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Old 09-22-2010, 08:09 PM   #1
swwake
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A Little Potter and a Lot of Magic - September 2010 Trip Report

Welcome to my trip report. First of all, I have to tell you that I hesitate to start this report, after two failed attempts to finish my 2008 trip report. But I'm gonna give it a shot. Just bear with me, as it might take awhile, since life always seems to get in the way.

For my pre-trip report, check out Happy Birthday, Dear Dude.

The story begins in January, 2010, as we were planning our 2010 vacations. As always, we planned a summer family vacation with our daughter, Katie, who was then a Senior in High School. Katie's choice was a cruise, so in June, we went on the Oasis of the Seas for a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise (see link to the trip report in my signature).

In past years, we have taken a short trip for our anniversary in May, but this year all the graduation festivities created a conflict, so we decided to make our anniversary trip in September, to coincide with my husband's birthday. His name is Chris, but my daughter, all her friends, and my niece and nephews all call him "Dude". Also, since my mother had been critically ill for much of 2009, we had a little extra budget for this trip. And, since we were chomping at the bit to return to Disney World, and Katie had a negative 1 level of interest in Disney, we decided to plan our trip for after we delivered her to college in August.

So there you go! We were off to Disney World September 14-21, 2010!
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Visit my travel blog: Oh, the Places We'll Go!
December 2011 PTR September 2010 Trip Report Oasis of the Seas Cruise TR Las Vegas TR
1974, 1983, 1987, 1989 off property * 1988 DL * 1989 Premiere Cruise & Disney * 1997 ASMu * 1998 CBR * 2000 DL * 2008 BC * 2010 AKL CL * 2011 Poly CL * 2013 CBR
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Old 09-22-2010, 08:27 PM   #2
swwake
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Complimentary In-Flight Entertainment

Tuesday, September 14, 2:45am, the alarm goes off as planned. We both jump up and shower, pack our remaining toiletries, and head to the airport. We had a 5:45am flight, changing planes in Houston.

All went well, and just fine, until we settled into our seats on our Continental flight from IAH to MCO. That's when the lady in the seat behind me began to serenade me (at 7:30am!) over the Easy Listening music on the intercom. She was louder than the lyrics, and she couldn't carry a tune. I am not sure who told her that it is appropriate to sing at a high level at an early hour on the airplane. We looked at each other, and I was wondering how I was going to sleep (as planned) with this "lullaby" in my ear. Finally, we both shrugged our shoulders and settled into our seats, thinking that if this is the worst, we can deal with it. After all, we're on our way to the Happiest Place on Earth!

But, unfortunately, that wasn't the end. Very quickly, both this lady and the gentleman behind Chris discovered the free game mode on the touch screen monitors on the back of each seat. Yes, I said "touch screen". I would like to know who the genius was at Continental who decided THIS is a good idea. Soon both of our seats were bouncing forward with each "hit" of the passenger behind us's fingers. No, they apparently don't understand the "touch" part of "touch screen". So for the duration of the 2 and a half hour flight, we were constantly jolted in our seats. Neither of us wanted to say anything to them, because, after all, it wasn't their fault some dufus decided this was a brilliant idea for in-flight entertainment.

We just grinned and beared (or bore?) it. I did get a nap in. And we arrived at the Orlando airport a little ahead of schedule at about 10:45am. There, a town car driver met us, gathered our luggage, and whisked us off to the Hard Rock Hotel.

Check in was uneventful, and we were directed to a lobby kiosk to obtain our park tickets. Our room was already ready, so we threw our bags in, I changed clothes, and we started our first walk to Islands Of Adventure. Our first priority was to see if the wait for the Forbidden Journey of Harry Potter was bearable.

Next up: Hogwarts - was there a wait?
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Visit my travel blog: Oh, the Places We'll Go!
December 2011 PTR September 2010 Trip Report Oasis of the Seas Cruise TR Las Vegas TR
1974, 1983, 1987, 1989 off property * 1988 DL * 1989 Premiere Cruise & Disney * 1997 ASMu * 1998 CBR * 2000 DL * 2008 BC * 2010 AKL CL * 2011 Poly CL * 2013 CBR
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Old 09-22-2010, 08:56 PM   #3
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I'm in! Can't wait to hear about HP!
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Old 09-22-2010, 08:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krisscot View Post
I'm in! Can't wait to hear about HP!
my first reader! HP was amazing. You'll see!
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Visit my travel blog: Oh, the Places We'll Go!
December 2011 PTR September 2010 Trip Report Oasis of the Seas Cruise TR Las Vegas TR
1974, 1983, 1987, 1989 off property * 1988 DL * 1989 Premiere Cruise & Disney * 1997 ASMu * 1998 CBR * 2000 DL * 2008 BC * 2010 AKL CL * 2011 Poly CL * 2013 CBR
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Old 09-22-2010, 09:08 PM   #5
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First Glimpse of WWoHP

As per our plan, we bee-lined it straight to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Here is a picture of the entrance to the area.

