Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Harry Potter at Universal


On Sunday, we headed back to Universal with the plan of heading straight to Adventure Island to the Harry Potter part of the park. We arrived very early and there was not a wait into that section of the park. We rode the rides and shopped without waiting in lines. Sunday is definitely the best day to go to the Harry Potter section of the park! The best ride, which takes place in the castle, starts with the hall that has pictures that talks to the audience. If you have read the books, you'll understand how people in pictures move and talk. As you walk through the castle before you get to the ride, you see Dumbledore's office and other neat parts of the Harry Potter story.












After the Harry Potter ride, we went to Hosmeade to eat. We had a great English dinner with Butter Beer to drink. The butterbeer tasted like butterrum. It was much better frozen.



























Here's a great picture of the castles. The tops are skinny and snowy, and look great. Not we had expected, but still fabulous!
















After the busy morning, we went to Athos to eat. The food was delicious.










Monday, August 2, 2010

Home

It's Monday night, and we're home. We went to Kennedy Space Center on Saturday, back to Universal on Sunday, and then drove home today. It's 10:00, and we're all ready to go to our own rooms to sleep. Blair was excited about being able to go to the bathroom without "lining the seat!" We didn't hug each other before going to our rooms this year like last, but we did all cheer when we drove across the Maryland state line. Nana had left homemade potato salad, cut-up watermelon, homemade pie, milk, and bread in the fridge. We were all so thankful. We will write more tomorrow.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Waterpark

We decided to visit the waterpark associated with Universal figuring it would be a great way to cool off since it is about a hundred degrees here in Orlando and very humid. Well, the waterpark, like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, was packed with people and the water was warm. The kids even mentioned missing the cold water of Braddock pool. The rides had enormously long lines so we stayed in the wave pool and the lazy river, both of which were packed with kids and teenagers from summer camps.

We left the waterpark and went into the older portion of Universal, the part of the park that does not contain Harry Potter. As you can guess, it had far fewer people and we could actually walk around without feeling like we were forcing our way through a crowded New York subway. We saw an interesting show on how they do horror movie make-up, we saw an explanation of tornadoes, an exhibit on Lucille Ball, and a laser and light show over the water. Blair and Molly had a good time riding the Revenge of the Mummy and Brooke enjoyed playing arcade games.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Molly on the first day at the park

Okay, so in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I rode a dragon, hippogriff, and then went on what as know as the Forbidden Journey, being sure to pose for the picture. Then, in the muggle part of the park, I rode on a Suess creature marry go round, got myself shot up into the air on some crazy tower, then rode upon a fish. Also, I now have a scarf (Ravenclaw, of course), and a wand all my very own. In other words, I feel, to put it best, TOTALY AWESOME!!!!!!

Harry Potter

Hi It's Brooke. (Mom is typing.) I am writing about Harry Potter. It was very, very cool, except for the beginning when we had to wait in line for an hour to get into the Harry Potter part of the park. Then we had to wait in a line for 2 hours to ride the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride because the ride broke down for a while. Then we went over to the Owl Post and I bought Neville Longbottom's wand. On the top it's brown and very straight, and on the bottom it's black and swirled. Then we ate at Three Broomsticks (I think the three broomsticks is for Ron's, Harry's and Hermione's brooms) where I had a butterbeer. We got the frozen ones and it tasted like butterscotch.
Then Blair, Molly, and Dad rode the Dragon Challenge. Then we went to another section of the park, called SeussLand. We rode the Cat in the Hat, and other rides. We also rode the Spiderman 3-D Adventure, which was really nice because it was air-conditioned!
Then we went back to the Harry Potter section of the park. We rode some more rides, and then we ate dinner with a family from Middletown, who also happened to be here this week.
Then I rode the Hippogriff, which is a ride that is fast and goes around really fast. You only go around the ride once, so it only lasts about 45 seconds.
Right before the park closed, about 9:50) we got back into line for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. We rode the ride with the family from Middletown, the Speigels, and the line was a lot shorter.
Then we left the park and drove back to the hotel.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

