Here is the first time I talk about visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios But Universal Studios is actually two different theme parks in a brilliant and very obvious way to make money. And so then they went and built a second Harry Potter (this one is Diagon Alley while the original is now known as Hogsmeade) area so both parks would have some Harry Potter space and if you want the full experience, by god are you going to have to pay for it.
Unless you are me, and have a hook-up to get in for free at least this one time. Otherwise I don’t know when I ever would have visited. Universal Studios can be more expensive than Disney, but if you are over the age of 12 then the price difference is worth it because they got the good stuff over here and as much as I love Space Mountain, that Hogwarts ride still beats it in my book. But I already talked about how much I love what is now called the Hogsmeade side, so I’ll spend this post talking about Diagon Alley.
I did absolutely zero research on this before going. I didn’t know anything about it except that it existed and that there was a working train. I’m going to tell you, I am so glad I didn’t know shit. Because I walked in there and I wish I had a picture of my face because I’m positive I looked like Harry Potter walking into Diagon Alley with Hagrid in Book 1. So here’s my recommendation. Don’t read the rest of this post and when you visit go to the Universal Studios side first, the Diagon Alley side. Then take the train from there (the train entrance is next to the entrance to Diagon Alley) to Islands of Adventure and ride the Hogwarts ride. If you do nothing else do those things.
I solemnly swear I am up to no good
Since I was in Portland for work, not play, there were a very limited number of places I could go due to time. I was only there five days. So here’s a list that you could collectively go through in a short amount of time.
Places: Lloyd Center, McMenamin’s, OMSI, Namaste, Floating World Comics, Old Town Pizza, Powell’s Book Store, Voodoo Doughnuts, Huber’s Cafe, Home Plate Sliders
Keep Oregon Weird
I just got back from Portland, Oregon. Here’s the first blog on the subject.
By the last day of my five days in Portland, as I stood next to the rail stop on Skidmore, I realized something. Portland is exactly the kind of city I wanted to live in when I was a teenager.
I say I’m from the Nirvana generation. My friends and I grew up dreaming of being in Seattle and being old enough to have seen all our favorite bands back when they were getting started on the scene.
But Miami’s culture is different than what we imagined Seattle would be like. I’ve heard people say Miami has no culture, but the truth is, Miami has one culture – Latin America (which yes, is lots of different peoples). It meant that our favorite bands sometimes didn’t bother to come south far enough to Miami. They wouldn’t have had the numbers here that they’d get in other places and so they stopped in Jacksonville and then went west or north.
We hated living here.
I was only in Portland five days, so maybe I took away the wrong impression of the town. I was walking around in flannel surrounded by youth who looked either grunge, hippy, or like nerdy hipsters. The streets were dirty and wet. It was kind of cold. The bookstore had so many books I would never find here I almost had to buy a second suitcase. I was in a comic book store full of zines from local artists and writers. The public transportation system was amazing. I went to a haunted pizzeria. Walking around downtown Portland I realized this was my teenage dream.
However, I’m grown now. Miami still frustrates me like crazy, but I don’t think Portland is the place for me either. I love their slogan, Keep Portland Weird, and everyone was oddly polite (to someone from Miami). I love the idea that I could go hunt Bigfoot in the area. I’m sure Portland is great, I had a great time there, but I don’t really think I fit in. As for fourteen year old me, she’s still waiting to see Seattle.
Up next, Portland II -Keep Portland Weird