Fantasy to Reality: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

As I’ve grown older, I’ve become a lot more realistic vs. optimistic and in certain cases - quite cynical of the world we live in. Seeing the ups and downs at a crazy pace has led me to realize that not everything is as it seems.

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Fast-forward to this past weekend: my wife and I spent a few days at Universal Studios in Orlando. She’s a huge fan of Harry Potter and from all that I had read, it was worth visiting the theme park.

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Despite battling the heat for two full days, I have to say that I am impressed! I’ve read every book in the series and the minute I stepped into either Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade, it felt like I was transported into another universe.

The employees at the Resort always had a smile on their face and stayed in character 100% of the time. The Butterbeer was incredible and the attention to detail was on another level. Every little thing mimicked the Harry Potter universe - down to their own currency which was legal tender at the Park.

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As a technologist, I was also amazed at how they implemented the wands throughout. For context, visitors can purchase a want for ~$50 and then use the sensors on the tip of the wands to interact with various window displays - making it a highly amusing people watching activity.

While neither of did any of the rides, we had an incredible time admiring the details and capping it off with a beautiful light show at Hogwarts.

50 Hours on Airplanes

It’s that time in my family - where people start getting married and move on to the next stage of their lives. 

In March, one of my cousins was getting married in India. She lives in Singapore and flew there a week before the wedding. Her younger sister, was flying from Singapore on the same day that I was scheduled to land from New York. 

In the interest of making the week as memorable as possible, I decided to do something crazy - swap my tickets that took me from New York to Abu Dhabi to Mumbai - a mere 16 hours on a plane to a ticket that had me flying from New York to San Fransisco to Tokyo to Hong Kong to Singapore and then finally to India - a trip that kept me in transit for nearly 50 hours, just so that I could surprise her on board. 

Here’s the thing - I loved every second of it. 

I’ve been flying for well over 25 years. Flights between New York to Los Angeles are second nature and 14 hour flights feel extremely familiar. 

It helps to know the ins and outs of airline operations. It helps flying in first-class. It helps being comfortable in unknown surroundings. 

Commercial aviation has become incredibly comfortable and for someone who still glares out the window for every take off and landing, it remains one of the very few places that is awe inspiring. 

Climb on.