Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Time Changes Things...

Time truly changes things. It just does. The events today were a definite showing of just how well time can do when given a chance.

It was Orlando Pride today. The parade, the festival, the vendors, the speakers... everything Pride. Today.

And I got to bring kids. Seriously. I brought my daughter but she's no stranger to Pride events. She attended her first at a mere three months old in Atlanta. She's been to quite a few since then, even if we don't go every year.

Even more remarkable was that we got to bring her boyfriend with us. And another friend. These parents didn't bat an eye at the idea of me taking their 13 and 14 year old kids to Pride. Not a flinch.

But when I was 13... I didn't know what Pride events were. I remember "sneaking" to my first one when I was in high school here in Orlando when it was at a small park off of Red Bug Road in Casselberry... for all of Orlando. It was just a picnic back then but I'm sure I wasn't forthright in telling my parents where I was going. I'm sure I said I was just out with friends. I remember the lift in the parking lot area and the police were video taping the cars in the lot. We all swore that it was so they could run the plates so they could know who the gays were. It wasn't unheard of at that point. Even my high school had a list of the gay folks just in case they needed to know, you know, because we stirred up oh so much trouble.

But thankfully things have changed.

For the better.

I mean, just look at these kids having a good time at Orlando Pride. I'll take that any day.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Day at Harry Potter World!

Okay, okay. It's not called Harry Potter World but it is now such a HUGE part of Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure theme parks. In fact, that is really all I even cared about seeing. The rest of the gang had much more on their lists for the day but really, the new Happy Potter area in Universal Studios was the first stop.

We got their bright and early and hiked our way over to the new area and looked at the Knight Bus and fountain outside of King's Cross station. I was in awe already. Luckily I really hadn't seen or heard much about how the new area was set up so I had no idea that when I walked the other side of a plain brick wall I would stand there with my jaw dropped open. Seriously amazed and awestruck!

The dragon on top of Gringott's even breaths fire about every ten minutes or so. Awesome! The Gringott's ride was thrilling and fun as well, so much so that we rode it twice! There are so many little details in this area that I could stay for hours looking in the stores, walking through Knockturn Alley, buying a wand to use on all the windows and displays, people watching and eating crazy food. Yep, you can get Butterbeer here as well as Butterbeer ice cream! Chocolate chili ice cream and Earl Gray and Lavender ice cream are both choices as well. Add a few beers that are made just for the park as well as the specialty candies and such and you're set with treats for the day.

Don't forget to take a ride on the train to the Islands of Adventure side of Harry Potter World. But, plan on riding it both ways since it's different each direction.

Once you get to the other side the view changes and it is just as wonderful. On that side you have the rides for Hogwarts and the dragon roller coasters, both large and small. There are many things to see on this side as well, but it has been there for about 4 or 5 years now so the wow factor really goes to the Universal Side for today!

And don't forget there is more than just Harry Potter World to explore at Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios! We even caught up with some cute, green aliens on the set of Men in Black!

Happy Exploring!