It wasn't until we were ready to load that I realized the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit did not offer the storage luxuries of other roller coasters in other parks. There was no cubby along the wall in which riders could stow their belongings. The lockers were far below us, where my 7-year-old son, less than an inch shy of making the cut, sat crying and waiting with a friend. There wasn't even a pocket in each car to place sunglasses, phones, or assorted trinkets from the day. I boarded the roller coaster with too many things and pockets too shallow to hold them, and for the first time in years a roller coaster was intimidating me.
Earlier that day we had wandered through Hogsmeade and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, enjoying butterbeer and bits of magic. We had spent a good portion of two days in the Islands of Adventure park at Universal Orlando Resort, hiding from rain and dementors, and still buzzing from our turn on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (which is firmly ranked in the top three rides I have ever experienced). The magical land, which will be joined in 2014 by Harry Potter's London and Diagon Alley in the Universal Studios park (guests will be able to travel between the two areas on the Hogwarts Express!), is as finely crafted of a space as you are likely to find in the theme park world. It it simply wonderful. And crowded.
Truth be told, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, alone, is worth the price of admission.
Tags: blue man group, butterbeer, despicable me, family, harry potter, kids, lands, loews hotel, minions, mummy, orlando, portofino bay hotel, resort, review, rides, roller coaster, simpsons, studios, things to do, transformers, transportation, universal, vegetarian options, weather
So someone decided to make a fake Lego Breaking Bad videogame trailer. Meth may be bad, but America is still great.
"It's like fireworks," she said. A bright, sharp pop and crackle echoed through the night. Then another, and another. Her eyes, her sister's eyes, broad and open and wholly focused on the screen, waiting for the burst of glittering, shimmering lights that seven years had taught them always accompanied these sounds — that moment of pure, shuddering wonder when great streams of sudden, glorious color would fill the sky and give proof to the promise of magic.
But we knew. We knew. And for a moment, as we paused and breathed deep, we allowed that illusion to live: that this was a world of fireworks, of vivid dreams of twisting rainbows falling like rain through soft darkness. And then there were more - whipcrack echoes, whistling through the air, clear and unmistakable even through the filter of a dozen miles and a shifting camera struggling for focus, bringing us to the edge of the moment as it unfolded across the screen - and the time for illusion was gone. "No, sweetie," my wife said gently. "Those are gunshots."
It had been two hours since we'd willfully walled off the world, coccooning ourselves in the quiet, simple solace of dinner and a movie at home. Two hours of losing ourselves in another place and another time: another set of men and women frantically racing against the clock and the odds and the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, taking arms against a sea of troubles as if, by opposing, they might bring them to a just and righteous end. After such a long and strange day, with the city and surrounding towns locked down and immobilized, the crawl of updates telling us minute-by-minute of the frantic search weaving its way through Watertown and Cambridge, along the banks of the warming Charles and across to Allston and Brighton and beyond, the frenzied rush of cruisers and squad cars and busloads of officers plated in thick armor and bright weaponry, and the copters circling overhead and the wait, stretching impossibly far across the bridge of hours — the opportunity to escape into film was irresistible: to gaze through the looking glass into a dream of life where heroics inspire, resolution is possible and villainy...
I have a thing about the end of the world, namely that I believe in it. Worse still, I’m sure it will happen in my lifetime. According to a life-expectancy quiz I took this week, I should make it to age 77 assuming nothing random happens to me like choking on a marshmallow or being hit by a flaming meteor (which we all know could totally happen). In any case, simple math dictates I’ve got 37 good years ahead of me. This is plenty time for either A, the Democrats to confiscate all of our guns and force us into same-sex marriages thus leaving us defenseless against a Chinese invasion or B, the Republicans take control and plunge 98% of America into extreme poverty after funding a pork barrel project that results in a zombie army, hence setting the stage for a World War Z.
Truthfully speaking, my beliefs on the earth’s demise are aligned with the events prophesied in the book of Revelations which are totally plausible according to a Discovery Channel special and Kirk Cameron. Nutty, I know, but a guy’s got to believe in something, and besides, what’s the harm? If I’m wrong you all get to come back to this post and tell me, “I told you so” in the comments.
Lest you think I’m about to go on a religious tear, allow me to put your mind at ease. I’m not. Unlike the crazies that manage to end up on FOX and Friends, I actually respect other people’s beliefs because who’s to say I’m 100% right. This reminds me of a joke.
But when it comes to nacho cheesy snack food, we can all agree on this.
DISCLAIMER: This video is a finalist in the Doritos "Crash the Super Bowl" ad contest. Neither maker Frito-Lay nor its parent, Pepsi, compensated DadCentric or the post's author in any way. How rude!
We normally stay out of politics, but given the kerfluffle over one candidate's desire to eliminate government funding for PBS, we thought we'd share this video. We think this Rogers guy makes a pretty good case.
The title of this post should clue you in: it's sponsored by the good folks at Dove Men+Care, who still sponsor our posts despite (or, we suspect, because of) our wanton use of profanity and crass approach to discussing their products. A few weeks back, the good folks at Dove Men+Care asked if I'd like to fire a fire questions at Steven McMichael. Who is Steven McMichael, you ask? Steven McMichael has what may well be the coolest job on the planet: he is an on-screen combat/stunt coordinator. In other words, he does fight scenes for movies, training actors and actresses to do spin kicks and use broadswords and dodge bullets. A retired Marine, he has been in the action movie business for 12 years. Dude was Hugh Jackman's stunt double in the first X-Men flick, y'all.
Like I said: coolest job ever. Right now he's working on a small art house movie about short people, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and its sequel, The Hobbit; The Desolation of Smaug. I asked Steven a few questions about his job and how he stays in shape, and yes, nerds, I got some info on those Hobbit flicks.
The other day, my kids got bored and busted out the old Mighty Men and Monster Maker. Remember these things? It has all these plastic plates with outlines of different legs, torsos, and heads that you can mix and match into all sorts of creatures, humanoid, alien, and otherwise. You lay a piece of paper down on top of it, run a crayon back and forth over it like you’re doing a grave rubbing, then sit back and admire the abomination you’ve brought into the world. I don’t think they make the MM&MM anymore, so it’s lucky for my kids that my mom kept mine.
So my kids are working away making their monsters and their mighty men and other ungodly variations on these themes when my eldest, who starts first grade in a couple of short weeks, stops and looks at what he’s created and announces, “I should sell these!” His tone says this idea has just hit him like an idea-laden thunderbolt and that he thinks it’s a winner. I do not doubt at all that he means what he’s saying. I don’t know where he gets it from, but this kid is all about the money. He keeps a meticulous runnning tally of his current holdings and is always looking for ways to stack his paper higher. Frankly, his Alex P. Keaton-ness freaks me out sometimes, but he seems to have a knack for the whole money thing, so short of steering him away from anything illegal or unethical, he’s free to build his little empire as he sees fit.
To which he was now planning to add a branch for art.