20 November 2013

Minecon and Awesome Orlando 2013

I was very excited for Minecon this year. I attended the previous official ones, in Las Vegas and Paris but never as a Mojang employee before. What can I say... This one was definitely the best one yet. I enjoyed every minute spent with the team and amazing volunteers. it was a pleasure to work with my colleagues from the support office as well, quite a different setting than the office!

Sadly we did not have a lot of time to walk around the expo floor, but I managed to sneak a peek before the convention started. Quality of some pictures is poor, due to my phone camera being accidentally set to HDR mode :D The expo floor was AMAZING. When we walked in the first thing we saw was a HUGE barn and lovely animals Greg and his team prepared this year. Took some pictures of the horses and donkeys (my favourite) before the crowd arrived. Diorama area was not finished so I did not take any pictures hoping to see finished sets photographed with good camera later. Sadly I did not find any pictures yet.

Creepers gonna creep!

Steve is getting ready. 

Sheepsies are being silly and fall on their faces.

We had giant creepers before - this time it was giant Steve right in the middle of the hall. Very cool and impressive:

Hi giant Steve!

I missed some panels due to work, but I hope I will watch them soon, since everything was recorded. I was really interested in panel for parents, Autism & Minecraft, Future of Minecraft (obviously because Nathan was on the stage!) and few others. I managed to listen and watch a bit of the panels that took place in the panel room I was working at for two days. It was a lot of fun!

Here some more pictures from Minecon taken with my crappy phone :(
The gates to the main expo hall... We were all impressed and amazed. It looked absolutely brilliant with the smoke and the lights, looked like a real portal! Great idea, my congratulations to the person who came up with this!

The gates

Ha ha! Trapped!

This is self explanatory. I hope.

After the first day of Minecon we were very lucky to go to Island of Adventure for few hours. The convention attendees had the park for themselves for few hours. This is always such an amazing treat. The park is designed for 40.000 people (as far as I remember) but we could enjoy it in a small group of around 7.000!!! Almost no waiting!

Very smooth ride!

I didn't go on the Hulk the first day. I was too tired and stuffed with food to risk it, but I tried it next day. Nathan however loved it, and he is not so fond of roller coasters. The ride is relatively smooth, so if you have a chance to try it out and you hesitate - it is not as bad as it looks.

Gates to evil!

One thing about the amusement parks that is a bit weird and sometimes annoying is the picture taking while you are most terrified and/or have your eyes closed. Those pictures are also very expensive and not very good due to bad lighting and spartan conditions. We always go to see how it looks and end up not buying it. Well Island of Adventure and Jurassic Park offer you a different experience. When you enter the park you will be given a card with QR code, which you can use in places of interest to take a photo. Jurassic Park is a very good place to do that - we passed few picture spots with crashed cars with huge dinos behind them. This seems to be a solution to our problems - we never have any pictures together with Nathan... However upon our first visit to the park this system was not offered to us :( So we still have no pictures!



AND NOW LADIES AND GENTLEMAN - THE BEST DAMN THING IN THE WORLD:


Yes, it is Hogwarts. I want to live there... no kidding. I is this rare occasion that I am happy as a child. It doesn't happen very often, actually last time I remember was when I got my first contact lenses and I could see the world again in full size, with no distortion (15 years ago).
I was jumping with joy... and it didn't feel fake. The place is beautiful - we arrived at twilight to snowy village of Hogsmeade and made our way to Hog's Head for a pint of Butterbeer.


Everything looks so real and amazing, the staff is wearing appropriate attire in every place of interest. They are all very chatty and nice. 

He moved... I swear...

I can not have fizzy drinks so I picked the frozen Butterbeer, it was yummy! Next time I will ask just for the foam from the top, as it was the most delicious, sweet and creamy drink I have ever had. I hear the bubbly version is even better - make sure you try both!

After a quick pint, not to waste time, we proceeded with exploring. We stood in a long long line for the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Walking through the corridors of Hogwarts feels magical - the pictures on the walls actually move and look very real. You can visit Dumbledore's office, Gryffindor common room, Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom with Hermione, Ron and Harry present! Later on you join a flying adventure with Harry. BRILLIANT! I regret we did not go there over and over again...
Pure magic.

Post office next to Ollivanders

Owl post office - so crowded!

Three Broomsticks
The owl post office is full of parcels waiting to be picked up, Three Broomsticks serves Butterbeer and pumpkin juice. You can find curious items at Zonko's and chocolate frogs at Honey Dukes. I visited the website https://www.universalorlando.com/harrypotter/ and now I am sad I missed so much stuff. There is plenty to see and we did not cover that in two days! I guess the rest of the park was too distracting. There is always next time...

Chocolate frog anyone?

This silly guy photobombed me. I loved it!

What to get! What to get?
Visiting students.

Bye bye Hogsmeade!

I don't know what else to write about this place. I do not want to repeat word "magical" all the time. But it was. If you want to feel like a child and you like Harry Potter novels - if you are ever in Orlando - make sure you find few hours to explore the Island of Adventure. It is worth it. I am sure I will go back!

