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The Harry Potter Ride, Random Disney Stuff, and Jen Rambles

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


This week's a bit hectic with MegaCon coming up this weekend, but I had to tell you guys the good news: John FINALLY got to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter today! (Or, as everyone calls it: Harry Potter World.) He took his mom for her 70th birthday, and they've spent the afternoon there at Universal.

I don't really have an excuse for why we haven't been before now, except to say we have Disney annual passes, so any time we have a free day we just go there. Plus we almost never get a whole day off; just evenings from time to time, and those tickets are expensive.

Anyway, the biggest and coolest thing at HP World is the ride, of course, so John and his mom spent two and a half hours in line for it. Because they are clearly insane. Anyway, John was texting pics to me along the way, and then called me right after to give me his review.

Me: "Well?! How was it??"

John: "It was amazing, and worth the wait, and I am never ever going to ride it again."

Me: !?!

John's a big roller coaster fan, so he's used to extreme rides like Hulk and SheiKrah, but apparently this was "too overwhelming." The articulated arm that moves the ride cars flips you around quite a lot, so he left pretty queasy, and he says the intense scenes were really intense. He tells me there's no way I'll ever be able to tolerate it, which makes me sad, but I guess it's better to know now than after flipping out on the ride. Heh. (Plus I can still walk through the queue, at least, which looks soooo cool.)

Another part of the problem was the ride seats, which have harness restraints that click down over your shoulders and gut. When the operators secured John's harness it was so tight he literally couldn't take a full breath. He pleaded with them to loosen it, which they did, but that made the green light go to yellow, so they had to crank it back down again. Universal has added seats for larger guests that don't have to lock down as tightly, but for some reason the attendants didn't offer one to John (grrr), and he didn't know to ask. I'm sure the inability to breath made the experience that much more unpleasant, although John insists it was still well worth it.

Oh, and the ride stopped halfway through for a few moments, which I've heard from some of you happens a LOT. Since being stuck on a ride is a huge trigger for my anxiety, that pretty much clinches the fact that I'll never get to experience it myself. SAD POTTER HEAD.

On the plus side, Epcot has the Flower and Garden show going on right now, and this year they've added food, and tomorrow I might get to try a Dole Whip with rum in it. Awwww yeeeeeah.

Now, here, since I don't have any HP pics to share, have some Haunted Mansion eye candy:

It used to be that a fresh rose was laid on Master Gracey's tomb each morning, but I spotted one here by Madame Leota's last time we were there. I guess they must alternate between the two now. (I took this through the iron grate; hence the fuzzy black bar.)

Ever peeked inside the hearse outside the Mansion?



Hard to see with the reflection, but there's a bouquet of dried/dead roses inside.

Then there's my favorite hidden gem:

Mister Toad's statue in the Pet Cemetery! (I won't say grave, because he lives on over at Disneyland. :))

This photo's several weeks old now, but if you've ever wondered what Splash Mountain looks like during rehab:
Dar 'tis.


This light over by Pirates caught my eye. Isn't it gorgeous?

Great patina, too.


And these girls were too much fun:

I chased them down for a photo - felt like I was at a convention. Ha! (And it's always nice to see a fellow Donald fan. Buy ALL THE TOYS!)

And finally, here's a pretty shot of the castle during the projection show:


These pics are left over from my last trip out to the MK, but I hope to have some new ones from Epcot after this week! (It's 75 glorious degrees outside right now. I need to take advantage of this weather before it gets blistering hot again!)

Oh, and I have lots of shiny new Epbot and Vader buttons to give away at MegaCon this weekend, so remember to tweet at me if you'll be there and want to meet up!

Posted by Jen at 6:06 PM Labels:

47 comments:

  1. I would NOT recommend the Harry Potter ride to anyone even remotely motion sick or prone to anxiety. I get motion sick on intense rides, but based on other reviews thought I would be ok - I was about 10 seconds from hurling by the end. Even my husband, who doesn't get motion sick, was very jittery by the end.

    I'm sad that they made a ride, based on such a popular theme, so intense that very few would be able to enjoy it.

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  2. Oh get the Dole Whip with rum. It was awesome. Just make sure you stir it up or the last bit is a little strong. Since they've already allowed alcohol in MK, they should just make this a regular offering.

