Vacation Feature: Universal Studios, Orlando, FL Part 2

Where I Actually Leave The House

Feature where I post about random places I've been which focuses on places with books, conventions, and other random odds and ends with oodles of pictures, misc. madness, and fun (for me anyway!)


Universal Studios
Orlando, Florida

 Before they were movies, they were books...


Harry Potter

One of the park's biggest features. The castle was amazingly impressive from a distance. The inside was well crafted (and dark!) My son was confused about how they did the three holograms of the kids. All the pictures on the wall had moving images like the movie.

Before the castle, the town was beautifully crafted with snow roofs and shops - an owl shop, wand shops, book shops, endless shops (not all could be entered.)

Here are some of the pictures -


 The Boarding Area, Recreated

The Castle...

The Town

Inside the Castle

Tomes & Scrolls!

Jurassic Park

I ended up riding the ride alone since my son and mother were afraid of the 100 foot drop!

 The Entrance 

 A Dinosaur Image around the Park

Superhero Island

It was a delight to see Marvel Superheroes - I'm a DC fangirl myself, but of course seeing people ride the intimidating Hulk Coaster, Dr Dooms Dropfall, and the 3D Spiderman Ride were fun. We rode the last one and the inside line was the newsroom with desks, spiderman on the TV with the newscast of the doom we were about to face - a lot of fun. Personally I think they did better with Spiderman 3D than the Harry Potter ride.

A comic shop with Captain America.

 Dr. Doom 

 The Best Arcade in the park, we had a lot of fun in here!

 One of my favorite areas of the park - Superheroes outside the comics!

And, Finally, We couldn't forget JAWS....

No longer a ride, but always a feature


Okay, NOT book related, but still an amazing area of the park that I had to slip in

Vacation Feature: Universal Studios (Orlando, FL) Part 1

Where I Actually Leave The House

Feature where I post about random places I've been which focuses on places with books, conventions, and other random odds and ends with oodles of pictures, misc. madness, and fun (for me anyway!)


Universal Studios
Orlando, Florida

 Before they were movies, they were books...

Gage, my mom and I were blessed to be able to attend one of the most magical places in the world this summer, Universal Studios. I love this place, always have, always will. The last time I had went they still had King Kong and Jaws; I was pregnant and 21 years old. Now, over ten years later, a lot of the park has changed. I was more than ready to revisit, this time with my son in tow, who had never been.

Of course I took over 300 pictures, and of course not even 1/4th of those will be presented here. Instead I chose some favorite shots, mainly illustrating stories we fell in love with in book form before they were brought to the screen, to eventually become rides and celebrations in an actual entertainment park. Stunning on the transition and how far they've traveled, in so many mediums for all ages to enjoy.

Dr. Seuss

We all loved him as a child, and the park went all out to make a wonderful Dr. Seuss area of the park when you first enter Islands of Adventure. The section is huge and has a nify train you can ride over the area. There are plenty of stories and a delicious candy store we stopped in first thing. Of course we grabbed an icee from a vendor and took plenty of pictures of the different fountains, store fronts, and shops.

The Cat in The Hat, fully featured for a good reason

 Of Course I Had to see the Dr. Seuss Bookstore!

They did  a great job keeping up the whimsical feel of Dr. Seuss

 The Fountains were some of the best parts of the area. So fun and playful.

Toon Town

Toon Town celebrates the old days of the comics I used to read. I was delighted to see Hi & Lois, wish I still had a book of their comics. They always amused. They did as good of a job with this section, which was large, colorful, bright, and fun.

All the store and restaurant fronts were illustrated with comics.

 Beetle Bailey!

 And, of course, a fun and playful fountain.

Curious George

They have a small water area for Curious George. The 'house' center is a lot of fun. My son tricked me into going into and putting my face into a board for a picture, and then sprayed a shower down on me. The kids would enter the house and stand on the platform to spray water guns. If you waited long enough, the water would empty out of a large bucket. My son and I timed it to get soaked at least three times. It was one of the more fun areas of the park. Due to it's age, hopefully they don't get rid of it soon!

