Living in a Florida occasionally has its advantages.  Sure I cheat death on a daily basis, dodging old ladies driving their Cadillacs from well below the dashboard.  Sure in the summer it’s hotter than a Balrog’s butt crack (snort).  But it does provide a short drive to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios.

I’ve got a Disney review coming a bit later, so we’ll skip straight to Universal if you don’t mind.  Seriously, get off the monorail.  Mickey will still be there when we come back.

I spent a day at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, the clearly superior in every way sister theme park of Universal Studios.  To be more accurate, I spent most of the day at the park’s newest expansion, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Perhaps you’ve heard of the books.

FYI, and shut the door so no one hears this.  If you are so inclined and have the means, the best day of the year to visit any theme park in Orlando is the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  They are empty.  You can walk on to any ride, no waiting, as all of the sweaty tourists are safely wedged in their coach seats, cruising at 30,000 feet, back to their amber waves of grain, college basketball-based states. 

While I was running around the park casting spells and grabbing shiny objects out of the hands of Muggles, desperately seeking the Golden Snitch, I had a chance to partake of some pumpkin juice, a beverage that is quite the rage at Hogwarts.  At $6 for a 16 ounce bottle, how could I not try some!  Perhaps the Wizarding World of Harry Potter should be more aptly named Harry Potter and the Prisoners of Price Gouging.

To the lay Muggle, pumpkin juice is a non-magical potion made up of apple juice concentrate, pumpkin puree, apricot puree, and Merlin’s beard! great gobs of SUGAR!

The nosegrope is fall fantastic, and the flavor of the pumpkin juice is actually quite good.  Think apple cider with a touch of pumpkin, or some liquefied pies.  I would gladly enjoy a bottle as a festive seasonal treat.  But I could barely get three swigs down.  The sweetness of this stuff is absurd.  I thought someone was playing a prank on me.  Surely this had to be a joke bottle from Zonko’s Joke Shop (snort).  It was so sweet, I actually shivered after the first shot cleared my tongue.  It’s barely drinkable.  Maybe someone should cast a sugaris reducio spell (snort).

Obviously, this drink is well-aimed at children, as a bottle of this will have them supercharged enough for a full day of spending mom and dad’s hard-earned money, provided they don’t vibrate into another plane of existence.  But I can’t see any self-respecting adult downing a full 16 ounces of this stuff.

Pumpkin juice is interesting stuff.  It could really work, with a little retooling.  If you’re around the park, try a bottle.   Not that you’ll have a choice.  You’ll be drawn to the stuff like a moth to the flame in the Goblet of Fire (snort, glasses push).  

Also, the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride is frakking amazing. Just saying.

Nerd reference count: 
Harry Potter (7), Lord of the Rings (1), Battlestar Galactica (1)

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