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  3. We rode the ride a few months after it opened - it almost ruined our entire trip to Florida. My daredevil daughter wouldn't ride anything remotely active for three days afterward, and my distinctly-non-daredevil daughter was in tears for an hour. I am prone to motion sickness and vertigo and was convinced I was going to die.

    It is hideous that you pay that much for a ticket and then can't ride any of the HP rides. The double dragon ride was reducing children to tears just watching it!

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  4. Jen, have you seen the blog "Passport to Dreams Old and New?" The author writes about all kinds of really obscure old Disney trivia, and she wrote two extensive posts on the lights of the Magic Kingdom (yes, the light fixtures!):

    http://passport2dreams.blogspot.com/2012/03/all-lights-of-kingdom-part-one.html
    http://passport2dreams.blogspot.com/2012/04/all-lights-of-kingdom-part-two.html

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  5. I want to go to Harry Potter World so much. Thanks for sharing John's experience with us.

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  6. I was there last year in November, no line ups at all. I loved that ride, I went on it 5 times in a row and then went on the dragon challenge coaster twice right after. It was so much fun!

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  7. There's several videos on YouTube of when the ride breaks down and the vehicles go into a down position and roll to unload.

    http://youtu.be/FaiKgqprfF0

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  8. Shelley in So. ILMarch 13, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    I rode the HP ride a year or so ago. I had the chance to ride it at the end of one day. I can't quite recall exactly which end I was on the first time, but it was MUCH more intense than when I rode it the second day. I wasn't sick by it, but I could see if you were sensitive to that sort of motion, it could make you queasy. I felt like the dragon was seriously going to eat me up and my shorts were going to catch fire.

    Then I rode it early the next day and was seated on the opposite end. It was truly a different experience altogether. I zipped through before the dragon lunged and didn't feel nearly so whipped around. I don't know if that would make much of a difference for you, but I found it much more enjoyable the second time.

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  9. Happy birthday to John's mother!

    -Barbara Anne

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  10. Wil and Anne Wheaton were both enjoying Dole Whip with rum. It was a little odd seeing them tweet pictures of places I usually see in YOUR blog (esp. since they're West Coasters and usually they're at Disneyland, not WDW). I did have to wonder how long Anne's VandalEyes would stay up at Disney.

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  11. A few tips about the Harry Potter ride. I got super dizzy on that one, made the rest of the day rather lame. Its a combination of the screen watching and the ride mechanism is kinda jerky. Not smooth at all. There's a bit on the Quidditch field and the high speed flying simulation was the part that made me most sick. I ended up shutting my eyes for chunks of it.
    If you aren't with a huge group, there is a single rider line that they use to fill up empty spots. The rows are 3 seats each (or 4?), so there are many rows with one unfilled seat. Your party gets split up a teeny bit, but you can probably still be on the same run of the ride. The single rider line is shorter, and bypasses much of the really cool stuff in the queue. But, you can walk through the queue area separately, anyway.
    Overall, the Wizardly World of Harry Potter was fun, but I was mildly disappointed. One cool thing is that the staff ALWAYS stay in character and seem to really enjoy it there. I felt like there weren't that many attractions and just A LOT of merchandise. There are 3 rides, the wand shop and a few live performances. There's a bunch of storefronts with cool windows, but you can't actually go inside. Everything else is food or shopping.

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  12. I LOVED that Harry Potter ride, most amazing ride ever!

    Tip - if you go in the singles rider line, you wait very little if at all.

    When on the ride, you can't see the person directly beside you so you could be riding next to Voldermort himself and not even know it. So there is no reason to wait in that long line up to ride with a friend.

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    1. Agreed! I stood in line the first time for two hours, but after that always went through the singles line and only waited 15 minutes at most.

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  13. unfortunately when we went to Universal it was just 3 weeks after the grand opening. Boy, what a mistake! We waited 3 hours just to get into the Hogsmede section of the park. then there was a que for everything...even the stores. We decided that since everything had a line that we would try the Hogwartz ride as most of that wait was indoors...well a lot of the wait was indoors. And yes the ride kept breaking down while we waited. I think we waited 2 hours for that (woo hoo we were in the park 5 hours!) and miraculously it didn't break down while we were on it. We actually enjoyed the ride.
    However, we were too tired of waiting in lines to do anything else in the park, so we left. Bummer that we paid that much money to go on just one ride.

