Welcome, Foolish Muggles! IoA/US/MK/SW July 2011* Top Ten "Things" *

natebenma

Beach Club Dee
Joined
Jul 19, 2008
Awesome report so far. We are heading to Iniversal in about a month. Can't wait to read more of your report!
:welcome:

Are you visiting for one day or do you plan a longer stay?

What an awesome trip report!!! Our family of foolish muggles plan to visit Universal Studios over the New Year and your details/pictures are such a great help!!! Thanks for sharing and look forward to the enjoying the rest of your trip.
Thank you so much! I will have lots of tips and I will summarize my favorites in a top 10 post at the end of the report.

Great trip report! Love all the pics, and can't wait to read about your first day at WWoHP.
Harry's coming soon- another day or two.

I am loving your trip report. It is awesome! popcorn::
:welcome:

I appreciate your comments.


Loved your title and this Foolish Muggle is joingin in!
Thank you. Glad you are joining us!
 
  • Seeker615

    Harry Potter Fanatic!
    Joined
    Jan 6, 2009
    Natebenma - We are heading down for a four night stay. We are planiing one day at the Magic Kingdom and then 2 1/2 days at IOA/US.

    Can't wait!
     

    natebenma

    Beach Club Dee
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2008
    Natebenma - We are heading down for a four night stay. We are planiing one day at the Magic Kingdom and then 2 1/2 days at IOA/US
    Can't wait!
    That's kind of what we did! We had 4 nights, 3 full days and 2 half days. We spent one entire day at MK, a couple of short visits to Sea World and the rest was IoA/US.
     
  • natebenma

    Beach Club Dee
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2008
    Here is your Entrance Exam for Hogwarts.

    Can you pass this O.W.L. ???

    Warning: the following post is for serious Harry Potter fans only (Potterheads? Griffindorks?)

    The rest of you muggles can feel free to skip this post and join us tomorrow when we enter the land of Oz. Wait, wrong wizard!

    I mentioned in my intro that Nate had a couple of Harry Potter-themed birthday parties. One year we hired a magician. For his 9th birthday (2007), I hand-delivered invitations on parchment with burnt fringes (note to self: burn the edges AFTER printing the invitation, not before) via a stuffed owl. When the kids arrived they were sorted into houses and faced several challenges as a team.

    We had a game of Quiddich, which the self-proclaimed Griffindorks won. Nate was on this team, so I suspect there was a home field advantage.

    Predictably, the Ravenclaws had the highest score on the O.W.L.

    Let’s see if you are worthy to enter Hogwarts.

    Here are the house rules- no cheating by going back to books (or Googling) to look something up. But if you have children who are HP freaks in the house, you may ask them for help.

    I’ll post answers tomorrow- you can self score and post your score if you wish. Or not.

    Winner gets nothing but bragging rights.

    Good luck!




    O.W.L.
    Ordinary Wizarding Level


    What is significant about today’s date, July 31? (10 points)

    How many Weasley children are there? (10 points)


    Curses! A “Spelling” Bee (Spelling doesn’t count!)

    Name two Unforgivable Curses (5 points each)

    Give a spell that would bring your broomstick to you (5 points)

    What would “Incendio Textbook !“ do? (5 points)


    Name 3 Pure blood wizards, 3 Half-blood wizards and 3 Muggles (15 points)
    Define the term “Squib” and give two examples (5 points)


    How many Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans are in the vase in the dining hall?
    Guess within 20 beans: 15 points,
    Guess within 50 beans: 10 points
    Guess within 100 points: 5 points






    Match the Disgusting Substance in the Jars:

    Troll Snot _____ Dementor’s Intestines _____ Vampire Blood _____

    Unicorn Droppings ____ Pixie Livers _____ Rat Spleen_____






    Essay Question (20 points):
    For each House at Hogwarts, give the full name of the founder, house colors, the animal that represents the house and one of the qualities of the students. Hint: The founders’ first and last names begin with the same letter, like Minerva McGonagall or Dudley Dursley

    Griffyndor Slytherin Hufflepuff Ravenclaw

    Founder:

    House Colors:

    Symbol:

    Quality:




    Here are a couple of other pictures from the party. The cake is actually a Shrek cake. I put cutouts of Harry over the Shrek in the window, and placed my own figurines. I can't find my pictures of the dementors. Maybe they don't photograph well.



