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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Spring trip to Universal Orlando Resort



This video is a compilation of 100+ short clips we took at Universal, the total length is 36 minutes, even my mom didn't want to watch at first wtf. She eventually did, because I forced her to play the video from start to finish when we skyped lololol. Videos and photos were mostly taken with my phone HTC Desire Eye— both front and back cameras are 13MP. I only whipped out my Cybershot when Eye died. 

It had been almost 3 years since I last went on a vacation with WSK! For the record, we had already been to Universal's Islands of Adventure in March 2013. Two months later, Universal announced that they would be expanding The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. In July 2014, King's Cross Station and Diagon Alley officially opened. Diagon Alley is located at Universal Studios Florida (we didn't visit the last time we went), and a park-to-park ticket is necessary to ride the Hogwarts Express that connects Diagon Alley with the existing Hogsmeade located at Islands of Adventure. 

Our previous visit to Disney theme parks and Universal was tortuous, so this time around I* made sure not to repeat the same mistakes! (*not "we" because this lazy ass never took part in planning trips) 

Poor choices last time:
  • stayed at a hotel one-hour bus ride away from the parks
  • only brought summer outfits, turned out it was windy and chilly so we were cold as fuck
  • barely enough time to explore the entire place, but kiasu rushed to do all rides
  • wasted a lot of time and energy in long lines
  • didn't bring comfortable shoes wtf was I thinking???

Things done differently this time:
  • got a package deal: a nearby hotel with free shuttle from and to the airport and the parks
  • brought appropriate, versatile outfits (temperature fluctuated throughout the day)
  • more than enough time for both parks (got a 2+1 deal, third day was free)
  • got Express Pass for Day 1 as a big crowd was to be expected (Spring break)
  • brought 3 pairs of sneakers
  • decided against putting on fake lashes and double eyelid glue 


Day Zero  (3/20/16)


Departed Madison on our 5th anniversary! Almost quarreled before leaving the house though wtf. This guy was gone since 8AM for a workshop, got home around 5:30PM all tired and grumpy, refused to finalize his packing, refused to call for a cab, went straight to his computer to watch YouTube videos. Our flight was departing at 7PM. Cab ride would take 10-20 minutes. I had to gather all the inner peace and calmly reasoned with him. Luckily he quickly came around and we made it to the airport in time.



Day One  (3/21/16)

It's already almost 3AM when we arrived at Best Western Orlando Gateway Hotel. We got up around 8:30AM, freshened up, had breakfast, took the 10AM shutter bus to the park.


































We were so glad we got the Express Pass! Admittedly, $90 per person (does not include admission) was quite expensive, but wait time for Express line was at most 15 minutes, versus regular line: 45 - 120 minutes. We waited 30-40 minutes at the Minion ride though (the ride broke down), but were compensated with Express Pass for the Gringotts ride! Fyi, the two big Harry Potter rides (Gringotts and Forbidden Journey) do not offer Express line, so it was very nice to bypass the long queue there like some VIP :D The ride wasn't very impressive though, we liked the Mummy ride better. 

We got back at the hotel around midnight. I went straight back to the room to rest as I'd been having rather bad headache since evening. I thought WSK was at the lobby to get shutter bus pass for tomorrow but he didn't show up until half an hour later— with Advil and some snacks from Walgreens. Aww



Day Two  (3/22/16)

The hotel only gave out bus pass for the shutter in the morning, and the passes for 9AM already ran out so we decided to use Uber. Turned out it only took 10 minutes car ride to get there from our hotel, only cost $7, and way more comfortable than squeezing in the shutter bus with families for 30-40 minutes!





I couldn't shake off this feeling that my outfit and hairdo resembled a particular Japanese character. Now I finally figured out who I was reminded of: Misa Misa in Death Note!





























Since we already did almost all the rides in both parks (previous visit + yesterday), we decided to just walk around, watch shows and play with our interactive wands. It was a smart move to have bought our wands the night before when the park was closing! We spent most of the day in The Wizarding World so we passed by the wand shops many times, and each time there was a long line outside the shop. 

