A blog about general entertainment, fashion, and movies. And some random stuff too.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Movie Review: Inception

Just like most everyone else, whose review I've glanced through, I had to see Inception at least twice before I even thought about starting my review. I also thought of waiting until I see it a third time, tomorrow, but I decided to go ahead with it. My general impressions will be the same, regardless of how much more of the mystery I can uncover by further viewings.

Going into this movie, I didn't know what to expect. I knew the cast was stacked pretty deep with wonderful actors, that Nolan was directing and had written the script, and that from the looks of the trailers it was more than likely going to blow my mind. But I didn't know what the plot was really about and what kind of story it was going to try to tell. I went in with a very open mind, trusting and believing that Nolan would never let me down, and my faith was rewarded. Inception was fantastic in pretty much every way.

I always love the way Nolan casts his movies and how he enjoys reusing some people over and over, like Ken Watanabe and Michael Cain. And, I suppose, Cillian Murphy can be counted too! But I also love that he finds new talent and new ways to use it. I think the casting of Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon Levitt was so interesting and wonderful. Both are doing a role that the general public (general as in most, as I understand that both have done roles similar to these that their biggest fans have seen) are not used to seeing them in, and yet seem to fill them perfectly. I also think part of my adoration for Page's part is that I love her character's interaction with Leo's character so much. Ariadne was a character that Cobb needed, but she seemed to me to be such an unlikely character to fill that role. It was very unique and, in my opinion, sweet. Plus, what a role of a life time to play side by side with Leonardo Dicaprio? (I'm really trying hard to keep my fan-girl at bay, here.)

Which leads me to Mr. Dicaprio's performance. Of course he did a great job. I don't know that I've seen a performance where I didn't think that about him. He's just a fantastic actor all around. Leo has played characters like this many times: tortured with guilt, can't escape the past even as he's trying to, and with some sort of family tragedy that's completely shaped him. Sounds a little like Shutter Island's Teddy to me. I thought that this Inception role wasn't as good for him, as far as Oscar nominations go, as his role in Shutter Island but he still knocked it out of the park as Cobb.

No one can review this movie and not talk about the amazing visuals. creating a dream world can't be an easy thing to do, especially for a director like Nolan who doesn't use CGI ever, unless it's the very last resort. So the fact that this movie looks so dream-like, and yet uses the least amount of CGI possible is amazing. And not only that, but the way he was able to capture the true feel of dreams itself really impressed me. I've had dreams where I've tried to recreate them through writing or explaining them the next day, and yet there was no way I could. And yet Nolan was able to put an image on the screen that depicts similar moments that I've felt in my dreams with no trouble (though I'm sure, with lots of hard work)! Amazing.

What really blew my mind was the entire concept of the dream within the dream, and how what could be happening in one dream will affect the other dream. And also, how time is so different in a dream. Blew my mind, and yet it's something we already know. We dream for what seems forever, and we wake up and we've only been asleep for 15 minutes. Nolan just brought that to the screen and made it seem tangible.

It's something that I would have never in my life thought of or wondered about, until now. Now, that Nolan has made dreams into this logical reality on screen. It's so amazing and refreshing to know that in a world filled with movies based on remakes, tv shows, and regurgitated romance stories, etc... there is still a director who is writing fresh, unique scripts, with amazing depth and insight. I think one of my favorite parts for sure was the fight the Joseph Gordon Levitt has as the hotel is flipping and he actually fights this guy on the walls and ceiling! And this is happening to the dreamworld because the dreamer is in a van that's flipping. Mind. Blown. I love it.


Which brings me to the part where we have to talk about theories and interpretations. After seeing it and reading a few articles and talking to all my friends about the possibilities, I have come up with my own interpretation of this film. Many people have tried to convince me that Cobb, at the end of the movie, is actually stuck in a dream. I don't believe that. I don't think that he was trapped. I think he found his way home, in the REAL world. I'll explain why.