2014 Summer Reading Program Themes/Posters Released

Yeah, I'm pretty late with this post. Last year I did it in 2013 in May. But better late than never, right?

I never see many people focusing on this kind of stuff but, even if I don't participate in my local library's reading challenge, I find the graphics and events interesting, especially for children. It's a big book thing to look forward to each year, with artists being hired to create unique themes and events which will never be repeated. The same goes for the art and themes for Children's Book Week each year.

Last year's theme was Dig into reading, so there were a life of science displays and projects to get children more into books. The teens had beneath the surface, which concentrated more on the mystery side of things. Finally, adults had groundbreaking reads, which was awesome and focused on things "coming out of the ground," highlighting the popular zombie craze.

This year? Well, we stay with the science scene but take it to the lab and get some great cartoonish art. I love the art and display ideas.

Fizz, Boom, Read!

Split into FOUR sections:

  • Fizz, Boom, Read - Early Literacy Program
  • Fizz, Boom, Read - Children's Program
  • Spark a Reaction - Teen Program
  • Literary Elements - Adult Section

I like how the children's section focuses on robots (none of us outgrow that, right?) and fun with creation.

What do you think of this year's theme? 

Personally I like the ideas behind it, especially for the children. The adult's I prefered last year, but I do like the play on "Literary Elements."

A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis

(No Series)

Written with love, humility, and faith, this brief but poignant volume was first published in 1961 and concerns the death of C. S. Lewis's wife, the American-born poet Joy Davidman. In her introduction to this new edition, Madeleine L'Engle writes: "I am grateful to Lewis for having the courage to yell, to doubt, to kick at God in angry violence. This is a part of a healthy grief which is not often encouraged. It is helpful indeed that C. S. Lewis, who has been such a successful apologist for Christianity, should have the courage to admit doubt about what he has so superbly proclaimed. It gives us permission to admit our own doubts, our own angers and anguishes, and to know that they are part of the soul's growth."

Written in longhand in notebooks that Lewis found in his home, A Grief Observed probes the "mad midnight moments" of Lewis's mourning and loss, moments in which he questioned what he had previously believed about life and death, marriage, and even God. Indecision and self-pity assailed Lewis. "We are under the harrow and can't escape," he writes. "I know that the thing I want is exactly the thing I can never get. The old life, the jokes, the drinks, the arguments, the lovemaking, the tiny, heartbreaking commonplace." Writing A Grief Observed as "a defense against total collapse, a safety valve," he came to recognize that "bereavement is a universal and integral part of our experience of love."

  “We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, 'Blessed are they that mourn,' and I accept it. I've got nothing that I hadn't bargained for. Of curse it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not imagination.”

It's hard to rate a book like this - doesn't feel fully appropriate since it's more an internal dialogue through stages of grief than anything else. C.S. Lewis was always a talented writer, whether penning fiction or non, but this is a diary-style jotting of internal reflections during the horrible stages of losing his wife to cancer.

Written in mini paragraphs that were apparently sections recorded during his thoughts, I can almost picture him waking up at night and unable to go back to sleep, reflecting on something in particular, then casually writing it down on a notebook he kept on the bedside table.

I've read reviews where he goes through phases of grief, anger, and then an almost acceptance. I didn't feel the acceptance as much per se, but more of a fondness for her memory and realizing that to rely too much on memory is never enough.

It's a sad, sobering book that is helpful to read through a person's own grieving process. The raw feelings come clearly through the pages, scattered thoughts almost always disjointed by inner reflections as his mind tries to heal through the trauma he faced.

The book is of course not 'enjoyable' - it's not a self-help, advice book on grief either. It's a personal process that has been shared, a painful experience that clearly comes through his writing. Recommended for those who are going through grief, sometimes sharing through reading and writing is the best form of therapy.

   Book Quotes:

“I once read the sentence 'I lay awake all night with a toothache, thinking about the toothache an about lying awake.' That's true to life. Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery's shadow or reflection: the fact that you don't merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.”