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HP and the overly high expectations - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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HP and the overly high expectations [Jul. 28th, 2010|03:04 pm]
Zoethe
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So, overall impression of HP: Universal is awesome at set building and exteriors and crap at people handling and imagination. The upper floors and towers of the castle are inaccessible. There are no moving stairways. There are no ghosts. You see dungeons, a classroom, and Dumbledore's office. No Great Hall. No Griffyndor common room. A small bit of library. The Three Broomsticks has no character. Ollivander's is awesome but an intolerable wait and then the wands for sale are cheap plastic at a high price.

On top of it all, the ride out of the castle is a thrill ride roller coaster. Why isn't it a tour of life as a Hogwarts students that fans of all age and physical condition could enjoy, a la Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean? It would be a lot more in character with a Harry Potter experience.

There were awesome parts, including butterbeer and pumpkin juice. The shopping was stranglingly cluttered, and I recommend doing most of your shopping at the souvenir shop on the way out of the park because they have better selection on many of the items.

Topping it all off, there were supposed to be scheduled performances on the hour. There were no signs indicating that we were at the stage area; Ferrett just asked an employee After waiting in the hot sun for 15 minutes without even a sign of setup, we gave those up as a bad joke.

I'm glad I saw it, and loved things like the detail in some of the windows. But it will have to improve a lot to get me here again.

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Comments:
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-28 08:51 pm (UTC)
I do hope they improve it. The crowd control made everything worse as well.
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[User Picture]From: mamaursula
2010-07-28 08:00 pm (UTC)
We're going to Orlando in September, thank you for this post, we'll pass on HP.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-28 08:47 pm (UTC)
It feels strange and awful to tell people that, but it's really not worth it. Look at pics and buy merch online.
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[User Picture]From: mamaursula
2010-07-28 08:50 pm (UTC)
We're going to Disney primarily and another couple who don't have children are going with us. They want to go over to HP and given the ridiculous cost, I wasn't sure if I wanted to try, but this saved me a bunch of money.
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[User Picture]From: aiela
2010-07-28 08:51 pm (UTC)
The cost was holding me back (the rest of Universal holds little appeal for most people in my family) but this is definitely a dealbreaker. I had feared as much, but now I know.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-28 08:58 pm (UTC)
You definitely don't need to feel bad that you missed it. It wasn't a complete waste, but it wasn't that many hundreds worth.
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[User Picture]From: sapphirescarlet
2010-07-28 08:57 pm (UTC)
I really appreciate this review. How much was admission? I've always felt that Disney "failed" on some of these areas in parts of their parks. Like Cinderella Castle.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-28 09:10 pm (UTC)
Admission was $79 each, which was to the whole of Universal Islands of Adventure for the day, but we fled after 5 hours. (and you're right about Cinderella's castle)
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[User Picture]From: pkthunder
2010-07-28 10:09 pm (UTC)
Ah, that kind of makes sense now. Islands of Adventure is all about the 'coasters. I remember we didn't spend very much time there four years ago because that was the only interesting thing to do. Ride the coasters, and then you're done. And they weren't that great of rides, either, so you didn't even want to go on them multiple times. We only had a couple of days there, and I wish we had gone to a Disney park instead (but I had done them so much as a kid, I wanted to see IofA, which I had never been to).
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[User Picture]From: theferrett
2010-07-29 01:19 am (UTC)
Cinderella's castle is like one of those chocolate Easter bunnies: it looks great until you realize how hollow it is, and then you're just resentful.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-29 01:21 am (UTC)
I need a "like" button in the worst way just now.
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[User Picture]From: sapphirescarlet
2010-07-29 02:09 am (UTC)
Very true. I don't even like to walk thru it any more to get somewhere else.
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[User Picture]From: aiela
2010-07-29 02:45 am (UTC)
The restaurant in the castle is awesome, though. But then you have to pay to eat in the castle, or use a table service credit. But the restaurant was awesome.
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[User Picture]From: kmg_365
2010-07-29 12:20 pm (UTC)
The one time we at in the castle, it was for a late dinner. We had a window seat, so we were able to watch them set up for a wedding outside. As they stated bringing guests in horse drawn carriages, my wife and I both thought "damn, that has got to be crazy expensive."
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[User Picture]From: walkertxkitty
2010-07-29 12:55 am (UTC)
It doesn't sound like they learned much since I've been there. I went with a wedding group who called ahead to make certain someone with back injuries and epilepsy could still enjoy the park. We paid $44 for my ticket only to discover that the entire park was either completely inaccessible or that I could not, because of those restrictions, accompany my party (I was still walking unassisted at that point too). When we complained they refunded exactly $11 of the entire price "because we'd already been in the park".

So It doesn't surprise me that their ADA practices are no better and they cater almost solely to the thrill seekers.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-29 01:17 am (UTC)
You can opt to just walk through the castle, which is great because there is no line to jeep moving and you can stay and look at the details as long as you want. The castle is just short on details and needs WAY more parts to explore.
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[User Picture]From: walkertxkitty
2010-07-29 02:23 am (UTC)
...but you can't really get a wheelchair into most of their attractions even when you can 'walk through'. There's really no excuse for that. Granted, we went about five years ago, but still...We had a little guy in a walker and he couldn't go to most of the attractions either. The stores, on the other hand, outside the park were very well done. It just depends on what you go for. I wonder why they did that? There's a lot of stuff they could have done with it (just started reading the books and wow...) Maybe they plan on additions. I hope so. It would be well worth dragging out the crutches if they did.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-29 02:30 am (UTC)
We did take a wheelchair through the castle, but negotiating the streets and shops with it was hell. Fortunately ferrett's mom is reasonably ambulatory - legally blind, bad back, and messed-up knee, but she can walk through a store with guidance. Some of them would have been inaccessible to her otherwise.
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[User Picture]From: walkertxkitty
2010-07-29 04:20 am (UTC)
Sounds like an improvement, however slight. Might need to put this on my to-do list then and see what happens. Dorie and Dee haven't seen Universal or Disney yet.

Glad you had a reasonably good time. It makes me happy when people enjoy being in my state. I just wish it could have been slightly cooler weather for you. At least the parks are good about having cool places to go and cooling stations.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-07-29 03:01 pm (UTC)
We have roasted but still had fun.
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[User Picture]From: walkertxkitty
2010-07-29 03:54 pm (UTC)
I saw where the mosquitoes carried you off :D That's a regular feature of the Florida summer. Out there, they keep threatening to make 'em register a flight plan :D
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[User Picture]From: gabyrippling
2010-07-31 12:12 am (UTC)
This. They just remade what was previously the "fantasy/mythical" section of the park, which didn't make a lot of sense because there was a Sinbad Show and a Poseidon show in the same area, as well as Dueling Dragons; it was like they couldn't think what else to do with that corner so the threw a bunch of random myths in it. They were probably pretty pleased that they could revamp it as minimally as possible; Dueling Dragons into something Triwizardy at Hogwarts, Flight of the Unicorn into Flight of the Hippogriff, the shops there into Hogsmeade.

I was interested in going again, having been various times before and being a fan of the Spiderman ride and the roller coasters and water rides, but I figured the Harry Potter section was going to be a letdown.
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