MegaCon, Mardi Gras, Harry Potter…Oh My!!!
You know in retrospect I feel I sit on my content a little to long. I apologize for this. The last little bit has been nuts. Trying to find ones place in the world and juggle to many things at once can really kill you if you let it. Fortunate for me, I have people around me constantly that act as muses. Top that off with my special girls that have this really cool ability to center me and make me see what is more important in life. So you may be saying “OK GET WITH IT YOU SLACKER PIECE OF CRAP!!!”…I’m getting to that SO LAY OFF ME WILL YA’!?…
Most of you that were in Florida last month…more acuratly Orlando…Know what was going on. The annual MegaCon convention took the Orange County Convention Center by storm, and turned I-Drive upside down. I’m not usually one to go to MegaCon…not that I haven’t wanted too, I just never end up going. This year was a little different though…This year they had my idol there Stan “The Man” Lee of Marvel Comics Legend. So I just had to do it. There were also a few things I was wanting to cover on Universal Orlando, so it gave me the perfect excuse to pack up the Psychotik clan on a ROAD TRIP!!! Even when things were looking grim, a good friend (Todd) stuck his neck out to help make it happen. I saw a lot of really cool things. Some good, some funny, and some really irritating! But it’s all here, in this review on my March off and on in Orlando…
MegaCon, Mardi Gras, Harry Potter…Oh My!!!
The best way for me to do this, is to break it down into sections. So let’s start at the beginning…
Section 1: Once Upon a Time…At Mardi Gras Universal
This year I had the distinct pleasure of enjoying Universal Mardi Gras twice in one month. This year like my last visit was pretty top-notch. The food as always was good. Now I didn’t try any of the “Authentic Cajun Cusine” for what ever reason I just wasn’t into it. They did however have these really cool twisted potatoes on a stick. I got one dipped in Garlic butter, and it felt like a sin eating it! Speaking of a sin, the drink for this year was Voodoo Juice. You know I really can’t describe it to you other than saying it was a Rum Runner with extra fruit and booze chased with a Full Throttle stinger…Basicly, I could see myself going crazy overboard with the stuff while not being supervised. As sure as I am that most would love to see a rather blitzed, super-charged Malice…Mardi Gras Universal Orlando is not the time or the place.
The band line-up this year wasn’t too terrible. It just seemed we never got to see the one’s we wanted. We were there the night Lynard Skynard played, but we didn’t stay. I only like two songs and one of those they open with the other they end with. I’m not staying for the in-between, I just don’t care enough. The next day we had went that month Blake Shelton was there, and to that I say: HELL NO!! I wouldn’t have minded seeing the B-52′s, OneRepublic, or 30 Seconds to Mars. Things being what they were, the timing was all off. Oh well, I guess there is always next year! It would be really neat if they could get Pat Benetar again. Culture Club is touring next year, so you never know…maybe we will see them…(Leave me alone Culture Club is awesome to chill out to!!)
Lastly while I’m on the subject of Mardi Gras, I will mention the parade. As always it was a sight to see. The Psychotik family has lots of fun, and caught lot’s of beads (The little Psychotik, poor dear, caught some with her face…) This year seemed to not really be a theme but more like the best of the last few years. I had only really went to 2008 before this one, and then they had all of the different Mythological lands. This year had a few of them, but also had some other very interesting ones as well. I have seen pictures of the other ones, so like I said I think it was just a best of kind of thing. I have a video for the parade I will post below. It was from the beginning of the month. I was going to try for a better one the second time around, but it seems I’m always filming the damn thing or taking pictures. I never get to enjoy it, so the second time i said to hell with it and caught me some beads!!!
* Editor Note: Unfortunatly due to a lot of problems I am unable to embed the video of the parade here….HOWEVER…I offer you the link to it on the Encyclopedia Psychotika Facebook page… Enjoy!
Section 2: I Spit on Your Con….MegaCon 2011
In the anime/manga Full Metal Alchemist, they talk about the laws of equivalent exchange. To gain something you must first give something in return. I find this holds true to good times. For every truly awesome time you have, you must first hand over a BIG disappointment. That disappointment was…survay says…MegaCon 2011. If you know anything of the guests that were supposed to appear at MegaCon 2011, you might ask yourself how it was such an utter fail? Well my darlings, let me just say you weren’t there.
