Monthly Archives: October 2016

Photos: Orlando Holy Land Experience

This was actually a difficult shoot to chose pictures from as their campus is quite striking (even if there’s nothing to DO there). I couldn’t find any really good photos from Universal portion of my trip so I’m quite lucky these turned out as well as they did. I would have preferred a little more variety, but it’s not exactly a big park (it’s roughly the size as the OPEN portion of DHS).


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Categories: adventures, entertainment, florida, museums, Orlando, theatre | Leave a comment

Editorial: Suggestions are Universal

  • I didn’t get to go on it this trip (I wasn’t waiting “95 minutes”), but I did think of a way they could make Skull Island feel more like an actual “island” rather than just a stand-alone ride. That is, ironically enough, another location just kinda sandwiched precariously between Reign of Kong and Jurassic Park River Adventure not doing anything but impeding the flow of traffic between the two attractions – that location is… Thunder Falls Terrace.TFT is currently themed to JP (which already has 2 restaurants AND a handful of snack kiosks) but could easily be rethemed to match the newer attraction (and ideally either moved back or reconfigured so as not to take away from said attraction (which according to both the park map and the official park app, lacks any kind of gift shop as well).
  • I know HHN is their big seasonal draw, but they really need to give guests a REASON to visit the resort over the holiday other than ONE parade (“Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade”) and TWO shows (“Blues Brothers Christmas” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”). Yes, you can argue that “Hogsmeade” section of Islands of Adventure is already generically “Wintry,” but surely there are at least some holiday songs\stories in the Wizarding World.

One thing they can do almost immediately without much effort on their part is switch out their regular “Shrek 4-D” film with “Shrek the Halls” (and while they’re at it, run “Scared Shrekless” in October).

  • Actually, they need to ditch that dated movie altogether as that franchise has been dead for over a decade now – the characters don’t even appear in their afternoon parade! Seriously, if they are really pursuing a “Secret Life of Pets” project, THIS is the place to put it as it is directly across from other Illuminations Animation property “Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem.”
  • Speaking of “parades,” I stayed late in the park this afternoon JUST to see their “Universal Superstars Parade” and I was extremely disappointed I did. They had 4 floats: Despicable Me, Spongebob, Hop and Dora\Diego (using the same floats – and probably performers as well – they use in their various “party zone” times). That’s it, that’s the whole parade. No exaggeration. No Shrek\Donkey, no classic monsters or even Dr. Seuss characters – it’s literally over in less than 10 minutes.
  • Sites like “Theme Park Tourist” love to deride The Lost Continent, and while neither of its attractions are any good, it is still one of their best lands theming wise (somewhat disjointed, but still very well done). Then we have two areas that have awesome attractions and crappy theming: Toon Lagoon and Super Hero Island (the first is kitschy and visually incoherent – the very definition of “sensory overload” in the worst possible way; the second, while still tacky, manages to far more cohesive and thematically consistent but practically screams late-90s).
  • I had other things to say, but my notebook got damaged in the rain storm. I guess that’s enough for now…
Categories: editorials, entertainment, florida, Islands of Adventure, news, Orlando, Universal Studios | Leave a comment

Live blogging: Hurricane Matthew (Fri morning)

10:01am – Good morning, I survived the storm. I woke up several times last night due to loud gusty winds and heavy rain, but my condo doesn’t appear to have taken any damage. It’s sunny but with persistent gusty winds.

10:36am – Orange and Seminole Counties are still under curfew through tonight, but will reassess their decision around noon.

11:00am – NWS has downgraded the storm to a Cat 3, but it is still causing immense damage in coastal cities.

11:17am – Orlando Sentinel is reporting at least one death in Central Florida attributable to Matthew.

11:41am – Meanwhile, Matt Drudge has theorized that Hurricane Matthew is a government conspiracy to “make a point about climate change,” a sentiment echoed by fellow radio host Rush Limbaugh (who walked his statement back)

12:01pm -Chip and Company is reporting that all 4 Disney parks remain closed and will reopen tomorrow pending damage assessment. All resorts and their restaurants remain open.

12:30pm – Gov. Scott says “worst of Matthew is yet to come”

12:47pm – Damage assessments of Gables, Rosenthal and Medical campuses have been completed. So-called “Cardboard U” is open for business tomorrow. Game on.


Hopefully, this is my last post on the matter.