Simply breathtaking, and everything that we expected.

The Hogwarts Express


And our first glimpse of Hogwarts

We were soooo excited. There is a real feeling in the air - everyone around you is so excited to be there. I must admit it is a little odd to be in a "snowy" land when the temperature is over 90 degrees.

We had decided that if the wait for the Forbidden Journey ride was less than an hour, we would go ahead and ride it.

Well, the wait was only 30 minutes!! And we had heard that the queue and ride together take almost an hour to experience, so we decided to go ahead.

The entrance to the castle and the line


Just inside the castle, there is an area to store your loose items (and bags, backpacks, etc) in lockers, which are free while you ride. After a certain amount of time (which we noticed varies depending on the wait time for the ride), the lockers are $3.00 per 30-minute increment.

Part of the queue weaves through the greenhouse.


And Chris noticed that the lampposts have the Hogwarts logo.


Continued....
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Susan, Chris, Katie (21 and a Senior at CU - Go BUFFS!)


Visit my travel blog: Oh, the Places We'll Go!
December 2011 PTR September 2010 Trip Report Oasis of the Seas Cruise TR Las Vegas TR
1974, 1983, 1987, 1989 off property * 1988 DL * 1989 Premiere Cruise & Disney * 1997 ASMu * 1998 CBR * 2000 DL * 2008 BC * 2010 AKL CL * 2011 Poly CL * 2013 CBR
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Old 09-22-2010, 09:14 PM   #6
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The mandrakes were kept in a cage so they wouldn't come after unassuming park guests!


Forgive me for being a little rusty on my Harry Potter knowledge, but this is a scoring system for the four houses. I believe the red is Griffindor.


A Griffin (maybe?) inside the castle queue


This was a very cool tapestry


One of the portrait rooms. Very true to the books and movies. I have no idea how they make these work.


Dumbledore's office (I think you can see him near the top - he is a holograph)


Continued...
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Susan, Chris, Katie (21 and a Senior at CU - Go BUFFS!)


Visit my travel blog: Oh, the Places We'll Go!
December 2011 PTR September 2010 Trip Report Oasis of the Seas Cruise TR Las Vegas TR
1974, 1983, 1987, 1989 off property * 1988 DL * 1989 Premiere Cruise & Disney * 1997 ASMu * 1998 CBR * 2000 DL * 2008 BC * 2010 AKL CL * 2011 Poly CL * 2013 CBR
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Old 09-22-2010, 09:23 PM   #7
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Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom

Here we met Harry, Ron and Hermione, who snuck in under an invisibility cloak to tell us that the lecture would be quite boring and we should really consider playing quiddich instead. Then they cast a spell and made it snow in the room!

And finally, the Sorting Hat gave us some safety tips for our journey.


The ride itself was very cool. The load is continuous (like Haunted Mansion, or Spaceship Earth at WDW). There are four seats with restraints that lower over your head. The seats are mounted on a robotic arm similar to the Sum of All Thrills at Innoventions in Epcot. Then the arm actually moves along a track.

The feeling is that you are riding a broom, following Harry and Ron out of the castle and onto the quiddich field. You play a game, before the dementors come and start chasing you, and you have to avoid them. This is unlike any ride or attraction I've ever seen. It was very exciting, and it really did feel as if we were part of the movie.

Next up - lunchtime - where would we eat at Universal?
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Susan, Chris, Katie (21 and a Senior at CU - Go BUFFS!)


Visit my travel blog: Oh, the Places We'll Go!
December 2011 PTR September 2010 Trip Report Oasis of the Seas Cruise TR Las Vegas TR
1974, 1983, 1987, 1989 off property * 1988 DL * 1989 Premiere Cruise & Disney * 1997 ASMu * 1998 CBR * 2000 DL * 2008 BC * 2010 AKL CL * 2011 Poly CL * 2013 CBR
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Old 09-23-2010, 04:37 AM   #8
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I'm here and I will be back to read!
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Old 09-23-2010, 04:45 AM   #9
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Looking forward to hearing more
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Old 09-23-2010, 12:07 PM   #10
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Nice pics!! I'm here to read more!
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Old 09-23-2010, 01:34 PM   #11
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HP sounds amazing, i can't wait to go and see it all, (only 6 1/2 months to go!!) subbing to your report, really looking forward to hearing more xx
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Old 09-23-2010, 03:43 PM   #12
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Great start! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 09-23-2010, 07:55 PM   #13
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So, now that I have had a chance to sit and read your update, I am absolutely drooling over your Harry Potter photos! Absolutely amazing!!! I can't wait to take Connor to experience it!
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Old 09-23-2010, 09:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charleston Princess View Post
I'm here and I will be back to read!
Glad you joined me Jackie!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dizneemads sis View Post
Looking forward to hearing more
Thanks for joining!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Picota26 View Post
Nice pics!! I'm here to read more!
Thanks for the compliment! And for the sub!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tinkerbells mum View Post
HP sounds amazing, i can't wait to go and see it all, (only 6 1/2 months to go!!) subbing to your report, really looking forward to hearing more xx
It is quite amazing. More pics to come.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kid-at-heart View Post
Great start! Thanks for sharing.
Thank you! And you're welcome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charleston Princess View Post
So, now that I have had a chance to sit and read your update, I am absolutely drooling over your Harry Potter photos! Absolutely amazing!!! I can't wait to take Connor to experience it!
Oh Connor will LOVE it! Your whole family will.
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Susan, Chris, Katie (21 and a Senior at CU - Go BUFFS!)