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  14. I got to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter last year. My family rode the ride twice, and the second wait was three or four hours because the ride broke down when we were halfway there and we were NOT going to give up the hour we'd already waited. My only regret is that I forgot to pick up a Hufflepuff scarf before we left.

    On another note, the second-last picture reminds me of myself. I've been collecting anything and everything with Daisy Duck on it since I was four years old (I'll be 21 in a couple months). I take great pride in my now rather vast collection of a surprisingly hard to find character!

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  15. I'm a HUGE Potterhead and a local to Orlando but hadn't gotten around to going to the park until this past week. I don't know what I was waiting for, it was amazing! I loved the new walkup for The Dragon Challenge, though I seriously miss Dueling Dragons and the Ice room, and squealing over all the references. The Forbidden Journey was a real challenge for me though. For all my roller coaster obsession any indoor ride like Forbidden Journey or Spider Man really really bother me. I believe it's from the fact my brain and equilibrium are telling me one thing and my eyes are telling me another. To put it lightly I hate them.

    However I made an exception for the harry potter ride because, well, Harry Potter man! SPOILERS AHEAD!: I'm glad I did, I have long dreamed of Quidditch matches and flying so it was worth it for that part alone. I just wish someone had told me about the spiders. I am terrified of spiders and I'm pretty sure I closed my eyes through the whole section.

    I left the ride feeling pretty queasy (though I don't think the mugs of Butterbeer helped) and a bit lightheaded but it was worth it over and over.

    If you love Harry Potter and the wait isn't very long (it was 30 minutes for us on a tuesday afternoon) I would suggest going just for checking out the whole walk up, it's fantastic. Honestly I liked it even better than the ride!

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  16. We went just before Christmas in 2011 and I too thought I was going to die by the end of the ride and I am pretty strong when it comes to rides (as long as I take the Bonine first). I recovered pretty quickly and my daughter and I were on to the Hippogriff and the Dragons. My husband however suffers extreme vertigo due to some long standing issues and he barely made it out of the gift shop to a bench where he spent some quality time people watching and getting the Earth to right itself. He did make some interesting observations while he was there though. Ask John if he noticed the large number of often emptied trash cans at the exits - they aren't there for decoration. My hubby saw a lot of people inspecting the insides if you catch my drift. The funniest thing was the woman who staggered out and almost sat in his lap. He caught her and eased her on to the bench next to him. Overall it was really amazing - I would probably not ride it again either though.

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  17. We visited the Harry Potter section of the park last year and yes, the "ride in the castle" made me very sick. We left the castle and I sat on a curb by the entrance for like 20 minutes trying to settle my stomach. My husband, who is not prone to motion sickness (jerk), went into the bathroom and said he heard a guy puking in there :(
    It was a great ride though, and we did go on it after a full day of other coasters and simulators, so I probably would have gotten motion sickness from ANYTHING I rode by that point.

    The rest of the section is awesome, but extreeeemely crowded. I recommend going on a weekday if you can. We went on a Friday in early December (usually low on park attendance) and it was PACKED. I'm sure you'd want to get photos of all the super awesome theming and decoration (definitely check out the various shop displays, they move!) so I hope you can find a time to go that's not totally swamped.

    Oh, side note: the Dragon Challenge ride is the exact same dragon-themed coaster that was there before it was Harry Potter land. They dressed up the queue area and some of the stuff you can see from the coaster, but it's the same Dueling Dragons coaster back when that part of the park was the Lost Continent. Doesn't make it less awesome, just not new.

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  18. I had the same thing happen to me on that ride. I'm tall and a size 18. I don't mind snug seats or harnesses, but the attended dropped that harness down and pushed it into my chest as I exhaled and I couldn't move or breath. I had a good 2 minute panic attack (which is unfortunate as I'm an IBS sufferer...) I struggled quite a bit to find a comfortable spot (scrunching down in my seat a little ) to breathe but it was a very long ride for me. I closed my eyes just to slow down the stimulation and keep from either pooping my pants or barfing. I got to one point where I did open them and ended up enjoying the latter half of the ride because mentally I was screaming "it's almost over!"

    Not riding it again, it was fun (in the BTDT abstract) but once was enough. Give me MIB any day.

