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Travel Bear: ~Wizarding World of Harry Potter~

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My husband and I went to Universal Studio’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter this last February for our 5 year wedding anniversary. We stayed in one of the on site resorts so we were able to enter the park an hour before the public, which was worth it for sure. We got to the park at 8am and were led through the rest of the park to Hogsmead and the Hogwarts area as only that area is open for early admission. Walking up to the little village and train station instantly transport you to the wizarding world and is simply amazing.

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When we entered the village of Hogsmead we walked around, got some good pictures while the crowds were calm from early admission. We headed straight to Hogwarts castle to ride “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” where you are taken on a flying adventure with so much to see, we rode it twice. We even enjoyed waiting in line for  “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” as you get to go through the castle and in each little waiting room there is something to entertain you while you wait. There are moving portraits to listen to and watch, film accurate rooms to marvel at and much more.

One thing I was glad for in the parks is that before every large ride where you can not take your bags (we took a back pack) there are lockers outside of the rides where you can store your stuff for free while you are on the ride. You scan your finger print and then get your locker number, store your stuff away and then after the ride you just go and scan your print again and it opens your locker for you to grab your things and go.

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I could spend all day walking through the shops and looking at every little thing. The shop fronts are amazing and really draw you in. In Hogsmead you have so many amazing things to look at: “Honeyduke’s” where you will find shelves of magical candy and treats, “Dervish and Banges” where you can find a bit of everything from t-shirts to brooms, “Ollivander’s” which is a smaller shop than the one in Diagon Alley but there are all the wands a wizard would want to pick from, “The Owl Post” where you can send mail or purchase stationary and quills, and “Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods” which is the gift shop located at the end of “The Forbidden Journey” where you could spend quite a bit of time looking around at all the odds and ends.

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We grabbed some breakfast at “The Three Broomsticks” which has “Hogs Head Pub” attached to it. You can sit and look at all the interesting decorations while grabbing a bite or a drink.

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In “Islands of Adventure” where Hogsmead and Hogwarts is you have two rides: “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” and “The Flight of the Hippogriff” . They are right next to each other so once you get off one head directly to the next one. “The Flight of the Hippogriff” was a simple small track coaster where you get to see Hagrid’s Hut and Buckbeak chilling outside. We went the first week of February and the crowds were not bad at all. The longest we waited in line for anything was 30min but 8 out of 10 rides were much less of a wait time than that.

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You really want to try and go during low crowds because it is so great to be able to really take everything in. When you are in the shops look everywhere, side to side and up and down, there are things everywhere to see. Exploring is such a big part of the experience of the Wizarding World for sure.

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Once you’re done walking around Hogsmead, if you have the park to park pass you can hop on the Hogwarts Express to head to “Universal Studio’s” where you will find Diagon Alley. Riding the Train to and from the two parks was fun and each way you will have a different experience so we found the park to park pass worth the extra cost since we only had one day to do all we could.

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When you get off the train it puts you out into London where you need to look around for the entrance to Diagon Alley. When you walk through the opening and there are buildings looming on each side you are transported to when you first read “The Philosopher’s stone” or saw the movie for the first time. The hustle and bustle of everyone adds to the charm of the area as there are things to see and do all around.

The main ride in this area is “Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts” which was a blast, this ride was multi-dimensional with so much to experience. On top of the bank is a dragon that blows fire every few minutes and man can you feel the heat below! You can go next door to the “Gringotts Money Exchange” where you can trade your U.S. Dollars for Wizarding Notes you can use to purchase things around the Wizarding World.

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The Florida heat can bear down even in February so you should stop by “Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor” for some fantastic soft serve or hand dipped ice cream in many fun flavors including ButterBeer Ice Cream!

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Make sure to take the little tour of “Ollivander’s Wand Shop” where a lucky wizard will be chosen by a wand. You can purchase replica wands or interactive wands that can cast spells around the park, each wand is about $50.

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There are many shops to look at in Diagon Alley: get your jokes at “Weasleys Wizard Wheezes”, some dapper robes or dresses at “Madame Malkins Robes for all Occasions”, all your Quidditch needs at “Quality Quidditch Supplies”, find a loving companion at the “Magical Menagerie” and several more shops to explore.

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Make sure to try and catch some of the shows while you are visiting. We got to see “Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees” sing some great tunes and embarrass a lucky person with a serenade.

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In Diagon Alley you can grab a bite at “The Leaky Cauldron” which is where we ate lunch, you can also go by “The Hopping Pot” for your choice of all the wizarding drinks to be had like: Toungue Tying Lemon Squash, Fishy Green Ale, Wizards Brew and many others.