Visit my travel blog: Oh, the Places We'll Go!
December 2011 PTR September 2010 Trip Report Oasis of the Seas Cruise TR Las Vegas TR
1974, 1983, 1987, 1989 off property * 1988 DL * 1989 Premiere Cruise & Disney * 1997 ASMu * 1998 CBR * 2000 DL * 2008 BC * 2010 AKL CL * 2011 Poly CL * 2013 CBR
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Old 09-23-2010, 09:52 PM   #15
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More WWoHP and the rest of Islands of Adventure

After Forbidden Journey, we rode Dragon Challenge. I forgot to mention that the crowds were very light that day (really, the only crowds to speak of were in the Wizarding World section. Even Dragon Challenge was a walk-on. This ride was cool. It is one where your feet hang below you, and there are two coasters on two tracks. At one point in the ride, your feet come very close to the feet of those on the second coaster.

We rode the right track first, then the left. The right one was much smoother. The left one hurt my head. But both were fun! And the queue was also themed, so we went through it the first time. I also forgot to mention that when you stay on property at Universal, your room key serves as an unlimited Express Pass, meaning you have front-of-the-line privileges on every ride, except Forbidden Journey and Rip, Ride, Rock-It at Universal Studios. This came in very handy, but would be even handier on days with heavy crowds. Anyway, for our second ride, we used Express to skip the queue. It really just saved us some walking.

I thought the locker area for Dragon Challenge was pretty cool.


While I retrieved our stuff from the locker, Chris got us a butterbeer from the cart to share. They have regular and frozen. We chose the frozen one. Here are the obligatory butterbeer pictures:




Butterbeer was just what I expected. It's non-alcoholic and I think it tastes a lot like ginger ale. The foam on top is added at the end. It is the foam that tastes like butterscotch. It was very good, but we couldn't finish it - very, very sweet. I recommend sharing with a friend (or a few!).

After DC, we rode the Flight of the Hippogriff. This is a former ride (as was Dragon Challenge), rethemed for Harry Potter. It is a kiddie coaster, but still LOTS of fun! It goes right by Hagrid's Hut.

By this time, we were hungry, so we decided to try Mythos for lunch. Mythos is just around the corner from WWoHP and is the number one rated theme park restaurant in the world. We were able to use our room keys to cut our wait in half (from 20 minutes to 10).

Here is Chris at the table.


and a photo of the inside of the restaurant


Very well-themed, and the food was amazing. I had a panini with parmesan fries, which was very good. I can't remember what Chris had, but he thought it was fabulous. I would recommend this restaurant if you ever visit IOA. In fact, did you know that you can get a restaurant pass to enter the park just for lunch at Mythos? Pretty cool!

After Mythos, we decided to ride the Jurassic Park River Adventure. We had just watched the movie again the weekend before, so we were excited for this. Again, it was a walk-on. The ride itself was ok to us. It is a water ride, but we didn't get too wet, even though we sat on the front row of the boat.

After Jurassic Park, we explored the rest of IOA, riding Spiderman, Hulk and Cat in the Hat, all walk-ons. The first time we rode Hulk, we waited in the longer line for the front seats. Word of warning: they have lockers here just like at Forbidden Journey, during your ride, with the time calculated based on the current wait time. Well, that doesn't consider a triple wait time for front row. This one cost me $3.00. Also, for Hulk, Express saved us a lot of walking, but really no time, since it was still a walk-on that day.

After seeing most of the park, we headed back to ride the Forbidden Journey again. This time the wait was only 20 minutes. We really enjoyed our second ride, because we noticed so much more.

Then we spent more time exploring all that WWoHP has to offer.

The inside of Three Broomsticks

This is a counter-service restaurant offering fish and chips, shepherds pie, and other items. It has both indoor and outdoor seating.

Three Broomsticks is connected to Hog's Head Pub


Very cool. More on the pub later.

Continued...
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Susan, Chris, Katie (21 and a Senior at CU - Go BUFFS!)


Visit my travel blog: Oh, the Places We'll Go!
December 2011 PTR September 2010 Trip Report Oasis of the Seas Cruise TR Las Vegas TR
1974, 1983, 1987, 1989 off property * 1988 DL * 1989 Premiere Cruise & Disney * 1997 ASMu * 1998 CBR * 2000 DL * 2008 BC * 2010 AKL CL * 2011 Poly CL * 2013 CBR
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