Wednesday, November 24, 2010


We spent last weekend at the Walt Disney World Resorts in Orlando, while I went to the NCTE conference.  While there I got some free books, saw Gary Paulsen, had the line to meet Gary Paulsen cut off right in front of me, and did a lot of people watching.  English teachers are a curious bunch.

We also spent two nights walking around Downtown Disney, which is surprisingly adult and interesting.  Nora designed a T-shirt, and we ate twice at Cooke's of Dublin, a fantastic fish and chips shop.

Probably the highlight of the trip was going to Universal Studios Islands of Adventure, where of course they have the new addition The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  This was the only reason we paid the $80+ each to get in to Islands of Adventure, but we did manage to walk around some of the other mini-parks there, and Nora rode a few additional rides.

We went to Wizarding World on the 19th, the day the movie was released in theatres, so it was a bit packed.  It's also a bit small, and there are only 3 rides -- only 2 of which I went on.  Still, Hogsmeade and Hogwarts were really cool to walk around, and the shops were interesting.  There was a great long line for Dervish & Banges, which I checked out while Nora road the Dragon Challenge roller coaster.  It was packed with people and full of useless bric-a-brac.

The ride that took you through Hogwarts was really cool, though I did get motion sickness about halfway through.  It's part simulation with screens, and part jerky, whirly ride through darkened horrorscapes.  It was great fun until the quidditch match left me trying to keep my stomach down.  The line for the ride trails through Hogwarts, and there are several really high quality holograms of Dumbledore, Harry, Ron, and Hermione.  You also trail through several classrooms and a hall of moving paintings.

The best part, however, was the food and drinks.  We had pumpkin juice--fantastic--and butterbeer, of course--also good.  For lunch Nora had half a rotisserie chicken and I had a smoked turkey leg--hands down the best turkey I have ever eaten in my life.  The skin was crisp and slightly chewy, with a salty ham-like flavor, and the inside was moist and delicious. I still think about that turkey leg, and I don't feel bad at all for having eaten it. [For those who don't know, I very rarely eat meat of any kind, and it had been weeks since I'd eaten anything other than fish]

We've been back a few days in TN now, and will be splitting Thanksgiving between Nora's family and mine.  I haven't seen my brother for over 15 months, so I'm glad he'll be there.  It should be a good weekend.

Hope your Thanksgiving is lovely, and full of food and cheer, and relaxing in the extreme.

Until next time,

Eat well and travel safely.

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