Of Ducks, Mice, Fireworks, Food, Wizardz & Frivolity

Day 4 – Islands of Adventure / Universal Studios
While I’d have been more than happy to keep the vacation restricted to the Disney grounds, Universal Studios called our names or, perhaps more aptly, Harry Potter and his retinue of wizards cast a spell on our souls and drew us inexorably toward the Universal parks. Okay, maybe this applied to just me.

Melanie took joy out of my delightful fascination with all things wizardry, but I eventually convinced her to get a wand — thus I assume she is now obsessed with wizards and Harry Potter. I hope this doesn’t somehow mutate into a love for all things Twilight (aka “I’m an Angsty Vampire”) in the near future. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, fan of the series or not, is something to behold if you’ve seen any portion of the films.

It truly feels as if you’ve been transported to the worlds of the story, and my excitement will probably be eclipsed only by my mother’s when she finally gets here. She may pee her pants with excitement (enjoying the underlying theme of this trip report, folks?). Melanie showed her relative lack of obsession by feeling ill after the Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey ride, which is a combination of 3D sets and projected images that takes the riders throughout the Hogwarts grounds. I’m guessing it was the vertigo-inducing images combined with the dense cloud of dementor fog that was blown directly into Melanie’s face during the ride that got her wobbly. She was a trooper, however, as I sat awed by the wizardy.

I should note my love for wizards is rivaled only by Melanie’s infatuation with all things Jurassic Park. Easily able to quote every line and musical cue from the films, Melanie was speechless upon seeing the replica visitor center from the first Jurassic Park film, as you can see below.

I was also speechless…but unlike Melanie’s shock at seeing dinosaurs, I was instead awed by the varied plant life surrounding us.



  • The Jurassic Park river ride, an oldie but a goodie. Having twice played with fire (water) and lost, we suspended our good judgment and boarded the jungle boat to take a trip through dinotopia whilst being attacked by animatronic velociraptors and plummeting to our watery deaths. Yes, soaked again. Word to the wise: if you enjoy getting drenched, sit in the front lefthand seat or row — you will soon be hoping you had a spare pair of pants.

    Failing to realize my arm had been gnawed off by a hungry raptor, we shrieked instead at the realization we were about to get soaked.

  • Having ridden the Hulk coaster approximately thirteen times during my visit to Islands of Adventure last March, it didn’t quite excite me in quite the same way, though Melanie was thoroughly excited and probably peed her pants twice (gotta keep the theme going).
  • Dr. Doom’s FearFall had plenty of fall without much fear.

Having had our fill of wizards and dinosaurs, it was off to the adjacent Universal Studios park. Highlights follow.

  • A rather pathetic “concert” / hayride featuring a clearly-bored penguin flapping its wings half-heartedly. Four of us parkgoers watched this with mild amusement and more than a bit of shame.

  • I’m known for three things above all others:

    1) My best friend is an alien;

    2) I can control sharks with my mind (see? he’s not even trying to bite her!);

    and 3) I love hot dogs.

  • The Hollywood Horror Make-Up show hasn’t changed in the fifteen or so years since I first saw it, but it remains entertaining. I was dismayed, however, to see the show’s comedic host later dressed up as a wizard back in Harry Potter Land. HE LIED TO US!

We ended the day back at Islands of Adventure and the Harry Potter area to pick up our magic wands. Yes, we each bought wands. Don’t judge.

We also got a coupla mugs of butterbeer (a popular drink those wizard kids all enjoy in the books/films). SPOILER ALERT: butterbeer = cream soda (little wizard children across the globe cry in despair).

Still wet and sporting pained feet, we headed back to the hotel to pass out and rest up for more action in the parks tomorrow.



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  1. Great trip log. I smiled and laughed (and peed my pants) at the thought of seeing Potter world! Definitely a place to return….and see all I haven’t seen before….

  2. LOVED it. I laughed and wished I was there.You guys are so cute

  3. Oh man – that trip had EVERYTHING! Super jealous of you guys!

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