At long last, my friend and brother Steve Hearn has finally returned to his rightful home in Orlando, well for vacation at least. For those who don't know, Steve is an artist from the UK who I met many years ago at one of my first ISCA conventions. We are great friends He loves visiting Orlando, and I was thrilled when I found out that our schedules would align perfectly for his visit to Universal Studios. No, we didn't plan on wearing matching outfits...
Steve and I were joined by our families as we hit Universal Studios theme park. We hit many of the rides, visited with fellow artists like ISCA's Golden Nosey winner Glenn Ferguson, and did our best to brave the heat.
We were joined by Andi and Jett for dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. What a handsome bunch!
After dinner we parted ways. Andi and Jett went back home and Steve and crew decided to call it a day. A week of vacationing in Orlando is exhausting; a week of vacation in Orlando in August, doubly so. However, Alex, Kathy and I still had some energy left, so we pressed on to Islands of Adventure to check out the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
I've seen a lot of theme park theming in my life, but this gave me goosebumps. Gorgeous! I highly recommend the famous Butter Beer. It tastes exactly what you think it would taste like, a creamy (non-alcoholic) soda with a buttery aftertaste and a foamy head that lasts the entire drink.
While visiting the shops and restaurants, be sure to look up. The designers really made great use of the interior space and height. There are details everywhere and a keen eye is constantly rewarded.
The old Dueling Dragons re-themed as Dragon Challenge (you knew I had to throw something dragon-related in this post!)
The line for Hogwart's Castle (the main attraction) was incredibly long, so we skipped the ride this time. This picture does not do the castle justice. It's amazing!
This was at the beginning of the queue outside the castle.
I had a great time with Steve and his family. His kindness and generosity hold no bounds. Thanks brother, we had a great time. I'll see you soon!