USA Road Trip – Day 14 – Home Time

Our final day in San Francisco and our final day of the road trip!

We all woke up feeling a bit hungover and also sad that it was our final day. The past 2 weeks had flown by but also felt like we had been away months as we had visited so many different places and experienced so much.

We decided to start the day at Taylor Street Coffee Shop. This place has rave reviews online and seemed the place to go for breakfast. It’s tiny and we had to wait for a table but the food was delicious, more English breakfast and omelettes rather than the American traditions such as pancakes but would definitely recommend if you are in the area and need a place for quick food.

From here we had to head back to the hotel to pack up and check out, always the worst trying to squeeze everything back into your suitcases! Thankfully the hotel looked after our luggage for us so we could have one last walk around before heading to the airport.

We all decided to pop back to the shops just in case we had forgotten something or found a last minute deal. We also did the touristy thing and posed with the cable cars! Then finally we popped to a sushi restaurant for lunch where the food was so good and such good value!

Then it was sadly time to get a cab to the airport ready for our 11 hour flight back home to London.

It had been the absolute best 2 weeks away and I would love to do another USA road trip in the future – The Deep South, North California and East Coast are definitely on my bucket list!

Love, Chloe xxx

USA Road Trip – Day 2 – Golf, Goals & Guetta!

Due to jet lag Matt and I were wide awake by 6am so we decided to get up, get dressed and go for a wonder through our hotel. That’s the great thing about Vegas everything is open 24/7.

Megs and Fraser were also up early so we all decided to go for breakfast at The Buffet. It was still pretty early and there only seemed to be a handful of us there, so no need to queue or wait for a table which was great.

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The service was amazing, everyone was super happy and helpful and you barely had to wait for anything. The restaurant itself was very in keeping with the rest of the hotel, super modern, spotless and the food was delicious with so much choice, who knew sushi was so good for breakfast!

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Over plates of pizza, waffles and smoked salmon bagels (seriously who doesn’t love a buffet breakfast!?) we decided on our plan for the day. We had tickets for the Rugby Sevens but agreed we didn’t want to get there until early afternoon.

The boys wanted to try Top Golf but Megs and I didn’t really fancy it, so after breakfast the boys left and Megs and I decided to go back to the hotel. Megs decided to go back to bed but I decided to have a bubble bath. I know I should have been out exploring but sometimes when you have a bath that big you just have to use it.

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The boys had a pretty good view from Top Golf!
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Who doesn’t love a bubble bath?

Around midday the 4 of us made our way to the Sam Boyd stadium which is roughly a 30 minute drive outside of the strip. You honestly feel like you are in the middle of nowhere in the desert but it was quite nice to venture out and visit somewhere new.

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It felt amazing to be wearing shorts and flip flops at the beginning of March!

Friends that had been to Twickenham Sevens (in the UK) kept telling me how much fun it is however as rugby isn’t that big in America (compared to in the UK) I didn’t know what to expect, but the atmosphere when we arrived said it all, everyone was in great spirits, the weather was amazing and everyone just seemed to be having a great time.

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I loved how you could just sit wherever you wanted, so we found a spot, grabbed some drinks and enjoyed the afternoon of rugby and sunshine. Things got quite exciting when England beat USA much to the majority of the stadiums upset!

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As the sun began to set it was starting to get quite windy and the temperature was definitely starting to drop. There were still a couple of games to go but as we were all in shorts and T-shirts we decided it was best to head back to the strip, get some dinner and get ready for the night ahead.

We were feeling pretty exhausted by the time we got back to the hotel, I guess a mixture of jetlag, booze and sunshine will do that to you and we didn’t have the energy to head out to dinner. So we decided to order room service (delicious fried chicken sandwiches) and took a much needed nap, as we still had a crazy night ahead of us.

By 11pm we were rested, glammed up and ready to head out, as after all it was Saturday night in Vegas! We got a taxi to The Encore Hotel where we had tickets to see David Guetta at XS Nightclub.