This makes me wonder about other beloved books and movies - would I ever feel like I felt in Hogsmeade in any other theme park? I know for sure that even Lord of the Rings park would not make me feel this way. Maybe Witcher and A Song of Ice and Fire? I think they are too serious tho... Do you have any books or movies you would like to see made into a theme park?

Moving along with this post... There is so much ground to cover! Nothing as exciting as Hogsmeade but still lots of fun!

Two very distinctive elements of Orlando's scenery are upside-down houses. We visited one of them, Wonder Works, with our friends Sharon and Erik. To be completely honest with you - we did not know what to expect. We thought - eh maybe 1 hour to see this upside down thing and lets go to dinner! Well... I think we spent about three hours there and did not play, touch and see everything.

Nathan and Erik felt like at home.
  Three floors full of fun. I am not going to describe all of it, because this post is long enough already. Lets proceed to the pictures that will show you some of the cool things we did.

Tesla coil!
This is so awesome. Thank you Mr. Tesla! I never had a chance before to play with magic like that!

Erik and Ola at the bubble lab!
And how cool is it to end up in a giant bubble?!

Did not hurt at all!
Did not hurt a bit. I would even say it was comfy. But I like to sleep on my belly.. that could be a bit of a problem.

Double bubble.
Double bubble power! Make up!

Poland CAN into space!
DO NOT TELL ME POLAND CANNOT INTO SPACE!
We can and we will!

Up, Up and Away!
Ok now... I do not have a fear of heights... but this guy on the left does! It is Erik aka. Grum! He was a trooper... He went to the most scary passages and pushed his limits. It is inspirational to see people fighting their fears. Even with the harness on you do not feel very safe if there is NOTHING to hold on to and you have to really watch your step. Very well done my friend! Very well done!

After a lovely adventure time we went to a great restaurant in Orlando, which was kinda recommended to us by friends from Mindcrack team -  Fogo de Chão - a Brazilian Steakhouse.
Lovely food and amazing service, fun experience and definitely something different! Even tho I am not a meat enthusiast - I was very happy and impressed with the formula & presentation.

Mix it up!

Some gourmet salads from a huge buffet to start the meal. When you are done with those they supply some hot side dishes like potatoes, fried bananas (delicious and my favourite) and polenta sticks. The red card you can see in the corner on the picture below is a flip card. One side (red) says - No thanks! - and it is placed like that at the beginning of the meal. 

Get ready to flip!

 When you are done with your salads and you are ready for some meat, you flip it over to the other side (green) that says: Yes please! and then suddenly meat appears. And it is on a sword...

Classy rats! (actually chicken)

The staff circles around with different types of meat in the swords and tridents, you are able to pick what you want and how well done you want it. They cut a piece directly to your plate or let you pick it right from the sword with little tongs. Now... you have to remember to flip the card back to the No Thanks! side or they will just keep coming and coming... 

Everyone who joined us was really happy with the choice of the restaurant. I liked it especially because I eat small portions of food and I had a huge choice and I was not afraid to taste new stuff. Which I would not do in a regular restaurant - being to afraid to end up with a huge portion of food I don't like. I wish the would be more places like this!
If you ever have a chance to try it out - do not hesitate! It was awesome!

And now for some fantastic randomness: 

Iconic.

We visited Universal Studios - it was nice, but nothing compare to Harry Potter experience for me.
I enjoyed Minion Mayhem from Despicable Me 2 - probably my favourite raid along with E.T.
I enjoyed The Simpsons Ride, Transformers 2 and Revenge of the Mummy too!

Go west!


I enjoyed M&M's even more. I am a fan of Peanut Butter version. Yummy!


 Then I enjoyed even more M&M's! That's right. MORE!

We did a lot of cool things in Orlando, met hordes of nice people, gave and received hugs from old friends!
But it was soon time to say good bye! As it is now for me! We continued our trip and moved to the other coast - sunny California. But that is a story for the next post!

Bye bye Minecon! We will miss you!

I hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did! Thank you all for reading!
Don't be shy - share your thoughts!

7 comments:

  1. Great review! Sounds like you had a fantastic time – makes me want to take a week off work to go and do it all! That is some advice I think you give well – how much time you would need to properly enjoy something! The pictures were fine. I liked the easy way they split up the txt towards the end of the document. Maybe in future try filler images at the start? Even just a picture of a “welcome to Orlando” sign or a map of where you are talking about? All good stuff! Can’t wait for your blog on the Golden Coast!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I always wonder if I should start with a picture. But I think I want people to read at least a bit before they skip the entire post just to see the pics. World is cruel! I have to engage them to make them read more :D

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  2. Poprowadzisz polskiego bloga? :]

    ReplyDelete
  3. Witam,

    chcialbym sie z Toba skontaktowac w prywatno-sluzbowej sprawie. Czy istnieje taka mozliwosc?

    Pozdrawiam,
    murmur

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @MissMarzenia na Twitterze, odezwij sie dam Ci follow i wyslesz mi PM, jezeli masz Twittera :)

      Delete
    2. @murmurpl - juz followuje:)

      Delete