Kendall, Trent and Reagan Jones at Hogwarts Castle at Harry Potter World

Kendall, Trent and Reagan Jones at Hogwarts Castle at Harry Potter World; click the picture to see more pictures

 

We’ve not done a real spring break vacation in years. Seems like there’s always too much going on or business trips that take me away at the wrong time. With finally leaving my last company and focusing solely on my own business, 2 the Top Web Design, 2011 was the 1st year we’d had the flexibility to get away for a proper Jones family Spring Break.

See the full photo album here: Ross Jones Photos on Google+ fyi, the pictures are mostly, but not all, in chronological order.

 

Over the past few years, our family has really enjoyed reading the Harry Potter books. We mostly read them together as a family with the kids taking turns reading aloud. Trent had been Harry Potter for the past 2 Halloweens and I made a pretty convincing Hagrid tagging along with him as we trick or treated at muggle homes. So when The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in Orlando, it was a easy decision on where we were going for Spring Break.

Last time we went to Orlando, we flew and rented a private house with a pool. This time, we drove but still got an Orlando rental house near Disney.

Sandra & I made a conscious decision that the drive down & back would be part of the adventure so we took our time.

Friday. Picked up kids from school early & drove from Nashville to Atlanta. Spent the night with Barry & Colleen in Alpharetta. Got in later than we wanted so didn’t have much visiting time but still good to be with family.

Saturday. Easy drive from Atlanta to Jacksonville FL. Aunt Mary Ellen Talbot treated us to dinner and some great stories about the Jones family. She really did shoot my dad in the butt with a BB gun! It was great spending time with her.

Sunday. Another short drive day from Jacksonville to Orlando. Great rental house in Orlando with pool and 4 bedrooms. Our friends, the Wyks, drove down from Nashville and spent Sunday night enjoying the pool with us.

Monday. Disney Magic Kingdom. It’s fun, it’s Disney.

Tuesday. Disney Hollywood Studio. One of our favorite Disney shows is the Fantasmic show @ Hollywood Studios. The kids were too young to remember the last time but they were amazed at it this time.

Wednesday. We built an extra day into our itinerary in case there was rain. Weather was perfect all week so Wednesday day was a relaxing day at our pool with trips to Downtown Disney and Lego world. Trent loved the free water shuttle and got a free pirate costume from the water shuttle captain. YARR!

Thursday. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. It was simply awesome! Crowds were ridiculously bad but the sights & attractions more than made up for it. Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey is the best ride ever. Highlight of our entire trip was when Trent got picked to be part of a little show in Olivander’s Wand Shop. As you may know, the wizard doesn’t select a wand, the wand selects the wizard. Trent got to be “The Chosen One” as the wandmaker tested several wands with him, complete with special effects. Trent was eventually picked by a wand of birch, 11 1/2 inches long.

After a very full day at Harry Potter, we drove to the outskirts of Orlando and spent the night in a hotel.

Friday. My favorite driving day. We avoided the interstates and drove up the old Atlantic Coastal Highway. We even got to see a bald eagle leaving its nest. Stopped at Daytona Beach and stepped into the Ocean. It was simply incredible to drive for hours with the beach and ocean beside us. Great views and a welcome slower pace. Arrived Savannah, GA to spend 2 nights with Sandra’s sister Linda.

Saturday. Linda took us on a walking tour of Savannah, GA. So much history and so much wisteria!

Sunday. The longest drive of our vacation was returning to Nashville from Savannah. But we’d paced ourselves so well on the trip that it really wasn’t bad at all.

I’ve got to say this was one of my favorite family vacations that we’ve ever done. Being big Harry Potter fans, the day at Universal Studios was the most exciting part of the trip but every day was great. And splitting up the driving with several family visits made a huge difference.

See more pictures of our Spring Break trip here: Ross Jones Photos on Google+

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