Now, I read this amazing article (click to check it out!), that actually argues not only that Cobb is stuck in a dream at the end, but that the ENTIRE movie is a dream from beginning to end. I don't agree with that part at all, but this article also points out a fantastic allegory of film-making that this movie may portrays. He says that this movie is about how Nolan makes movies, and each character represents a part of the movie-making process. Cobb is the director (Leo based his performance on Nolan, he said), Arthur (JGL) is the producer, Ariadne (the architect) is the screen-writer, the chemist is the techie, Tom Hardy's character is the actor, and Cillian Murphy's character (the man they are trying to convince of these dreams, or the 'movie') is the audience. It's a wonderful idea, and it fits perfectly, and I rather enjoy believing that Nolan is really telling the story of what it means to him to make movies. The article also points out that Mal (Marion Cotillard, who is frighteningly beautiful in this film) represents what Nolan as a director brings in of himself to a film. Because Mal sabotages most everything Cobb tries to accomplish, it seems Nolan views a director bringing himself into a piece as a bad thing, which the article points out as unique, and that most directors may have written Mal as what helps Cobb succeed, instead. This is an interesting look at the kind of director Nolan is/hopes to be.

From all this, the article explains that the message Nolan is trying to show in Inception is that the catharsis a person feels from a dream is just as true as the catharsis that can be felt from a movie as the catharsis that can be felt in real life. I absolutely loved this idea. If you know me at all, you know that I believe in this, especially as a fantasy nerd. A world or story doesn't have to be real to create real emotion and healing, because those emotions you feel are real. Even if you are yearning for or missing a character that doesn't exist, even if you wish you could go to a place that isn't real, even if you have some sort of real healing because you can relate to a story that never happened, all of those feelings and revelations REALLY happened. In this way, the article is saying that even if Cob IS lost in a dream world at the end, it isn't a tragedy, because the joy he feels at the end is real.

That's where I disagree with that article, obviously, because I believe he made it out. I saw this movie last night with a few of my friends, and one of them had read another article about Inception (click to see!) that talked about some other observations I hadn't thought about. One of the key things was that the top was not Cobb's totem, but it was his wedding ring. When he's in a dream world (and we watched for this last night) he's wearing it, when he's in reality, he doesn't. In fact, Cobb never even says what his totem is. It's clever editing that makes the viewer assume that the top is Cobb's totem, but he never says that the top is his totem or what object is instead. Spinning the top isn't about checking reality. Spinning the top is an action of guilt, maybe to remind himself of what he did, or the last piece of Mal he has in the physical world, but it's not his totem. (This last thought was brought to you by my husband.)

I suggest looking over this 2nd article to gain more evidence of this, because it is wonderfully put together and makes it pretty clear that this wedding-ring theory is onto something. For example, he compiled this list:
  • "On the train before Saito wakes up. No Ring.
  • All of Mombasa. No Ring.
  • Yusuf’s basement, after dropping his totem. No Ring.
  • Paris workshop . No Ring.
  • Aridane’s first experience with Dream sharing. Wedding Ring.
  • First Class cabin scene. No Ring.
  • ALL of the inception. Wedding Ring.
  • Final scene of the film. No Ring."
This was no accident that Nolan had Cobb wearing his ring in some scenes but not others. It absolutely means something, and since a totem is supposed to be something that's specific to you, that only you know that weight and feel of... what is more personal than your wedding ring? It's right to assume that this must be Cobb's. Also, this same article even has a screen cap of IMDB, where it shows that they cast 2 different sets of children to play Cobb's kids because they age 2 years, from Cobb's dream version of them to when he comes home at the end. Like the article says, why cast 2 new kids unless it's important to show that time has elapsed?

And to further disprove the idea that the ENTIRE thing is a dream, I'd have to say there is just TOO much logic for it all to have taken place inside a dreamworld. The way time is effected and played out within each dreamworld, the exactness required to make sure they all reach the kick, the way JGL's character was affected by the gravity and lack there of... etc. I just don't see how all of this LOGIC, albeit dream logic, could have been dreamt up the entire time by Cobb, while he's off doing other things. No. I really believe there was a true reality in this movie. And that at the end, Cobb finally reaches it.

Overall, I obviously loved this movie. It's another of Nolan's wonderful pieces, and in my opinion, is one of his best so far. I can't wait to continue to follow his career and see what other great works he comes up with! Oh, and please keep using Hans Zimmer. The Inception score is TOTAL WIN.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

HP World Entry Part 3: FOOD

This is Part 3 of a 3 part series post! This one will be about the delicious food. Post #1 can be found here! And post 2 can be found here!

Now Justin's favorite part of the park was the food. Particularly The Three Broomsticks. It was absolutely a close 2nd for me, just after The Forbidden Journey. We went to The Three Broomsticks 3 of the 4 days we were in the parks, so you can imagine how much we loved eating there. But I'll get to that last, because it is the best!

The first thing we did once we were in the HP part of the park on the first day was head to a place to get some Butterbeer. I've ALWAYS always wanted to try the real thing. In fact, my friend Rocky and I have tried multiple times to make it ourselves using recipes from Mugglenet, etc. (Ours were never very good, no matter how hard we tried.) So we headed to the Hogshead, which is actually the bar part of The Three Broomsticks. Since The Wizarding World is a compact area, they connected the two restaurants from the books into one, but they didn't sacrifice anything from either, so don't worry. At the Hogshead you can order all kinds of drinks from non-alcoholic ciders like pear and apple, to a special Hogshead brew that you can only get at the Hogshead! If you order the Hogshead brew you also have the choice to buy a souvenir cup with the Hogshead face on it. Justin did this out last night, so we got this cup. He also said the beer was really good, and it tasted like Cillian's.

When you order Butterbeer, you have a choice between a soda form or a frozen form. I always chose the frozen form because it's like a cross between a frappe and a slurpie, and it's SO creamy and delicious! And it especially helps in a hot summer day when you're crowded around hundreds of people. Justin always liked the soda form of it. Either way it was always GREAT. And the best part is that they have a froth machine, so no matter how you order it, they top it off with genuine Butterbeer froth. You also have the choice to order it in a souvenir glass, and Justin and I both did that... so we have two.

Butterbeer tastes like you always imagined it would.. now I know that might mean something a little different to everyone, but it really is PERFECT. It's got butterscotch taste to it, but it's not too sweet, it's smooth... it's just the best thing ever... and I wish there had been a way to bring it home so I could let all my friends taste it. The best part is if you ask any of the workers for a straw, they give you a hard time about it, because the rule is if you don't have a froth mustache, you aren't drinking it correctly. In fact, they playfully hassled Justin and I both times we asked and only gave in when we told them it was because mine was frozen. Once, the conductor of the Hogwarts Express came over to me and said I needed a mustache because I was being too careful, hah!

Justin and his soda Butterbeer, and me and my mustache.

Another interesting drink they had that you could buy at a vendor while walking around was Pumkin Juice. It's in a cute little bottle and the lid is shaped like a pumpkin, and as confused as we were about what it might taste like, we were intrigued as well. So we bought one to try it out (also to keep the bottle), and it was surprisingly awesome! It was strange to me to imagine that pumpkin juice could be refreshing and good, while at the same time, actually tasting like pumpkins... but somehow they pulled it off. It was sort of like pumpkin pie smooshed down into juice and then bottled... if you can imagine that. You could smell the spices, like cinnamon, in the drink, and it was a really great balance. To be honest, Pumpkin Juice was the biggest surprise of the trip! I would have never thought I would like to try pumpkin juice, let alone enjoy an entire bottle, and yet, Potter World found a way to do it and do it well.

Now for the finale. The Three Broomsticks was certainly a trip! The same man I met who helped to develop The Forbidden Journey ride also knew some trivia about The Three Broomsticks. Apparently, the restaurant at the theme park was built before they started shooting the 6th movie, The Half-Blood Prince, and so the movie based their Three Broomsticks off of the theme park one. The one we got to eat at is actually the ORIGINAL. That was really neat to find out. AND we got to sit, 2 of the 3 times we went there, right in about the same location as Harry, Ron, and Hermione sit in the 6th movie when Ron catches Ginny kissing her boyfriend from across the room. I checked to see it the same booth Ginny was sitting in was across from where we were sitting because I was interested how close the movie got it, and it was there! It was exactly the same!

When you walk in, you have to wait in line, but they have a GREAT menu. The food is all very good. I did get a different thing each time I went there, so I tried 3 different entrees. It was easy to see which I would like because they have an actual display of all their dishes as you wait in line, so you can see what you'd be interested in! I ordered the roasted chicken the first time, fish and chips the second time, and sheapard's pie the last time. All of the meals were delicious! My favorite was the roasted chicken... namely because it comes with a whole husk of corn and looks very wizardy... for some reason... hah!

But to be completely honest, the reason Justin and I loved The Three Broomsticks the most was not because of the food, or even the Butterbeer. It was the atmosphere and the experience of the place! It really FELT, the most out of anywhere in the entire park, like we were in Hogsmeade, and this was really the world of Harry Potter. The first time we ate there, and the adorable people behind the counter dressed as Hogsmeade employees handed me my tray, I teared up. NO LIE. I know that seems like I am a complete and utter nerd with no grasp on reality... but it was so special to me. This is a world I love so much and I never imagined that I could ever experience, but in that place, I really felt like I was. And it was so awesome! Not only is the architecture fantastic, but the attitude of the workers and everything brings it all together.

At night, we found, was the best time to be at The Three Broomsticks. Most everyone starts to clear out so we were some of the last people to be there, and it all looks much more like a wizard's pub. Plus, it's at night that the little hallways above you (because it's also an Inn, apparently) have projections on the walls to make it look like the windows are opening and owls are flying in and delivering mail!

Bahah, we got a little photo-bombed in this picture. But we're HAPPY!!

Needless to say the entire trip was one of the best of my entire life. And the fact I got to share it with my husband who loves Harry Potter as much as I do was completely priceless. This is a littl3 blurb I wrote in the summer 2007 after seeing the 5th movie, Order of the Phoenix, with Justin:

"It was fun going out tonight with Justin and seeing this movie. While we were watching it and holding hands in the theater, I couldn't help but look over at him and feel that we wouldn't be where we are if it hadn't been for Harry Potter. It sounds funny, but if the 6th book hadn't come out the summer that we had met, and if we hadn't sped through it and found that we were the only people in the entire store (being the first two to finish) who could talk to each other about it, we would have never become friends or fallen in love. Yeah, I know we would have found common ground elsewhere, more than likely, but the fact is we didn't. Harry has a lot to do with how we began, and so he's really special to us both. It's just really neat how things like that can play a part in the larger story."

Harry Potter has continued to bring me joy and memories, and I know it won't end here, especially because we're already trying to plan our return trip to this theme park! I highly suggest it to all of you guys as well! Thanks for reading.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

HP World Entry Part 2: The Rides!

This is Part 2 of a 3 part series post! This one will be about the awesome rides. Stay tuned for much more (and maybe more exciting stuff) in post 3! Post #1 can be found here!
Now for the RIDES!!! I am beyond excited to talk about the rides of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter because my #1 favorite thing about my experience there was The Forbidden Journey. The Forbidden Journey is a ride that is inside the castle of Hogwarts! Not only do you have to walk up to the castle, but in order to get to the ride, you have to wait in line inside the castle! And on your way, you going throughout and see important parts of the castle from the movie! It was THE BEST ever! I couldn't believe how perfect and real everything was!


Now the first day we got there, it was late afternoon and so it was completely packed from entrance to exit with people. What we decided to do first was just take a look around, and as we approached Hogwarts Castle (and my heart stopped from the sheer shock of my reality, hah!) we were told that there was a line to left just for a tour of the inside! So instead of having to wait in line for an hour and a half to see everything and then ride, we got to go into a different line and see the castle with no waiting, and no rush to take pictures! It was beyond amazing.

If you plan to ride the ride, there were a few things we picked up on during our time at the parks. The line that seems to pour out of the front of the castle is not for the ride. It's actually a line to get a locker to put your bag in before you ride. They make you get a locker if you have a bag because you can't hold anything on the ride, so if you DON'T have a bag, you can skip that part of the line and go straight in! Unfortunately, I had a bag the whole time. However, we found a short cut around waiting in the locker line. It occurred to Justin on the last day we were at the parks.

The ride empties you out into a gift shop at the back of the castle, but inside the shop there is also a door to the right that allows you to go where the lockers are to get your stuff back after you ride. Justin mentioned to me that if we went to the back of Hogwarts, instead of waiting in line at the front, and entered through the gift shop, maybe we could wander into the lockers, put our stuff in there, and jump into the actual ride line. It WORKED. TWICE. And then we realized that if we ride it and get our stuff out of the lockers, we could immediately get another locker (there is a time limit so you would have to get a new locker to start your time over) and hop right back into the ride line instead of waiting! And there is absolutely NO WAY for the poor people who work there to regulate this. So there's a tip for those of you planning on going out there. We felt bad... but not completely. The line for the ride was still really long, once we got in it, haha.

Anyways, as for the details of the ride itself, it's phenomenal. It combines virtual reality screens and actual ride interaction. You sit down in these seats and are locked in, 4 to a bench, and it lifts you up and carries you around like a big arm/wrist/hand. It sticks you into the screens and you feel like you are following Harry through Hogwarts and around the grounds, and then takes you out of the screens and there are actual things happening around you. The dragon blows fire in your face, spiders from the Forbidden Forrest chase you (the pic is of this, even though they told me I couldn't have my camera...sneaked it!), Dementors try to kiss you, AND the Whomping Willow tries to smash you! PLUS, at one point, it takes your picture and actually inserts YOUR face into the ride. When the Dementors try to get you, there is a smoke screen above him with all the riders' in your bench faces (including your own) projected in the smoke, so you are really a part of that ride! Then Harry saves you and you end the ride back in the screen where you feel like your in the movie again! It's spectacular. And worth any wait, in my opinion, to feel like you are really a part of the adventure we've been following for years.

The only bad things about this ride, besides how long the line is (but that's just because it's so awesome), is that it can make you a little motion sick if you usual have to deal with that. I am the queen of motion sickness, but I still managed to LOVE this ride, so it isn't something that will ruin your experience, but it's something to be aware of. Also, 3 of the 5 times we rode this ride, it broke down while we were in line. Once it only took them 15 minutes to fix, another time they made everyone leave the line because it was that messed up, and the last time we were 5 people from the front and had to wait 40 minutes in one spot for them to fix the ride. Each time, it was worth the wait, in my opinion, but it does seem to break down often. The thing is, it's very new and it's the most complex piece of machinery on the planet as far as rides go (I met a man who helped create it and he told me all about it!), so it's bound to happen. Just be aware... but it's totally worth whatever it puts you through when you're in there!

Here are more pictures of the tour of the and ride itself!

The part of the line where you wait outside looks like the Herbology green house! There are even Mandrakes! You can see their little faces in the 2nd picture.

Walls from floor to ceiling of portraits! And they move and talk! See that random staircase in the middle of the wall?

The pensieve from Dumbledore's Office! And look... Gryffindor is winning the House Cup so far!

Dumbledore in his office! And it's actually Michael Gambon talking to you!

Harry, Ron, and Hermione come out to explain the ride to you! Ron accidentally makes it snow in the room, and snow really falls from the ceiling!


The other two rides are less interesting and easier to explain than The Forbidden Journey. We rode Flight of the Hippogriff mostly just to get pictures while waiting in line. Hagrid is in charge of this ride, so you hear his voice talking to you as you go through the line, and you get to see Hagrid's hutt! It was adorable, and riding the ride is worth it to get a good picture of Buckbeak, even though the ride itself isn't that impressive. I'd say it is the best ride for the kiddos in Potter World, as the Forbidden Journey is actually very frightening (I covered my eyes for most of it the first time I rode it, haha!), and The Dragon Challenge is a big roller coaster.