     

    natebenma

    Beach Club Dee
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2008
    O.W.L. Answer Key

    What is significant about today’s date, July 31? (10 points): Harry’s Birthday

    How many Weasley children are there? (10 points): 7

    Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fred, George, Ron, Ginny

    Did you forget Percy?

    Curses! A “Spelling” Bee (Spelling doesn’t count!)

    Name two Unforgivable Curses (5 points each):
    Crucio (torture, red spark), Avada Kedavra (kills, green spark) and Imperio (forces victim to obey the commands of the caster, no colored spark)

    Give a spell that would bring your broomstick to you (5 points): Accio Broomstick!

    What would “Incendio Textbook !“ do? (5 points): Lights your textbook on fire.

    Name 3 Pure blood wizards, 3 Half-blood wizards and 3 Muggles (15 points)
    Define the term “Squib” and give 2 examples.

    Your answers may vary- let me know if you need a ruling:

    Pure bloods: The Weasleys, The Malfoys, The Blacks, Dumbledore
    Half bloods: Harry Potter, Severus Snape, Tom Riddle (Voldemort)
    Muggles: The Dursleys

    A squib is someone born to a wizarding family who does not possess magical powers. Argus Filch, Mrs. Figg*, Marius Black and an unnamed stock broker cousin to the Weasleys. OK, I had to look those last two up!

    (* 1/2 point if you said the neighbor who watches Harry for the Dursleys but is really watching him at the request of Dumbledore)


    How many Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans are in the vase in the dining hall?
    Guess within 20 beans: 15 points
    Guess within 50 beans: 10 points
    Guess within 100 points: 5 points

    OK, this is a trick question. The answer is really 0, since these were Jelly Bellies, not actual BBs. 20 points if you said zero.

    But the count was 358 (actually 357 because Sam’s mom ate one when she dropped him off for the party. I may have had a little freak out then. “That’s part of the O.W.L!!!”


    Match the Disgusting Substance in the Jars:

    Troll Snot-E Dementor’s Intestines -D Vampire Blood -C

    Unicorn Droppings -B Pixie Livers -F Rat Spleen- A

    Forgot to add the points awarded. Let's say 5 points for each correctly identified disgusting substance.

    FYI, the disgusting substances were:


    Troll snot- pineapple chunks in lime jello (Max quite enjoyed that, found it tasty)
    Dementor’s intestines- leftover corkscrew pasta with Portabella mushrooms.
    (I think it was a 2-week old leftover found in my fridge, so it really WAS disgusting!)
    Vampire Blood- V8
    Unicorn Droppings- Raisinettes
    Pixie Livers- kidney beans
    Rat Spleen- Lupini Beans. Also disgusting. They are hard and REALLY salty. I normally like every variety of beans. :)


    Essay Question (20 points):
    For each House at Hogwarts, give the full name of the founder, house colors, the animal that represents the house and one of the qualities of the students. Hint: The founders’ first and last names begin with the same letter, like Minerva McGonagall or Dudley Dursley

    Griffyndor
    Godric Griffyndor, Scarlet and Gold, Lion,
    Courage, Bravery, Daring, Nerve, Chivalry

    Slytherin
    Salazar Slytherin, Green and Silver, Snake/Serpent
    Ambition, Cunning, Clever, Crafty, Powerful, Resourcefulness

    Hufflepuff
    Helga Hufflepuff, Black and Yellow, Badger
    Hard Work, Loyalty, Patience, Fair Play

    Ravenclaw
    Rowena Ravenclaw, Blue and Bronze, Eagle
    Wicked Smart! Intelligence, Knowledge, Wit

    Another good question would have been to match the ghost to his or her house at Hogwarts:

    Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington aka Nearly Headless Nick, The Fat Friar, The Bloody Baron and The Grey Lady

    Next time you post, feel free to include your O.W.L. score, if you wish!



     
  • Lisa0620

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 11, 2009
    Wonderful report, thanks for sharing! Love all the detailed resort pictures (I just wish you'd stayed at RPR...) Love the birthday party pics too, very clever. I'm afraid I didn't do terribly well on my O.W.L.s, I clearly need to brush up a bit before we go!
     

    natebenma

    Beach Club Dee
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2008
    Wonderful report, thanks for sharing! Love all the detailed resort pictures (I just wish you'd stayed at RPR...) Love the birthday party pics too, very clever. I'm afraid I didn't do terribly well on my O.W.L.s, I clearly need to brush up a bit before we go!
    Thanks for you kind words.

