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Photo TR: Wastin' Away Again in HarryPotterville


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Awesome TR and very funny stuff! My personal favorite is your impression of World of Color on page 2. I also need to get me some of those vintage Epcot T's.

 

I'm with you. I am not a Potter-phile, but I like theme parks. Looking forward to checking it out in 2 weeks!

 

Great job!

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This report still sucks goat balls but it got a little better so donkey balls may have been sucked as well.

 

Way to go!

 

Jimmy "Very amusing comment about Snookie's who-ha" Bo

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A coworker visited Potterville with her family last week. They really enjoyed it, but got a bit snookered in one of the gift shops. Their son wanted a wand and a robe. The robe cost 100 bucks!

 

For 100 bucks, that robe better conjure up a case of Arrogant Bastard Ale on demand.

I hear ya. It's capitalism at its finest. I don't begrudge Rowling for any of it, but it sure is tough to justify shelling out that kind of cash for something so simple.

 

Also loving the explanation of B mode...too bad you werent there with me on Sunday when the ride broke down mid ride and they turned on the lights .

 

Once again, really sad I couldn't have hung out with you guys more!!

Awesome. How did the pirate ship look in the lights? And don't worry, I'm sure we'll meet up with the "Orlando Crew" again in the future!

 

You sir, are awesome. Thanks for updating us all on what Tootie's been up too. Now if I could just get a Blair where are they now.

Thank you. As far as Blair goes, my sources tell me she has an audition lined up with Legoland Florida. I believe it's for a roll in the new dark ride there, but don't quote me on it.

 

I didnt really care for the pumpkin juice. It was too thick and sweet.

We finally tried it last night, and it was AWESOME. In fact, we might even add a little alcohol to it next time!

 

This report still sucks goat balls but it got a little better so donkey balls may have been sucked as well.

Woohoo, we graduated to donkey balls!!!

 

Thanks again, guys!

 

 

 

Okay, so anyway, I guess it's only fair to give a few honest thoughts on the place.

 

First off, it looks incredible. The castle alone is one of the coolest looking sights of any theme park out there. Upon entry to the new "island," the one thing that surprised me was how immersed you feel, and how "disoriented" I felt after visiting the park so many times in the past. Until I located the entrance to Dragons, I really couldn't sense how everything was placed in relation to how all of Lost Continent used to look.

 

Besides the obvious overlay problems leading into Jurassic Park, Universal did a surprisingly good job "shoehorning" a HUGE project into the place without completely destroying what's left of Lost Continent. By the way, can anyone confirm, deny, or even speculate if they plan on using that artificial snow machine that was talked about during the construction phase? I can definitely envision it producing a unique atmosphere over the holidays in Orlando.

 

I'll try and break down the rest in sections.

Theming: Top notch. As an outsider to the series, I still have very little idea what most of it all relates to, but boy did it ever look good. I only wish Lucas and Disney would partner for something like this at MGM.

 

Hogsmeade: While the place looks amazing in every detail, you can't help but feel a bit cramped, especially in any of the shops. It's been stated a thousand times before already, but I'll reiterate.....the shopping areas SUCK. The one thing I was impressed with though is something that most people probably scoff at - the bench area with the animatronic owls overhead. It may seem pointless to most, but I kind of wish more parks would have something like this. And considering space was at a premium here, it's all the more impressive to me. Sure, it's just an open spot with a bunch of benches and ceiling fans, but when it's 1000 degrees outside, or that typical afternoon storm rolls in, it's nice to have somewhere to retreat to if needed. This area succeeds in my book.

 

Beverages: Butterbeer was AWESOME. Seriously, this was REALLY good stuff, and probably the highlight of the area for me. Hmmm, that actually may not say a lot, but after all of the hype, it's nice when one of your marquee products lives up to expectations. It'll also be one constant for many years to come in that area. We wanted to try the frozen type, but it was all out at the time, so we settled for the non-frozen. As good as it was, I don't know that frozen could top it.

 

Pumpkin Juice was also AWESOME. I'm amazed that both of the specially designed beverages exceeded expectations. It was like drinking Thanksgiving. It's like a mixture of pumpkin puree, apple cider, nutmeg, and cinnamon. While we had it cold on our first tasting, it seems like it'd taste great warmed up as well, and as I mentioned to Jarmor, a bit of alcohol probably wouldn't hurt either.

 

As for Hog's Head Brew, I found it rather tasty. Call me crazy, but even though it's supposedly an AB product (beer folks, feel free to enlighten me, if otherwise), it somehow works. Here's a link reviewing the choices on draft.

