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Old 11-05-2012, 11:34 PM   #31
pg0314
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Originally Posted by msbiscuit View Post
You really got some wonderful shots of the animals on the safari and the parade, as well! What kind of camera were you using? The zoom seems to work very well!
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Originally Posted by tazdev3225 View Post
Just found this and joining in. You look like you had a great time so far. I'll second the question about the camera. I take a ton of pics myself and love to see what kind of cameras people are using.
Tena and I both have Canon SLR cameras that take really awesome pictures ... but they're big and bulky and very expensive so we decided to leave them at home this time and make do with our little point and shoot cameras. I took most of the parade pictures ... my camera was better for after dark shots ... and Tena took most of the animal pictures because she has a better zoom. Mine is a teeny tiny little Canon Powershot ELPH 300HS that I got on amazon for $180-ish. It's not fancy but I was very pleased with the pictures I got on this trip. I don't know exactly what kind of camera Tena used but I'll find out ... I'm pretty sure it was a Canon too.

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IASW is one of my favorites but I am usually confined to one ride a trip. Others I travel with are not as happy with it. Soarin' is my least favorite ride. I can understand why others like it but I get really sick on it. I can't handle any of the IMAX type shows.

Looking forward to more.
IMAX movies usually make me queasy too but for some reason Soarin' didn't bother me at all.
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:35 AM   #32
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Chapter Five: Part One

Chapter Five: Part One
“You must be a Weasley.”

Sunday, September 23, 2012
Day Five


Today’s trip report is all about Universal Studios, so if that’s not your thing, feel free to skip it.

We are two 50 year old women who are in love with a teen-aged wizard. And we’re proud of it! When we heard that Universal was recreating Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, we knew we had to be there. Took us a couple of years, but it was well worth the wait.

We arrived at Universal Studios around 9:00 am and sprung for premium parking … $20 but worth every penny at the end of a long, hot day!





And it was particularly hot day because, for the first time, it wasn’t overcast. Just heat and blazing sun. Yes, this is me commenting on the heat for the 900th time. Get used to it, because we are chubby, menopausal women trudging around amusement parks in 90 degree temps and 90% humidity. The only reason we didn’t spontaneously combust is that we were sweating like pigs most of the time!

Anyway, we’d heard that Sunday was the best day to visit Universal and boy was that true! The place was practically a ghost town. We walked on the attractions and even Harry Potter wasn’t crowded. This was our first trip to Islands of Adventure and we got the grand tour because the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is about as far from the front gate as you can get.












It was worth the walk, though, because it was AWESOME! One of the first things we saw was the Hogwart’s Express and there was a conductor there greeting guests and posing for pictures. When I went up to say hello, he took one look at me and declared, “You must be a Weasley!” I’d colored my hair right before we left and it had come out a little redder than I’d intended. But I didn’t realize just how red it really was until that moment! Anyway, I allowed that I might be a distant American cousin to the Weasley clan and that seemed to satisfy him.







We made a beeline for Hogwarts and the Forbidden Journey ride. We knew that Universal wasn’t as ‘chubby girl friendly’ as Disney and that not everyone could fit in the safety restraints for the ride. We found the sample seats tucked off to the side but weren’t sure how they worked so we flagged down a cast member. She came right over and helped us and told us “When you get inside, just ask for the outside seats”. Which we did. But somehow (I think it was my fault) we ended up in regular seats anyway. Another cast member came right over and said, “Ladies, can I have you move over here?” And that was that and we were off on our adventure. All the cast members were really sweet and totally casual about the whole thing and we were never made to feel awkward or self conscious. So if you’re a Pooh sized gal who loves Harry Potter, don’t be afraid to give Forbidden Journeys a try.

The queue for the ride takes you on a tour of Hogwarts and it’s just extraordinary! The attention to detail is phenomenal and there‘s something fascinating to look at everywhere you turn. I tried to take pictures inside but it was dark and I‘d left my fancy (very heavy) Canon SLR at home and only had my little point and shoot. We got a few pictures but they don’t begin to do it justice! I won’t go into detail about the ride because I don’t want to ruin the surprise. I’ll just say that in the first few seconds, they flip you over flat on your back and blast you up a chimney! And that was one of the tamer parts! It’s a great ride that has to be experienced to be appreciated. So if you’re a Harry Potter fan, you don’t want to miss this!














After we left Hogwarts, we went to explore Hogsmeade and taste our first butterbeer! It’s pretty darn tasty! It’s butterscotch flavored and fizzy and there’s this thick layer of creamy foam on top that has to have magical properties because the more you drink the thicker the foam gets!









