Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Where My People At

Part of this Orlando trip was spent in Universal Studios. While I find this park a lot of fun–cool rides mostly–there’s a lot I feel it lacks compared to Disney World.  One thing they certainly win at though: the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

If you’ve been paying attention you know I love the books, so last time I visited I loved turning a corner to find the Hogwarts Express. This time I visited Diagon Alley, and it is ridiculous to walk through that little slip in the wall and have the whole thing open up before you. So many shops, and signs, and a dragon… I ditched the family and spent an hour just wandering around by myself.  Read More »

Weekly Finds 10/18/14: Reading & Drawing

Austin Kleon, author of my two new favorite books on creating, wrote a list/manifesto about reading on his blog. I love the whole list, but some I really appreciate are: “I will not finish books I don’t like.”; “I will copy down favorite passages in my own hand, to know what writing the words feels like.”; “I will make liberal use of the phrase “It wasn’t for me.””  He also talks about using a pencil, and massacring a book, an act I’m still trying to come to terms with myself.

Lovely latte from a trip with friends.

I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll keep mentioning it until weeks after I’m home again, but we’re going to Disney World in a few days. There are plenty of things I’m excited about, but one thing I’ve never done, but keep hearing about as I read more Disney blogs and “must do” lists, is the Animation Academy, where an animator leads you through how to draw a Disney character. How did I now know about this? Why was I never told before? Anyway, I’m doing this, maybe more than once depending on how our final days in the parks go.

I figured out how to get library ebooks on my Nook Glowlight! So basically I’m going to use the heck out of this thing. I love it much more than I ever thought I would.

So, what’s got you excited this week?

Why I Love Disney World; Or, Being Forever 12

Two weeks from today, I’ll be on an airplane, starting a vacation with my husband and his family to Disney World. We went there two years ago for our honeymoon, and before that took a trip with our friends in college.

I’m lucky in that most of the people I talk to get excited about the idea of going to Disney World, too, but there are a handful of people who have a look that slips over their face, even if only for a moment, even if they don’t voice the opinion I’m sure ringing in their heads: You’re an adult–why are you going there?

And I get it. Disney World is a manufactured place; there are cartoon characters slapped everywhere, including on the food; we don’t have kids, and there are some rides and experiences that are kind of useless without munchkins; it’s expensive, and there are so many other places we could possibly go. As far as I’m concerned, none of that matters.

First of all, Disney is not simply a kid’s place. Epcot’s World Showcase is the best example of that, with stores, shows, music, and food from different cultures. And this year we’re going for the Food and Wine Festival (“wine” being emphasized for I hope obvious reasons).

I also love the food. Again, there’s the Food and Wine Festival, at which I plan on eating conch salad, mussels, and some amazing dessert called a berliner, but there are fun, really delicious treats in the candy shops, really excellent and delicious restaurants in all of the parks (and some of the hotels), worldwide snacks in the Showcase stores, and just your basic–but really well done–fair food, like Mickey pretzels, turkey legs, and funnel cake.

There are the animals. Obviously Animal Kingdom is the place to find the best ones, with tigers and the like in really excellent enclosures, not horrible tiny depressing cages. One of my favorite rides in all the parks is the Safari, because you can get really close to things like giraffes or baby rhinos (!!!) and it brings up a lot of admiration for Disney’s crew, figuring out how to keep the predators separate without making it at all obvious. But there are also the birds wandering around every park, egrets and ibises in the waterways, ducks standing by the fence waiting for me to drop my snack. I love them all.

Disney World makes you feel special. I know the cast members are supposed to smile, but it still feels nice to have someone happily greet you whenever you enter a park or a shop or a hotel. They do special things, like the housekeeping staff that put the Mickey and Minnie dolls my friends and I had bought in a romantic pose in the window, or the guy who gave my husband and me free ice cream on our honeymoon. And a lot of them seem genuinely excited about their jobs when you talk to them, not just ask them for something.

But mainly, I like to go to Disney World because I see no problem with wanting to have the same kind of fun you expect a little kid to seek out. I want to go on rides, I want to eat a candy apple shaped like the Cheshire Cat, I want to wear a pair of ears and run around in a Frozen T-shirt. I want to have unabashed delight in “immature”, goofy things, and Disney World is good for that kind of trip.

Also we’re going to Universal Studios so, you know, Harry Potter.


Do you like Walt Disney World? What kind of vacation do you like to take where you are free to be a crazy fan?

I plan to post pictures of food, fireworks, and squirrels eating my churros, so follow my Twitter to catch my favorite shots.


Bonus! Another Youtuber I like, T. Michael Martin, has his own video about loving Disney World, and he touches on a lot of my own reasons for loving it that I couldn’t figure out how to articulate here. So if you need more proof (or you like to gush about Disney World) check that out.