Sunday, August 8, 2010

Where I have been.

Things got kind of crazy in June and July as OSFest 3 approached and I endeavored to bring you the greatest schedule ever. In the process of doing that I lost touch with the Omaha Sci-Fi Scene blog for the last few months. Now it is time to get back to talking about the greatest community around; Omaha SF fandom.

I write this from Orlando, FL where I am visiting the theme parks here ahead of Star Wars Celebration 5 later this week. Several members of the Omaha Sci-Fi community will join me later this week and I am hoping to get a wide variety of impressions from this major SF event. I am looking forward to one of our own participating in one of the panels here this Thursday, as Moose Mendolia takes the stage with his brother R2-Builders.

Like I said before I get there I am checking out the theme parks in the area. Last June Universal Islands of Adventure opened their new Wizarding World of Harry Potter island. The first day, yes I survived the crowds to be able to claim I was there, was massively too crowded (five yard penalty for intentional overuse of adjectives) and I could not really get any kind of impression of the area. Last Tuesday it was still crowded, so I came back Sunday earlier than the park actually opened. I was able to enter the park and make my way around to the Harry Potter area prior to 9AM (the official opening time for Universal Islands of Adventure). The ride already had a wait time to 45 minutes (much less than the 120 minutes I had to wait after the 6 hour wait just to enter the area on opening day). This ride pioneers some new technology; therefore it stopped for a breakdown about four times while I was in line and once more while I was on it. Since it is a movie based ride, you are moved from one location to another interacting to the film shown; being stopped for a short time is still more entertaining than waiting in line, even if it is in Hogwarts Castle.

Okay it has its problems but it is a very entertaining ride once you get on it. It integrates film clips, animatronics, and simulated flying to give you the best simulation of being in J.K. Rowling's universe that I have yet experienced. But there are some down sides. Even the staff at Universal admits that the ride seats were designed too small. I can barely get secured into the seats and since this is quite a moving vehicle, you need to be secured properly. Though I have to admit that there are some inverting roller coasters that are easier to get secured into. It was above the pay grade to the individual I talked to as to whether Universal is planning on correcting this ride flaw. I really hope they do because I am afraid most of fandom won't be able to use those seats but will want to experience this ride.

More on the theme parks like the closing of Star Tours this Saturday. Then it is on the Celebration 5, as I learn more about types of conventions I have never before attended in the hopes that I can find new ideas for new experiences I can bring to OSFest.

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