Merry Christmas, Kwanzaa, and belated Chanukah and Festivus!
Are we eating our way through Hong Kong or riding elephants in Thailand again this December? Nope! Instead, we’re sprinting through (a replica of) Diagon Alley and scaling (a miniature version of) Mount Everest—all in Orlando, Florida. Yep—for Christmas and their birthdays, Henry and I decided to treat the kids by hauling our butts across the country to hit six theme parks in six days.
Idiotic? Perhaps. Exhausting? Definitely. But still fun! Want to see what we did? (If you’re wondering about the photos: we decided to travel light, so we didn’t lug our big DSLR with us; the only cameras we brought were our iPhones.)
After arriving in Florida, we fueled up with barbecue at Southern Moon Smokehouse…
…before spending the next two days exploring every nook and cranny of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure.
Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade were delightfully detailed and a lot of fun to walk through, but to be honest, my favorite ride in the Universal parks ended up being the Revenge of the Mummy roller coaster. This girl has a need: a need for speed.
I was especially tickled, though, to find a sign in the “San Francisco” section of Universal Orlando that told me that I was only 39 miles from my home on the opposite side of the country.
That’s part of what I love about theme parks: through the magic of make-believe (well, if you suspend disbelief and squint just hard enough), you can hop, skip, and jump from one end of the world to another in a matter of minutes—from the Star Wars galaxy…
…to the Twilight Zone…
…to Southeast Asia.
What I don’t necessarily love about theme parks, however, is the lack of budget- and Paleo-friendly food options. Sure, it’s possible to eat gluten-free here (Russ Crandall’s written a great guide to eating Paleo at Disney World), and all the theme parks are actually amazingly attentive and accommodating to the needs of diners with allergies. There are some tasty eats to be found, too, like at Jiko in the Animal Kingdom Lodge…
…or Tokyo Dining in Epcot.
But if you eat all your meals in the Universal or Disney ecosystems, prepare to spend a lot.
That’s why we opted to spend most of our dinners outside of the parks, like at Saigon Noodle & Grill…
…and The Ravenous Pig.
And this morning, while the kids tore into the few presents we’d wrapped for them, I was able to head into the little kitchen here at our condo, and make Christmas breakfast.
I’m ready to head home soon, and kick off 2015 with a resolution to cook a whole bunch of new stuff. How about you?
Looking for more recipes? Head on over to my Recipe Index! You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPad® app, and in my New York Times bestselling cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel 2013).