August 27, 2010

Orlando, Florida!: Part 1

Magic Kingdom! We got to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade and the Summer Nightastic! Fireworks (both were incredible, the latter being the most outstanding display I've ever seen) on two separate days -- it didn't get old at all!

The Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! street party...super fun to watch!

Eco-friendly Dumbo? :)

We ate at Tony's Town Square our first night in Orlando, which is a fancy little restaurant off the side of Main Street, U.S.A., in the Magic Kingdom. But it's not any restaurant -- it's straight out of The Lady and The Tramp! Fun!

Whip out your wands, folks...

Hogsmeade is self-explanatory. Incredible, incredible stuff here.

"The Flight of the Hippogriff," the easiest coaster here. It's not an overly kiddie coaster; it's still a lot of fun if you're older.

Hogwarts. We took so many pictures, and I can't post them all, so it was really hard to pick which ones to put on here! Trust me, the place is worth a visit, although it's only a one-day thing. It's so amazing.

The detail on the castle -- just everything inside and outside -- is impeccable. It's absolutely brilliant on Universal's part. The hilarious thing was our wait in the morning to get in (only about a half hour, actually) -- the rest of Universal Studios was absolutely deserted and the only lines were for the WWoHP park. :)

Along the sides of the lines for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which is the most mindblowing ride there. There are lots of goodies, but it's dark so it's hard to take pictures. Priya managed to get this one of the Mirror of Erised, but we gave up afterwards because you just can't take anything properly.

I'm sorry I couldn't rotate this one -- it's when you're walking towards the loading dock for the ride. If you haven't figured out what it is yet (shame on you!), it's the staircase to Dumbledore's office. (And if that still puzzles you, you haven't watched the movies enough times!) But the fabulous thing about the wait is that you get to walk through the castle, literally, and they basically themed it around a Quidditch match; so there are Daily Prophet clippings with "Gryffindor vs. Slytherin!" headlines, and the moving portraits (they're actually screens, but they are freakishly oil-painting-like) are chatting about Harry's chances of winning...etc. :) It's every die-hard fan's fantasy. Absolutely fantastic stuff.

The ride is sort of like the Back to the Future ride, says my dad, but I don't know if you've ridden that one either. You're in a little buggy-type thing (if you've ever been to the Haunted Mansion attraction at Disney World, you'll know what I'm talking about), and you levitate. You go through the castle in the air; parts of it are giant contact lens shaped screens where you get to follow Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint as they take you flying around the castle and onto the Quidditch pitch and you come face-to-face with a Horntail, and parts of it are actual real objects that move -- for example, you see rising Inferi and ghosts and "acromantulas" that spurt blood on you (it's just water), and there's a big dragon that looms towards you and breathes hot orange fire on you. It's all so wonderfully lifelike that we were all screaming and I closed my eyes in parts out of fear. It's really not scary, but just not knowing what to expect kind of makes it frightening. It's spectacular, though; it features Emma Watson as well. There's a part near the end where you dive straight down, plummeting towards the lake, and I still remember my mom screaming as we all "flew" downwards. AWESOME. We got to go on this three times, and I think it would have been unmagical if we went on it any more times, but the one word to describe this ride is AWESOME (in capital letters).

The entrance to Dragon Challenge, which is also fabulous! The big blue thing you see there is the coaster; the seats are attached via the top, so it's like you're sitting in a hanging set of seats rather than in a car-type setting, and that's actually good because there are corkscrews and dangerous-seeming turns, but it's so thrilling and an absolute BLAST to ride. These two coasters (there's a blue Horntail and a red Fireball) are vying for my favorite ride(s) of all time. Note, though: the Fireball is way more fun and way more scary.  :) Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful all around!

Can you guess?


Still no? Come on, the "chocolate" sign has to be a dead giveaway. Plus, there's all sorts of candy...


Honeydukes is so colorful and so tantalizing, yet so pricy that you feel bad to buy anything. Brilliant and fabulous to look around, though.

Part 2 coming up soon!


Odessa said...

looks like you guys had so much fun! thanks for sharing. honeydukes does deserve an exclamation point and then some :)

Myrna Foster said...

Oh, I so want to take my kids and visit now. Thanks for going into so much detail over the rides and sharing your pictures.

Julia said...

The Harry potter world looks truly enchanting.

Jessie Carty said...

finally something really good to see at Universal! Wonder when I can finally fit in a visit :)

Beth Kephart said...

this looks like enormous fun.