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The nightclub was pretty big and split between 2 sections. The indoor club/dance floor and the outside pool area, with the DJ booth positioned between the two. We decided to stay outside, as inside seemed a bit too crammed and full on. Outside was way more relaxed and when do you get to enjoy an outdoor nightclub in the UK? So we thought we would make the most of it.

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We managed to grab a great position around the pool with a couple of sunbeds (which were great for dancing on!) and drinks in hand we danced and sang the night away. Guetta was amazing!

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Finally making our way back to our hotel at around 5am, almost a 24 hour day!

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Love, Chloe x

Honeymoon Day 11 – When in Vegas…

After an almost 12 hour sleep, I clearly needed it! We decided to walk next door to the Wynn for their buffet breakfast. Believe me when I say that there is nothing better than a Vegas buffet breakfast. Last time we visited we fell in love with the Caesars Palace buffet. However as we were in walking distance to the Wynn, we thought we would give theirs a try this time.

There was a small wait for a table, but it didn’t matter as you had a lovely view of the whole restaurant which is beautifully decorated with the biggest floral arrangements I have ever seen, it’s stunning.

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The seating area is spotlessly clean and very open and airy, filled with all these amazing flowers, plus they had TV screens showing adverts of the shows to see and things to do, which I enjoyed.

Now for the main event…the food! I think I went up to the buffet 3 times in the end, as there is just so much choice and I wanted to try it all! It is also really good value for money as it will seriously set you up for the day. I started with some granola, yoghurt and mini pastries, then went onto pizza (who doesn’t love pizza for breakfast!?) and finally I ended on some mini desserts such as strawberry cheesecake and mint choc chip cones, which were just delicious! I really wanted to get an ice cream to take away with me, but I had already eaten way too much so went against the idea. Matt stuck to the more traditional breakfast items like toast, bacon, bagels, salmon etc. There is definitely something for everyone, whatever you fancy!

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Opposite the Wynn and Encore Hotels is the Fashion Show Mall, it’s not overwhelmingly big like some American malls, but has all the shops you could want or need, so we decided to head there after breakfast as we needed to walk off all those treats.

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The mall was pretty quiet when we arrived which was great, as it was like we had the place to ourselves! Matt brought a few more bits in American Eagle while I found a new love with the shop Express, which unfortunately we don’t have in the UK. The sales assistants in Express were so helpful. When they saw me carrying around a few items I wanted to try on they took them from me, set up a changing room ready and still allowed me to go around & look at more clothes, before trying everything on. They even picked a few things they thought I might like and added them to my cubicle too! Take note UK High Streets!

I also fell in love with the shop Hot Topic, where I ended up buying a lot of presents for my sister for her Birthday. We didn’t spend too long shopping though as we wanted to head back to the hotel pool for some sunshine before heading out that evening.

Back at our hotel, we did a quick change and then headed down to find a spot by the pool. It was quite busy but The Encore has a few pools to chose from so you should always be able to find a spot by the one you are after. Whether that’s the Encore Beach Club with it’s famous parties, The European Pool Area with casino tables, hot tubs and stage for live music. Or the smaller pool which we always found ourselves at, as it had the perfect mix of relaxation but you could still hear the music from the other areas so it wasn’t too boring. We spent the rest of the afternoon chilling in the sunshine, enjoying the yummy frozen strawberry daiquiris!

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That evening our hotel concierge had amazingly managed to get us a table at Gordon Ramsay’s Steak Restaurant located inside the Paris Hotel.

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On arrival we spotted the man himself which was really exciting, but we didn’t manage to get a photo with him. We did however get a photo with Chef Christina which if you are a fan of Hell’s Kitchen, like we are was pretty cool. She was so lovely and I think a bit shocked that a British person was asking for her photo!

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The food was absolutely amazing and we were shocked at the large portion sizes considering it’s a fancy place. To start Matt had the Shrimp cocktail, I have never seen shrimp so big they were huge! I went for the pork belly which to be honest could have easily been a main course, but it was super tasty.

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Then for mains Matt had the Wagyu American filet steak which I think is one of the best things he has ever eaten, as he has mentioned it a few times since! I had the fish and chips and was shocked when 2 whole fish arrived, it was delicious but I couldn’t finish it all.

