Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Thelma and Louise, Part II...

If only we looked like Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon! Anyway, we're in the land of the Mouse and Harry Potter! I'm so excited, really looking forward to the Universal visit. We started out strong, driving from the airport directly to Disney's Hollywood Studios. I had missed the Rockin Roller Coaster on my last visit and I was anxious to try a new coaster. I really like coasters that are enclosed in buildings and in the dark. (What I can't see makes me less nervous...) Needless to say it was a great coaster and I could have easily gone on again, right away, but we had more to see and more to do. Barb's theory that the park would not be as crowded was spot on. Still there were more people than I had thought there would be, especially on Friday and Saturday.

The HEAT was my enemy the entire trip and I've decided if I ever get to go back to Disney and Universal it will absolutely be in the cooler months, that is if they have cooler months in Florida, do they?

We hit the Indiana Jones stunt show. We are such nerds! As we watch the beginning of the show that replicates the opening scene of the movie where Indy approaches the artifact he is planning on liberating from it's booby trap fiflled altar, both Barbara and I are imitating Harrison Ford's movements (same as the stunt man). We shake our shoulders, wiggle our fingers, measure out the sand, gingerly guestimate the weight in our little leather pouch and quickly tip the pouch and pick up the statue... Then we look at each other and laugh. We have spent way too much time watching this movie over and over again! Two minds that think alike! (great minds at that!)

We also went on the Star Wars ride and caught a "training" session of young Jedi warriors that was rudely interupted by none other than Darth Vader himself! The kids had done their training when Vader appeared with his Storm Troopers. Their instructor asked for a young Jedi to challenge Vader and defend the class -- no one stepped up! Where are the future Luke Skywalkers?!? Finally a hand went up and a young girl stepped forward. Yay girl power!! She used the moves she was taught and fought off Vader!

 Dad managed to get his Jedi daughter fighting off the Dark Lord! (too cute!)
We checked out several more rides and shows and decide to head out to the hotel several hours later to check in and get some food for the weekend . Tomorrow Harry Potter!!!!!

As Indy says to Marion, "It's not the years, it's the mileage.." Needless to say we were not the first ones at the park opening the exhibits. We tried, but 11:00 was our start time. Barb had warned me it was a bit of a walk to the HP exhibit, she wasn't kidding. We walked through...

 The lake area that separates the formal entrance to the park from the shopping and eating area of Universal. Jimmy Buffett's Margueritaville held my attention - can we say Pina Colada (later)...
 We also had to deal with the weather. It always rains in Florida, at least once a day.
 Past the shopping, over the lake, through the jungle/Mayan/Arabian village...
 Through Dr. Suess's world (so cute, especially if you had little ones). Past the Cat in the Hat...

Past some of the most creative interpretations of Suess's world
and finally, finally - Hogsmeade!

Bubble, bubble toil and trouble, something wicked this way comes!
I think I gave Barb a big sweaty hug! I was so excited. Hogwarts rises out of nowhere (it seems) and the village of Hogsmeade looks just like the movies!
The village was wonderful! Although I would have loved it if they could have replicated Gringotts Bank. For those of you who remember, it was very wobbly and Tower of Pisa looking to the max. How cool would that have been!
The ride itself is in Hogwarts Castle. It's a combination video images, props and holographic filmed introductions by Harry, Ron and Hermonie. You get strapped in and you're off! It's hard to describe. It's almost a combination motion simulator, roller coaster, action video - very cool, I loved, loved, loved, it!
In the village they had various shops that you could walk through that sold merchandise, like Honeydukes - the perfect place to buy your Jumping Chocolate Frogs and Berties Every Flavored Beans.
They also had several store fronts that were just that. Inside this window was a Quidditch set. All the various pieces were there except the golden snitch. I wonder where it got off to?!?!
Here we are with our Butterbeers and the castle in the background! Next up, Thelma and Louises' wild ride!

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