Thursday, 25 February 2016

25th February 2016

Another trip to the temple - in fact, several. I didn't actually go in this time, we just went to the distribution centre and bought two sets of scriptures which Gwen and Harley had asked to us get. We then dropped them off at the LDS bookstore down the road to get them engraved, and headed for Universal Studios.

Unfortunately as we followed our usual route to the Universal car park we found the lane we needed coned off, and had to continue on I-4 and go back to Westgate. I stopped at reception at Westgate to ask why the park seemed to be closed, by the woman on the theme parks desk not only didn't speak much English, but had no idea.

It was a lucky that we did go home, because once connected to Westgate's wifi again I was able to message Gwen and tell her I'd bought her scriptures and they were being engraved that afternoon. She told me I'd bought the wrong ones. She wanted medium brown, and I'd bought small black. Having spent $67 on them, we hightailed it back to the bookshop, arriving just as the engraver was measuring up the first set of scriptures. Gwen's remained sealed in the packet, so we were able to take them back to the Temple and get a refund of our $67, but no medium brown. We then went back to the bookshop again to collect Harley's scriptures which look very nice with his name embossed in gold on the front.

I love the Orlando Florida temple - and the LDS bookshop a mile away - but having been to both three times in the last two days I'm happy to leave it several years before the next visit.
Following our finding of the shop called
"Ceridwen's Cauldrons", this one is
called "Sumatra Hari World of Dance".

It was 2.30 p.m. at this point, and we decided to try Universal again. This time I noticed that the arrow on an overhead gantry sign was pointing in a different direction, so we followed it to a different car park than usual, and this time we were able get into both the car park and the theme park. Evidently the first car park had been full, and we hadn't noticed that the sign had changed.

I mentioned in a previous post that I hate roller coasters, and I was pleased to note that there are fewer than I remembered. Roderic commented too that there seems to be a big change happening in theme parks - well, Universal at least - in that virtual rides are abounding, and real roller coasters are getting fewer. It's easy to understand why, too. A virtual roller coaster takes up less space, is easier to build, is less dangerous, can carry more people at one time, and it's much, much better in terms of the variety it can offer. I did two in Universal today. The first one, Spiderman, had us sitting in a carriage a lot like a roller coaster, but with 3D glasses on. We seemed to swing and dive and hurtle around the city helping Spiderman round up the bad guys. Except that of course, we didn't. We were actually on a small length of rail, and the carriage moved only a short distance while the images were projected on screens around us.

Here's the thing: I knew this so I wasn't scared. I am terrified of heights, but even as I seemed to be freefalling fifty feet down a building I knew that I was only a foot or two off the floor, and the wind in my face was being blown through vents, while the view of the ground hurtling towards me was on a screen.

Hari meets the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang students.
I did the Harry Potter Escape from Hogwarts ride too, and that was amazing. The seat felt a little more like a roller coaster (my feet were hanging in the air), and we seemed to swoop and soar over Hogwarts, through a Quidditch match, and under the whomping willow, with all the associated juddering and swooshing. It was exhilarating and wonderful, but it wasn't a roller coaster and so I didn't scream once. In fact, it takes your photograph partway round, and I was actually smiling. Compare this with Goofy's Barnstormer at Disney World which I did a few years ago. It's a children's roller coaster, and I screamed my head off all the way round and embarrassed my children.

Great work Universal! Dismantle all those old-fashioned roller coasters. Virtual is the way of the future.

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