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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

18 Jun

Today is the grand opening of the newest island at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. You may have heard something about it. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Luckily, since I live right down the street from Universal and have a pass I’ve already been there! Twice actually!

The first time we visited was Saturday afternoon. JC and I were going to Islands of Adventure to ride some coasters (not expecting WWoHP to be open) before seeing Train in concert (Train was amazing BTW). On our way over to Dueling Dragons Dragon Challenge we noticed people walking through part of the Wizarding World and we got giddy. We rushed over and got in! Dumb me didn’t bring his camera, but luckily we went over on Monday (while my car was being fixed) and I took some pictures.

Snow...In Orlando!

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Mysterious Leg Problem

22 May

I teased yesterday that I had a mysterious leg problem and I am going to write about it. If you happen to know what could cause this let me know.

I will warn that beyond the break are pictures and I know some people have been disgusted by the looks of it. It isn’t pretty.

First though I will walk through the events of the past weekend (in case this helps someone figure it out).

I was off on Friday and spent some of the day cleaning and doing laundry before meeting up with JC, Liesl, Jon, my parents and JC’s parents at Raglan Road for some REALLY yummy dinner. After dinner we went and saw “How to Train a Dragon” in 3D!

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Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit at Universal Studios Florida

27 May

In Orlando we have two new coaster projects opening this summer. One has already opened at Sea World Orlando and you can read my post about Manta here. It is Orlando’s (and maybe all of Florida’s) first Flying coaster.

Next up to be finished, after some delays, is Universal Studio’s Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit! The Rockit is going to allow you (or so I read) to chose your own individual sound track for your ride. It also includes a 90 degree straight up lift hill and a world first non-inverting loop. This coaster is completely non-inverting. You NEVER go upside down, so some of you non-extreme coaster fans may like it!

It is going to open in mid to late June (I believe) but they have finally been able to start running some test runs. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are even further behind schedule after a full week of HORRIBLE rain in Central Florida. It literally rained non-stop for 6 days. Ick!

Thanks to the wonderful thing that is the internet, we have videos!! I have two videos I found on YouTube of test runs. Check them out after the break!

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BK Whopper Bar

14 Apr

Recently opened at Universal Studios Florida’s City Walk is a new “food court” located upstairs, above the theater. Located in this “food court” is a new Panda Express, Moe’s Southwest Grill and a BK Burger Bar. The Panda Express and Moe’s are identical in menu and setup to their normal non-theme park brethren. The BK Burger Bar is different and new. It isn’t just a Burger King and it is the first of its kind!

Sign on the soda dispensers.

Sign on the soda dispensers.

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MC Hammer at Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras

5 Apr

Last night I went to Universal Studio’s Mardi Gras for the second time this year, this time to see MC Hammer. Yes, MC Hammer! Prior to the show I was using YouTube to listen to some of his stuff because to be honest, I only knew of two of his songs.

The stage looks pretty bare...

The stage looks pretty bare...

I was looking forward to a little bit of nostalgia and to hear some good music. I mean, I wasn’t a fan of Miranda Lambert but I enjoyed her concert!

Unfortunately, this concert was a train wreck.

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Les Chefs de France With a Special Guest!

22 Mar

On Thursday mom and I spent the day at EPCOT’s International Flower & Garden Festival and we had lunch in France! We ate at the amazing Les Chefs de France. I’m going to start out by saying that the food was amazing. Disney really does food right in these type restaurants. If you stick to the quick service kiosks and tray service you may think Disney food sucks, but if you take the time (and a couple extra dollars) to sit down and eat you’ll be blown away. Quick warning though, these places are pretty much reservation only (especially the popular ones). You can normally get reservations for the day towards the front of the park at Guest Services (under Spaceship Earth to the left at EPCOT and in City Hall at Magic Kingdom).

I had read about it in advance, so we HAD to check out Les Chefs de France’s new Special Guest, REMY!

Life sized and REALLY cute!

Life sized and REALLY cute!

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Barenaked Ladies at Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras!

10 Mar

On Saturday Rob, Mom and I went to Universal Studios Mardi Gras with Barenaked Ladies!! Unfortunately due to the crowd of very rude people mom left right before the concert, but we had a fun day before that with lunch at Margaritaville and a ride on MIB and one on The Simpson’s Ride.