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  19. I have, admittedly, never had a problem with motion sickness, so I was not bothered by the ride at all. I thought it was one of the most incredible rides I'd ever been on. The most disappointing thing is that The Wizarding World is sooo small. There are only three rides, the wand shop, and a few stores you can actually go into. Granted, the decor is amazing and you truly feel as if you are actually in Hogsmeade and a part of the books. The food at The Three Broomsticks was quite tasty, too. But again, we just wanted more.

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  20. Thank you SO much for the heads-up about the food at the Flower & Garden Festival! The kiddo and I are hitting Disney in mid-April and I'm pretty certain there's a Dole Whip with rum in my future. Problem is there are so MANY yummy sounding drinks on that list I could easily stagger out of the park completely blotto... Re: the Harry Potter ride, my best bud's son is pretty hardcore about rollercoasters and such, and even HE got uncomfortable, so John is not alone in his opinion!

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  21. I love the Forbidden Journey! Definitely my favorite ride.

    My husband got queasy on it, too. He started to close his eyes for the screen portions, and he said that it helps him feel better.

    The ride stopped on us once, the first time we ever rode it, but we've been on it many times since and haven't had any problems.

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  22. Huge HM Master Gracey fan here. In regards to the rose on his grave, they stopped the tradition when his headstone was moved to the new interactive queue. I suspect because guests have ready access and unfortunately someone would be rude enough to help themselves. Perhaps they have started doing it for Madame Leota because her headstone remains off limits. She is also suppose to be the most recent resident of the Mansion according to lore.

    During last month's annual family visit, I got a special treat where the rose tradition was concerned. My sister inadvertently skipped the interactive queue when we went to enter the Mansion. So once magic hours were over at midnight, I headed back for some pictures without the crowds. Now I'm not generally the type to disobey barriers. Yet I sneaked into the interactive queue to see Gracey's grave. Low and behold someone had left a red silk rose in front of his headstone! So I snapped a couple pics quick-like. Since I don't have any pictures pre interactive queue, that was a poignant moment for me. :)

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  23. I made my first trip to Disney World this year, and I think we must have been there at the same time, because I also saw (and snapped a pic) of the adorable Donald and Stitch fans! We also went to WWoHP; the queue was better than the ride. (I had no idea what to expect when I got on - it was pretty intense, but still fun. It's a little too extreme for a LOT of people, which is a shame considering the popularity of HP.) We were sad that the dragon-coaster was out of order, but had fun. Also, I wanted to share that we now share your love of Boma - that place is AMAZING. Wish we lived close enough to visit regularly!

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  24. My mom and I were just at WDW last week to celebrate her retirement, and we went over to Universal to spend half a day at Wizarding World. My mom feels about Harry Potter the same way I feel about Star Wars - which is to say, she's a massive fan. We weren't as impressed as we'd hoped to be overall, but we were both so pleased with the castle . The queue is probably the best I've ever seen, and thankfully crowds were low and we only waited 35 minutes. Mom doesn't like fast rides, so I rode alone and absolutely loved it. The effects are just so outstandingly done. But yes, it is intense and the dementors are downright scary. However, I loved it so much that I rode a second time, using the single rider line to literally walk right on.

    I should add that I'm saying all of this as a dedicated Disney girl, and it takes A LOT for Universal to impress me.

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  25. My husband and I were on the Harry Potter ride when it broke down once. Luckily, we were in a scene that wasn't super scary, but it was down for so long that they actually turned on the lights. To keep from going crazy (I'm prone to panic attacks, too) we played a rousing game of "look at the magical fire exit! Check out the magical breaker box!" and counted the change that had fallen out of people's pockets. It ended up being kind of a fun experience, and one we laughed about the rest of the day. I will say, though, that having been on it with the lights on, and seeing all the inner workings, I will have no trouble ever going on it again. It's far less scary than you would think, and you're never too far off of the ground. Just don't ask me to get stuck again...

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  26. My Hogwarts Experience Part 1 ...

    I was so excited to finally be going in Hogwarts Castle and FINALLY go on the Forbidden journey ride!

    We had been at Universal Studios and Disney World for a week and every time we had gone into Hogsmeade and even looked at the Forbidden Journey Ride, there was a wait time of at least 180 minutes if not longer. So, on our very very last day, we left the place we were staying bright and early and headed to the park with the very intention of the first thing we do was hit Hogwarts Castle and the Forbidden Journey Ride.

