Walt Disney World Trip Report Part 12 – Goodbye Universal

Day 3 – 11/6/2014

After getting the famous Vitameatavegamin skit stuck in my head again, I continued on my way to Transformers: The Ride – 3D. Transformers & Spider-Man use the same ride systems (even the same vehicles). Having just rode Spider-Man, Transformers just didn’t feel different enough.

DSC04681 – passed by some beautiful classic cars on my way to Transformers
DSC04454 – Autobots, Roll Out!

Mom’s kept herself busy taking some photos while she was waiting.
– you can kind of see them filming the Steve Harvey show here
– Moms used to love Emeril’s show on Food Network

The Decepticons defeated, I headed to the exit. Moms collects Hard Rock shot glasses and we couldn’t remember if she had Orlando already. I decided to stop in the Hard Rock Café when I exited to get her a shot glass.
DSC04683 – bye for now Universal Studios

We were hungry and Emeril’s had a promotion going on for like a buy-one-get-one free entrée or free appetizers with a theme park ticket. We thought that seemed like a good deal and the menu looked good, so we decided to try it. The thing is, the promo was only for lunch and they had just opened for dinner. Neither of us caught that bit on the outside menu. Plus we had been looking at the lunch menu which had completely different food and prices from dinner. We stayed though and both got some small dishes. After looking at the lunch prices we weren’t prepared to pay double that for the entrees. The food was excellent though. I got a prosciutto pizza and Moms got some sort of pasta.
DSC04686 – my prosciutto pizza
DSC04687 – Moms’ pasta

After dinner we made our way back to the car, stopping at a nearby Walgreen’s before going back to PORS.
– this mini golf course looks insane

We got back to the room and rested a bit, but we ended up feeling a little hungry after our light dinner. We went to the food court and decided to split a burger back in the room.
DSC04693 – Downtown Disney boat taking off
DSC04696 – moscato colada I got from the pool bar on the way to the room (yes, it was very good)

After second dinner around 11 I wanted to go take some photos of the hotel with my tripod. Port Orleans Riverside is such a beautiful property at night. I mainly stayed around the lobby/pool area since I was super-tired.
DSC04701 – I like this spot


– Old Man’s Island pool


Walt Disney World Trip Report Part 10 – I Passed my O.W.L.s at Hogwarts

Day 3 – 11/6/2014

We got off the Hogwarts Express and headed into Hogsmeade. Hogsmeade is really well executed, but nowhere near as impressive as Diagon Alley. The walkways seem smaller and make the whole place feel more crowded. While DA has more diverse areas and colors, Hogsmeade seemed one note to me. It’s faithful to what it should be, but it just doesn’t wow you when you first enter the same way that DA does. Moms found a place to sit and kept my bags while I went on Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey.

DSC04576_HDR – Hogwarts!

I may not have been blown away by Hosgmeade so far, but going through the Forbidden Journey queue had me completely geeked out. It is Hogwarts. You go through Herbology and Dumbledore’s Office, and you’re really there. There is so much to see there I could almost be okay with longer waits for that ride.


I really had no idea what I was in for with this ride. As I got on the ride and the shoulder restraints came down and my feet were dangling down I was starting to get a little concerned as to what I just got myself into. That proved to be baseless though. That ride is so much fun! Universal loves their screens and this was definitely my favorite implementation.
– in the gift shop

I took a ton of photos on the way back to Moms
DSC04605 – helpful signs to keep you from getting lost

I found Moms waiting spot and she said she had seen lots of people with “some drink” and asked if I knew what it was. Oh, I knew. Luckily she had been waiting right outside Hog’s Head Pub so I didn’t have to go far. I really enjoyed it. I ordered the regular version and it was nice and refreshing on what was kind of a warm day.
DSC04616 – yes I bought the souvenir cup (and yes I still use it at home)

I’m not big on roller coasters so I wasn’t much interested in the other rides in the area. We stopped for one more spell casting before checking out what the rest of the park had to offer.
DSC04632_HDR – goodbye for now Hogwarts

Walt Disney World Trip Report Part 9 – Yer a Wizard Michael

Day 3 – 11/6/2014

While waiting for me Moms noticed all the kids playing with the interactive wands, so when I got off the ride we had to pay a visit to Ollivander’s Wand Shop. I purchased a wand that most closely matched the one I had been given on Pottermore, because I’m nerdy like that. Moms got caught up in the game herself and while she didn’t buy an interactive wand, she did buy one with a light-up tip. As of now I have been unsuccessful to get her to say “lumos” when she waves it around. Wands freshly purchased, I had no choice but to go try it out.


Having successfully used magic to make it rain and turn some lights on, we ended up walking into the Weasley’s Joke shop. We didn’t buy anything, but Moms really loved that store. With that we said goodbye to Diagon Alley, because we had a train to catch.

– one more spell before our train

Back on the streets of London we headed to King’s Cross Station. Where we caught the Hogwarts Express.
– the Knight Bus


We took the Hogwarts Express to Islands of Adventure, Hogsmeade. The Hogwarts Express is a great way for park-to-park transportation. It keeps you immersed in the worlds and does a nice job of giving you some entertainment rather than just sitting there. Next time I’ll have to ride it both ways.

Walt Disney World Trip Report Part 8 – Jaws Will Be Dropped

Day 3 – 11/6/2014

With our bellies full we headed to the main point of interest. Diagon Alley. Along the way we passed through the streets of San Francisco before getting to London. If only actual trips to London were that quick and easy.
DSC04463 – all that money they spent and they couldn’t even finish building this wall, and people complain about Disney

Diagon Alley is seriously impressive. From the moment you walk in you are stunned by the incredible level of detail. Moms is not a Harry Potter fan, and she said this beats anything Disney’s done. I don’t know that I can disagree. Once you throw in the interactive wand areas, it’s easy to get lost looking at everything. After that amazing first impression, we made our way to Knockturn Alley, where we perused through Borgin & Burkes briefly.

Our dabbling into the darker aspects of magic satisfied we made our way out of Knockturn Alley and headed to the bank. I was hoping to speak to a goblin about diversifying my bonds. The wait was about 45 minutes, so I got in line while Moms waited for me.

I waited in line for quite a while and right before the pre-show area the employee told me I couldn’t take my backpack or camera bag on the ride. Umm, how come they didn’t tell me when I entered? How come I just spend 40 minutes waiting before finding this information out? He told me to leave & just return through the single rider line to that point. In case you’re wondering why I hadn’t just used the single rider line at first, I like to take the normal queue the first time to see everything. I went back out, gave Moms my stuff, and went back in. The ride itself was very good, I just didn’t immediately feel like I needed to jump in line and ride it again like I have with some other rides.



Moms kept herself busy while waiting for me on the ride

– big ups to Moms for this amazing shot, seriously jealous of what she was able to capture