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We took the train back to ‘Islands of Adventure” and got to see the Frog Choir show which was so fun to watch. Besides Celestina’s show and the Frog Choir there is a Triwizard show as well that takes place in the same area as the Frog Choir.

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We sat and relaxed in the middle of Hogsmead as the sun went down and watched the lights come on giving a truly magical ambiance. The Hogwarts light show at night was one of the coolest shows my husband and I have ever seen. Such a wonderful experience to bring our magical day to a close. We headed back to our room which was so easy with the resorts shuttle services.

I could go to the Wizarding world every week and never get bored. We really enjoyed our time there and can not wait to go back.

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Have you ever been to Universal’s Wizarding World? Let me know about your trip in the comments! What house do you claim? What is your favorite treat in the park?

 

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First Impressions “A Centaurs Worries”

Also known as “A Centaur’s Life”, is an anime that follows a group of friends in a world much like our own except for the fact that there are several different races in a broader sense. The races include: Angel folk, Demon Folk, Cat People, Centaurs, Mermaids and a few others. Each race has unique physical attributes but are all equal in the eyes of the government. The history of the world within the anime and manga is nearly identical to our own except that evolution changed and went a different route than in our world.

It is a “slice of life” anime that follows high school students in their everyday life and sometimes shows the world around them and political struggles. The center character as you might have guessed is a Centaur named Hime, along with her best friends a demon girl, a goat girl and a snake girl. They live fairly normal high school lives with friends, events, confessions and other things typical of teen girls.

I really enjoyed the manga as I have a interest in the “Monster Girl” genre to begin with but this series is makes it seem so normal while bringing up a lot of real world social issues that make it a gem among newer series for sure.

Have you watched this series or read the manga? Who is your favorite character or what is your favorite race? Let me know what you think in the comments!

~Travel Bear: Lotte World in Seoul, South Korea~

 

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On my first full day in Korea my friends and I went to Lotte World located at:  240 Olympic-ro, Jamsil 3(sam)-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea. It is a partially inside and outside amusement park that has some cute similarities to the Disney Parks in the U.S.. 

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We went on October 7th, 2016 and I was very surprised to see so much Halloween decor everywhere. I knew Halloween was not celebrated as much outside of the U.S. but Lotte World brought out all the stops when decorating for Halloween. There were pumpkins and witches galore and everything had a bit of a cute touch to it!

Our Tickets for the day which are normally about $50 we got for about $23 using a coupon on our phones. I was so amazed that we could get tickets for so cheap!

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On the inside of the park is a large ice skating rink and several floors filled with rides, games, stores and lots of food places and kiosks filled with lots of things. There was a little monorail that went above the park and several rides like: a pirate ship, a Sinbad ride that reminded me of Pirates of the Caribbean, A full loop ride, several kids rides and so much more.

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You can exit the inside to head to the other half of the park where there are many more rides and a cute little castle. At the time I went, they were having a zombie island attraction and many little horror themed areas. If you go to Lotte World you want to download the park app on your phone and you can get early passes for the rides. You have a few passes for your visit and you have to be quick to get the times you want for the more popular rides.

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There was so much different food in the park: Hot Dogs, Jajang myeon, Chicken, Kebabs, Pizza, Ice Cream, Cookies, Hamburgers, Udon and Tankatsu plus so much more! I was surprised to see such an array of things from all over the world. I was also glad to see that the prices were not crazy and very affordable compared to an American park where they gauge the price of food like crazy.

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While we were there we got to see the special Halloween Parade which was so fun to watch. There was so many floats, dancers and lots of cool costumes. I videoed the entire thing and will be posting it on my youtube shortly.

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I had a fun day at Lotte World and would defiantly go back in a heart beat. Have you ever been or want to go? Let me know what your favorite part was or what you look forward to the most?

 

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Heading to Korea ~Day 1~

This was my first day of adventure heading to South Korea! I went from Birmingham, AL to Dallas,TX then to Narita, Japan and finally to Seoul, South Korea. It was such a long day and I went through 4 airports and was on a plane for a total  of around 21 hours.

I flew with American Airlines and Japan Airlines and let me tell you, Japan Airlines is fantastic, the hostesses were so caring and attentive to make sure the flight was as comfortable as it could be. The food was good and man did they keep on feeding you.

It was so great to see my friend in South Korea, we hadn’t seen each other in over 7 years! The moment I entered South Korea I fell in love with the Country.