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For dessert I had the sorbet as I fancied something light and refreshing and Matt had the baked Alaska. They brought our desserts out with candles, as a celebration of our honeymoon.

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After dinner we headed over to Omnia nightclub in Caesars Palace to see Calvin Harris’ DJ set. Not your typical honeymoon evening but we had such a fun time and Calvin was amazing.

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The views from the bridge on our walk over to Omnia 

 

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We finally got back to our hotel around 4am and decided to do some gambling, when in Rome Vegas… 

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Love, Chloe xx

Honeymoon Day 7 – Disney’s Magic Kingdom!

We had a super early start on what should have been our final full day in Orlando (more on that later!) As we had to get to The Magic Kingdom in time for our breakfast reservations at Be Our Guest Restaurant, inside the park.

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I felt like a kid at Christmas getting ready for the day ahead. Excited to visit the most famous Disney park, plus excited for my favourite meal of the day – breakfast, in the heart of my favourite Disney Film – Beauty and the Beast!

We got the shuttle bus from our hotel to Epcot, as they didn’t have an early enough one for Magic Kingdom, but it didn’t matter, as from Epcot we then got on the free Disney transportation bus to Magic Kingdom instead. Due to the change, we did have to power walk to make our reservation in time, as typically the restaurant is located in the furthest area/land from the entrance in Fantasyland!

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The look of the Be Our Guest Restaurant is amazing, it really does look and feel like the Beast’s castle.

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I had made our reservation online a good few months in advance and a couple of weeks before we went, we were asked to pre-order our meal & drink choices (I believe this is just for breakfast and not for lunch or dinner.) There were quite a lot of options to choose from, but in the end I opted for the waffles and Matt went for the Croque Madame. We also ordered 2 of the Master’s Cupcakes, as I had been told we had to try them! All breakfast items also come with a side of fresh fruit and selection of pastries.

When we arrived our reservation was checked via our Magic Bands (park tickets) and we had to pay up front for our choices. You are then free to sit wherever you like and they will bring your food straight to you. I still have no idea how the waiters/waitresses find you after you have sat down as there are 3 dining rooms to choose from!

The first one being the The Grand Ballroom. This looked stunning in all the pictures I had seen beforehand, however it was carnage when we entered, lots of screaming kids and it felt like a cheap canteen. I was gutted as I really wanted to sit in there.

 

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The Grand Ballroom

 

Instead we went into the second room, The Castle Gallery inspired by Belle’s library. It wasn’t as elaborately decorated as the previous room but it was a lot calmer!

 

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The Castle Gallery

 

You have to get your own cutlery, napkins and soft drinks from the dispensers but the food was delivered quickly. The meals were average, but the pastries were tasty. I didn’t really know what to make of the cupcake though, as it didn’t really taste of anything?

 

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My waffles, could have done with a lot more syrup!

 

 

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Matt’s Croque Madame & the pastries

 

 

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The Master’s Cupcake

 

Afterwards we ventured into the third and final dining room which is The West Wing, this looked amazing exactly like the film, including the enchanted rose!

 

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The West Wing

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The Enchanted Rose!

 

I may have a few moans about the restaurant but I’m still glad we visited, however next time I definitely want to go for dinner, as I feel the whole experience would be a lot better then!

 

After breakfast we took a stroll through Fantasyland to Story Book Circus. This may be a toddler friendly area but I really wanted to go on the Dumbo ride as it’s a classic!

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Afterwards we made our way down to Tomorrowland as we had fast passes for Space Mountain followed by Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.

Space Mountain was so much fun. As it’s in the dark you can’t see what’s coming next and there are a few sharp turns and drops, don’t think I have ever screamed so much on a ride!

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Buzz Lightyear was a bit boring and nowhere near as good as the Toy Story ride in Hollywood Studios.

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We then jumped onto Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress as it had no queue and is one of Walt’s original rides, great to see how it all started and features a very catchy song which we found ourselves singing at random times of the day!

The last attraction we decided on, in Tomorrowland was Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor. It’s a comedy show and is pretty funny for both kids and adults, especially if you enjoy the films, like we do! 😉

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We then walked through to Adventureland, but we just couldn’t get over how busy it was and the wait times for all the rides were roughly an hour each!

