Disney World and Universal: Looking for Mickey and Harry Potter

I have realized that there has been a trend in my travel destinations with my friends in the past couple of years when I became old enough to travel without my parents. There was a bus tour we took to Ottawa, Quebec City, and Montreal – which I had been on with my family. There was the Western Caribbean cruise – which I had been on with my family. There was this trip to Orlando, Florida – which I had been on twice before with my family. I’m starting to wonder if it’s because somehow I feel better having been to the place before. Or if it’s because I was too young the first time I went and need to create new memories that I can actually remember.

Nevertheless, when Jess suggested that we go to Disney World and Universal’s Islands of Adventure during reading week in February 2011, I was up for it. It was out of the blue and it became something of a grad trip for Jess, Mish, and Kwan Ho. I was on a mission, or a sort-of mission. I wanted to take photos with as many characters as possible. Yes, I realize how childish I can be. But we should all be allowed to indulge in our inner child, especially on a trip to Walt Disney World.

Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort

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Our featured movie building: Mighty Ducks! Okay, it might not have been my first choice, especially since I’ve never even seen Mighty Ducks. (I do know that Joshua Jackson was in it though). Regardless, it was a nice and affordable place to stay at for our trip.
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Pongo and Perdita – larger than life. I haven’t seen this movie in so long. It makes me nostalgic.
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101 Dalmatians featuring us. I love how this resort is basically photo-friendly. I wanted photos with almost everything…
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Fantasia. The main pool at the resort, which we did not have time to enjoy since we were out every day that we were there and always got back late. I’m not sure I even brought my swimwear with me.
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Sorcerer Mickey at his best
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Magician’s hat and the enchanted brooms
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Wall of featured movie fame
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All-Star Movies

Animal Kingdom

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We did not get a chance to check in at this point; thus the airport fashion for the rest of this very hot day. And yes, we shall try to “have a wild time.”
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The Tree of Life.
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Finding Nemo The Musical. It was kind of weird. But it’s also really cool how they control those fishes to make them completely in sync with the songs. I was impressed. So were the kids.
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Tigger 🙂
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I really like elephants. That is all.
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Eeyore was trying to kiss Mish, without realizing that he was just headbutting her.
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Rafiki at Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade
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My favourite Disney character: Mickey Mouse, safari style.
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Yes, we’re like long lost friends who have just found each other. Goofy and I.

Magic Kingdom

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Disney balloons. I really like the ones in which there’s a balloon within a balloon.
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A little performance in front of the castle
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Walt Disney, Mickey Mouse, and the castle. Symbols of Disney.
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Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
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Dream Along with Mickey show. One of my favourite shows at Magic Kingdom since it incorporates so many characters into it. Mickey and friends, a few of the princesses, Peter Pan, and Maleficent.
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My Vinylmation collection starts here. Not with this one that’s as tall as me. But I will bring home my first four Vinylmation by the end of this trip.
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Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade
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Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade – I love the expression on Mary Poppins’ face.
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Main Street, U.S.A.
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I really, really wanted a photo with the bundle of balloons. Perhaps a tiny part of me believed that the helium could really lift me off the ground (think UP). Anyways, thank you to the nice woman who let me hold the balloons, even if she couldn’t actually let go because that would be kind of too trusting and silly of her. Despite her cameo in my photo, it’s one of my favourites.
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Night view of the castle; right before the Wishes nighttime spectacular fireworks show.
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Main Street Electrical Parade – Alice and the Cheshire Cat

Hollywood Studios

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I love the iconic Magician’s hat that Mickey wears in Fantasia
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Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure
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Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! parade
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Voyage of The Little Mermaid – Ariel is singing “Part of Your World” here. See the “dingle hopper”?

Epcot

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The icon of Epcot.
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Canada – Trading Post. Yes, this is exactly what represents us here in Canada. I mean, don’t we all have a totem pole in our backyard and trading post on the corner of our streets? Yes, I think Epcot needs to find a better presentation of Canada. Of course, I guess there’s not much to represent us. Maybe the C.N. Tower?
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United Kingdom – The Beatles. Of course.
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France. I did not know at this point that I would see the actual Eiffel Tower in 6 months.
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Morocco. Perhaps the genie is hiding in one of these lamps.
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Outpost. Coca Cola from different parts of the world. I can read the English and Chinese… I wonder what the other languages are.
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China. I wish to see one of these buildings (temples?) in China one day.
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Japan. Purposely kept this night view last. I really like the Japanese architecture. Looks really nice at night time too.

Universal’s Islands of Adventure

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Seuss Landing. This place is so colourful, bizarre and fun. You actually almost feel like you really stepped into a Dr. Seuss storybook.
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Marvel Super Heroes – we found Rogue and Storm. Nothing like girl power.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Honestly? We were ready to skip the rest of Islands of Adventure. But as you needed to get tickets to enter The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we had time to kill. Honestly, aside from Magic Kingdom, this was my favourite part of the trip.

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We are about to set foot into Hogsmeade. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was at this point.
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Hogwarts Express, departing from platform nine and three quarters.
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Zonko’s Joke Shop.
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Honeydukes.
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Hogwarts castle. We’re about to go in for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. This ride is amazing, spectacular, unexpected, surprising, and life-changing. Okay, perhaps not life-changing. But it was definitely the best single-moment experience ever. Even the line up, which goes through the castle, is amazing and you barely even notice the hour wait before you even go on the actual ride. There was a little girl in front of us who was all decked out in Hogwarts robes and clothing, with her wand. And she had brown, bushy hair. She could have been Hermione Jr.
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Getting Butterbeer. I did not get any. But from the others, apparently it tastes just like soda. I don’t think I missed much. But still, I guess it’s a cool experience to have.
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We met a “real” wizard outside of Ollivanders. We struck up a conversation with him as we were waiting to go into Ollivanders. And he was eager to stay in character and talk to us as if we were Muggles. He even pretended not to know certain Muggle inventions.
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Ollivanders. A mini show that they do before you enter the store area. Basically, this younger Ollivander chose a young boy and pretended that he was there to purchase his new wand. It was a little replication of that scene in Harry Potter, where the first few wands are too strong and breaks things. It was a cool thing to see… though I’m not entirely sure that it was worth the wait outside. We could have entered the store from a different door quicker.

It was a really great trip to say the least. I would go back again, for the fourth time. But I have told myself that I wouldn’t. Not until I visit the rest of the Disney theme parks. I managed to go to Disneyland Paris last year as well (see Paris travel diary). Now I still want to go to Disneyland Resort in Los Angeles and Tokyo Disneyland. Also, Shanghai Disney Resort is scheduled to open in 2016. It basically means that I probably won’t return to Walt Disney World until I’m much older. Perhaps my next trip there would be with my own family. Maybe. Unless I can’t resist another trip to Orlando, if only to return to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

And on a final note, a list of characters I took a photo with.
Animal Kingdom: Goofy, Pluto, Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger, Lilo, Stitch, Pocahontas, Minnie, Mickey, Goofy.
Magic Kingdom: Peter Pan, Stitch.
Hollywood Studios: none.
Epcot: Marie (Aristocats), Aurora, Belle, Aurora, Cinderella, Snow White, Alice, Mulan, Donald Duck.
Universal’s Islands of Adventures: The Cat in the Hat, The Grinch, Wolverine, Rogue, Storm, Cyclops.
Final count without Universal characters: 22. Final count with Universal: 28.

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