We authors are world builders, so nothing thrills us more than to see our words come to life in the form of a book. That way, we know that people will enter the worlds we create through our words. A few talented and lucky writers create worlds so vivid that they are recreated in the form of movies, and their worlds then reach millions through words and visuals. That must be an amazing feeling. And even fewer writers have their worlds recreated in three dimensional in places where we, the readers, can actually experience and interact with these word-built words! Butterbeer, anyone?
That’s right, I spent the weekend at the Universal Studios theme park in Orlando, and I was struck over and over again about how much of the park is owed to the power of words – to authors.
Now I am not a big fan of theme park rides, those days are gone! But what Harry Potter fan doesn’t want to walk down the streets of Hogsmeade? I know I did! So it wasn’t too hard (we only made her beg for a year) for our daughter to convince us to take her down to Universal for a long weekend. (Let me give you a TIP: the second weekend in November is a GREAT weekend to visit this park. We paid for two nights in the hotel and got the third free, we also paid for two days in the parks and got the third free. Crowds were low, lines were short, and a new super-affordable dining meal card was newly available. )
Anyway, as a reader, and a writer, I have to admit that I fully enjoyed stepping into the world J.K. Rowling created while I shopped at Honeydukes, ate roasted chicken in the Three Broomsticks, drank Butterbeer, and even visited the restrooms where Myrtle moaned. It was fun to see words come alive. And while Hogsmeade was certainly the main attraction for me, it was only one area of the author-inspired park.
We visited Jurassic Park, the gargantuan creation of author Michael Crichton.
And took a walk through Seuss Landing, a world inspired by the crazy out-of-the-box words of Dr. Seuss. Here I am with the first eligible bachelor to attempt to hold hands with me in over 23 years.
I’m sure that my daughter, who spent a lot of time being photographed with many mini minions, and my husband, who rode more roller coasters in those three days than he probably had in a lifetime (due to my wimping out after the Norwegian Horntail experience) took different things away from the Universal experience. But I came away feeling awed by the power of words, and the amazing possibilities before us when we build worlds with them.
As I polish up my current work in progress, I will be asking myself: What changes can I make to insure that readers will want to step off the pages and into this world?
Interesting post, Kami! My son’s been dying to go to Disney. Looking at it from a writer’s perspective, might be an incentive for going.
So glad the trip was inspirational for you! I know as a reader, it’s important for me to “see” the world I’m reading about. Love the “texting” picture. hahahaha
Oh, Kami, I knew as soon as I saw the first pic, where you were! I’d recognize those rooftops ANYwhere! 😀 My son and daughter-in-law went there during their honeymoon, and Paul took a lot of pics for me 🙂 I was salivating!!! If I had the money, I’d be there in a heartbeat—no begging from ANYone! lol
Back in 2005, when HALF-BLOOD PRINCE was first released, my “Harry Potter Theory Mongers” friends and I were dreaming of them making a Harry Potter Theme Park! Years later, when they announced it was going to happen, we went nuts! lol Though we wanted to make plans to all meet there, it hasn’t happened, and only one of us has had the pleasure so far.
It’s so true, about the worlds authors create in every book that’s written, but certainly, in the world of fantasy, the imagination soars. Though I’m not published yet, and my worlds and characters may never be “3-D worthy,” being a writer is, to me, one of the most fulfilling occupations to have 😀
Btw, I’m looking forward to reading your NEXT “world.” 🙂
Disney and Universal are both great places for creative types to check out. It you look at it from the creator’s perspective. I’m always taken in by how things are presented. I hope you all get to go… and take your families! It is a little easier for me, since I only live 4.5 hours away, but if you get a chance, and you want the experience, search for deals during the off season and try to make it.
I never thought about using theme parks as inspiration this way – what a wonderful way to look at it. Hmmm… maybe I can take a trip to Florida and justify it as a business expense. 🙂
Great idea Jocelyn. Hadn’t thought of writing it off! Ha!
Great post, Kami! I’m a huge Disney fan and love the idea of riding through stories. And yay for inspiration!
Thanks Laura. We love going to Disney too, but this was the first time I’d experienced Universal. Even if you are a person who doesn’t like “in your face marketing” you have to admire the creative people who put these parks together. We came away with very few souvenirs, a hat, two key chains and some ton-tongue toffee, but a lot of great memories.
Hey Kami. I just came upon your blog today, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. We’ve never been to Disney with our children. There are many reasons like the heat, the long lines, the cost, etc. Didn’t the band march in the Disney Parade when we were in high school? My memory is terrible!
Thanks Mishele! We did play in a Disney parade. It was so hot and we were sweating so much with those uniforms on that we couldn’t get the horns to stay on our lips. We sounded terrible! I’ll never forget how mad Mr. W was. Of course he didn’t have to wear the polyester suit or the bomber hat. I’ll also never forget the backstage tour where we were instructed not to tell if we saw anything that might “ruin the magic” for someone else!
I loved this post, Kami. It makes me really want to commit to going once and for all. Second week of November 2014, maybe?
Thanks Flori. Your boys would love it! They are good ages for theme parks.