 

Finally, I've heard a lot of discussion about the fact that this "land" doesn't serve any soda, yadda yadda yadda. In reality, Potterville is just a small part of the whole park. You could easily just walk outside to JP or LC to grab a Coke. In my opinion, this move worked brilliantly for Rowling/Universal. Having Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice exclusive to Potterville is similar to Dollywood's Cinnamon Bread, Indiana Beach's Tacos, Knoebels' Pizza, etc. etc. Even if you're not a Potter fan, it's one of those things that a lot of people will probably "just have to go back for" (myself included).

 

Dueling Dragons: Sorry, I'm sticking with that name. The queue isn't as awesome as it once was, but it's not horrible either. It has movie stuff in it, and it's still dark and "castle-y." That's all I can really say, I guess. Both sides were walk-ons, with the front seat being a 3 train wait at the most. We rode Fire, and thought it was in great shape!

 

Forbidden Journey: The queue is probably the best in the world. Period. While I couldn't quite get a grasp of what the characters were trying to set up (if anything specific, storywise) it definitely draws you in. The "oil paintings-come-to-life" were VERY impressive, and the talking hat thing near the loading area looked very believable, although it was tough to hear its spiel over everyone.

 

I won't give any real details away, but let's just say it was a mixed bag for me. I thought the KUKA arm ride vehicle was pretty comfortable, and did a great job of shielding you from the sideviews on the ends, as well as your fellow riders. It was interesting though that neither time did any attendant suggest not wearing sandals. I didn't lose them, but I did have to make sure to squeeze the toes throughout ride just to be sure. My advice: don't wear 'em.

 

I'm usually pretty good with any kind of motion simulator stuff. This ride, however, pushed my limits more than expected. I really felt bad for Shannon though since she doesn't do well with this type of stuff. Without question, she wasn't able to enjoy a huge amount of the ride due to the POV broom flying sequences, and general disorienting movements of the KUKA arm.

 

I've also read several accounts regarding the storyline, or lack thereof. To me, the ride was pretty much what I expected - a sampling of the highlights of the series spliced together. While I'm not sure if there really was a huge intention to definitively create a solid storyline as such, I think the ride still works on the whole. There's some great rides out there that can still operate without a true and obvious storyline (Pirates, Haunted Mansion, for example), and I'm of the impression that this one is okay by that definition as well.

 

I mean, when you have a series of 7 novels and 6 movies (or whatever it is now), you've got a LOT to draw from. Even as an outsider with little knowledge, I was able to appreciate it for what it was - a general idea of the Potter universe. One big drawback was the gift shop you exit through. I don't mind exiting through gift shops, but this one needs to be bigger for one specific reason - rain storms. We stepped in to shop, then it began storming. Naturally, many folks ran inside, and now you've got the exiting riders clogged up with people avoiding the rain.....and that sucked. Oh well, I guess, but still.

 

Overall, the ride was pretty good, but I definitely still prefer Spider-Man.

 

Bottom line: I think Potterville was a huge success. Did it make me wanna pick up a book when I got home or rent the series of movies? No. Did it deliver a great atmosphere, and stay true to the stories for its HUGE fan base? It certainly seems to have. And as one of the world's best theme parks, that's all you can ask!

 

Thoughts, comments, and general disgust are always welcome.

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Great review and great photos! Thanks for sharing.

 

I'm a lot like you. I'm totally not into the franchise at all but I'm still looking forward to the land (in 2 weeks). Sounds like it's still fun for us "Snuggies".

 

I realize I'm going to have to get Butterbeer, frozen Butterbeer, Pumpkin Juice, AND Hogsgead Brew. Sheesh! I hope the bathrooms have bigger capacity than the shops.

 

One more thing- you wish Disney and Lucas would do something like this at Studios? AMEN! I agree 110%! Word!

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For 100 bucks, that robe better conjure up a case of Arrogant Bastard Ale on demand.

 

This makes me very happy. Chuck is becoming a beer nerd!

 

Speaking of beer:

 

We finally tried it last night, and it was AWESOME. In fact, we might even add a little alcohol to it next time!

 

Scott, if you can get your hands on a bottle of Southern Tier's Pumking. DO IT!

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I'll be there in a couple of weeks, and your report makes me very happy and excited.

 

Get your head out of the gutter....

 

I am a victim of the literary crack that is the Potter Universe. This is probably going to have me giddy.

 

David

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I agree with you saying Potter pushes the limits as far as a simulator goes. I can usually handle those types of rides pretty well but for some reason I get a little sick and disoriented on Potter! I thought I was just getting old... still a great ride though but doesn't come close to beating Soarin' as my number one non coaster.. MMmm Orange..