In the end we decided to join the queue for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. I feel like they could make the queue a little more exciting as it’s quite boring, especially when you are waiting that long. The ride is fun though and I loved the new addition of Captain Jack Sparrow at the end!

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By the time we had left the ride, it was time to find a spot for the parade at 3pm. Some people had already waited for an hour to secure the perfect spot! But we grabbed a couple of snacks and found a space in Liberty Square to sit and wait ready for the parade to start.

We worked out pretty quickly though why the spot we had chosen was still free, it was in the direct sunlight and even just sitting down, we were melting. We stuck it out though as we had a great view for the parade and ice lollies definitely helped!

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I loved the parade, the songs are so catchy and seeing as we didn’t meet any characters (apart from Mickey of course!) it’s a great way to see them all. If you aren’t interested in watching the parade this is a great time to go on the more popular rides as the queues are much quieter!

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After the parade finished we made a quick dash to ride The Haunted Mansion. We still had about a 25 minute wait but was much quicker than the hour wait it had been all day! I loved this ride although a lot of it did make me jump! I love that Disneyland in California turns theirs into a Nightmare before Christmas theme for Halloween, I wish Orlando did the same, as that’s one of my favourite films!

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Finally we had a fastpass for Splash Mountain which was great, as we pretty much just walked straight on. Water rides are Matts favourite so he was very glad I managed to get a fastpass for this one! It’s a fun log flume ride with lots of drops along the way and a cute story with yet more catchy songs! Plus it cooled us down as we were so hot from walking around all day in the sunshine.

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Having rushed around for most of the day, trying to ride as many rides as possible, we decided to have a couple of hours chill time. We had a look in some of the shops, we met Mickey Mouse and then we ate an early dinner at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. The food isn’t the most amazing but the pizzas were pretty tasty and huge!

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Before we left for honeymoon, The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was one of the rides I really wanted to go on, however I was unable to get fastpasses for it, as it is new and very popular! All day we kept an eye on the queue but it was always around the 2 hour mark which we agreed was too long a wait. So after dinner we made our way back over to Fantasyland with everything crossed to try to ride it, thinking lots of people might be at dinner! But unfortunately we had no luck, the wait time was still 2 hours, so it’s still on the list, along with the Frozen ride at Epcot!

Instead, I dragged Matt onto the Winnie the Pooh ride ha. It’s so cute and I think you have to act a big kid at Disney as when else can you?

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The weather had taken a turn for the worse when we exited the ride, it was very dark, overcast and about to chuck it down with rain, so Disney ponchos on we walked back around to Liberty Square to find a spot for the evening Electrical Parade. Again people wait for ages to get a good spot but we managed to squeeze in just before it began. Sadly they have now stopped this evening parade, so will be interesting to see what replaces it!

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We then made a dash to ride It’s a Small World before the fireworks started, again Matt wasn’t thrilled about this one, but I told him it’s a classic and he had to ride it at least once in his life! 🙂

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Still raining and now singing its a small world constantly! (Why are Disney songs so catchy?!) We found a spot by the castle ready for the fireworks.

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Disney sure know how to put on a fireworks display. They are just stunning and the songs and stories that go with it always get to me. I always start tearing up when ‘wish upon a star’ starts. There is just something so magical and special about it all. Sad but true!

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Love, Chloe xx

Honeymoon Day 3 – Shopping, Storms & Sports!

After a much deserved lie in, we decided to jump in the car and find a good spot for breakfast. Told you, food is always the first thing I think of!

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Our hire car

We drove with the roof down, making the most of the gorgeous Florida sunshine and after a quick online search, we ended up at Keke’s – a restaurant specialising in breakfast.

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KeKe’s seemed a popular spot which made us happy with our choice and we couldn’t believe how much was on offer with the large and varied menu.

In the end I decided on a large chocolate chip waffle with a side of banana and strawberries which was absolutely delicious and Matt went for the chocolate chip pancakes. Just check out the pancakes though, it was like a Man Vs Food challenge and our waitress found it hilarious watching to see if he could finish them all, but unfortunately he couldn’t quite.

