Monday, February 8, 2010

Harry Potter and the Fountain of Youth

After last night's winter rant, I awoke to horrific back spasms (caused by digging out my car) and consequently spent most of the day sleeping under medication. Naturally, I didn't sign on to the Net until about an hour ago.

So, it wasn't until my daily visit to Towleroad* that I finally saw all those Superbowl commercials that everyone goes crazy for, and while I think the Doritos commercials were all pretty hilarious, I'm still pissed at CBS for running the Focus on Family ad. But that's not the point of this particular post.

No, this post is about the ad that most caught my attention. It was for Universal Studios Orlando Theme Park and their newest attraction "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter."

Now, I'm not particularly a Harry Potter fan. I read the first book on a flight from Philly to Tampa (with time to start the Stephen King I was reading at the time) and wasn't all that impressed. The first two or so movies were fun, but I haven't really seen an entire Harry Potter movie since. However, Uncle Prospero is a HUGE Theme Park fan. I always have been. Church carnivals, State Fairs, old-fashioned amusement parks and modern Theme Parks -- I just can't resist 'em. The food, the rides, the general atmosphere of having a good time. And the best Theme Park in the world (IMHO) is Universal Studios Florida, because it combines my two favorite things in the world; movies and thrill-rides.

The park has undergone some changes since I first went back in 1994. The King Kong ride is gone and "The Simpsons Ride" has replaced Back to the Future. The Alfred Hitchcock Experience (one of my favorite original attractions) made way for Twister, a very fun tornado simulator (which I actually hoped would be a rollercoaster). Most significantly, Universal expanded the park, adding Islands of Adventure in 1999. The first five "Islands" were "Jurassic Park;" "Toon Lagoon;" "Marvel Island;" "The Lost Continent" and "Seuss Landing." The day we went to Islands of Adventure, it poured and not all the attractions were running properly ("Spider-Man" in particular), but we still managed to have to a good time. Of course, 11 years later and my sister is still a coaster-wuss and my brother-in-law has vertigo, so they don't do Universal anymore. I'll just have to convince one of my Potter-fan friends to come down with me this spring... OK - maybe I can get through the storm that is projected to add another 18 to 24 inches of snow to what we already have here in Philly tomorrow night. As they used to say in the old commercials, "Calgon, take me away..."

And two quick things before I say "goodnight."

One: If you have to ask what Harry Potter has to do with The Fountain of Youth, I suggest you go back to elementary school history and geography for the answer.

Two: In an amazing (to me, anyway) feat of timing, Yours Truly actually scooped *Towleroad, which posted weatherman Jim Kosek's on-air melt-down a full day after I did. I suddenly feel like a real-life blogger...

More, anon.


Anonymous said...

I'll go with you. I was looking at the website back in December and figured the end of Feb would be the best time to start planning my trip.

Anonymous said...

Also, you should read the rest of the series. They get better, more adult and more complex. The last is just amazing.

The best movies were the 2nd and 3rd. I hated the last one.