    I wouldn't have minded staying at RPR! Maybe I need to try out all of the resorts and report back.

    It was a fun birthday party, thank you for letting me share and relive it!

    I'll post the O.W.L. answers sometime today or early tomorrow, but first I am going to add my WWoHP posts!
     

    natebenma

    Beach Club Dee
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2008


    Do you remember when the book “Deathly Hallows” came out and you were thinking, What the h*ll are “Deathly Hallows” anyway? Is it a place? Is it a poison? I found the title of the book was confusing and misleading. Maybe intentionally. Like the one above.

    I thought of this title before we left for our trip, expecting a lot of eye rolling and attitude coming from our eldest.

    “Mom, this is SO lame!”

    Is it lame to say lame these days?

    But it surprisingly wasn’t like that. Vacation Nate was great! Polite. Funny. Tireless.

    Now available with less eye-rolling.



    Oops- I spoke too soon!


    Now, without further delay!


    Our First Visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter: The Early Bird Catches the Snitch

    One of the perks of staying at a Universal resort is that you are able to enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter an hour before the park opens to all guests. The week we were staying, Islands of Adventure opened at 8 am, so we were able to be admitted at 7 am. Rumor has it that they actually let people in 15-20 minutes earlier than that, but 7 was good enough for us.

    We got ready in our room, ate our breakfast of bananas, cereal boxes, pastry and Poptarts from home, and soon we were off on the path suggested to us by Bubba’s Mom. :thumbsup2

    The park had obviously opened already when we arrived right around 7 because there wasn’t any line at the entry turnstiles. We proceeded quickly through Suess Landing and The Lost Continent and saw our first glimpses of Hogsmeade Village:












    Which great wizard made everyone disappear from this photo?




    Now everything I found in my research- here on the DIS Universal Forum, my guidebook (Universal Orlando 2011 by Seth Kubersky and Kelly Monaghan, excellent BTW) and even from a woman who worked at the Portofino concierge and is also a WWoHP Team Member- all had the same advice:

    If you want to see Olivander’s Wanding Experience, a show where you can watch a witch or wizard as they experience their first purchase of a wand- “The wand chooses the witch or wizard”- make this your first stop.

    This is a very brief show, 5 minutes long, and only 25-27 guests are let in at a time.

    This is so popular that it doesn’t even appear on the map for IoA (just like “Sum of all Thrills” at EPCOT- have they started listing that yet?), however this is more like the Jedi Academy, where you have one OVER-THE-MOON thrilled guest and family members and 20 sad, disappointed spectators.

    Because the shop is so small, and so few people are let in, this line builds QUICKLY throughout the day. Hours long lines. And from what we could see, they stayed like that throughout the day.

    There were probably around 30-40 people in line as we walked by. Yes, walked by.

    We did not follow all of the sage advice. The draw of this was too great:








    Many of you had said that you have been waiting for my impression.

    Breathtaking!

    I literally lifted my shoulders and inhaled in awe.


    There are so many things to look at within the castle. First you go into an entry area of the castle/school and see a few things:



    (I see myself returning for a trip to the Beach Club and Nate earning straight A’s at school)


    Then, you are in the greenhouse. Sometimes for way too long. To be honest, the greenhouse could use a little more magic and a little less heat. But today, it was a brief visit.







    Then you go through the doors of the school:





    There is so much to see while you are waiting in the line:




    What a “Fawkes!”












    And then, the ride. No photos here. No comparisons to Disney rides (although I believe that Sum of all Fears uses the same robot arm technology). You follow Harry, Ron and Hermione through some of their adventures, mostly books 3 and 4.

    It is exciting! Amazing visuals and sensations. A fitting tribute to Harry Potter- you definitely feel like you are experiencing his world.

    I was worried a little about motion sickness, but again, I had armed myself, and this time, my family with Bonine and none of us had any trouble with the ride at all.

    You exit out through Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated goods- a gift shop- we didn’t really linger here, but I understand there are a lot of interesting things to look at, and of course some amazing souvenirs, like coffee cups with letters that turn color when you pour in the liquid- however, we are not shoppers.

