Tag Archives: amusement park

Go Bee Doo

My sister and I visited  Universal Studios and Universal Islands of Adventure in December.

Harry Potter was our goal, but we played around in the rest of the two parks as well, trying out all kinds of 3D rides.

One of our favs?

The minions from the movie Despicable Me. It was designed for kids, but I think the adults on the ride had just as much fun.

One thing I did not realize…

image

Minions are members of the #BBN.

No wonder everyone loves ’em.

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Tokyo, Day 3: Jimbocho, Marunouchi

I was free to play tourist today, so I began in the Jimbocho district where my conference hotel was centered.
2014-07-26 08.33.10My first stop was within walking distance, so I grabbed a water from one of the vending machines that occupy every corner of Tokyo.

(It turned out to be apple-favored…one of the perils of not reading Japanese.)

2014-07-26 08.29.55I don’t know who this guy is, but he must be a pretty big deal.  His face was plastered on every other building along my walk.

He’s cute.  Love the bangs, too.

Most tourists visit Japan in spring or fall; now I understand why.  I didn’t have a long walk, but even in the early morning hours, temperatures were in the 90’s with staggering humidity.  I quickly adopted the Japanese practice of walking with an umbrella.  It really helps.

My first stop was the Koishikawa Korakuen, a 70,000 square meter formal garden.

2014-07-26 09.05.30This guy was the first to greet me along the stone pathways.  It was ten degrees cooler inside the garden, so I was glad I took my guidebook’s recommendation to come early in the day, before the noise from nearby Tokyo Dome (baseball and amusement park) could be heard.

2014-07-26 09.30.43You can see the Dome in the background of this shot of a lily pond.

When I first came upon it, I thought a spaceship was hovering nearby.  It was very surreal.

After I left the garden, I decided to take a peek at the Tokyo Dome grounds.

There was an 11 a.m. baseball game, and fans were already streaming into the grounds.  I got a better look at the roller coaster, but was particularly fascinated by a sculpture near the entrance to the park.

2014-07-26 09.52.05Okay.

Hmmm.

I couldn’t find a placard with an explanation for the sculpture.  So, let’s take the highroad and say it is some kind of flower.

Or sea creature.

Or water faucet.

It’s hard to un-see it, I know that.

On my walk back, I checked out some of the used bookstores that line the streets of Jimbocho, which is considered the center of book publishing in Tokyo.  Then I stopped by the hotel to make a complete clothing change — totally necessary — before heading to the Marunouchi District.

imperial moatThe Imperial Palace was just a couple of blocks from my hotel, so I walked along it’s enormous moat — with many brave people jogging in the heat — then headed into the business district for lunch.

Next on my list was the Nihombashi Bridge, which is the geographic center of the city.  Based on everything I had seen so far, I was expecting the bridge to be on the same scale.

2014-07-26 12.27.20But the ancient passageway is small and rather understated; I don’t know that I would have noticed it unless I was looking for it.

The expressway overhead plays a big part in that.  It casts a long shadow.

Even smaller but oh so colorful was the Kite Museum down the street, devoted to the Edo-dako style kite.

I entered here out of curiosity, but stayed a good long time (and not because it was air-conditioned).

2014-07-26 12.41.47The kites were really beautiful art pieces, displayed as kites, framed under glass, and covering the walls and ceilings.

 

2014-07-26 12.39.582014-07-26 12.39.30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I moved to a hotel in the Roppingi district in the late afternoon and treated myself to an unexpected but thoroughly enjoyable four-hour nap!

I am refreshed and ready for tomorrow’s adventures in Tokyo.

 

 

Bricked in

My sister and I are planning a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter later this year.

wizard world
Two childless women. Headed to an amusement park. I can’t wait.

Luckily, Universal Orlando welcomes people without children to their properties. Sure, the Harry Potter books were originally written for a young adult audience, but the franchise has an appeal that defies age.

I’m glad they recognize that.

Legoland is not quite as open-minded.

Travel Trip Legoland Florida

Only adults accompanied by a child are allowed in the Legoland locations during regular business hours. They do have occasional adults-only evening sessions, but the message is clear:

If you don’t have a child, you are guilty until proven innocent.

Is it so hard to believe that someone would want to visit Legoland to be inspired by the design?

Disappointing.

Witchy woman

I can’t believe The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been open for four years, and I still haven’t gone.

So I’m going in the next couple of months  — before the summer crush of kids and family.

Or am I?

harry potter worldUniversal Orlando announced just yesterday that the park is launching a new expansion…

This summer.

Can I really go now and miss all the cool new attractions?  We’re talking the actual Diagon Alley, a fully functional Hogwarts Express train that connects the Universal parks, more shops and restaurants from the books, and a new ride called “Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.”

Of course, if I do wait and go this summer, all those kids will be there….which means ginormous crowds and lines and heat and sweat and regret.

Perhaps I can wait a bit longer — what’s a few more months at this point — and go between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  That is supposedly the slowest time at the park.

Decisions, decisions.  OH WAIT —

I’ll got twice!

Life’s a picnic

When your hometown is called “Fancy Farm,” people tend to remember the name.

Admittedly, it’s unusual….although it does sound a bit like a now defunct amusement park near Middletown, Ohio called “Fantasy Farm.”  (When I attended the University of Kentucky, I got that joke a lot.)

But on the first Saturday in August, there’s no confusing Fancy Farm, Kentucky.   Ask any local, state or national media outlet, and if they aren’t already there, they can certainly direct you.

The annual Fancy Farm Picnic is big news, and has been for 130 years.  Politics, pork barbecue and great people, all gathered at the party of the year.  Heck, it even made the Guinness Book of Records in 1978 as the Largest One-Day Barbecue in the World.

I was there.

Of course, I’ve been to a lot of picnics since I was five years old.   Playing games and eating barbecue when I was little.  Working in the ice cream booth that was my family’s responsibility.  We’ve had class reunions around picnic time, and lots of family from out-of-town — the ‘city folk’ — coming to Fancy Farm in August for this one-of-a-kind experience.

It’s small town America at its best.  Neighbors coming together, all as volunteers, working to raise money for the community church, proud of the tradition that generations of families have built.

And for the barbecue.  And the politics.

That’s the heart of it all.