Coming up next: about a million pictures of Hogsmeade!
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Old 11-06-2012, 06:30 PM   #33
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DeVine is just gorgeous!!!

I need to read Harry Potter (and see the movies) so maybe next visit, we can go to Universal! It looks awesome!!
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:15 PM   #34
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Chapter Five: Part Two

Chapter Five: Part Two
"Look at that!!!"



Just like Hogwarts, the attention to detail in Hogsmeade is incredible. I could literally spend a whole day just walking around gawking in the shop windows. Tena and I were constantly elbowing each other and saying, "Look at that!!!" Some of the buildings are false fronts and just for show but there’s an actual Zonko’s, Ollivander’s, and, of course, Honeydukes! If you want something a little stronger than butterbeer, you can get it at the Hog’s Head and if you’re hungry, you can find lunch in the Three Broomsticks. Here are just a few of the eighty gazillion pictures we took. And I know I sound like a broken record but the pictures really just don’t do it justice! Go! Explore! Experience it for yourself! It really is a magical place!









The Hog’s Head:





The Three Broomsticks:




The Owlery:




Honeyduke’s:








Zonko’s:









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Old 11-08-2012, 06:51 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by clynngibson View Post
DeVine is just gorgeous!!!

I need to read Harry Potter (and see the movies) so maybe next visit, we can go to Universal! It looks awesome!!
You've never read/seen Harry Potter?! How can that be?! I know some people are put off by the fact that "Oh, they're for kids!" but they're really wonderful books. The movies are good too but the books are soooooo much better and definitely worth reading.

Oh, and for those who were interested, Tena's camera is a Canon PowerShot SX260 HS. I know she's a member here and reading this thread but apparently, at the ripe old age of 50, she's gotten shy and couldn't post that herself.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:45 AM   #36
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I had one of those "well duh" moments....it never occurred to me to post it myself!!! Hi everyone, isn't Peggy doing a fabulous job telling the tale of two Pooh sized gals, celebrating a milestone bday?
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Old 11-08-2012, 12:40 PM   #37
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Loving your TR!! Disney must be "the place" to do 50th B-day celebrations!! (I think it's great to celebrate everything there!!) We celebrated DH's 50th in October!! Happy Birthday to you both!!
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Old 11-08-2012, 12:56 PM   #38
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[QUOTE=pg0314;46657640]You've never read/seen Harry Potter?! How can that be?! I know some people are put off by the fact that "Oh, they're for kids!" but they're really wonderful books. The movies are good too but the books are soooooo much better and definitely worth reading.[QUOTE]

I know I know LOL It's been on my reading list for awhile now!
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Old 11-08-2012, 10:01 PM   #39
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Chapter Five: Part Three

Chapter Five: Part Three
“I need a Minion!”


We only had one day for both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios and the day was half gone by the time we pried ourselves out of Hogsmeade. That was okay, though, because WWOHP was the main reason we’d come and anything else we did was a bonus.

My coworker Lori told me that Jurassic Park was a must so that was our next stop. It’s a log flume ride similar to Splash Mountain. Only instead of adorable rabbits and frogs, it’s dinosaurs who are trying to eat you for lunch! Fun times!







Speaking of lunch, we were ready for some so we headed back toward the entrance to IOA and ended up at Confisco.



You can see by the ‘crowd’ in the restaurant how empty the park was that day. I took this picture sometime between noon and 1:00 and we practically had the place to ourselves. I opted for a chicken Caesar salad and Tena had wings and onion rings.










It was a this point that I caved in and admitted what I’d been denying all morning. I’d caught a cold. Tena had been sick earlier in the week and just had to share … how kind! Luckily neither one of us got really sick and with the help of some cold medicine and cough drops we powered through it.

The day was just getting hotter and hotter and neither of us were feeling overly energetic so we decided to head over to the Universal Studios side of the park and each pick one attraction that was a ‘must do’ for us and then call it a day.





My pick was Minion Mayhem, a new attraction that had just opened a week or so earlier. For those of you who are familiar with Universal, this is the old Hanna Barbera ride. Tena had never seen the movie Despicable Me but there’s a ‘pre-show’ presentation that gives a basic outline of who’s who and what’s going on. The ride was hilarious! By the time it was over Tena announced that now she really wanted to see the movie and both of us agreed that we desperately needed Minions of our own!






