Chris – 5/30/12 – Day 4 of the Cruise – Port Canaveral (Universal Islands of Adventure) – More importantly, Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
OK, so we are hard core Harry Potter fans. I mean really bad. We had to make up our own rules for Harry Potter Scene It because it was too easy. This post is going to get very picture heavy and our dorkness is going to shine through.
We had room service delivered at 6:30 and actually woke up a bit sooner. We were down to the bus around 7:40 and on the road shortly after that. As we were turning onto the highway by the water that's to the right (Banana River, I think) a few of us were lucky enough to see a dolphin in the wild. The trip took just under an hour as we arrived at 8:40. Cass took advantage of the bus ride to catch up on FB and also look up some answers for holdover questions of Super Trivia.... brat.
We had already been to Harry Potter World once back in 2010 and knew that we needed to head to the main ride, The Forbidden Journey, first as the line could get ridiculous later in the day.
There's the cart I'm looking for
Ahhh, Butterbeer (we got the frozen as it's not quite as heavy as the regular), God's gift to taste buds.
Little FYI... we found a really great homemade butterbeer recipe courtesy of Chica and Jo
We were pretty surprised to see that there was already a 45 minute wait but it doesn't seem like it as the line takes you through Hogwarts and it is sheer awesomeness (I just realized that awesomeness is a word. That's pretty..........awesome).
|There are some awesome light up lights on this|
Once you enter, you are not allowed to take purses or bags if you are going on the ride. They do give you the option to just walk through Hogwarts and see how cool it is so if you don't feel like waiting you can still see the coolest line of all time. If you do want to do the ride they have free lockers to put your stuff in.
The line winds around the Green House. Once past this point, the line really starts to move.
|There's Mandrakes behind that cage! Wear your earmuffs!|
I think there was a miscount as Slytherin should clearly be in the lead. Me and Cass both got sorted to Slytherin in Pottermore. She was upset but I told her it was because we were destined to be together.
Cass forgot the password to Dumbledore's office so we continued on.
The line continues through an area of moving picture frames which is done incredibly well. No pictures really come out because of the screens but it's very cool. We them move into Dumbledore's office and then Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom.
You finish up the Forbidden Journey line in the Gryffindor Common Room. Now I must say that this is probably the best ride I've ever been on. The Spider Man ride in this park is a close 2nd, but this is as in your face as a ride can get. I won't post any spoilers about it but any amusement park fan should experience this at least once.
The ride lets you out at Filch's Emporium where you can buy all sorts of souvenirs and pictures of your ride. It's cramped and packed, like most stores in HP World. I know they're going for realism, but sometimes it's a bit much.
|We were REALLY happy we booked to the Forbidden Journey first... when we got out, the wait time was up to 120 minutes!|
We proceeded to the Dragon Challenge which is two very similar coasters. It also has a fun line to go through (centered very heavily on Goblet of Fire film/book) even though this ride is never that crowded (only 10 minute wait total).
|The line for this ride also gives you a great view of Hogwarts|
The line also takes you by Hagrid's Hut and the Weasley's Car.
There's some very cool blue smoke coming out of the Goblet of Fire that unfortunately didn't come out in this picture.
Be careful not to touch this as it's a Port Key.......
We waited for the front of the coaster because it's a great one to be up front for and we weren't in a hurry. Well worth it. This really is a good coaster as it's smooth and not jerky at all.........unlike another coaster we'll be on later.
It was packed on this side of the park but Cass wanted to get an idea of what she wanted so we braved Honeydukes for a bit.
A great shot of Hogwarts heading to the rest of the park.
We didn't even stop in the Jurassic Park or Toon Lagoon area. There's really only a water ride and some kiddie rides there and we really wanted to get to the Marvel section.
Now Marvel is obviously huge with the success of The Avengers and all the previous fantastic comic book movies so of course this side of the park was full of people as well.
When we were here 2 years ago, we walked right onto the Spider Man ride (this time, over an hour wait). We wanted to try all the big rides on this side of the park so since we hadn't eaten yet we decided to start with Dr. Doom's Fear Fall.
It's your typical free fall ride but once you've done it on top of the Stratosphere in Vegas, they never really feel the same.
We got a lite lunch in the Fantastic Four Cafe and then went on the Hulk. Again, no bags allowed so you have to use the free lockers if you want to get on this ride. This is a ride I will never go on again. It wasn't that special and all it did was give us both headaches. They should have Bruce Banner handing out aspirin as you exit this ride.
We closed out the Marvel side with Storm Force which is basically a Tilt-A-Whirl without the tilt. It was still fun and I got wicked tired spinning the center thing (honestly my best workout of the week).
We were both pretty spent by this point and headed back to the HP side of the park.
|View of Hogwarts from across the Lagoon|
I knew I wanted a special mug that you could only get from the Hog's Head and they'd only fill it with beer. Twist.
We closed out the day by doing the other side of the Dragon Challenge (this time about a 25 minute wait) and then some shopping.
|The constipation sensation that's sweeping the nation!|
|... hmm. Alas, earwax.|
|Stroke the Spine|
Cass got a quick picture with the Conductor of the Hogwart's Express and then it was back to the bus.
Some random shots of the park
Oh, one more photo op
Now, my rant. It was a pretty warm day down there, 91 to be exact. We had a full bus and left around 4:30. The driver never turned on the AC until we were 5 minutes from port. It was so miserable on that thing and I was so irritated and agitated it took all my restraint to not snap. I couldn't wait to get off that bus and into customs and AC.
|Port Canaveral Cruise Terminal|
We were back on the ship by 5:40 and I took some time to relax and get some pictures of the port and ship.
Disney Magic docked there with us.
Our room was near the 3rd tier entry to Taj Majal.
And the always deserted Sunset Garden was right below us on the 3rd floor.
|Or as I like to call it... makeout row... we've been given the stink-eye by teenagers in this area before!|
We were planning on making this a quiet night and maybe watching a movie on my kindle up on Serenity. That way we could hit the gym early , and be rested for Atlantis Aqua Adventure on Thursday. We did dinner on Lido, I had pizza and Cass had lamb (which was very fatty) and some pork over rice. Went down to the casino where we saw a couple that had played with us the previous nights and started chatting. They were Chris and Lauren from Virginia and lucky me, Cass had found a drinking buddy.
|Waiting for the Casino to reopen (it's closed while the ship is docked)|
The table was cold so we got up and invited them back to the room to make a drink. We all became quick friends and ended up talking (and making another drink) for an hour before heading up to Lido for some air.
We ran into Mike and Emily who had just come from the Mexican Fiesta (each carrying 4 Carnival light up shot glasses ). They invited us back to their room for drinks and to check out what a handicap cabin looked like. I knew at this point there would be no gym in the morning but at least we didn't have to get off the ship until 11:30 so I figured what the hell. I regrettably only got a picture of the handicap bathroom and not the room itself.
It was about 12:30 when we headed back up to Lido only to find Chris and Lauren still there chatting with some other friends from the roll call. We were all up there just talking about this and that when I realized it was after 2 and we should really call it a night. Even though it turned out nothing like we had planned, it was a great night and we knew a good friendship had been made.
We had Babar waiting for us, as well as a plate of goodies from the Main Dining Room as apologies for having to wait on previous nights to be seated - seriously yummy!
Well, that's all for Port Canaveral Day!!
Please stay tuned for Part 3 - our day in Nassau, including a trip to Atlantis and their excellent water park. As well as evening shenanigans that aren't to be missed!