Great Expectations… Jurassic Disappointments

I set my alarm for half an hour early this morning with every intention of getting up to spend 30 minutes on the elliptical.  Unfortunately, I have set my alarm half an hour early almost every single day for the last two years with the same intention, but it has happened a grand total of perhaps 3 times.  Maybe 4.  And today was much like most of the others.  The elliptical did not happen.

So all day long, I hyped myself up– 30 minutes on the elliptical, a chance to move my legs a little bit after a long day at a desk!  And I held this blog post hostage to ensure it got done.  Posting is my reward for exercising my legs and sweating through my shirt.  Victory!

Before I get to the good stuff, I just want to share with you a sad little story about a lady with a dog she loves too much.  That lady is, of course, me.  And what did I do that makes me kind of pathetic?  Well, my dog, Curly, just had knee surgery and she can’t go up or down stairs for another 7 weeks.  Unfortunately, our elliptical is in the basement.  My husband is out of town all week and I just couldn’t bare the thought of leaving my sweet Curls upstairs alone for another half an hour.  So I picked her up, all 65 lbs of her, and carried her down for the work out and back up afterward.  The way down wasn’t so bad, but up was pretty rough.  A little bonus workout and a weird ride for my pup, I guess.  Sometimes I even disturb myself.

Anyway, on to my point…

I talk about a lot of different things, but as you’ve probably noticed, it’s not very hard for me to relate pretty much all of those things back to either Harry Potter or Jurassic Park.  And you guys, Universal Studio’s Islands of Adventure Theme Park in Orlando, Florida is home to not only the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but also Jurassic Park.  A nerd girl’s dream come true!!

Respect the Spell Limit

Spells and velociraptors!

Butterbeer and pteradactyls!

Hogwarts and insects trapped in amber!

Harry Potter AND Jurrassic Park!

Hogwarts #2

So when the opportunity arose to visit Islands of Adventure as long as we were a mere two hours away in Jacksonville for a wedding, my husband and I jumped at the opportunity!  (Ok, I was the one who jumped… but my sweet husband did the driving!)

I was pretty dang pumped and since we were coming straight from a dream vacation in Cabo san Lucas, my expectations were sky high.  Oops.  Because, if I’m completely honest, Universal kind of failed to deliver.

Don’t get me wrong, Hogsmeade was crazy well-done, butterbeer and pumpkin juice were every bit as amazing as I had anticipated, and being able to see Hogwarts castle through the Jurassic Park arch was unreal.


However, Universal charges a heck of a lot of money to get into the park for the experience… and then gives you opportunity after opportunity to buy, spend, and pay more and more and more with a relatively small amount of actual “experience” sprinkled in.  Everywhere you turn– another souvenir stand, a food shop, airbrushed t-shirts and commemorative photos for purchase, hair wraps or glitter tattoos to be had.  No joke, even Ollivander’s Wand Shop was a long line for a 30 second demo only to be shuttled straight into a gift shop.  (Ok, maybe I’m just pissed that they picked a little boy to be chosen by his wand rather than me…  Maybe.)

And Jurassic Park?  Well… kind of boo, to be honest.  This is what I wanted:

raptor chase!

I wanted to be in that car, chased by dinosaurs, and I honestly expected that as a ride.

But this is what it actually was:

raptor reality

Photo-op, picture for purchase.


Have you ever read a book that put your imagination into absolute overdrive?  To me, Harry Potter was like that, and amazingly, the movies did not disappoint at all.  They were amazing too and while I was watching the movies it felt like someone had pulled the scenes straight from my head.  (And captured them like a memory poured into a pensieve.)  But the parks… wah wah.

Oh well!  Back to my imagination place– now that I know what butterbeer actually tastes like, I feel like I can retire there comfortably!



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