    The time was 45 minutes so … Woohooo! We get in line and start towards the castle. As we got the front of the castle, I got in the seat tester. At the time, I was big. I was very big. And I knew that there was a good chance I wouldn’t be able to go on the ride because I wouldn’t fit. I wanted to know before waiting the full time and before getting excited. So … I sit down and bring down the restraints. The come down, cover my boobs and I felt like I fit. So … Woohooo!!! And into the castle we go…

    *spoilers*

    We travel through the castle and I get to see the potions room, walk through Herbology, Dumbledore in his office; as well as see Hermione, Ron and Harry in the History of Magic classroom. And then … then … comes the ride.


    As I get close to the ride a gentleman who works in Hogwarts asks if I have ever been on the ride before, I say no, and he asks me to come over and try the test seat. This doesn’t surprise me at all, I figured I would have to prove that I could fit in the ride, so I sit down and he pulls down the safety restraints …

    This is where I find that while it’s great that they have the seat for you at the beginning of the ride to test, it does very little good if there isn’t someone there to tell you if the restraints are all the way down. I had brought them down, crushed my boobs, felt I was good to go. Well apparently I wasn’t. There was a certain place it was to come down and latch, but because I was so big, I couldn't see that it hadn't latched and so therefore ... I was too large for the seat.

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  27. My Hogwarts Experience Part 2 ...

    To the gentleman’s credit, he tried everything to allow me to go. He pushed, he heaved, he tried to crush me, he even leaned against it, all in front of everyone behind me in line, which was horribly embarrassing, but to no avail, I was too large. He then says “You’re too big, you can’t go, leave the queue.”

    My dear sweet husband, the Dwarf Slayer, was also asked to sit in the seat and while large, he was told he could go on a modified seat and was ushered back into line with his son, the Little Dwarf Warrior. I was left to wonder what I was to do and eventually asked the oh-so-kind gentleman and he gruffly pointed to a door and said “go in and wait there.” I fought back tears, forced a smile on my face, waved at the Little Dwarf Warrior and my Dwarf Slayer and went through the door to find myself unceremoniously deposited at the end of the ride.

    I think the ride lasted 10 – 15 minutes and the entire time, I fought the tears that were coming unbidden to my eyes as streams of happy, excited people disembarked the ride, stared at me, and then went into the gift shop. Eventually, after what seemed an eternity, my Dwarf Slayer and the Little Dwarf Warrior got off the ride and I could see the excitement in the Little Dwarf Warrior’s eyes. While sweet, it was like a knife inside the already deep wound that I was not allowed to be apart of this fun, that I was not allowed to join in, that I was denied the one and only thing I had wanted to do on this entire trip.

    Little Dwarf Warrior immediately started to ask why I didn’t go on the ride and why I was so upset and why I was so quiet. I was then left with having to explain to this 7 year old, that his step-mother was too heavy to go on the ride and that sometimes heavy people don’t have the same opportunities as those who are not as heavy. Could this get any worse? Having to explain that you were told you were too fat to go on a ride to your own child?

    I was devastated. The one and only part of the trip, part of Universal Studios, that I wanted to experience and my size kept me from it; my weight kept me from it. And I was made to go through this awful, humiliating, and embarrassing event in front of my son and hundreds of gawking strangers. And then got the pleasure of reliving it all, as I tried to explain it to my child.

    I tried my best to hide my pain, though I did hide in the bathroom for awhile so I could cry and let it out. The irony that Moaning Myrtle was moaning in the bathroom as well, was not lost on me.

    Needless to say this was a catalyst for change in my life. And I am happy to say that I have lost 90 pounds since then and hope to someday return and triumphantly ride the ride. BUT ... I have to admit that it has left a horrible taste in my mouth for the ride, for Harry Potter World, and for Universal Studios.


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    1. I'm so sorry that happened to you! I can't imagine how difficult it must have been. Bravo and Kudos to you for taking such a negative experience and using it as a catalyst for something wonderful. Wishing you good health and many blessing :)

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  28. Zomigosh, if I'd known you guys were going, I'd have told you SINGLE RIDER LINE. My hubby and I did that twice and got to ride together once, anyway. (Same thing we just did at Disneyland with Radiator Springs Racers...we got to ride together both times.)

    Anyway! It's still worth it to go for Hogsmeade (and Butterbeer) even if you can't ride the ride. (And if they still do the Triwizard Tournament mini-show and have the Hogwarts Singers....) Honeydukes is awesome (or at least it was when we went 2 years ago)...they had the "real" candy and not just random candy in a HP-themed store.

    It occurs to me I need to blog our trip to WWoHP!! Right after I finish blogging about Disneyland...and the Disney Fantasy cruise...yikes, I'm so far behind!

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  29. When I went to Universal a few years ago, it seemed like everyone bee-lined for the Harry Potter section. When we first got there the lines were pretty long. After HP world, we went around to the other sections of the park. A lot of the attractions were rather intense rollercoasters and after the queasiness from the HP ride, we skipped a bunch of the others. We ended up circling back around to the HP section and it was much more pleasant in the afternoon. Shorter lines, smaller crowd!

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  30. I love Harry Potter, but I don't do roller coasters and freak out in crowds, so I just don't know about spending all that money to buy some Butterbeer. But if you get a chance to see the traveling exhibit of costumes from the movies, do it! I saw it in NYC and loved it.

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  31. I get motion sick very easily and have anxiety. Somehow I think I'm one of the few people who didn't get sick on the ride. It's intense, and things definitely seem extremely close, but it didn't bother me as much as I expected it to. Honestly, it was built up so much that the actual ride was almost disappointing. Don't get me wrong - walking through Hogwarts is amazing, and the ride mechanics itself are very impressive. My problem was mostly with the video screens. They all looked pretty fuzzy and made it hard for my eyes to focus. Some parts almost looked like you were intended to wear 3D glasses. I had a bit of a headache afterwards, but nothing more. On the other hand, my husband, who never gets dizzy, felt terrible and couldn't do anything else the rest of the day.

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  32. Two things:

    I totally saw those two girls with the, uh, Disney Bling, when we stayed at Pop Century in January. Did they have giant 4 inch nails with 3D heads of Disney characters on them? The outfits were so over the top and awesome! The nails freaked my kids out to no end.

    Disney Exec 1: Why is the Food and Wine Festival always more well attended than Flower and Garden?
    Disney Exec 2: Maybe because there's food? And wine?
    Disney Exec 1: Brilliant! Let's add food and wine to the Flower and Garden Festival!

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  33. This is sort of Disney related: I just saw a fan drawn picture of Sherlock holding a Mickey hat and saying, 'It's an ear hat!!'

    http://artbylexie.tumblr.com/image/42039029594

    :D

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  34. My husband and I went to Harry Potter World for our honeymoon in August of 2010. We loved the general ambiance that was there. The food is DELICIOUS and butterbeer is *addicting.* I was most worried about the rides because I get motion sickness if we go over a hill in the road too fast. But, since it was our once-in-a-lifetime trip to Florida, I knew I'd have to try the rides. I took one Dramamine in the morning (I think it says to take it about half an hour before you want it to start working) and I was fine for all the rides. (Go drugs! And I hate taking drugs!) There are signs posted (just like at DW) that give you a heads up for how long you'll be waiting in each line. There are also sample seats to make sure that you fit/know how to sit/know how to wear the harness, etc. before you get on the ride and halfway through the queue (which the person behind us didn't notice or care about, but still threw a giant fit when we got to the actual ride and she didn't fit in the seat).
    However, for the anxiety part, you may still hold off (I don't have that particular worry, so I'm not sure exactly what triggers you or how badly). As mentioned, a story line is presented while you're waiting in line and bits of it (Quidditch flying, trip to the Forbidden Forest, dragon chase) are quite motion-y and very in-your-face.
    I'd say that if you were able to get discounted tickets or have a full day to spend at the entire park, you should go for it and really soak in the buildings, costumes, merchandise and fun little details that are included in that part of the park. Otherwise, hold off for a big longer. I really want you to go and have fun!

