Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Fantasy Vacation

Hogwarts, at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Too many vacation destinations lure vacationers with promises of making their vacation “a dream vacation” or the “vacation of a lifetime”. I generally do not succumb to such hype. This post, therefore, is not about “a dream vacation” but one day of our family’s vacation, a day that included a trip to fantasyland.

My wife is a BIG Harry Potter fan. She has read all the books, most within a few days of their hitting the store shelf. Together we have watched all the Harry Potter movies so far released on DVD. For my wife’s birthday, since we are vacationing near Orlando over her birthday, I gave her a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando.

Our favorite attraction was Hogwarts. Not only did the recreation of Harry’s Boarding School look spectacular, the thrill ride inside, featuring gyrating motion synchronized with IMAX type visuals, was a delight. We liked it so much we rode it three times. Even waiting in line (the lines were short) was entertaining as the line led through various rooms of Hogwarts, each room with its own thrill.

After a long afternoon, when we were hot and tired, the “Butter Beer” slush was quite refreshing and tasty. I regret it is (as far as I know) available only in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We enjoyed our beverage with a few chocolate fudge flies.

The day we visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was Halloween, so I found it hard to determine how many of the Harry Potter look-a-likes and Hogwarts gown clad youth and adults dressed up for their visit to the Park and how many dressed up because it was Halloween. Nevertheless, their presence added to the fantasy.

As if the above fantasy was not enough, on the way out of the park we decided to eat and imbibe at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritiaville. My wife enjoyed the Jerk Salmon. Wanting to keep the fantasy alive, I enjoyed a Cheese Burger in Paradise. We both enjoyed the drink of choice: Margaritas, of course. Though we were not in Keys, we were in Florida and the palm trees next to our open-air seating added to the illusion.

Visiting Hogwarts and Paradise in one day—now that is a fantasy vacation!

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