D23 Expo: The Search for Harry Potter Part 7 of 6

Image by bluemoose via Flickr

This series of posts began as a hunt for peaks inside The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Harry’s adventure ride through the books that opened this summer. We’re all pretty big fans of the kid.

We’ve been waiting for the theme park to open up patiently at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure and began our searching through blogs for pictures of the construction.

We found slews of news stories to tease us of possible equipment to be included in the ride. Sounds like this roboarm or Strong Arm, actually did win out in the end.

As launch approached and the fanfare started, we tried to find clips of what the park looked like from the inside! The numbers grew really fast. Walk throughs of the shops and long loving looks at window displays, but we wanted to see the good stuff. We were looking for the big ride.

Even on opening day it took the bloggers a while to get the ‘ride through’ clips posted. We had already seen a few videos of the que. The line show where you walk the grounds of Hogwarts, explore the halls, chat with the paintings, get the ride story from visions of the characters themselves, but it took another day or so to see the videos from inside the ride itself.

We’d been enjoying video clips of rides at other parks. Sharing stories of the evolution of the Jaws ride at Universal Studios. (The first year it opened, the boat skipper blew the shark up into big bloody-looking pink floating chunks of shark meat. It was closed up pretty quickly.) There are so many good stories. The girls like hearing about the rides that have closed too.

Photo of the Back to the Future studio car. Th...Image via Wikipedia

The Back to the Future ride was the best. It was so revolutionary in its day. One of the first “flying car” rides inside an IMAX((?)) theater. When it opened up the parks were going through a great transformation of ride technology and LINE deception. As a perpetual patron, I really appreciated the “pre-show” line entertainment. Even the very simple solutions of TV sets running cartoons and the addition of actual fans to cool you off.

But I must get back to the thread…  We were searching for the clips that showed the inside of the ride itself. After finally finding it I was terribly disappointed. NOT in the ride, but in the ability of the riders to be able to capture the ride on video. They couldn’t! It was too dark. Too fast. Too much for the little cameras to capture it all. It was even almost too much for the microphones to handle.

This is the clip we finally saw that freaked everyone out a bit. It’s a spoiler so don’t click on it if you want to stay in the dark. (Which is kind of a joke, because half of it IS just blackness!)

What I learned was that perhaps the little ones need a little more time to age before we embark to Hogwarts. I’d hte to get them there and not feel comfortable letting them ride the Big Ride. What a let down that would be. But, man, I can’t wait. And after a year or so, they’ll have some of the bugs (not the good ones, they promise) worked out. Getting stuck on this one seems like it would be a blast too.

Looking forward to the day we get to go. This explains how we got ourselves distracted and started enjoying the D23 clips. The anticipation may be more fun than some of the rides and places themselves. The dreams of princesses and dragons will have to do. We have the books. And all the other books with no rides and theme parks.

I think we’ll be fine as we wait.

To read all of the posts in this series, click on the keyword “wonder”. I reserved that word for this series. Enjoy!

[Link to the Harry Potter wiki for more details.]

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D23 Expo: Imagineering the Future of Disney Parks Part 6 of 6 (Star Tours 2 portion!!!!)

Star ToursImage via Wikipedia

SO! Part 6. This is the last of the series. Whew. But did they save the best for last? Well, I don’t know. It is Star Wars so at least they think they did. I have always been a little underwhelmed by Star Tours, but as one of the first cram you a little room that rocks you around ride, it wasn’t bad. And no matter how many times you rode, it was always Pee Wee Herman‘s droid’s first time out. Red1 loved it but Red2 was horrified at the thought of speeding into outerspace. We couldn’t even tempt her with the promise of going all the way to Endor to meet the Ewoks.

The Star Wars weekends video clips are also something riotous to look up at YouTube if you dare. They had a very successfull kareoke competition that must be experienced.

One more surprise awaits.

I lied when I said this series was over. The last post will explain how we got here in the first place and show the results of that journey. Not in search of a mouse, princess or even Spock. (Lame.) We were in search of Harry if you remember…

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Visions of the Future Presenting Themselves

Location: Atlanta, GA, USA (central park in At...Image via Wikipedia

Architecture.  Urban sprawl.
We’ve all gotta go some where. Fortunately there are some true visionaries, like Vincent Callebaut, around  thinking about what to do with all of us people.

If we leave it up to us (and the Walton’s) we just might be in trouble or find ourselves camping out and off the grid because there won’t be one!  {Settle down… you’re scaring the kids.}

Popular Science‘s Gallery of the cities of the future is a fun romp with the kids. Still no flying cars, but we have the moving sidewalks.

The link that inspires this post:
Archive Gallery: Cities of the Future | Popular Science

Red2 (6 years) OOO! Flying cars! Moving sidewalks! They look like the Sims! Can we play Sims?

Love looking at the urban planning books in the book store. Epcot’s Future World was complete when it had Horizons. Loved flying through the ocean dwellings and the orange groves in the desert. Neat stuff. I spent lots of time Arcology doodling when I was a kid. Arcology still isn’t even in my word processor’s dictionary. But it’s a real thing. Arcosanti.org wouldn’t want you to think they are a just a doodle in a notebook.

Modern searching for these new visions reveals we’re still at it. And that’s a relief. My rain barrels, worm bins and rain gardens around my circa 1960’s ranch house will suffice for now, but hurry up with these plans, ladies and gentlemen. My retirement community needs to be out of your notebooks and on the drawing board soon. You have about 30 years. Go!

{Note to self: This post is quickly getting out of hand. It’s becoming its own theme link-park.  I’ll make it stop soon, but first…}

Part Two: What’s happening now? 

Part Two: What’s happening now? 

Atlantic Station commercial under constructionImage by faceless b via Flickr

It’s really cool to see some smart urban planning happening around me. In Atlanta, there are several instances of forward thinking, but is it enough?

Atlantic Station
Walking tour of Atlantic Station one morning when it seems like it was all still under contruction!

Smyrna, GA’s city website is beautiful, they’ve recently redefined the entire city. Smyrna Market Place is pretty amazing, but they don’t have their site quite up, but you can ‘walk’ through town…


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What’s happening in your area that you’re proud of? 

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