Edit Blog Post
Published: November 30th 2010
Universal Studios - City Walk
7:00AM on Wednesday the 3rd came fast. My literary: Universal Studios – Islands of Adventure at 9:00AM followed by Downtown Disney for some shopping. I would spend most of the afternoon through the late evening at Epcot and Disney World – Magic Kingdom. If you have never been to Universal’s Islands of Adventure it is fantastic! Once in the park I headed straight for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Opening in June, 2010 this was my main reason for visiting the park again. You enter through Hogsmeade Village which is home to recreations of all the shops where wizards buy their goods, as well as the Three Broomsticks Pub. You get to go in the various shops and spend your savings while drinking Butterbeer and admiring the attention to detail. Olivander’s wand shop is undoubtedly the main attraction. Even at 9:30AM on a Wednesday the line was 40+ minutes long!
I decided not to wait in line, instead heading to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I mean, what do I need a wand from Olivander’s for when I don’t ever use the 5 I already own, right? Hogwarts was awesome! It is absolutely enormous and houses The Forbidden
I Support Potter!
At Universal Studios - Islands of Adventure. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Journey of Harry Potter (ride). My Express Pass and I went right to the front of the line and I think most Harry Potter fans would agree it is the coolest ride ever built!
Once done with the ride you are ushered into a souvenir shop. I reminded myself that not only did I have no use for most anything in there, but that I would also have to carry whatever I bought…I bought a tree ornament and I love it. I also rode the Dragon Challenge rollercoaster, making sure to be in the front car of course.
After Harry Potter I made my way over to the Jurassic Park section of Universal. Having grown up loving the movie it was neat to go through the pavilion and the movie props were fun to see as well. Making my way through Toon Lagoon I next went to Marvel Super Hero Island. There I rode the Spider-Man ride as well as the Incredible Hulk rollercoaster (love it). Exiting Universal’s Islands of Adventure I snapped a few photos of Margaritaville and the Universal Studios globe. This all doesn’t seem like much when I list it but it took hours to
At Epcot theme park.
After Universal I drove to the Downtown Disney Area, home to many Disney-related shops and several restaurants. I absolutely LOVE everything about Disney so I felt right at home. My favorite store was World of Disney where I picked up another tree ornament and a Mickey Mouse shot glass (now the pride of my collection).
Next I went to Epcot, parking in the Magic Kingdom lot and taking the monorail. I enjoyed the monorail ride as it allows you to see a few of the ritzy “deluxe” Disney Resorts. Ahhhh…maybe next time. Once at Epcot I rode Spaceship Earth and then toured the World Showcase. The World Showcase is made up of 11 areas themed after individual countries; Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, America, Japan, Morocco, France, U.K., and Canada. Very fun!
While kids can certainly appreciate this area of Epcot, the adults happily jump at the opportunity to drink alcohol imported from across the globe. Being an adult who often thinks and acts like a kid I got the best of both worlds! One thing all of the Orlando area theme parks have in common is a great deal of attention to detail. The food
and beer were authentic in that they were specific to each country. Also, many of the employees were actually from the real-world countries they represented while working at Epcot; a nice touch. In the U.K. I went to an English pub where I enjoyed Bass pale ale with fish & chips. In Germany I just drank beer and looked in vain for a hand-made wooden cat for my brother in-law (different story). Oddly enough, this is pretty much how I spent my time during my past travels through the real Germany and U.K......
After a few hours at Epcot I took the monorail to Walt Disney World – Magic Kingdom. When you enter through the gates you are greeted by Main Street USA. Main Street is designed to resemble turn of the century small-town America, something Walt Disney evidently had a great deal of affection for. You pass by ice cream parlors, restaurants and even a functional barber shop. The first thing that really caught your eye was the iconic Cinderella Castle glowing in a purplish pink as dusk settled in behind it. Having visited the Magic Kingdom once as a child I can honestly say I gained much
Disney's Magic Kingdom. "Partners" Statue
Disney's Magic Kingdom. "Partners" statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse in front of Cinderella Castle
more from the experience now that I have grown up. It really is a beautiful sight!
Once off of Main Street I went to the Adventureland section. The Pirates of the Caribbean ride was great, recently modified as a result of the popularity of the Johnny Depp movies. The Swiss Family Robinson tree house was neat and offered a bird’s eye view of the park, while the Jungle Cruise was surprisingly relaxing.
At around 8:00PM I made my way back to Main Street in order to find a good spot to stand and watch the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular fireworks display. It is a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by so many happy and excited people, watching wide-eyed children struggling to take everything in. By this time just beyond the bronze statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse we were treated to a view of Cinderella Castle giving a light show of its own. Magnificently illuminated, the Castle alternated through a series of vibrant colors. Once the fireworks began you could do nothing but stare in awe. By far the best fireworks display I have ever seen. The entire sky lit up while Jiminy Cricket narrated the performance to
Disney's Magic Kingdom. Fireworks!
Disney's Magic Kingdom. On Main Street, USA. Fireworks!
the tune of memorable theme music from Disney movies of all eras. It was a fantastic display, lasting for what seemed like 15 minutes.
I can’t think of a better way to end my short vacation. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t spend the following morning’s flight back to Moline, IL planning out my next vacation to Orlando in my mind. Perhaps next time a 2-night stay in a Disney resort hotel prior to departing on a 4-night Bahamian cruise aboard a Disney ship?...in December '11...Not that I have thought it out or anything 😊
Launch or no launch it was a great trip!
( ***Also***: There are 5 pages of photos below to look through! )
Tot: 0.28s; Tpl: 0.021s; cc: 10; qc: 61; dbt: 0.0213s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb