It's the last week of July here in Central Florida. So - what a surprise - it's
If you're looking to beat the heat during your next Orlando vacation,
might I suggest that you employ a little psychology? As in: It might seem
cooler outside if you deliberately went to part of a theme park that at least
looked like it should be cooler. Case in point: The snow-covered rooftops of
Hogsmeade Village at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Copyright 2010 Universal Studios. All rights reserved
Okay, so this ridiculously popular addition to Universal's Islands of Adventure
kind of redefines crowded right now. But none of that's going to matter once
you down your first icy sip of frozen Butter Beer.
And do you know where the very best place is to sample this
witch's brew? Why, inside of the Hog's Head Pub, of course. Which is directly
adjacent to the Three Broomsticks Restaurant.
And as you sit inside this richly themed environment,
savoring your Butter Beer as well as that blissfully strong air conditioning,
make a point of looking up. And what do you see? The ceiling of a 16th
century English tavern. But you know what you don't see? Any air conditioning
ducts and/or electrical wiring.
Alan Gilmore, art director of The Wizarding World of HarryPotter at Universal's Island of Adventure. Copyright 2010 Universal Studios. All rights reserved
All of that stuff that you typically see whenever you look
up at the ceiling on a modern-day bar or restaurant has deliberately been hidden
away by Stuart Craig, the production designer of the "Harry Potter" films, and
Alan Gilmore, the art director of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Their
ultimate goal here was authenticity. As in: When you step through the Hogsmeade
arch and then see the Hogwarts Express happily puffing away, you've left the
Muggle world behind. Which is why all reminders of what today's human world is
like had to be carefully hidden away.
Which brings us again to the snow-covered rooftops of
Hogsmeade Village. Given that -- in the three times that Hogsmeade has appeared
in "Harry Potter" motion pictures (i.e. 2004's "Prisoner of Azkaban," 2007's
"Order of the Phoenix" and 2009's "Half-Blood Prince" -- this village has
always been seen under a blanket of white ... Well, that's why Craig &
Gilmore insisted that the theme park version of
Hogsmeade Village had to look that way as well.
Besides ... What better way is there to get across the idea
that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a truly magical place than to have Hogsmeade
Village maintain its snow cover in the middle of a blisteringly hot
Central Florida summer?
Photo by Jim Hill
Mind you, if you really do need to cool off after dealing
with all the crowds & the lines that you'll typically find at The Wizarding
World these days, might I suggest a trip of Disney's Blizzard Beach?
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
This 66 acre water park features a melting ski resort theme.
So - as you wander around, sampling all 22 of Blizzard Beach's water slides -
you'll come across all sort of snow-covered structures. Take - for example -- Mount
Gushmore. Which - given that it has an elevation
of 90 feet -- makes Gushmore the fifth highest point in all of Florida.
You'll find ice-covered eye candy wherever you look inside of
Blizzard Beach. From this water park's snow-castle-themed kiddie play area all
the way up to the top of Summit Plummet. Which is this terrifying water slide
that will send you hurtling down a faux ski slope at 60 MPH.
If you're just not up for dealing with thrills while you're trying to chill out,
might I suggest grabbing an inner tube and then going for a leisurely float
down Cross Country Creek? Which is Blizzard Beach's "lazy river" attraction.
This slow-moving, 3,000 foot-long attraction will give you ample opportunities
to lay back and relax. Just watch out for that frigid water that comes dripping
down from the ceiling whenever you float through that melting ice cave.
In short ... Thanks to Harry Potter and/or all of that chilled
H2O you'll find flowing through Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park, there are
plenty of ways to stay cool during a summer vacation in Central Florida.
Of course, if it's the high prices - rather than the high
temperatures - that are making you think twice about visiting Walt Disney World
and the Universal Orlando Resort this year, might I suggest visiting Orlando
Fun Tickets? Which has all sorts of discounted admissions material for Central