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I really felt bad for Shannon though since she doesn't do well with this type of stuff. Without question, she wasn't able to enjoy a huge amount of the ride due to the POV broom flying sequences, and general disorienting movements of the KUKA arm.

 

 

I think I know what you mean here, and if so, I am the same way. Actually, the 2nd movie is a perfect example of this during the Quidditch match where they are flying in and out of the stadium in close quarters. I get motion sickness in POVs that have very narrow field of vision with a lot of things flying at you.

 

Really great review, though! One of the best I have read!!

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It's been stated a thousand times before already, but I'll reiterate.....the shopping areas SUCK. The one thing I was impressed with though is something that most people probably scoff at - the bench area with the animatronic owls overhead. It may seem pointless to most, but I kind of wish more parks would have something like this. And considering space was at a premium here, it's all the more impressive to me.

 

Okay. But doesn't it sort of seem that the two things are connected? They "spent" all that real estate on benches that they could have used to make the shops bigger. Not disagreeing with either of your points, Just saying that, together, they just make Universal's choices here seem that much odder.

 

Forbidden Journey: The queue is probably the best in the world. Period. While I couldn't quite get a grasp of what the characters were trying to set up (if anything specific, storywise) it definitely draws you in. The "oil paintings-come-to-life" were VERY impressive, and the talking hat thing near the loading area looked very believable, although it was tough to hear its spiel over everyone.

 

Heard lots of people say that. Still don't get it. It's television sets with picture frames around them. In fact, it's become a running joke with me to excitedly exclaim, "It uses the same technology as Harry Potter!" every time I see a TV in a ride queue.

 

I do like the hat. But come on, they had to dumb down Dueling Dragons' queue just to make this one seem better.

 

On an unrelated note: How is it that no one has any trouble spelling a name like 'Smisty,' but 'Erik' is somehow difficult??

 

/Spider-Man is a better ride and a better queue!

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Scott, if you can get your hands on a bottle of Southern Tier's Pumking. DO IT!

 

Woot! Props for Southern Tier and Pumking! I live about four miles from the brewery where they just opened up a brand new facility this year. It is a lot bigger than the old place and they now have about eight ST beers on tap. (The Un-earthly Pale Ale is my favorite) I will have to do a photo trip report someday and post it in the beer thread!

 

Now, back to your regularly scheduled program...

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I agree with you saying Potter pushes the limits as far as a simulator goes. I can usually handle those types of rides pretty well but for some reason I get a little sick and disoriented on Potter!

 

I think I know what you mean here, and if so, I am the same way. Actually, the 2nd movie is a perfect example of this during the Quidditch match where they are flying in and out of the stadium in close quarters. I get motion sickness in POVs that have very narrow field of vision with a lot of things flying at you.

 

Really great review, though! One of the best I have read!!

It's interesting you should point that out. That Quidditch match is one of the very few scenes I've actually watched, and quite honestly, I wasn't very impressed with. I always felt there was just something *not right* with the broom flying sequences. It all just looked too "herky jerky," without much fluid movement to it. And going into Forbidden Journey, I had a suspicious feeling that the simulator scenes in the ride wouldn't translate well because of that.

 

While I think the ride itself transitions rather well from "real set" to simulator, it's the pacing of flight, and the somewhat blurry or unfocused nature of the screens that really don't work quite as well as I thought they might, or perhaps should, considering the budget, and general advancements in technology over the years. It wasn't vomit-inducing, but it's not something I'd run back in line for either.

 

Okay. But doesn't it sort of seem that the two things are connected? They "spent" all that real estate on benches that they could have used to make the shops bigger. Not disagreeing with either of your points, Just saying that, together, they just make Universal's choices here seem that much odder.

Very true. No matter which way you look at it, there definitely seem to be some odd decisions. All of which we'll never have definitive answers to.

 

Heard lots of people say that. Still don't get it. It's television sets with picture frames around them. In fact, it's become a running joke with me to excitedly exclaim, "It uses the same technology as Harry Potter!" every time I see a TV in a ride queue.

It's TV sets with frames, yes, but they somehow worked for me. Perhaps it was just the lacquer over the screens, the way they were filmed, or the combination of the two, but I know I definitely wasn't watching a hair gel ad while waiting for a Six Flags op to fudge up the loading procedures.

 

Scott, if you can get your hands on a bottle of Southern Tier's Pumking. DO IT!
Woot! Props for Southern Tier and Pumking!

That settles it, I'm gonna have to look around for some now!

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