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Keke’s is next door to The Mall at Millenia, which is huge and filled with every shop imaginable but after breakfast we decided to drive a little further to the outlets instead.

I love American Outlets as you can get such great bargains. We didn’t visit every shop as we would have been there all day, but we just checked the map to find the ones we really wanted.

I honestly couldn’t believe how cheap things were though. For example in Victoria’s Secret they were selling lip glosses for $1 each! One Dollar! In our UK stores they are currently £9 each madness!

We also popped into The Disney Store, Ralph Lauren, Sunglasses Hut, Levi, American Eagle and my absolute favourite Bath & Body Works. Seriously when is the UK going to get one of these stores? I have been obsessed with them for years and on this trip alone I managed to bring back about 10 soaps and numerous other bits and bobs, everything just smells amazing! I brought a cherry ‘Vampire Blood’ soap for Halloween which all our visitors loved and Sparkling Snow has been out since Christmas and looks and smells so lovely.

 

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Inside Bath & Body Works

 

We had just left Bath and Body Works and only had one shop left to visit when a huge thunderstorm began. We had to take cover under a shop awning as there wasn’t enough time to run back into a store without getting drenched, plus I had leather flip-flops on, not the most practical footwear to run in!

It’s crazy how quickly the weather escalated and how heavy the rain was coming down. The thunder and lightning were directly above us and was so loud! The weird thing though was it was still so hot so even though we were getting rained on we didn’t feel cold.

 

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Just a little windswept!

 

We watched some people make a run for it, either to a shop or their cars but then the rain would come down even heavier. In the end we decided to make a run for it ourselves as we had no idea how long we would be waiting there for otherwise. However running to the last shop we had a bit of a nightmare when my Bath and Body Works bag broke – silly paper bags! So we were scrambling around in the pouring rain trying to collect all the goods that had spilled everywhere. Kindly, a stranger gave us one of his bags to use after seeing us struggle. Thanks again kind man! 🙂

Shopped out and soggy we made our way back to the hotel.

We didn’t have any plans for the evening so after having a little look at our options, we decided to head back to Universal’s CityWalk. We felt like the night before we had been too tired to take it all in properly, plus Matt wanted to watch the Miami Dolphins game, so we decided to head back and find a place to eat, drink and watch the game.

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Our hotel lobby bar

Universal was a lot busier than the day before but we realised it was the start of their Halloween Horror Nights so everyone was making their way into the parks. The Horror nights look amazing if you are into that sort of thing but I think I would be super scared! I can’t even watch horror films let alone walk around feeling like I was in the middle of one! So we left them to it and made our way to NBC Sports Grill & Brew. This place is huge and has screens everywhere showing all the sport imaginable. Matt was clearly in his element! They also played amazing classic rock music which is my favourite so wasn’t all bad 😉

We got a couple of drinks and decided to order a load of sides and starters to share rather than a proper meal, as we just wanted to relax, snack, drink and watch the game. Again a lot of fried foods oops, but they are so yummy! I think in the end we went for the cheese curds, onion rings, fries, southern fried sliders and buffalo wings – always buffalo wings they are my absolute favourite!

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It was a lovely chilled evening, but I couldn’t even tell you who won the game!

More fun tomorrow.

Love, Chloe xx

Honeymoon Day 2 – Universal Studios!

Even though I had an amazing sleep my body still decided to wake me up at 6am! So I decided to go for a little explore. I wanted to check out the breakfast options, always my main priority when staying at a hotel and I also wanted to book us onto the free shuttle bus which dropped hotel guests off at some of the parks. Although we had the car, some days we decided it would be easier to use the free transportation on offer, especially if we wanted to stay at the parks all day and would be tired or wanted to have a couple of drinks.

The staff were more than happy to help me, even at that time of day! I found a couple of options for breakfast and was told we were welcome to visit the neighbouring Marriott Hotel to use their facilities and restaurants too, which was good to know.

