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Chill out this summer by visiting Universal & Disney's winter-themed attractions

Chill out this summer by visiting Universal & Disney's winter-themed attractions

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It's the last week of July here in Central Florida. So - what a surprise - it's hot outside.

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.


Copyright 2010 Universal Studios. All rights reserved

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.


Copyright 2010 Universal Studios. All rights reserved

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 Harry
Potter 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.


Copyright 2010 Universal Studios. All rights reserved

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.


Copyright 2010 Universal Studios. All rights reserved

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.


Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

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.


Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

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.


Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

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.


Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

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 Florida's attractions.

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  • I went there in 2010, because of this blog here. I still remember reading about these attractions on this blog back in 2010 and then I went to the park. I had a blast and it was an incredible experience for me.

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