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Islands of Adventure Theme Park

Posted Jan 11 2012 10:14pm

On Friday morning Tina and I woke up bright and early to make the 6:30am start time of the Fiesta 5K Race at Epcot Centre. Tina was running and I was cheering her on. Before I knew it, she finished the race with an impressive sub-25:00 time.

When I caught up with her after the race was done, I asked her how it was and she said:

“It was a dream I never knew I had!”

Fiesta 5K

which I thought was the most eloquent way to put it and which got me really excited for my own race on Sunday.

After rushing back to our hotel and showering, we just barely made our shuttle bus to Universal Studios – Islands of Adventure theme park.

I was really excited for this theme park for one main reason: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

I’m a Harry Potter fanatic and I have been pretty stoked to visit the theme park since it opened.

Maybe it was all the hype, or the fact that it was swarming with people (even though it’s the off season) but, to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t all that impressed.

It’s small. It looks a lot bigger in pictures than it actually is. There are only about 5 real shops that you can go into and they are packed with people. Forget going into Ollivander’s Wand Shop unless you want to wait in line for it. Although I didn’t mind too much though because I wasn’t planning on buying anything.

Ollivander's Honeydukes

The rest are just shop storefronts, although they do have some pretty attractive window scenes that showcase a lot of “magical” items like a screaming mandrake, moving bludgers, or a scribbling quill which I found to be really interesting to look at.

Quidditch Crashed Car

Dogweed and Deathcap Scrivenshafts

The jerky motion and spinning from the park’s signature ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, inside Hogwarts castle is a nightmare for anyone who gets motion sickness (ahem, me). Although Tina loved it and literally came off of the ride jumping with excitement (though she stopped jumping as soon as she saw my green pallor). The description makes the ride sound tamer than “it’s a small world” but it’s really a vicious beast of a ride.


There were some things that I really loved about the place, like the Frozen Butterbeer which tastes like cream soda but has the added deliciousness of a layer of melted ice cream on top to simulate the head (it’s a little on the sweet side, so if you don’t like sweet things then you won’t like it)

I am going to try to recreate this stuff at home!

I also thought that the details of the park were spot on with the books and movie (besides Ollivander’s which is actually in Diagon Alley and not Hogsmeade) and you get a real feel for being in Hogsmeade. I think if there were less people I might have enjoyed exploring it a little more, but me and big crowds don’t mix.

One thing that I did love about Islands of Adventure though, Seuss Landing. I wanted to pack my bags and move in to this little world that looked exactly like it was ripped from the pages of a Dr. Seuss book.

Seuss Landing

If I Ran the Zoo If I Ran the Zoo

I found the Cat in the Hat ride to be a bit jerky for my liking, but it was still fun to experience. My favourite attraction in Seuss Landing was “If I ran the zoo” which is basically a playground for 3 year olds (and yet, equally fun for 26 year olds!)

If I Ran the Zoo Caroseussal

The Lorax Truffula Trees
We met the Lorax under the Truffula Trees and isn’t he the cutest?

Seuss Landing

Tina and I went to both Universal Studios parks and of every attraction the children’s playgrounds were my favourite. I guess I like interactive stuff that is meant for toddlers. It’s my style.

Camp Jurassic in Jurassic Park

I also loved the Toon Lagoon park which was full of cartoon themed shops and restaurants that offered a lot to look at.

Toon Lagoon

Tina and I lined up for Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges and didn’t realize until the last minute that it was a river raft ride which meant that we were going to be getting soaked.

Popeye's RIver Barge

It was worth it.

In summary:

Harry Potter World is too crowded to be all that fun, but the butterbeer is tasty. Seuss Landing is hella awesome. Me and 3 year olds enjoy the same entertainment.

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