A List Maker's Life: Choose Your Own Adventures at #UniversalOrlando

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Choose Your Own Adventures at #UniversalOrlando

As a family of readers we love getting caught up in a great story.  Sometimes the characters are so well developed their emotions are felt deeply, in real time.   The author pulls us along on a roller coaster plot ride.  Some plots are predictable and the endings just as perfect as imagined.  Other times the conclusion leaves us wishing for a choose your path option like the books we remember from middle school - the books written from a second-person point of view handing over the role of protagonist to the reader, giving choices to determine the main character's actions and the plot outcome.

Universal Orlando puts exceptional detail into each of the stories it retells through their action packed attractions.  No matter the story, one can not help but get caught up in the elements.  Throughout the parks they have also built in opportunities to personalize the plot, change the course, and choose your own adventure!

Disaster Ride
Our family really enjoyed Disaster Ride.  It is described as a major motion picture starring you! Each group entering Disaster Ride has a unique opportunity to be involved in the action and production of a feature film. While I am convinced Kevin would have made the perfect hunky, strong guy he unfortunately was not chosen this time. Part of the ride is a humorous demonstration of behind the scenes creating of outrageous movie effects, but it ends with an actual runaway car ride through earthquakes, floods, and fires. Screams of fear or screams of laughter?  You won't know until you get into the movie!

Gringott's Goblins
While waiting for the incredible Escape for Gringotts experience visitors weave through an elaborate re-creation of the inside of a magical bank.  If your family is anything like ours, you will be too caught up in the chandeliers and marble floors to even realize this choose your own ending option.  After the fact we learned, if you strike up a conversation with the bank's head teller you may be surprised to hear him answer your question.  Each unique question receives an equally unique & appropriate answer. Spend the rest of your time in line contemplating how Universal made the talking goblin magic possible.

Men in Black: Alien Attack
 We lost count of the trips collectively taken through Alien Attack.  Every ride through Men in Black ends with a different outcome.  The number of passengers per vehicle, the speed of the trigger fingers, and the accuracy of aim alters the score and accolades in the final moments of the ride.  Collaborating with others his age in the #FamilyForward crew, Gavin continually improved his game by figuring out secret spots and tricks to aide in his promotion to professional MIB agent status. For our younger children, the creepy aliens were just outrageous enough to not be frightening. Fire up and save the planet or stand down and submit to the scum?  Dun, dun, dun...

High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Ride
This attraction provides a great overview of Seuss Landing from high above (and through) the roof tops.  While it is obvious there are two separate tracks, the kids did not know until they tried both the tracks not only follow different paths, they tell different stories.  A simple switch from the ABC Line to the Star Line will change the adventure and the ending.  High in the Sky Trolley is by far the most talked about favorite from our three year old theme park go-er, and our whole family enjoyed the view from a cart with just enough speed to catch some wind in our hair. "Again! Again!"
Hogwarts Express
Being careful to not give away too much of the magic before you are able to experience it for yourself we will keep this one short and sweet.  Be sure to travel both to and from Diagon Alley for two unique experiences.  The destinations are not the only difference on the round trip train ride. Aren't you curious how Universal replicated the famous Platform 9 and 3/4?  We were too!

Interactive Wands
Throughout Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, Potter enthusiast have multiple opportunities to change the story, the characters, the displays, and the problems with a flick of their interactive wizarding wands.  In addition to being the perfect souvenir, the interactive wands have the potential to provide a day's worth of engaging in the story.

The Knight Bus
While visiting Diagon Alley strike up a conversation with The Knight Bus driver. Each conversation is authentic, individualized, and entertaining.  The Shrunken Head is a humorous and quirky conversationalist as well. Not only will you create a new dimension to the Harry Potter experience, you will walk away from The Knight Bus with silly stories to tell and a case of the giggles.

Are you ready to get in the story?  Have you visited Universal Orlando?  What Choose Your Own Adventure moments drew you in to the story?
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