for being such completely awesome travel companions!! We will go on vacation with you again any time.