We decided to try out Highball & Harvest for breakfast, which was a restaurant and bar area in our hotel. It offered an à la carte menu as well as the all you could eat breakfast buffet. It was pretty pricey but I guess that’s to be expected in the type of hotel we were staying at, but the food was super fresh and delicious so made up for it. Matt even finished off his breakfast with an American frosted doughnut! When in Rome….

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Even at 9am the mixture of heat and humidity was fierce! Waiting outside for the shuttle bus to collect us, I was already melting and the day hadn’t even begun.

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Such a tourist with my backpack!

We arrived at Universal Studios ready and raring to go, map in hand, our plan was to visit both parks (Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure) in one day. Some people might think we were crazy but we just didn’t have enough time to do it any other way. Due to this we upgraded our tickets to the Express tickets, which meant we could skip the queue once at each ride or show. This was actually really useful and worth the money as it meant we could do all the rides we wanted to without getting stressed or rushing around. The only attractions these tickets didn’t work for though were the Harry Potter rides.

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Phew I’m tall enough!

Now, I could easily talk about all the attractions in great detail and go through step by step every single thing we did, which is what I originally started doing when first writing this post, but it was going on forever and I just thought you would get a bit bored! So I’m going to try to condense it all as best I can and just show you a lot of photos instead!

We started the day at Universal Studios which consists of 7 themed areas. Production Central, New York, San Francisco, Hollywood, World Expo, Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone and finally The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. We made our way around all these areas apart from the kidzone and went on the rides, looked in the shops and just enjoyed the atmosphere and excitement of being there. I must admit though I hate big rollercoasters which is annoying for Matt who loves all rides, so he did have to go on a few alone 😦 Sorry Matt!

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One of Matt’s favourite films – Back To The Future

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This ride was so good!

One of my favourite rides in this Park was probably Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, it’s really well done and quite funny, plus Matt and I are such big kids who love anything Minions! I also loved the Simpsons ride and the whole Simpsons area. It was pretty cool to be able to go into Moe’s for a drink, Krusty Burger for food or to the Kwik-E-Mart for gifts!

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A couple of the areas didn’t have much going on, as they were either working on new rides or had just demolished old ones. I get that they constantly need to be working on new ideas and attractions but I’m not sure how I feel about the new, Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon ride which opens in 2017. I appreciate he’s a big deal in America but just sounds weird to me and I don’t see how it relates to Universal, also I think it’s going to be yet another 3D or 4D Ride! Personally I really miss the old school rides like Twister, Earthquake and Jaws. I really wish they would bring some of those kind of attractions back!

Now this may offend some people haha, but I am not a Harry Potter fan. I have never read the books and have only seen tiny snippets of the films if my sister, dad or Matt have had them on, I just don’t get the hype. So before we visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I must admit I wasn’t really bothered or excited about it. In all honestly I was actually annoyed when they started building the areas as I just couldn’t understand why they had to take over the Universal Parks. Why couldn’t they just build a whole new Harry Potter theme park of its own?

Vent over I promise.

As when I actually stepped foot inside HP World it really did look pretty impressive, even though I had no idea of what shops, streets, people I was looking at, I could still enjoy it and embrace the wizarding experience. Plus the rides are really good too!

 

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Trying Butter Beer – Matt was very disappointed when he realised it wasn’t real beer!

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As we had been on everything we wanted to go on and seen everything we wanted to see, we decided to take the Hogwarts Express at Kings Cross Station over to Hogsmeade Station, located in Islands of Adventure.

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Universal’s Islands of Adventure is also split into 7 sections. Port of Entry, Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, The Lost Continent, Seuss Landing and finally The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade.

We were flagging a bit by the time we made it over to this park, so we decided that our first stop would be lunch at Mythos Restaurant. We needed time out of the heat and we just needed a sit down after all the walking! We opted for a light lunch which arrived quickly and was tasty.

Fuelled and raring to go again, we went out to explore what this park had to offer. Starting with HP Hogsmeade. Again this area was visually stunning and the main ride was full on. Not at all what I was expecting!

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Sorry Matt for making you ride alone!