Hagrid's hut and Buckbeak in his nest!

His hut was up high on a hill and over a concrete fence, but we broke the rules to get this picture! Sorry, Potter World!


Ok, so Justin and I didn't ride this one. Every time we thought about it we had either just eaten or had just ridden Forbidden Journey, but we did go through the line to take pictures. It's a really cool part of the park! There are mostly artifacts from The Goblet of Fire (see the picture of me with a "Support Potter" banner!), but also a little bit of everything! We got a picture with the enchanted car from the 2nd film! I wish I could tell you more about the ride, but I guess that's something I can save for our next visit! Either way, here are some pictures from the line that we went through!

OH EM GEE the car is out of control!

Shhh! We put an aging charm on it so we can put our name in the Goblet of Fire and participate in the Tournament!

Parts 3 of my HP World blog posts will be coming soon! Part 3 will be about the snacks and food (The Three Broomsticks to be specific; best EVER)! Please stay tuned, because more awesome is yet to come!

Friday, July 23, 2010

HP World Entry Part 1: First Impressions

This is Part 1 of a 3 part series post! This one will be about the general look and feel of the park. Stay tuned for much, MUCH more (and maybe more exciting stuff) in posts 2 and 3!


Just to begin with, for those of you who don't know how much I love Harry Potter... I may need to bring you to speed. I've been to every midnight showing since the 3rd movie (except for the 4th because of college... but I went the very first day!), each midnight book release since the 6th book (and have finished each of the 6th and 7th in their entirety within a day and a half of their releases), and I've read every single book multiple times. I audited a class in my last semester of college that was just about Harry Potter and we studied the entire series. We were sorted into houses (I was in Slytherin, and we WON the house cup! Suck it Gryffindor!) and actually played quidditch one of the class periods. At the end of the semester, we had a Great Feast, and honestly, it was one of my favorite classes of all time. I still have the audio to the discussion from last day in class on a CD that I enjoy listening too from time to time.

So obviously, I can EASILY nerd the heck out about Harry Potter. The same goes for my husband, Justin. In fact, that's how we met. When the 6th book came out, we both worked at the same entertainment store. We both read the book so quickly that no one else around us at work had finished yet, therefore, we were forced to talk to just each other about the book, our reactions and theories... and through that, began a friendship. By the end of that summer we were dating. The rest is history... well except how much we still love Harry Potter. In fact, some of our engagement pics (taken by the awesome BellaPop) were HP themed! Which is why it was the perfect idea for us to go to the new Harry Potter World in Orlando for our first wedding anniversary!


Now, the first time I heard there was going to be a HP World, as you can imagine, I absolutely freaked out. I said in multiple conversations about this place, "I will cry when I get there. I'll just break down." As much as I love the experience of seeing a book I love come to life on screen in a theater, I just knew that I would absolutely lose my crap having it come alive all around me. So driving up to the hotel, it was no surprise to my husband that at first glance of the top of the beautiful castle of Hogwarts, I had a physical, outward reaction. I had to apologize to the driver and the one other passenger for nerding out so severely! But I couldn't help it. There is something about SEEING it in real life, even from far away, that pictures can never capture. Probably the whole being REAL thing that we fantasy freaks aren't used to and never get to experience! Haha.

I don't know if I can explain the feeling of being able to walk through pieces of a world you never thought could exist. Especially Hogwarts, because for me, besides Middle-earth, Hogwarts is the place that I wish the MOST could exist in this world. All you Potter-heads understand. And for those of you who aren't into HP, imagine your favorite movie or song or something like that... and then imagine you get to walk into that thing and experience it that way, all around you, tangibly. There is NOTHING like it!