Categories: disney world, florida, hurricanes, news, Orlando, South Florida, weather | Leave a comment

Live blogging: Hurricane Matthew (Thurs eve)

5:04pm – It’s been pouring rain on and off all afternoon here in Orlando with each band getting progressively stronger. THIS current one is the real deal.

5:16pm – Believe it or not, there are still people on the roads.

5:24pm – Various computer models still show it coming over parts of Florida, but the actual forecast hasn’t changed much 5-8” of rain with winds about 20-40 miles per hour gusts of 65mph (TWC is calling for 5-7” but with winds gusting to 70-80mph)

6:05pm – TWC has downgraded their forecast to 3-5” with winds in the 20-40mph bracket (with gusts of 65mph). Rain has stopped for the moment.

6:35pm – Making leftover chicken tenders and fries for dinner. I forgot to buy groceries while I was out earlier today. Yes, I know that was STUPID. Oh and the rain is back.

6:55pm – My FB feed is pretty much dead, sorry. I’m going to go play video games while I still have power, and hope something fun gets posted by the time I get back.

7:45pm – TWC is reporting 20 thousand people are apparently without power near West Palm Beach. I still have power… for the moment.

8:03pm – NWS shows Matthew not making a direct hit on Orlando, but still shows it looping around to effect Central Florida early next week. Great.

8:17pm – Reuters is reporting 180 people dead on the island nation of Haiti. Over a dozen in the same village.

8:32pm – Orlando Sentinel has a round-up of various county by county forecasts for the storm

9:06pm – NWS office in Melbourne is still showing Orange County under a Hurricane Warning through tonight.

9:21pm – Whatever undiagnosed stomach ailment I have has been bothering me all evening. I think it’s psychosomatic from the stress of the storm.


Categories: florida, Health, hurricanes, news, Orlando, South Florida, weather | Leave a comment

Live blogging Hurricane Matthew (Thurs morn)

10:01amOrlando Weekly is reporting that all state offices are closed, all tolls are lifted and that some hospitals in coastal areas were evacuated.

10:03am – The University of Miami is officially on “emergency lock down” – all classes are cancelled, and all retail and offices are closed for the day. Limited dining service is available in the two campus dining halls as long as weather permits, MREs will be available in the Residential Hall lobbies for times when the cafeterias close.

10:20am – Orlando International Airport announced it will be suspending all flights in\out of their airports at 8pm.

11:15am – Sunrail suspends all service through Monday (they don’t offer weekend service)

11:20am – Universal announces it is closing all parks including Wet N’ Wild and CityWalk at 3pm. Disney parks are apparently still open as well with guests going about enjoying their day despite the weather (at the moment is light rain with relatively calm winds).

11:30amTheme Park Tourist posted that all Disney Parks will close at 5pm, Legoland Florida will close at 5pm as scheduled and SeaWorld will close at 2pm.

12:14pm – TWC is predicting 5-7” of rain through Friday night with wind of 40-50mph with gusts of about 60-65mph. It is not expected to make landfall over Orlando, but we are still under a “Hurricane Warning.”

12:43pm – Not currently raining out, but the winds are strong. The proverbial calm before the storm.


Categories: disney world, florida, hurricanes, news, Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando, South Florida, transportation, Universal Studios, weather | Leave a comment

Live blogging: Hurricane Matthew (Wed night)

7:34pm – I was going to pack my bags around 2 o’clock this moring and take the first plane to…I had no idea. That’s why I’m still here. I may regret this decision later this week.

8:31pm – My alma mata, the University of Miami, has announced that all classes at Coral Gables\Rosenthal campuses will be cancelled on Thursday and Friday. The medical campus will remain open. The UM-FSU game slated for Saturday will go on as planned because – duh – priorities.

9:15pm – It’s been raining (much of it heavy) off and on for most of the evening with gusty winds and occasional flashes of lightning. These are just the periphery storms – the main action doesn’t start until tomorrow.

10:50pm – Watching the “Live Feed” of FOX 13’s “county by county” forecast for Florida. Orlando will either get nothing…or take a direct hit. How comforting.

11:17pm – Latest NWS forecast models now show a direct hit over Orlando. Other guides have it staying off shore. TWC is calling for heavy rain\thunder to begin around 3am so I better get to bed.

Categories: florida, hurricanes, news, Orlando, South Florida, weather | Leave a comment

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