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The newest attraction at I.O.A which is pretty impressive

Our favourite rides more often than not are the water rides. So by the time it got to late afternoon and we were absolutely sweltering from the heat, we decided it was time to cool off and Toon Lagoon seemed the place to go. Starting with Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls which I was quite scared to go on, the reason I don’t like roller coasters is due to the drops, so when I saw the height of this log flume I panicked but Matt basically forced me to go on and I’m glad he did as I loved it, even though my face tells a different story…

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This photo will forever make me laugh!

Then we found  Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges which is a rapids ride. I don’t think I have ever laughed so much on a ride before. We got absolutely drenched through, but this was by far my favourite ride of the whole day. We even went on for a second time which we filmed on the GoPro.

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Drenched from the water rides!

We made The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man our last ride of the day as it was about 6pm and we were uncomfortable in our wet clothes. We ended up getting changed in the toilets ha, but I was just happy I was dry! I’m so glad we brought a change of clothes and shoes which we kept in our backpacks inside lockers when we were on the rides, as this meant we could then carry on the evening without having to head back to the hotel.

We then spent the evening at Universal CityWalk which is located just outside the entrances of both parks. We mooched around the shops, brought some amazing macaroons at The chocolate Emporium and then finally treated ourselves to cocktails and burgers at Hard Rock Cafe.

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The Texan: Hickory-smoked pulled pork, chipotle barbecue sauce, cheddar & Monterey Jack cheese, crispy fried jalapenos & onions all on a toasted brioche bun. Yummmm!

An amazingly fun but long day!

Love, Chloe xx

 

Bidding a Fond Farewell to New York!

After the busy few days we had had, Matt and I decided to have a bit of a lie in on Sunday. Some people had agreed to meet for breakfast but we just knew we wouldn’t make it in time, so we decided to do our own thing and would meet up with everyone later.

After lazing in bed for too long, we finally got up and decided to head to out for breakfast. We weren’t really in the mood to be walking around trying to find somewhere, so we decided on Applebee’s before we had even left the room. There was no particular reason for choosing there, only that we had noticed it from our window, I had vaguely heard of it and they had a big sign saying they did breakfast. Sold!

It was really quiet and empty which shocked me however the servers seemed friendly and I loved the decorations they had put up for graduation. I really wish the UK would go all out for celebrations!

I decided to go for waffles (as usual!) with a cup of tea and Matt went for an orange juice and egg and bacon sandwich. When the food arrived, for once we didn’t feel overwhelmed by the portions it was just 1 round waffle and that was perfect for me, it did lack fruit though as you can see by the picture they could use a little more! I don’t know if I would rush back to Applebee’s again though, as the food wasn’t that great.

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Over breakfast, Matt was in contact with Bruce and the rest of the group, and we decided that we were all going to meet up around midday to get a ferry over to Brooklyn for lunch. So once we had finished, we headed outside into the sunshine to find the closest subway station. We had had enough of taxi’s and wanted to try something different, plus we had some time to spare.

The subway is so easy to use and so cheap! So much cheaper and less confusing than London! For a 1 way trip it was $2 each. I believe that was any trip, anywhere but correct me if I’m wrong! We got the number 1 red line from a station in Times Square all the way down to South Ferry, which took roughly 30 minutes maybe quicker. It was air conditioned (another luxury London is slowly getting), clean and we both managed to get a seat. It was just nice to be on the move and not stuck in the traffic!

Once at South Ferry, we took a walk through Battery Park and along the waterfront. The weather was so hot! Which I was a bit unprepared for, jeans were not a good choice! But still, I love being near the water and in the sunshine. The friends we were meant to be meeting were running late as their breakfast/brunch had run over, so we could have actually joined them all along, but oh well! We then realised we were walking the wrong way, so turned around and headed back along the water in search of Pier 11.

Pier 11 is actually on South Street, a bit of a walk and not near Battery Park or the day trip boats. But we finally found it! and our friends! Only to be told that not everyone was here and so we wouldn’t be getting a boat quite yet. So what to do on a Sunny Sunday? Find a bar of course!