    We did not have to experience the Legendary Locker Line on this trip. As some of you may know, there are a few attractions at US/IoA where you are not permitted to bring on loose articles- bags, cameras, etc. You are able to stow them in a locker at each attraction, free of charge, for the duration of the ride. If you overstay your welcome, it is going to cost you! I’ll have more information about the lockers when I get to Thursday afternoon. We needed to use a locker at Men In Black, but that was the only time.

    We intentionally travelled light in these parks. I wore an ever-so-fashionable fanny pack for the few necessary items we needed- camera, small wallet, Ziplock baggies, bandaids, Tylenol, etc. We didn’t bring our phones today, because we knew this would be a day we would be enjoying some wet rides. I never had a problem from TM’s about the fanny pack.

    Continued in Next Post

     

    natebenma

    Beach Club Dee
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2008
    There are two more rides in the Wizarding World- Flight of the Hippogriff and Dueling Dragons. We rode both:

    Flight of the Hippogriff – Swoop and Soar on this family friendly coaster. This is a very tame rollercoaster with some great scenery:






    Hi, Buckbeak!








    Although I never tried it, I believe the intensity is about the same as Goofy’s Barnstormer.


    Next up is Dragon Challenge- A high-speed roller coaster chase across the sky. This was an existing coaster set up (Dueling Dragons) which has now been themed to Harry Potter’s quest for the TriWizard Cup.









    Why is Mr. Weasley’s flying Ford Angila here?







    You board either the red Chinese Fireball or the Blue Hungarian Horntail. Both coasters take off on their respective tracks at the same time (with slight adjustments for the weight of the passengers in the cars). It looks like you will crash into the riders of the coasters in three separate places as the rides converge.

    Twin, intertwined Rock-n-Rollercoasters, without Aerosmith.

    I don’t have any decent pictures of the ride seats (you look like you are suspended from the claws of a dragon) or of the ride. Must steal from internet or other trip reports!

    The boys have said all along that they were going to ride this. We watched the Universal episode of “Bert the Conquerer”, a travel show where the host tackles extreme rides, and this ride was featured. I was pretty sure Nate would do it, but I had my doubts about Ben.

    But we all boarded Dragon Red- and rode. And Ben screamed in holy terror for the whole ride! AH-AH-AH!!! Short break. Upside-down again. AH-AH-AH!!!! We’re gonna crash- AH-AH-AH!!!

    I think Ben is very proud of himself for going on this- we are proud, too- but this will be his last ride on the Dragons for this trip. It was time to move on to one of Ben’s favorite subjects- DINOSAURS!

    Next up: When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth; You’re going to get wet, eh; You’re going to get wetter (Popeye laugh), Olive my Love, Stuck at the Barrier to Station 9 ¾ (where I learn I am the victim of a time-turner) and I give this meal 3 Broomsticks.

    Now that we have finally seen Harry Potter together for the first time, I don’t want you all running off on me! This is not the last time we will be visiting. Not even the last time this morning! There are LOTS more pictures. And my very best WWoHP tip doesn’t come until our last morning. How is that for a tease???

    .
     

    JRoyster86

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 11, 2008
    This is an awesome TR! It looks like you guys had a great time. We went in January and are hoping to go again before the year is out. We are big Potter nerds too! :thumbsup2
     

    xApril

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2005
    I cannot wait to hear more! :) I hope you got to see my two favorite shows - Horror Make-Up and Beetlejuice!
     

    natebenma

    Beach Club Dee
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2008
    I just found this report! I am LOVING it!!!!
    Thank you so much!!!

    This is an awesome TR! It looks like you guys had a great time. We went in January and are hoping to go again before the year is out. We are big Potter nerds too! :thumbsup2
    :welcome:

    I hope you get a chance to go again. Where would you stay?

    I cannot wait to hear more! :) I hope you got to see my two favorite shows - Horror Make-Up and Beetlejuice!
    I appreciate your comments. Lots more to come.

    I see you live in Orlando. Do you have APs for Universal and/or Disney?
     

    schumigirl

    It's a bit of a roodie doodie word for lady parts
    Joined
    May 15, 2007
    Absolutely loved reading your trip report :thumbsup2

    Your pictures are fabulous, Portofino Bay looks so beautiful, we only had a quick wander around it, but will have to go back and have another look. Food looks good too.

    We love Lombards, missed out last year but will be back this year.

    Looking forward to reading the rest :)
     

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