Destination: Orlando

76-Second Travel Show: Authenticity and ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’

Robert Reid ponders Andrew Potter's "The Authenticity Hoax" on a visit to Orlando's newest theme park

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London Mayor: ‘Harry Potter is Not American’

Universal Orlando’s latest theme park creation, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, opens next week—and London Mayor Boris Johnson will definitely not be attending any ribbon-cutting ceremonies. Strong words from the Mayor:

I deeply and bitterly resent that Orlando is about to become the official place of pilgrimage for every Harry Potter fan on earth… Because the fact is that Harry Potter is not American. He is British. Where is Diagon Alley, where they buy wands and stuff? It is in London, and if you want to get into the Ministry of Magic you disappear down a London telephone box. The train for Hogwarts goes from King’s Cross, not Grand Central Station.

Don’t worry, London. I’m sure there are still plenty of Potter fans that will want to visit the, er, not-quite-real thing. (Via The Book Bench)


Orlando Memories

Contemplating and celebrating the world of travel

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Goodbye to my Mickey Mouse, Wayne Allwine

Goodbye to my Mickey Mouse, Wayne Allwine Photo by dawnzy58 via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by dawnzy58 via Flickr (Creative Commons)

For so many, the first true travel excitement comes compliments of Mickey Mouse and co.

A few years ago, I talked to my nieces on the phone just before their first trip to Disney World. The little one, just shy of four, didn’t usually have much patience for phone conversations. That day, she just kept talking and talking, offering excited (and rather detailed) explanations of all the things she wanted to see. Both girls were delighted when I told them about my own visits to Disney World as a kid. We all got kind of giddy thinking that, just maybe, there was some slight chance they would end up riding in the same It’s a Small World boat I sat in 30+ years ago.

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‘American Idol’ and Disney World, Together at Last

disney Photo by d4rr3ll via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by d4rr3ll via Flickr (Creative Commons)

We’ve had movies inspired by theme park rides, and roller coasters inspired by rock anthems, so isn’t it about time we had a theme park attraction inspired by the “reality” television craze? (I’m a little far removed from my college philosophy classes to say for sure, but I suspect there’s a meta-something at work here.) Yes, the American Idol Experience opened at DisneyWorld this weekend. Here’s how it works: visitors can choose to perform on a re-created “Idol” stage, or to sit in the audience and vote. At the end of each day, the lucky hopeful who receives the most audience votes lands a Dream Ticket to an actual “American Idol” audition.

There is no option for visitors to sit at the judging table and hurl abuse at the contestants; still, I suspect the new attraction will be a hit. The Traveling Mamas have posted a (snark-free) review, and there’s a clip previewing the American Idol Experience after the jump:

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Smuggling Cinnamon Rolls

Smuggling Cinnamon Rolls Photo by Frank Murray

Terry Ward packed a couple of tubes for a trans-Atlantic flight. Then she encountered airport security.

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