A Very Harry Cruise – Hogwarts at Sea

Harry potter luxury cruise
A luxury Harry Potter cruise. It’s nicer than apparating.

I can’t put my jaw back in place. It dropped when I heard there was going to be a week-long luxury Harry Potter cruise. I want more information. Also, I want $4,000 to pay for this.

My dream Harry Potter cruise would have Hogwarts teachers, with classes in Defense Against The Dark Arts, Muggle Studies, Potions, and Caring for Magical Creatures. We’d play Quidditch above the pool. The last night would have a fancy formal Yule Ball. And I wouldn’t mind if a few actors from the movies made an appearance.

Ooh, and on the first night we could have a Sorting Hat ceremony-slash-feast! House Elves would make our beds and leave fantastic beast towels on our pillows. The shopping level would look like Diagon Alley; all meals would include Treacle Tarts and unlimited Butterbeer.

Honestly, I think this ship should hire me as a cruise director.  Like Julie McCoy from The Love Boat, except with magic.

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Jurassic Park Ride Goes Extinct

I kind of cried a little on this ride. Yeah, GEEK here.

I got to return to the CA Universal’s Jurassic Park ride this summer, before it closed, not knowing it was on its way out. The ride, yes, felt old and needed refreshing (many of the dinosaurs weren’t moving anymore),  but it was still a joyous experience. I even wrote it up on RunPee. I guess I should mention that it’s officially closed now, and being updated as a Jurassic World ride. Due…2019?

It was a great ride when fresh and new. I was in my 20s when I got to try it, and it was a dream experience; just spectacular. So I got to try it both new and at the very, very end of its lifespan. The flume fall, in particular,  was…um…actually breathtaking, and it totally held up, decades later.  It was longer than anything else I’d experienced on a drop, and you really feel it — it’s like “Wait, we are still falling….?!” YIKES! Loved it.

I really did, though the ride seriously needed updating. Now I wonder where they will take the ride’s narrative: Isla Nublar is no more. (Did you see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom? Um, spoiler, sorry.)

So, what now? Maybe the new ride will showcase Jurassic World as a functioning park at first, with happy herbivores surrounding the boat, and then take the ride through the volcanic eruption…ending up with Isla Nublar dying from the volcanic event…including the sad Brachiosaur moaning while the boat pulls away from the dock, engulfed in the pyroclastic explosion. That was the best moment of JW2. So sad: I kind of cried a little there.  🙁  Good storytelling. 

The big flume drop could be re-worked as the moment Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady & company plummet to the sea, escaping the cataclysmic events. That’s my prediction. It would ROCK. It would put us right in the tumultuous moment.  What say you? This could be a great upgrade, like how Disney’s  Pirates of the Caribbean included Captain Jack Sparrow in the “new” narrative.

Anyway. Here’s the USA Today article, announcing/updating the ride’s demise. People from all over lined up to experience’s the ride’s final moments. That’s a great testament to Steven Spielberg’s original movie, the best of the series. So long, Rexie.

Here’s the Ride Review article from earlier this summer: Jurassic Park Ride at Universal Studios

Also On RunPee.com: 

Jurassic Park – Movie Rewatch Review

Jurassic Park: The Lost World – Movie Rewatch Review

Jurassic Park 3 – Movie Rewatch Attempt Number One

The Jurassic Park Movies Poll

Jurassic World Movie Review

Jurassic World Movie References

Movie Review: Jurassic World – Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World – Fallen Kingdom, Missed Opportunities

Everything Wrong With the Jurassic Movies (All the You Tube videos in one place)

Movie Rewatch Review – Jurassic Park III

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Star Wars A New Hope – Symphony & Movie

The Force is with them.

This week I was treated to an outdoor, live symphony in San Diego (at the Embarcadero Marina Park South, August 18, 2018) playing to a large screen-film showing of Star Wars: A New Hope.  To say it was spellbinding would be an understatement.

I haven’t seen A New Hope (just called Star Wars, back in the day) on the large screen since the original trilogy’s Special Editions came out in 1997. With the San Diego Symphony Bayside Nights offering monstrous screen outdoor movies set to a live orchestral soundtrack, people have started  flocking to these events in droves. It was as packed last night as it was to their Harry Potter versions last year. And the Star Wars audience was surprisingly into the spirit of the story.

Where did you dig UP this old fossil?

While the audience wasn’t dressed in costume like the Harry Potter symphony goers were ( I was one of the attendees in Hogwarts robes), it was clear people were more-than-normally excited. People laughed at almost every line C-3P0 said, applauded when Han Solo first appeared, shouted AWWWW when Porkins died,  cheered as the Death Star blew up, and gave a standing ovation after the rousing credit themes finished. Besides all the clapping, hooting, cheering, and laughing around me, one nearby attendee amused audiences during the Intermission by roaring like Chewbacca. He was quite good. I can’t even come close.  🙂

Strike me down and I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine. (From a certain point of view.)

It’s hard to describe how amazing it is to watch a beloved movie set to live music. When I could tear my eyes from the screen, I was impressed to see how many string instruments Williams’ score used. He was also heavy on the brass, and light on percussion…although when drums or other percussive instruments were used, they were to magical effect. Nothing sweeps you right along like the Star Wars theme.

After the orchestra members took a bow, it was a matter of inching through the cattle-like foot gates, and waiting an hour to exit the car from the Downtown Hilton parking garage, during which my enthusiasm waned a bit (I recommend Uber for things like this). But John Williams’ iconic score still resounded in my brain. I considered what other movies could inspire enough audiences take the jump from ignoring a “boring” orchestral event, to packing the outdoor grandstand seats and champagne lawn tables for fine arts versions of pop culture immersion.