HERE is how the interactive wand works if you're interested. I researched ahead, so I knew that the most effective way was to point at the sensors and wave slowly with small wrist movements. It was harder at Hogsmeade spell locations, because it was almost impossible to see where they incorporated the sensors to the already existing display windows, but staffs were around to assist and tell us where exactly to point our wands at. I discovered by chance that the assigned patterns didn't really matter! Pointing straight at the sensors or randomly flicking seemed to work just fine. I also knew about some off-map secret locations to cast spells because I did my homework :D

I chose Fleur Delacour's wand which was quite aesthetic and very nice to hold. Kit chose Severus Snape's wand for Kylie Trinh Tran (sold to her after our trip). The wands are made of resin.

Had a brief squabble with WSK. Saw it coming because travelling with him was never the smoothest thing in the world anyway... not bad la, two days in, only one small fight.

Okay you know how for most phones and cameras, after switching to video mode from the default camera mode, you have to press a button to start recording? This isn't the case for my HTC Desire Eye: there is no "start recording" button, recording automatically starts the moment you activate the video mode. WSK wasn't familiar with my phone (we don't play with each other's devices), therefore when I passed my phone to him and asked him to record me casting spell, my instruction was "once you hit the video icon, it starts recording." Straightforward and clear.

No fucking idea why he interpreted what I said as "press and HOLD to record video". Of course nothing was being recorded until he let go and passed back the phone to me. I wasn't even mad at first, I asked him what exactly he did and explained very patiently. He got defensive quickly, insisted I told him to press and HOLD. That pissed me off so bad because I DIDN'T EVEN MENTION THE WORD "HOLD"???

I sternly told him don't cibai, then he changed tactic and argued that the way I said "once you hit the video icon, it starts recording" gave him the impression that he's supposed to "hold".


Some more asked me to "learn to give clear instruction with simple language". What species of pokemon is this rare specimen can the Universe tells me how to effectively communicate with him???.....



Other highlights of the day:
  • I LOVE Knockturn Alley for its macabre vibe! Of the entire Wizarding World, Knockturn Alley felt the most HarryPotter-esque to me.
  • We took Hogwarts Express twice (Diagon Alley ➝ Hogsmeade, then Hogsmeade ➝ Diagon Alley) to experience the two different journeys (different effects on the window and door).
  • We exchanged $20 muggle bill for a Gringotts bank note and used it to purchase merchandise. 
  • We had lunch at Leaky Cauldron and dinner at Three Broomstick. The food was good!



Day Three  (3/23/16)

We arrived at the park around 7:30AM (early admission) and did the Minion ride we didn't get to do on Day One. No queue, no crowd! Perfect for spell-casting— didn't have to line up behind families with small children or watch out for muggles who came out of nowhere and blocked the sensors.





WSK always told me my face swells up round like an egg when I pout. I finally get what he meant hahaha.
Unconsciously pouting because didn't know how to dial this shit.  #veryfail

WSK took this photo. Great composition! And how did my face shape become like that I don't even!
The bus attendant's comment: "The muggle struggle is real."



















WSK and I were popping Advil yesterday and today. We both got headache after high speed rides, which was weird as we didn't have this problem last time. I got this crazy headache and nausea after Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit I had to lie down while waiting for Advil to kick in. WSK looked it up while I rested, said it was common since roller coaster literally shakes your brain, plus I might have tensed up and unknowingly held my breath the entire ride.

In fact, I was very reluctant to go on the roller coaster in the first place because I worried that it malfunctioned and caused my death (although I knew it's very unlikely), but later I saw safety nets underneath, so I debated with myself and figured I probably wouldn't die even if it malfunctioned? At most sustain injuries? But could get large amount of monetary compensation so not so bad la hor wtf.

Ended up I closed my eyes the entire ride like I did on Dragon Challenge 3 years ago lololol. I only found out how the ride was like after watching this POV video. My heart raced just from watching the video wtf. Kudos to myself surviving the ride, at least I can say I ticked one item off my bucket list y'all.

Btw, I just looked it up again while drafting this, and guess what? Apparently, roller coaster can cause a form of brain injury called subdural hematoma. ԾДԾ bye no one can talk me onto any roller coaster anymore knn.

We got our caricature done, check out the video to see! I think the artist captured all the small details of WSK's facial features, very spot on! But why he so racist drew me with sepet eyes? ▼皿▼#

We left the park at 2PM and went back to the hotel to pick up our luggage, then headed to the airport.

Even though I wore sneakers this time, my legs and feet still hurt for 3 days after the trip. ಠ_ಠ

Okay abrupt end.



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