Tena’s “must do” was E.T. This attraction hasn’t changed one bit in twenty some years and it’s very low-tech compared to the newer rides. But we love it exactly as it is and will probably still be riding it over and over again in another twenty years!



Our friend Kat is a huge “I Love Lucy” fan so we had to take a few minutes to tour the Lucy museum in her honor.




And of course, we had to do some shopping! There was a cute little Christmas shop that prominently featured The Grinch. I have to confess, I’m not a fan. In fact, I’m scared of the Grinch! When I was a little girl, he was the monster who lived under my bed and he still gives me the creeps. Of course, I get zero sympathy from my loved ones!







Anyway, we each got a few small souvenirs … and a Griffyndor scarf for Susan’s birthday present … and then headed back to the hotel to take a much needed air-conditioning break!

After we’d relaxed and cooled off a bit, we went to the Disney Marketplace for dinner at Rainforest Café and a little more souvenir shopping. We were seated right next to one of the aquariums and had a good time watching the fish as we pigged out on Mojo Bones, Rainforest Café’s sinfully delicious barbecued ribs!








The next day, Monday, was our last full day of vacation and over dinner we came up with an idea of how we wanted to spend it! We decided to make an early night of it and were back at the hotel in our jammies by 9:00. We needed to rest up because we had a big day planned and were going to need all the energy we could muster!!!
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Old 11-08-2012, 10:52 PM   #40
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Loving your TR!! Disney must be "the place" to do 50th B-day celebrations!! (I think it's great to celebrate everything there!!) We celebrated DH's 50th in October!! Happy Birthday to you both!!
Thanks! And Happy Birthday to your hubby!
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:53 AM   #41
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I'm a little late in coming to the game, but this looks like a fun trip report!! You two obviously have a blast together!!

~~Dawn
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:05 PM   #42
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FOTLK is such a great show. The Broadway version is amazing.
I so agree about the parking at Universal. So worth it.
Hogwarts is so cool to go and see. We did not ride the ride but the area is just gorgeous.
Butter beer is so good. I thought more like cream soda.
The Jurassic Park ride is so fun.
I can’t believe how empty it was for you.
Wow last day coming up.
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:06 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by Heluvsme View Post
I'm a little late in coming to the game, but this looks like a fun trip report!! You two obviously have a blast together!!

~~Dawn
We did have fun! This was the first vacation we'd taken together in ages. Tena ditched me to vacation with her husband ... can you believe it?!

Thanks for reading!


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Originally Posted by scottny View Post
FOTLK is such a great show. The Broadway version is amazing.
I so agree about the parking at Universal. So worth it.
Hogwarts is so cool to go and see. We did not ride the ride but the area is just gorgeous.
Butter beer is so good. I thought more like cream soda.
The Jurassic Park ride is so fun.
I can’t believe how empty it was for you.
Wow last day coming up.
Cream soda is a good comparison for butterbeer. A little more butterscotch than vanilla but otherwise close. I liked it but it was a little overly sweet so half a glass was plenty. Next time we go, we'll have to try pumpkin juice!


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You told us two things you didn't like and there you are next to both of them just smiling away. So funny !! The bats and the Grinch. We have yet to go over to Harry Potter but my DS really wants to do it. So I guess someday we should do it.
Well, the Grinch thing is mostly a joke at this point. I was terrified of him as a child and he does still creep me out. But I'm finally old enough to understand that he's fictional and won't actually drag me under my bed and kill me!

Bats, on the other hand, I'm screaming hysterical terrified. But I HATE that I'm such a baby about it. I guess I've reached a point in my life where I'm sick to death of not doing something just because I'm afraid. So yes, I will stand next to the bats the size of pterdactyls and smile like an idiot! Plus, like I said before, if you ignore the horrible wings, these bats are actually sort of ... shudder ... cute. Look at this sweet little face!



If that face was attached to a dog, I'd want to snuggle him and kiss him on the nose! Not that you'll see me liplocking with a bat anytime soon! Ugh. But I'm determined to get over my fear. Or at least I'm going to try!
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:56 PM   #45
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I had a Canon 230 until a couple of weeks ago. My grandson had baseball playoffs right before Sandy hit and between the cold and wet weather, juggling the camera and keping score my frozen fingers let the camera slip away. I dropped it on the open and extended lens.

I haven't been to Universal in 15 years. I may really need to add it to the trip my DH and I are taking next year. I have read all of the Harry Potter books and seen all of the movies. I agree with you the books are so much better.
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