Stay tuned for many more videos about my adventures, tips and tricks and much more!

Travel Bear: 5 hours till heading to Korea

Oh my goodness, I am not fully believing of the fact that in 5 hours I will be on my way to South Korea. This trip has been a dream and a promise for 8 years now and it is finally happening. I am starting to get a bit nervous which thankfully I have kept at bay this entire time. I am not very fond of flying but am hoping for the best. This will be my first time overseas and in moments seems overwhelming.

I will be doing so much and will be documenting every step of the way so please look forward to a wave of new content, blog posts, tips and tricks, and videos in the coming month. I look forward to this amazing adventure and am so thankful for my best friend: my husband who without him this would not be possible.

 

Are you wanting to learn another Language? Here are some tips and resources. :)

How many of you keep thinking how cool it would be to learn a new language? I know there are many Otaku out there that would love to learn Japanese, and many Hallyu fans that would love to learn Korean. There are many reasons to learn a new language such as for: work, school, friends, or just because. It can be very intimidating and stressful learning a new language but also fun!

I started learning Japanese about 10 years ago and was able to get my feet in the water with the best ways to go about that. I started by buying lots of learn basics books and daily exercises. You can learn a lot from books but nothing is like being able to talk with some one else. Thankfully I was very lucky to have a very sweet Japanese Sensei who helped me get a good base for the language and I also was able to help her with some English along the way. It was really neat being able to exchange like that. From there I was giving the Japanese Rosetta Stone which to me worked very well for retention and immersion.

I got to speak a little Japanese and began learning a little Korean when a few students from Japan and Korea come to my school for a Foreign exchange program. I will say that the more you are around people talking another language the more able you are to figure out what they are talking about. One of the most important things when learning a language is to completely surround yourself as much as you can in that language. Watch shows in that language and listen to music and work at reading news papers and books.

While learning Korean I have been  using many online sites to learn Hangul and basic sounds and phrases as well as several apps. Talk To Me in Korean is a great site to go to to learn real Korean and get comfortable with it. I was giving a Living Language Book set for my Anniversary and so far I really like it for the Text Book Study part of Learning. A BIG help is Apps you can get on your phone for sure. You can find lots of little dictionary’s and exercise games to assist with learning on the go as well as a REALLY cool app called ” HelloTalk”.

HelloTalk is an app you can get where you make a small profile and put what language you know and what you are wanting to learn. It will match you up with many people from all around the world that are wanting to learn your language and know the one you want to learn. It is a great way to meet people and make friends all over the world or just in the country you are interested in. You are able to text chat as well as send audio recordings to one another. In this way you can learn written and spoken language with another person. Through the app you can also Call and talk to one another. There are many different ways to jump into another language and different things tend to work for different people.

Do you have any advice to learn a new language? Any cool websites to check out? Please let me know in the comments. 🙂

Learning new things

So for an early Anniversary present my wonderful husband let me get a new language program for learning Korean. I did a lot of research over a few days t make sure I was getting the right one for me. At first I gravitated towards the Rosetta Stone program of which I own the Japanese version and was a fan of. I was just going to buy it outright and then figured if I was going to make a purchase like that I really did need to read over the reviews and research more than just that one. Thankfully I did as I found that much of the reviews were somewhat negative. Many from those who have used and really liked the Rosetta Stone programs before, they mainly said that the way the Rosetta program is set up does not work as well with Korean.

I looked up review after review of different people going through various programs online and text books and some that included lots of aspects. I finally settled on the Living Language Complete Edition Korean. It came with 3 texts that takes you through beginner, intermediate and advanced language skills. It also comes with a reading and writing manual, notebook and audio companion for the texts. I got this program from Books a Million online for about $50 (which is nice compared to the $200 price tag for a Rosetta Stone.)

So far in my studies I like how the texts are set up and that the audio companion will take you through the pronounciation for each lesson multiple times for practice. The reading and writing manual is simple and easily understood. As well as the texts and hard copy items I have I can also seek extra help and resources on Living Languages website which is nice.

Along with the main program im using I also make use of many internet resources that help with writing and reading as well as vocabulary, ill post some links to sites I recommend and am fond of.

Have you learned or are learning a new language? What ways of studying helps you the most? Is the a specific program you like to use? Tell me about it in the comments!


http://www.learnlangs.com/RWP/Korean/Korean%20-%20Lesson%203.htm

http://www.talktomeinkorean.com/

http://www.livinglanguage.com/products/korean/

http://www.learn-korean.net/

There are many sites you can find and use! Is there a really great site you use? Share it with me 🙂