Orlando

10/24/2013

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A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to travel to Orlando, Florida. While normally I would be averse to the idea of Florida (read: humidity and alligators), the chance to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter persuaded me. I have to say that despite the humidity which was truly awful, the trip was amazing. I stayed with my mom at The Peabody now Hyatt Regency- Convention Center which was beautiful and absolutely huge. Trying to make the most of our time there, my mother and I went to three different theme parks: Disney Hollywood Studios, Epcot Center, and Universal's Islands of Adventure. The first was a total bust and seemed like they took the weird attractions that failed in other Disney parks and combined them into one. Although, I must say, their light/water show Fantasmic was truly great in that it was so bizarre and unpredictable that I was laughing the whole time. On Friday, with the afternoon free, we headed over to Epcot where it just so happened that our trip coincided with their Food and Wine Festival. Epcot Center is truly a unique experience. While the front resembles Disneyland's Tomorrow Land, the back and bulk of the park is World Showcase. The showcase is the best part and has 11 different areas or 'countries' which is show the culture and cuisine of  Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, the United States, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom and Canada. Because of the food and wine festival there were an additional twenty different stalls around the area which had little appetizers and wine pairings. The detail that went into the building of the park was amazing from the Chinese temple to the stone buildings of Morocco was fascinating. 
The next day, which was in my opinion the best day, we went to Universal for Harry Potter world and let me tell you , it did not disappoint. As soon as we entered through the archway it was like being in Hogsmeade, except it was hot, humid, and full of tourists. Anyways, we ducked into The Three Broomsticks for lunch and had our first taste of frozen butterbeer and it was AMAZING. Think a cream soda slushie with a frothy butterscotch on top..... mmmmm. After that we went back out and entered Nerdvana. From Honeydukes' chocolate frogs to Dervish and Banges' robes and wands to the ATM being housed in Gringots and a Moaning Myrtle soundtrack playing in the bathroom, it was all spot on. Having grown up reading Harry Potter, I think that most of the joy that I felt was seeing and experiencing the locations and items that I had only read about in the books. I remember my mom reading me the first two books when I was in first and second grade and being able to read the third when I was in third grade. As the characters and books maturede in age and content so did I. It was like I grew up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. 
As if the day couldn't get any better, that night we got last minute tickets to see Blue Man Group which has been a dream of my mothers since they first came out. All I really knew about them was that they played music on PVC pipes and that there was some sort of paint splatter involved. Entering not really knowing what was going to happen and having my expectations on the low side ensured that I was constantly surprised. There were points when I was laughing so hard that my eyes were watering and others when my mouth fell open in awe. I'm not going to give anything else away but encourage you strongly to go if the opportunity should present itself. 
The next day we flew home and just in time to miss the heavy rain and increased humidity that I had been dreading the whole trip. Hahahha!

 


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