We all walked along together chatting about our breakfast experiences and quickly found Nelson Blue a New Zealand Bar and Grill. We grabbed some stalls along the large window which was actually all open so you could still feel the breeze and the sunshine and took a quick scan of the menu. We were only looking for drinks and the friendly waitress happily recommended a wine for us ladies and beers for the guys and I must say the wine she chose was delicious!

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We could have easily stayed there all afternoon, but the rest of the group caught up with us and Erin recommended an outside bar around the corner (I’m really sorry I didn’t get the name) On walking around the corner, we seemed to have stepped into some sort of market or festival day. I don’t know if this is a usual Sunday thing or if something was going on but it was a lot of fun. There were clothes stalls, outdoor bars, dance classes, live music, the list goes on. So we grabbed a picnic bench and settled down to enjoy the atmosphere and more wine 😉

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^^ How cute is consuela, Bruce and Erin’s dog!? She was adorable but a bit of a diva 😉

It was now around 2pm and a few of the group had to leave as they were flying back to the UK that night! Which was a bit of a shame, so at that point the rest of us decided to head back over to Pier 11 to catch the water taxi over to Brooklyn.

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^^ The View of Brooklyn Bridge from the taxi queue

The queue was quite long and so we waited a while to get onto the taxi, however they are free to use at weekends, so you can understand why a lot of people were using them! Once on the boat, we quickly sped across the water over to Brookyln, taking in the sights of Brooklyn Bridge and The Statue of Liberty along the way.

Once off the boat, it was only a couple minutes walk to Brooklyn Crab, where we would be spending the rest of the afternoon.

iBtvkm5tPrmI^^ Don’t you just love the look of this place? You could smell the seafood straight away, I had salt in my hair and the sun was shining brightly. It was bliss and I felt like I was on an Island in the middle of nowhere.

We had to wait for a table as there were so many of us, but jugs of beer and all the arcade games, kept us happy, along with friendly competitions of basketball hoops and air hockey! If we had to wait longer, we most definitely would of had a game of mini golf!

Below Deck Bar, Brooklyn Crab

We were seated upstairs so had a lovely view of the sea and New York skyline. Now let’s take a look at that menu..

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We decided to get a few starters to share which included the oysters, fried calamari and popcorn shrimp, all of which were delicious. For mains, I won’t go through everyone’s, but Matt got the Blue crab roll and I got the shrimp basket. I love shrimp! We all received so much food so it was well worth the money, I couldn’t even finish all mine and it was so yummy.

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^^ Phil and Jess

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^^ Dan and Sarah

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^^ Group Shot!

It was such a lovely afternoon spent with friends, that I was sad our trip was coming to an end. I would love a place like this, near to home, that I could visit every weekend in the sunshine. Shame the UK weather is so unpredictable!

As usual the time had flown by and it was now early evening, so we headed back to the taxi.

11009945_10155576995750092_6614511406053429241_n^^ The boys enjoying the ferry back

11140749_10155576994995092_6226463662456738064_n^^ The ladies enjoying the ferry back

Day turned into dusk and Erin took us to a cute little wine bar, which literally looked like someone’s house and we sat outside, drinking cocktails, watching the sun go down. What a perfect last night in the city.

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We got a taxi back to Times Square around 11pm and I just stood taking in all the atmosphere and buzz for the last time.

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Monday morning we packed, had breakfast at the hotel (I had pancakes for a change ha) and then we headed out for one last look of Times Square.

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^^ Matt and I on the Red Steps

We popped into a few shops like The Disney Store, Hershey’s World, Levi and Forever 21 and also grabbed a few last minute gifts for friends and family back home. We decided to have lunch at Planet Hollywood, before getting a taxi to JFK, for our flight home.

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^^ Final buffalo wings of the trip

Sat at the airport I was so sad to be coming home. We had had such a great trip, done so many things and met so many lovely people that I just wanted it to continue. In all honesty it felt like we had been away months not 11 days! It was also nice to experience New York in Summer, as many people including us only really visit in Winter.

But as they say all good things must come to an end, so thank you New York, until next time.

And here’s to the next trip……. Dubai in October hehe.

Love, Chloe xx

P.S. If any of you have any good recommendations for Dubai please let me know, I’m so excited, I’m researching already! 😉