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  35. I wish I had commented this earlier. My favorite Easter egg in twwohp is the bathrooms! Please everyone go there, get a frosted yummy butterbeer and then go to the restroom! The moaning myrtle touch in there had me giggling the rest of the day! I couldn't do the rides though my husband loved them, but my stomach let's me go on so few I wasn't any more or less disappointed than usual. But the myrtle surprise was well worth my money. It was an effort purely out of love for us fangirls. I appreciated it

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  36. On our last trip to WDW (we went for the halloween party - AMAZING), we took a day over at Universal because we're huge Harry Potter fans. Like John, I went on the Harry Potter ride (though I'm not a fan of thrill rides at all). I'm really glad I did, but I will never go on it again. When we got off, I stumbled into the gift shop and held onto the display case just inside the door for 10 minutes to get a hold of myself.

    The part that annoyed me the most, was the walkthrough into the castle. We waited for 30 minutes or so outside in the greenhouse, then came in, and the line was almost non-existant and the ride attendants were trying to hustle people to the ride start. That's a shame, because I could spend an hour wandering through the castle! (I really wish that was a separate walkthrough - I know you don't have to get on the ride, but I didn't like being rushed)

    What was also strange was Hogwarts was packed with people, and the rest of Universal was practically empty.

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  37. Darn you, Jen!! You've just made me want to go to Disney and start a pin collection. Stop it!!

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  38. Clarification for the board: Those girls weren't Disney employees and selling all that swag, they were guests and had purchased the swag?

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  39. I wish we had known about the larger seats for Harry Potter. My brother and his friend are both big guys and had to skip it because they wouldn't fit (a common problem on a lot of the rides there). Honestly, for me the queue was the best part of it. It's as close as I may ever get to walking around Hogwarts.

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  40. My hubby gets motion sick, too, and has decided that he will NEVER ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey again. He tried it a few times over a few separate trips, but it is just too much for him. I enjoy it a lot, but not enough to wait 2 hours!

    Loved the photo of the cute Japanese ladies - I spotted Shellie May!! Wish they would bring her to the US parks. My daughter is a big Duffy fan. She doesn't know it yet, but friends of ours who are stationed in Okinawa are buying her a Shellie May when they go to Tokyo Disney this fall. Can't wait to see the look on her face :)

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  41. I have a travel friend, he tests rides for me as well. When he got off Mission Space the first time, he said to me "You would barf." So I am guessing it would be a no-go for Harry Potter as well. I managed to tolerate Expedition Everest but again, once was enough. Aerosmith's Rock 'N Roller Coaster had me barfing in the bushes (didn't make it to the bathroom). How embarrassing.

    Thanks John, now I know I can continue to skip Universal - only went once years ago and didn't really like it.

    Great photo of Splash closed down, it must be really quiet in that area with the water turned off and no one screaming!

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  42. We LOVED the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but the ride was super overwhelming from me. I had to hide my eyes through most of it and I had no idea what happened after the dragon. I know there were acrumantuala (sp?), but I have pretty severe arachnophobia so I hid my eyes and didn't open them till it was over. I would never go on it again, but I would wait in line just to see Hogwarts. For reals. We didn't go on any other rides, but just the experience of walking through a world we have only read about was really cool. When we entered, it took our breath away, including my stodgy husband who doesn't get excited over much (still love him, though:-) ). We'll go back just to walk through the mash up of Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. It was one of the best vacays we have ever done!

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  43. Now, I have seen pictures of John, and he's not exactly Joseph Gordon-Leavitt svelte, but I don't think of him as a "big guy" at all! From the photos, I'd say he's definitely in the normal range on the bell curve; just a regular (awesome) guy. And the seats are uncomfortably small for him? That strikes me as very odd, especially in this country. I think Universal needs to wise up and use the "special" seats as regular seats.

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  44. Well obviously John knows you better than I, but I am very bad with roller coasters and am okay with the castle ride, minus my poor feet I have to keep them as tight under me as possible. And I have rode it 5 times and never had it pause on me. It does make me dizzy and I think because of my height I often smash my head on the sides of the seat.

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  45. Late in chiming in, but having been STUCK on the ride for over an hour I wouldn't recommend it. I absolutely loved the ride, but it is wild, and it is crazy. However, the ride broke down and we were not evacuated for over an hour. We got very few updates while stuck, and all we were offered were lousy ride passes to get on again (That was it!) I ended up with a bad neck the rest of the trip and could barely ride anything else so it was a lot of money wasted. Unfortunate to say, not a fan of Universal at all anymore.

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