The Harry Potter movies are a clear success in this format, with eight movies, plus the new Fantastic Beasts versions to choose from. And I suspect they can give it a go for the lineup of other Star Wars films. Other movie franchises with powerfully memorable scores include Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Superman, ET, and possibly Close Encounters. If I’m leaning heavily on John Williams films, that should be no kind of symphonic surprise. But there are certainly other composers lending themselves to this kind of treatment. Think about The Lord of the Rings saga or Titanic. If there are other movie franchises whose tune you can easily identify offhand, that’s a place to start. And if said movie comes with a fanatical following, well, there you go.

I’m excited for the next time I can hit the symphony for a fabulous science fiction or fantasy film super-experience. It will have to be an annual event!

As a re-watch, of course I give Star Wars an A+, film-wise. Seeing it on the large screen with a superb live orchestra takes the film to new heights. If there was a super-grade above A+ for the live musical option, I’d give it.

Great seats. The Force was clearly with me that night!

 

About the Peetimes:

I didn’t even need to use my Peetimes; the event included an intermission. However, since everyone else in the audience used this intermission as well, clogging up the toilet lines, I should have checked the app anyway. We do have Peetimes for A New Hope listed in the RunPee app, even though RunPee didn’t remotely exist yet, as a sort of retro-cool flashback feature. For fun, you can scroll through the movies on the RunPee app, and peek at what we did.

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Review: Jurassic Park Ride at Universal Studios

Rexie’s a little old and worn, but the drop is still breathtakingly long.

I love dinosaurs. I was a dino geek before dinosaurs were cool, and to make me stand out even further, I was a “just a girl”. Girls who were geeks in the 70s were a rare breed. Fortunately, I was also a Klingon, so efforts to bully me landed on deaf ears. 🙂 Hell, I was a Dinosaur-riding Klingon.

This Klingon has mellowed over the years, but my fascination with dinosauria is still up there next to my now-mainstream fangirl delight in Harry Potter, Marvel, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and yes — Star Trek. This brings me back around to dinosaurs.

I went to Universal Studios this summer for ONE reason: to proudly wear my Gyffindor student robes, and be selected in the wand choosing ceremony.  And drink Butterbeer. OK, this is more than one reason but it’s all about Harry Potter. And you can read about my amazing HP day in this article (link and photos to be added).

After a long day at Hogsmead Village, my travel companion was looking a little googly eyed, and suggested we do something else in the park. We headed down 1,000 stairs (I don’t think I am exaggerating) to the lower park area, then boarded the log flume that slides under the King-Kong sized entrance — long-time Jurassic Park fans will get the reference. (Can you name the quote in question?)

The ride is still a good one…but it, like the original Jurassic Park movie, has aged. The movie, happily, still wears well. We get goosebumps when seeing dinosaurs the first time, fear levels rising when we watch the unseen Velociraptors feed, blowing to full-on fear in that stainless steel kitchen scene.

When the T-Rex bellows in the erstwhile visitor center, draped in the banner announcing “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth,” I’m one happy human.

 

The ride didn’t fare so well. It seems that several animatronic (“auto-erotic”, anyone?) sauropods forgot how to move. The ride gets bumpy a few times, is a big loud cacophonony, seems a lot shorter than I remembered…and the effect of the chasing T-Rex sticking her head into the waterfall is now rendered campy, instead of scary. It was a jump scare at first, but now I expect it, and Rexie’s looking aged. The best part of the ride is still the crazy long flume drop that seems to go a few more seconds than anyone expects. That’s the best and most obvious thrill.

The last thrill is the most subtle. As the flume logs start backing up at the end, we’re in the diddling around in the Diloposaur Paddock. That’s the poisonous fringed lizard who wouldn’t chase a stick, who decided Nedry looked more delicious. Nedry was a walking pie to those guys, and here they are at the end of the ride, with your log at a jammed stand-still…when a poisonous Dilopsaurus spits RIGHT AT YOU, with that rattling sound.

It’s fun and menacing, and there’s a perfect Easter Egg for fans, right under the low canopy of ferns. It looks at first like someone tossed some garbage at the ride, but JP fans will be rewarded: it’s that can of Barbasol Shaving Cream, the one full of stolen embryos. Very cool, and if you’re not looking for it, you’ll miss it.

My friends, this is world building. Adding the soaring John Williams sound track over it all, you are transported a little away from your cares. The ride clearly needs refurbishment, but with a second Jurassic World movie out this week, making 5 movies in the entire franchise, I’ll bet Universal will “spare no expense” to give the Jurassic Park/World ride its due. I bet Chris Pratt will even reprise his role in it, like he did for the awesome Guardians of the Galaxy Ride at Disney. Jeff Goldblum would be welcome too.

NOTE: The previous time I went to Universal, decades ago, I was lucky enough to walk through with an employee, and she let me run amuck in the lodge/gas station setting where they filmed The Lost World, reprised in Jurassic World. I pretended to be a raptor and chased my friend…and sadly, this was a long way before smart phones and so I don’t have photos. Also, this area of the park burned down. In the words of Dr. Ian Malcom, “So, so there it is.”

This article is brought to you by John Williams. Actually via Amazon’s Alexa, playing Williams. I’m sitting here penning the ride review while listening to this iconic  score. Here’s a link to the soundtrack, and the teeshirt to wear on the ride and at the Jurassic movies! Show your Geek cred!

Related News: Jurassic Park Ride Goes Extinct

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)