The promotion to big brother is kinda like exercising for the first time in a while. It sounds like a good idea until you can’t get out of bed the next day. The promotion to big brother of twins is really more like a demotion if you think about it. There’s 2x the crying, 2x the poop, and about 1/10th of the attention.
It’s near impossible to share my attention equally between my 1-year old twins and their 7-year-old brother. No matter how you slice and dice it, Cam comes up short. This fact, coupled with the challenges of a December birthday, had us wanting to do something special for Cam’s 8th birthday. Cam and I have been reading the Harry Potter series together. He’s enamored by the magic and mystery and wanted to have a Harry Potter themed birthday party. So Jimmy and I got to scheming. What better way to have a Harry Potter birthday than to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter located at Universal in Orlando?
The day before Cam’s birthday we casually told him he could open his present from us a day early. We built it up, saying it was the best present we had ever gotten him. When he unwrapped the Hogwarts t-shirt he did his best to hide his disappointment. It only took a few minutes before this letter and a Hogwarts Express train ticket fell out with the following message from Minerva McGonagall.
“We are pleased to inform you that you have a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You will be traveling to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando.
Please find enclosed all of your travel information. We eagerly await your arrival.”
I wish I could have caught his face on camera the exact moment it sunk in. He kept saying “when?” and I kept saying “now!” We immediately left for the airport. When our flight arrived we grabbed our rental car and headed to Universal’s City Walk to have dinner and check out the lay of the land. The next morning we had birthday donuts at the hotel before heading to the parks.
Universal did not disappoint Cam. It exceeded all his expectations. From Harry Potter to Marvel to Transformers it is everything that would peak a little boy’s interest. You should know by now I’m Team Disney all the way, but even I have to admit that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is pretty amazing. Here the magic of the stories come to life in excessive, detailed, interactive, splendor.
If you asked me, I’d have to say my favorite part has to be the train ride between the parks. It’s a clever transition that keeps you lost in your favorite storybook as you travel from King’s Crossing Platform 9 3/4 to Hogsmeade and back again. Cam’s favorite was the interactive wand we purchased upon arrival to Diagon Alley. He could have spent all day turning on lights, spraying fountains, and making the window displays come to life.
I knew going into the weekend that there wouldn’t be a lot for my little tots to do. There’s plenty to walk through and look out, but only 1 ride between both parks for tykes smaller than 36.” Unfortunately for us, the play areas designed for toddlers are water playgrounds and the weather wasn’t warm enough for me to let them get wet. Jimmy and I took turns riding with Cam and entertaining the littles.
The next day, I woke up feeling like I had been unfaithful to my true love and so we promptly headed to Disney Springs so I could make amends. Christmas time at Disney is unparalleled. We spent the day enjoying the decorations in the sunshine including my personal favorite: the Trail of Trees. Each tree along the path is decorated with a theme from a favorite Disney movie. There is Christmas music playing and even fake snow falling to really put you in the Christmas spirit.
I was reminded this weekend that the unexpected moment is always sweeter. There’s something to be said about a true surprise. Cam, my love, my lap may be fuller this year but there will always be room for you. Thanks for graciously scooting over to make space for the twins. You are better than my best dreams. Happy 8th Birthday, I love you more than words.