The big draw for me this year was going to be meeting my idol in the flesh, Stan “The Man” Lee. It was going to be the peak of greatness for me, the God Father of Marvel comics was going to be in Orlando!! Needless to say, me being there had to freaking happen. So I’m all psyched up! I got the little one (I couldn’t miss letting her meet him too!) We get to the show sign in. There were some awesome costumes I must say. Add that to the giant pirate ship in the middle, and the S.H.E.I.L.D team promoting the hell out of the new Thor movie, it was looking pretty cool. The guest list was top-notch. You had names like Stan Lee (God-Father of Marvel Comics), William Shatner (Capt. Freakin’ Kirk), Lou Ferrigno (The Original Hulk), Doug Jones (Abe Sapien, Silver Surfer, Epic Creature actor), Vic Mignogna (Epic Voice actor for over 100 different Animes), James Marsters (Spike from Buffy and we will just forget about that live action Dragon Ball Z movie nonsense) , Colleen Clickenbeard (Very talented voice actress), Kevin Sorbo (Fucking HERCULES!) , Arthur Suydam (Cover artist for Marvel Zombies)…these are all just to name a few of the massive guest list this con promised to have. But what could possibly wreck this good time? The same thing that can wreck most shows with a guest list this massive…NO FUCKING ORGANIZATION!!!
Honestly it was awful! The lines for some of these guests were an amorphous blob. They had virtually all of these high draw guests in a small area. When I say small, I really mean small! We are talking no bigger than a Hot Topic! Will Shattners ques went right through the center of it all, making things even more chaotic. As they day went on it just got worst. I had to walk out of Vic’s line because it wrapped the room 3 times and was at a stand still because no one would come organize it. Poor guy, I felt bad for him. Wasn’t his fault. And just to give you an idea who Vic is to anime fans, he is like a Shattner or a Lee. The con should have planned for his line. The biggest upset though, I’m going to have to devote a whole other paragraph to…
The big question when I got there was…Where the hell is Stan Lee!? This was a question that stuck with me for nearly three hours. No staff could answer me, hell they couldn’t even find a con guide so I could find it myself. No, I found the con guide (In a food section I might add!) From there it still took me a good 20 minuets to find him off in a separate room away from all the madness. By the time I had got there they had already line capped it. The bald gent that was there did tell me however I could wait in a little line in the back for about 30 minutes and they would tell me whether or not they would let more people in.I waited for 45, and 15 minuets later I saw the people I was in line with walking the walk of shame. You know it might have been a good thing to post on the website that there would be a limited amount of signatures. The did have were to could pre-buy them, but the way they advertised them was like you would be able to no matter what and weren’t limited by the con closing or such. Not that “Hey, you better buy these, because we cap that shit at 11:30 AM…” Needless to say that was a bust…
Moving on to other aspects of the show, they didn’t shine for me either. Most of the vendors were just hocking crap. I didn’t really find anything of interest and when I did it was something with a price jacked way up that I just didn’t need. There was a very cool vendor in the back that had all kinds of picture ops for Star Wars fans. They even built life-sized remote control R2 units. The people there were all very cool (save for a stuck up group of Trekkies, but that was expected!) The costumes I saw were very cool. I’m always fond of cosplayers. Really the best parts of the show were spending time with my little girl who was a champ, and one of my best friends and college Seth (Video Below). It will be rather sketchy as to whether or not Malice Psychotik will go back to this show. I will have to have nothing else going on, and just be going to screw around mostly. In a small defense for the show, I was there on Friday. But to pigeon-hole that defense I was not the only one complaining this was the worst year for organization anyone had ever seen. Moving on…
The Biggest Man at the show:
Section 3: Repairs, Rebuilds, and a Regal Review
Let’s end this little review on a rather high note shall we! Back to Universal Studios Orlando, my home away from home. There was a lot of stuff going on from February to April other than Mardi Gras. Yes, lots of rehabs and rebuilds and let’s not forget that Wizarding World of Harry Potter still drawing record-breaking crowds. I hadn’t really got to go until my little March trips, so I’ll take the time to review it here. Really sorry that most of this info is late. It doesn’t make sense to do the research and not post the article until 2 months later. At least it will be out in time for any summer crowds that may be making USO it’s vacation spot.
First, let’s talk about the Incredible Hulk Coaster’s rehab. For the first time since I think the park was built, the coaster finally got a fresh coat of paint. Even if you are not a regular visitor to the park, it was getting a little hard to deny the ride needed a fresh coat of paint. Especially when you get to the back part of the ride. The track looked very rusty and didn’t encourage much faith that it was kept in repair. Really it surprised me that they let it go this long. Below there is a slide show showing off some spectacular views. I even have a shot of what was the last pieces not painted yet. I’m sure by now the whole thing is done and looking great. It still runs fantastic! Not that a paint job has anything to do with that. Rumor has it that it may go under a little more of update soon, but that is for a future article.