everybody writing





Our first evening in Pensacola was great - warm Gulf water, a great pool, good food, nice view from the balcony of the room. It was so good we decided to stay another day. Got up this morning early because we wanted to see the sunrise over the Gulf. Well, to do that we would have to be on a beach that faced east, not south, but we had a good walk along the beach anyway. Later we went out to go swimming and found something new in the water - an algae bloom. In front of our hotel it was the worst, we didn't even want to swim there, so Blair, Molly and Jerry walked down the beach about half a mile and swam for an hour or so. The water itself is clear, when not filled with algae. The algae bloom got worse as the day wore on. Molly likes to jump waves and the waves aren't too great here so the time on the beach was a bust. We went back to the pool and enjoyed it through the early
afternoon. Later in the afternoon Jerry took a walk down the beach and found a tar ball. Thanks BP! Everything here is Jimmy Buffet oriented. He has his own beer - Landshark Lager, his own tequila - Margaritaville, his own food - Cheeseburgers 'N Paradise. If he wrote a song that fits the easygoing beach lifestyle he also has a product to fit it. At some future time here he plans to add a fancy restaurant and a waterpark.

Hey, its Blair again. Here at the beach, we were quite surprised that indeed, animals and plants lived in the Gulf of Mexico. Although the water in front of our hotel was clear last night, this morning it resembled a green shag carpet. So, having been told by the coast guard that there were clear waters up the beach a bit, Dad, Molly and I decided to try it out. "Clear", around here, has a very loose interpretation. It wasn't as awful as the other part was but it was still like swimming in a fish tank, a description solidified by the fact that a fish began to follow me around and bite at my legs. After that, I decided to call it quits. Rather then walk on the sand back to our hotel like a normal person, I went to the road. I had left my flip flops at the hotel and the ground was hot enough to cook a pancake on, so a very nice couple seeing me skip-sprinting let me borrow a pair of extra flip flops. After surviving this adventure, I went to the pool for a whole five minutes before heading in for the air conditioning. Margaritaville has not been boring.

Hi it's Brooke. I am writing about the bat bridge, and what I am expecting at the harry potter world in orlando. The bat bridge was cool if you like sitting for 3 hours in warm air and seeing no bats fly out. It was horrible. Okay it was not all horrible like when we started to leave to go to the hotel, and the bat guy let us see through his binoculars. They were infrared so you could see the bats flying out and I looked up and I could see millions like 20 bats flying across fast.
About harry potter expectations on Thursday. Me and Blair are going to buy wands and have a duel. It will be very fun. I hope that they have the leaky cauldron and all of those places that are in the books. I want stuff to happen like it does in the books, so let's hope that it does.







Monday, July 26, 2010

French Quarter



On Monday we walked around the French Quarter of New Orleans. It was very hot very early, one of those situations where the humidity was nearly overwhelming. We walked down to the Cafe Dumond and had the French donuts and coffee.


Afterwards we took a carriage tour of the French Quarter. We learned that all of the architecture is Spanish due to a fire in the 1780s that burned down the old French buildings. Our tour guide first took us to the cemetery. The tombs in New Orleans
are all above ground, so they are like little buildings and the graveyard seems like a town of small houses. Many members of families are buried on each site, and if nobody takes care of the sight the Catholic Church will remove the bodies from the little family mausoleum, place the bones in the cemetery wall, and then resell the original site. Weird.







About 10,000 people live in the French Quarter. Brad Pitt has a house there, as did Nicholas Cage. Cage actually had two houses. One of his homes is supposedly the most haunted house in America. Ironically it has been "repossessed" by the bank.

After our tour, we shopped in the Open French Market. There Molly bought a great Mardi Gras mask and Brooke got her name painted on a paper with the letters printed artistically. Then we ate wonderful Cajun food before wandering though stores back to our hotel and van.






















We left New Orleans in the late afternoon and headed east.
We quickly went through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama and reached the Florida border. At Pensacola we decided to stop and
spend a night on the Gulf Coast. We decided to stay at the newly opened Margaritaville Hotel, part of the Jimmy Buffet empire. We have rooms facing the Gulf, probably the nicest rooms we will ever have at the beach. The water here
is incredibly warm, warmer than most pools we have ever been in
and about thirty degrees warmer than the Pacific water we were in last summer. We ate a cheeseburger pizza beside the pool, then headed to our rooms for the evening.