Wednesday, January 26, 2011

in which our heroine capitulates to consumer society

Last night I was dreading today.

  1. Airports.
  2. Icky Airport Food.
  3. All Those People. 
  4. Bad Weather.
  5. Likelihood of Turbulence and Consequent Motion Sickness. 
  6. Long Drive from Philly Airport to Southern Vermont

This morning, before the alarm went off, I lay in our most recent hotel room bed and spent a while waving my magic Reiki wand over the day. Here’s how it played out:

  1. Airports. Flight cancelled due to nastiness in Philly! We rebooked for tomorrow.
  2. Icky Airport Food. Icky Theme Park Food!
  3. All Those People. No change here! 
  4. Bad Weather Flawless and I mean, FLAWLESS, weather.
  5. Likelihood of Turbulence and Consequent Motion Sickness. Theme Park = Roller Coasters! Thus, no change here! 
  6. Long Drive from Philly Airport to Southern Vermont. Whew.

Yep, Southwest cancelled our flight and we rebooked ourselves for the same flight, tomorrow. Before I tell you about our fun-filled day at Universal Studios theme park, can I just sing a brief song of praise to Southwest? Unlike other airlines whose privacy I will respect by not mentioning their names except for their initials, which are “USAirways”, when you face a cancellation from Southwest, they are happy to let you rebook from your cellphone while you wait in the customer service line in the middle of the terminal. Furthermore, rather than making you burn through your precious allotment of minutes (not to mention your even more precious capacity to endure hold music), Southwest offers this cool call-back option: you punch in your phone number, and they call you back in X number of minutes, right when they said they would.

So anyway. Facing an extra-shiny, sunny day in Orlando, we figured, why not take out a second mortgage on our home and give it to Universal Studios? Those guys don’t have enough money – let’s all pitch in.

Theme parks, as you might have guessed from my occasional forays into nature and whatnot on this blog, are not exactly my preferred way to spend time. Mind you, I’ve been to plenty of ‘em down here, due to a six-year binge attending Lotusphere in the late 90’s. Lotus (and then IBM once IBM swallowed Lotus whole (*burp*)), would rent out one of the theme parks for conference attendees. That was fun. Still, though: I’m not really into artificial set pieces. The real world is too fascinating and beautiful for me to stomach the fake stuff.

Except when it comes to … (cue the trumpets…)


Hogsmeade, aka “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter”!


Drool. I’m not proud; I love the Harry Potter books. This theme park within a theme park just opened recently, and from what we’d heard, it is in such demand that the drill is, you go to the park first thing in the morning, and then they tell you, “come back to the Harry Potter section at 4:00 pm – the lines should have died down a bit by then.”

Well for some reason – because it’s a Wednesday after winter break but before spring break? Because Orlando was drenched in torrential rains last night? Because the moon is in Scorpio today? Who knows – the park was, relatively speaking, practically empty today. We were able to do a couple of the rides in the Harry Potter section with absolutely no waiting whatsoever. In fact, we might have enjoyed one of the rides even more if we had had to wait, because it would have given us more time to enjoy the inside of Hogwarts Castle, which was extremely cool.




And now, for a sampling of Hogsmeade’s shopportunities…



We went on one ride here that utterly defeated me. Have I mentioned how prone to motion sickness I am? Any discrepancy between my eyes and my body completely untethers me. I’m the only person I know who can get nauseated standing on a street corner while cars drive by. It’s pathetic, I know. I actually LOVE roller coasters, though – I just have to be near the front. Or so I thought. It turns out that I can only tolerate slower, less twisty rides with longer sight lines. 

This crap?


Totally beyond my capacity.

I’m sure it looked cool when the two cars swooped right by each other, but I wouldn’t know. I had to keep my eyes closed the entire ride. Grrrr! But at least that’s better than this ride – which I did not attempt – over on the other side of the park:


Upon closer observation…


Do you really want to get on a roller coaster that has a net underneath it?

One last thing, before we head out in search of dinner. This is the Dr. Seuss portion of the park:

You cannot tell me that hallucinogens were not involved here.



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