After the rides we decided to go take a seat at the theater so we could have a good seat. While we walked over we went through the Mardi Gras party area and I recognized one of the stilt walkers! It was the OCCC’s own Event Manager Intern Celine!

She gave me a hug...awww

She gave me a hug...awww

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Christmas Presents!

9 Jan

So it is a little later than I wanted, but I thought I would recap some of my Christmas presents from X-Mas 2008!

First, the BIG present this year is that the parents and I now have seasonal passes to Walt Disney World! This means that we have passes to all four Disney World parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom), Universal Orlando parks (Universal and Islands of Adventure) and the Florida Busch Entertainment parks (Busch Gardens Africa, Sea World Orlando and Aquatica).

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Halloween Horror Nights 18

6 Oct
The poster

The poster

Saturday Night my mom, brother and his friend Henry went with me to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Orlando. This is HHN’s 18th year at Universal Studios Orlando and it continues to amaze me in a few different areas. This years theme was “Reflections of Fear” and starred “Bloody Mary.” The website over the last few months has been building up a whole back story about Mary being a doctor and at first accidentally killing her patients. Eventually she goes insane (possibly schizophrenic) and begins killing them on purpose.

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All New Thrilltacular Upsy-Downsy Spins-Aroundsy Teen-Operated Thrill Ride

6 May

“Simpson’s did it!” – Dougie as General Disarray (South Park)

Universal Studios Orlando is in “soft opening” for its newest attraction “The Simpson’s Ride” and I got to ride it a few times this past week. It officially opens on the 15th, but has been up and running for the past couple of weeks. The ride takes the place of the old Back to the Future ride, which was a great ride in its hay day, but had become a very rough and battered version of itself. The new ride is very similar to the old one, the buildings have basically just been repainted/re-themed and new technology added here and there to update the old classic. I think they did an awesome job of re-theming and as a huge fan of The Simpsons I think it is awesome! There even is a Kwik-E-Mart next door selling Duff Beer Energy Drink.

 

Yes, you enter through Krusty’s mouth!

 

WARNING: Some Spoilers may be contained below.

So if you have ever ridden BttF, then you know its one of those simulator rides with a HUGE screen surrounding you. In the ride you are about to ride the “All New Thrilltacular Upsy-Downsy Spins-Aroundsy Teen-Operated Thrill Ride” at Krustyland when escaped mad man Side Show Bob shows up to take down Krusty, and kill the Simpsons! ::GASP::

The ride is really “upsy downsy” as you fly/float/ride through the world of theme parks including a short ride on “Captain Dinasaur’s Pirate Rip Off” (a very good digital rip off of a certain popular Pirate ride in another park, only with Dinosaurs) and a ride on the back of a large killer whale!

The ride took shots at not only the other theme parks, but also at Universal as you crash through a “SEND UNIVERSAL MONEY” billboard in the middle of Springfield. These kinds of small jabs is why I love The Simpsons and this ride. But there is more to love then just what takes place on the ride, and since I don’t want to spoil the whole thing for you, I will concentrate on the other stuff.

The re-theming includes brand new HUGE plasma monitors throughout the cue line showing “Krustyland Favorites” and new informational/safety videos from the owner (Krusty) and chief of security (Chief Wiggam). The new videos are drawn in 16×9 format to fit the wide-screen monitors beautifully, but of course the old Simpson’s clips are in standard 4×3. So did the designers take the opt out by stretching the old clips? Or did they black bar the screen? NEITHER! I was thrilled to see they decided to frame the 4×3 picture (keeping intact its original screen ratio) with what looked to be the Simpson’s own TV! Very creative and a small detail that I immediately noticed and appreciated!

The Krustyland Favorites clips included the great Bort license plates and the Duffland “It’s a Small World” ripoff with small children from around the world drinking Duff Beer! I also enjoyed the clip of Surly (one of the 7 beers) “Surly only looks out for one person…SURLY!” and other CLASSIC Simpsons clips.

The new clips were great as usual and included a very nice nod to BttF. Professor Frink arrives at Krustyland and is distraught when he finds his beautiful Institute of Future Technology is gone so he goes “Back to the Future! And by future I mean past” only to accidentally cause the end of the IFT leading to Krustyland!

 There are a lot of elements within the ride and outside of it that make it a great experience, but you’ll just have to go for yourself!! I said go! I’m waiting!