And so, my impression of The Wizarding World! The genius of the placement of this part of the park is that you have to walk through Suess Landing to get to it. So as you rush through the million babies and their mommies, you are surrounded by this strange cartoon world, and as you keep your eyes on the top of that castle, nothing looks more real in the entire world than Hogwarts. Every time I saw Hogwarts, I just had to stand in awe of it. It's beyond BEAUTIFUL. Therefore, I ended up taking 30 pictures of Hogwarts itself, just because from every angle, it's breathtaking! I very literally could not get enough of it. I just wanted to take the sight in and soak it up as much as I could every time I was near it, to last me for after we had to leave. It is now my iPhone background, just fyi.

OH EM GEE. Hogwarts and us! (We're waiting in line for Olivander's!)

Sheesh, just talking about it gets me all distracted! Back to walking into the HP section. The coolest thing ever was staying at a resort hotel, because it comes with all these amazing perks. Besides being so ridiculously close to the parks you can walk, getting to cut in line to most rides using your keycard, and free water taxi rides to the parks and City Walk, you also get to enter the Wizarding World an hour earlier than the general public and therefore have free reign of Hogsmeade! There are FAR less people there at 7:30 AM than usual... So that is exactly when we went down there. If you plan a trip down there, BOOK A UNIVERSAL RESORT HOTEL. Just do it! It's so worth it!

As we entered Hogsmeade it was the most SURREAL moment ever. This place is SO detailed in every single way possible. We were immediately met by the Hogwarts Express! (If you're wondering about the shirt, I had 4, one for each day of the trip! I'm not just Slytherin!) The conductor was around taking pictures with everyone in front of the train, and there were suitcases with Hogwarts tags on them!

There were no details that this place overlooked. Every shop from the books had a window display stocked with things that we would all recognize, every building was sculpted and built to look exactly like the buildings from the movies, Moaning Myrtle talks to you in the bathroom, you can order a Butterbeer or Pumpkin Juice at a vendor or at the Three Broomsticks, and all the workers are dressed for the part of Hogsmeade/Hogwarts they belong in! It's BRILLIANT.

Crooked chimneys and fake snow!

Extendable Ears! Hermione's dress from the 4th movie.

Not only is the world itself perfectly detailed, but they play the best tracks from all the soundtracks as you walk through the park . Plus, there are a few cute little presentations every hour or so. One is the Frog Choir where a few Hogwarts students and their giant toads sing a set of HP songs. Another is the Durmstrang and Beauxbaton performances from The Goblet of Fire. Plus, there are great spots to take pictures, my favorite being the Azkaban Sirius Black poster. Which moves, by the way! Just like all magical pictures are supposed to do!

Beauxbatons! And Frog Choir time!

Sirius and me. I am pouting because I LOVE him.

I know it's really dumb and expected to say that HP World was 'magical' but it's hard to describe it as anything else. It is truly living a fantasy to walk through that place, which makes it that much harder to leave and have to rejoin the real world. THAT wasn't done so easily, but more on that later. Parts 2 and 3 of my HP World blog posts will be coming soon! Part 2 will be about the rides, (Click on the orange! Which I PROMISE will be the best, more than likely, because I have TONS of pictures of the ride inside Hogwarts, The Forbidden Journey!), and Part 3 will be about the snacks and food (The Three Broomsticks to be specific; best EVER)! Please stay tuned, because the best is yet to come!

BELIEVE ME. The inside of Hogwarts is what I'm REALLY excited to tell you guys about!
See you in the next post! ;)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Potter World Pending

I'm on my way to Potter World at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida tomorrow morning, so I won't be writing my Inception review until I get back Friday... but if you are interested in following my updates about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you can follow my twitter here! I'll be sharing pictures via twitpic. :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair...