My next ride of interest was Dudley-Doo Rights Ripsaw Falls. The ride under went a massive overhaul because of a fire that damaged a good portion of the ride. It was actually pretty fun going on this one, as I hadn’t really gone on it since the park opened. I can tell you based on that, they did a fantastic job restoring it. It was like nothing had changed in 12 years. The restraint system was a little funky, but ultimately improved on the experience a little (for those of you that avoid log flumes because you hate the “Free Fall” experience). The ride is real laugh riot and trip down memory lane for old school Rocky and Bullwinkle fans. You really have to love that the ride throws in not just one, but multiple false drops. I highly recommend that if you have never checked it out, you really should. Especially with the hot, HOT summer ahead. A good drenching goes a long way in the Florida heat.
Last point of interest I will touch on in…you guessed it…The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. To start out with, all I can really say is there are no words to accurately describe the experience. If you are a fan of the books you’ll love it. If you are a fan of the movie’s, you’ll love it. Hell, if you know nothing about it, it will make you want to learn more…AND you’ll love it!! The shops are overwhelming with all of the props and tiny details that make the whole experiance..pardon the pun…but magical! I was in that part of the park 5 times and still never got to see all it had to offer. Everytime I went through I found a new detail I missed. I know in the future I will have to devote one whole day to doing a comprehensive review. For now though, I offer you this run down:
1. Shops: The shops are an attraction all on their own. From candy to wands you will find all the things you have dreamed of having from the Potter universe. The candy shop was my favorite. Be sure to pay attention to the price tags though. I pretty confident that you could go broke easy in Honeydukes Sweet Shop. I did not get a chance to do Olivander’s because of the massive lines for this attraction. I will say on a down side that you will have to prepare to wait in line to get into many of the shops. Try to hit this part as early as possible.
2. Dinning: I was really disappointed I didn’t get to enjoy a meal at The Three Broomsticks. I will tell you from the reactions that I heard, that there weren’t any displeased customers. Everyone praised the food and loved the atmosphere. I did get to try the infamous Butter Beer. This comes highly recommended and get’s the Encyclopedia Psychotika seal of approval. Make sure to try both frozen and regular to see which you like. I prefered it more as a drink than a slushy.
3. Attractions: Here is where it get’s really fun. there are three rides in the WW. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Dragon Challenge, and the Flight of the Hippogriff. The Dragon Challenge is of course the old Dueling Dragons. They did a very cool job re-theming the castle to become the ground of the TriWizard Tournement. The only thing I was confused with was I thought they were re-themng the tracks and the cars. So far, it still appears to be the Fire and Ice even thought they call it the Chinese Fire Ball and the Hungarian Horntail. Maybe that will come later. At any rate it is still as awesome as ever. Flight of the Hippogriff is actually much more fun with it’s new theme. It’s very cool seeing an animatronics Buckbeard bow to you before you take off. Nice touch, and it get’s the little Psychotik’s approval! Last but not least is the amazing Forbidden Journey ride. It goes without saying that walking into Hogwarts pumps you way up for the ride. You might even say the que is an attraction all on its own (I know they do offer you being able to walk through and then just exit the building without riding. My only problem (besides the oversized arachnids!) is the restraints. They really are not that accommodating to the larger masses. I do hope they plan on fixing this. If somebody of my size has trouble riding, your harnesses are WAY to small. It just doesn’t make sense that I can ride The Hulk or even Dragon Challenge no problem, yet this indoor dark ride throws everyone issues. Come on Uni, get it together for your plus size fan boys and girls!
4. Atmosphere: The over all feel of the island is breathtaking. Whether it is being greeted by the Hogwart’s express or standing under the massive Hogwarts castle, you are just stripped of your descriptive vocabulary. Pay attention the shop windows for little extras here and there. Better yet pay attention while you are in the store’s because they are just as rigged up! The street performers and the actors are very good and very dedicated to bringing you the best experience possible. defiantly a must see if you are in Orlando anytime soon.
*Editor Note: I’m not sure if it was done all to recently, but I did notice that the Monster Cafe on the Universal Studio’s side was looking mighty fancy. I do know there was talk of it going under much needed rehab, but I can’t remember when…at anyrate I have some pictures included in the slideshow for it…Enjoy!
Really this was my whole March! I have even more that I will touch on in a week or so. Rumors of new attractions, upgrades, replacements, and hopefully a Halloween Horror Night rumor or two by then. Unfortunately the site I get most of my rumors from is down right now. I’ll leave you all with this small assessment for the month of March: Universal Rocks my world and MegaCon smells like Turd!!!
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,