Harry Potter and the Orlando Theme Park
The Harry Potter park, officially called “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” is actually an addition to the existing Universal Islands of Adventure theme park. But “addition” doesn’t really do this project justice. With full-scale replicas of many of the films’ iconic buildings–including Hogwart’s Castle and Hosgmeade Village–this area looks pretty sizeable. But the real meat of this Orlando attraction lies in the rides.
Three rides in total will be unleashed with the opening of the park this spring. The Dragon Challenge features a pair of high-speed dueling roller coasters, each on a unique track. To the side, a more tame coaster called the Flight of the Hippogryph will center around the book series’ Care of Magical Creatures class. And finally, the main attraction–a non-rollercoaster ride named Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey–will be housed in the carefully-crafted replica of Hogwarts Castle.
Photo from Doe Q. via Flickr.
My name: Kate Beall
How I earn my keep: Writing for Travelocity.
Best meal I've ever had: There are three: the mofongo at Jimmy'z Kitchen in South Beach, the lomito completo at Fuente Alemana in Santiago, and (for the sheer novelty factor) the cuy chactado in Arequipa, Peru.
First thing I do in a new place: Hit the shower. Anything more than an hour in transit gets me fantasizing about soap.
View that took my breath away: Seeing the endless stretch of the Sierras as I flew in to Reno/Tahoe for the first time. In the winter, it's an aching field of white all the way to the horizon, like a world wiped clean. Looking out at it gives you this unmatched feeling of eternity.
Most challenging travel moment: Sharing a pull-out couch in a cramped New York apartment. The heat wave of 2010 was in full, humid swing and the air conditioning was D.O.A. There was nothing to do but soak your clothes in the sink and hope to pass out before they dried. ...then wake up in an hour and do it all again.
Favorite way to get around: On foot. I'm still working on the motorcycle license.