I just got back from San Francisco last night around midnight. It was a whirlwind trip and I have to say... it kind of kicked my butt. But the city was beautiful and wonderful. I LOVED it! It was such a switch from Texas. I love this crazy, humid, ridiculously hot part of the world (DFW), but there is something beautiful about a city that stays below 68 degrees even when it's sunny. Also, I love the positivity the city seems to be buzzing with. Every where you turn there were murals, encouraging billboards, and fliers for some sort of charity walk. The feeling of complete cultural acceptance, regardless of what kind of culture it happened to be, was so refreshing. It was a beautiful thing.

Firstly, my friend, Melissa, who I went with, works for the Mansion in Dallas, and therefore we got to stay at another property owned by Rosewood called the Sandhill. It was beautiful and the staff was SO nice. Especially Mia. Whom I know will never find my blog, but just in case, I dropped her name. :)

We had to get up around 4:00 AM to catch our flight out to Cali, so we were pretty tired and HUNGRY, but we were also ready to get into San Francisco and see the Golden Gate Bridge.

So first we ate at Woodside Bakery a few minutes away from the hotel. We got to sit on the patio and we DIDN'T burn to pieces. It was such an adjustment to be able to hang out outside in the middle of July and not feel like bursting in to flames. Nice change.

I ate the best chicken sandwich... and I mean I ate the WHOLE thing because I hadn't eaten since 6 AM, and by this time, it was around noon Cali time... meaning it was 2 my time. Which leads me to the biggest, most embarrassing moment of the trip for me...

On the way into San Francisco, I was helping navigate while Melissa drove, and I got car sick. Now usually when I get motion sickness (something I've always had to deal with my whole life), I can just step out of the car, get some air, and I immediately begin to feel better. However, this time... not the case. We arrived at a park right next to the Golden Gate Bridge, parked, got out, ran to the bathroom to freshen up, and I kept feeling sick. No matter how much air I got, or how much water I sipped, I kept feeling awful but I just pushed it aside because I REALLY wanted to walk to bridge and take pictures. Plus, I didn't want to ruin Melissa's experience of the bridge. So I powered through and we started walking towards the bridge. Just then Melissa asks, "Are you ok now?" As I tried to answer I gagged! She goes, "Did I ask too soon?"


I threw up right there in front of Melissa, the bridge, and the whole world. It was SO embarrassing! I kept trying to move towards the bathroom and I never made it. When I finally could get to the bathroom, I was fine. There was only one working faucet and no soap anywhere that I could find, but I composed myself and still went to the bridge. We just... exited that bathroom on the other side from where I entered as to not run into anyone who may have seen me puke.

Later I tweeted this, and also wondered how many people at the bridge that day also tweeted about seeing me throwing up.

The bridge itself was SO neat. It was draped in fog and it felt very ominous. It was a little overwhelming, but in a good way. Oh yeah, and it was ridiculously windy as you can see in the pictures.

On Saturday, Melissa had her test for Grad School, so she dropped me off in the city and went to the school. So, I got to hang out with Anya, a San Fran local who I had never met before in real life. Anya and I met on Facebook about 4 years ago in a Keira Knightley Fan community. Call us nerds if you will, but we still keep in contact and now we actually got to meet in person, turning our Facebook friendship into the real thing. Plus, it was a fabulously fun day! Anya knows the area well and took me all over the city, places I would've gotten lost trying to find. Especially while trying to ride the buses. Haha! (PS. The first place we walked in together, there was a frame for sale with a picture of Keira in it! It was a sign!)

Sunday was the last day Melissa and I were in San Francisco, so we decided to go into the Financial District and see the City Lights Bookstore. Like I've said before, I majored in English and so this was something VERY special for me! Modern Poetry was one of my favorite classes in college, and we learned all about this establishment and the men that were a part of the movement. This is definitely where I took the most pictures.

Poetry room upstairs!

Ferlinghetti next to the "I am the door" door from the basement... and the actual door in the basement! This was exciting for me.

Then it was time to leave, so I caught this picture of a beautiful building down town as we left.

So long San Fransisco! It was magical, and one day I hope to go back, explore it deeper, and not end up puking in front of hundreds of people. HAH!

Next stop, Potter World, Orlando, Florida! I'll be there next week! Get jealous.