Just back after taking the wife and kid down to Orlando for a week. As a life long Noo Yawker, there’s a lot to be said for wearing shorts and sandals in December. I returned on Sarurday and already have a stiff cold. We spent most of the week bouncing back and forth between the Disney and Universal theme parks.
I’ve mentioned my eternal ardor for all things JAWS numerous times before in this blog, so Universal’s recreation of JAWS‘s Amity village and ride are favs. While on line, I noticed a glass display case I didn’t remember seeing before, so I ambled over to it and almost had a coronary because it was filled with props from the film‚ Quint’s harpoon gun (one of my absolute favorite film props) and fishing rod and Brody’s Amity Police jacket (tons of pix here). After the Orca keg at New York Comic Con, I was in heaven!
We were finishing up our first go on the ride when the announcement was made that it was closing permanently on January 2! My heart sank. Universal without JAWS? It’s one of their biggest films and the original summer blockbuster! Unbelievable! Outrageous! I asked some of the dudes working the ride what the deal was and they’d only say that the whole area was being razed.
I was watching the local Orlando news the following morning and the anchor bunny starts reeling off a story about Universal announcing that it is building a second Harry Potter exhibit at its park and that since opening the first HP section, attendance has risen 50% . Aha! Mystery solved! So, the shark is out and the wizard kid is in. Businesswise, it’s a smart move, but that doesn’t mean us JAWS guys have to like it, so I spit in your butterbeer!
I’m not a Potterhead at all, I’ve never read the books and probably never will and have only seen 2 or 3 of the films. Just not my thing. Although I have to admit, the Harry Potter section of Universal is truly wonderful. Whoever designed it did a marvelous job (see pix below and too many more here), and if I was a diehard fan I probably would have creamed my jeans a dozen times. The rides are great fun and the village is a marvel, although I did snicker at some of the geeks wearing robes and scarves and waving their little wussy wands around in 86-degree weather.
Whichever is your cup, and it’s cool to like both, keep in mind that both JAWS and HP, while certainly film related, are both book-based properties, as is Dr. Seuss, which is another big section at Universal. So, even in the world of megabuck amusement parks, books still bring them in.
To my old pal Bruce, I say only farewell and adieu. See ya in the movies.