Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Harry Potter Potions and Elixirs at Universal Orlando Resort

A visit to Universal Orlando Resort is a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself within J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Watch a dragon breath fire right in front of your eyes at Universal Studios' Diagon Alley or fly a broom across the grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry and through the Forbidden Forest at Universal's Islands of Adventure Hogsmeade.  After selecting a wand, or maybe a wand selecting you, at Ollivanders and casting some magical spells with it amongst the theme parks interactive features take a moment to take in your surroundings while enjoying some of the variety of potions and elixirs available at Universal Orlando Resort's Harry Potter attractions.


Some of these delicious beverages are referenced directly within the Harry Potter books and movies such as Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice while others such as Fishy Green Ale are simply inspired by the magical works of J.K. Rowling.  These non-alcoholic beverages are the perfect cure for handling a hot Florida day while exploring Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.  The theme parks also offer some alcoholic potions for those over 21 years old who wish to indulge in them.  Drink a shot of Fire Whisky followed up with a pint of Wizard's Brew or Dragon Scale which are all alcoholic beverages exclusive to Universal Orlando Resort's Wizarding World of Harry Potter.



Butterbeer


Butterbeer appears to be one of the favorite beverages amongst the witches and wizards within the pages of the Harry Potter novels and in the corresponding movies.  While it is referenced getting house-elves drunk in the books, the Butterbeer at Universal Orlando Resort is non-alcoholic.  It is a tasty sugary concoction that blends together the flavors of cream soda, butterscotch, shortbread cookies and whipped cream.

We've tried themed sodas available at grocery stores and diy recipes at home, but have to say the Butterbeer my family has had at Universal Orlando Resort is by far the best.  It is available in three varieties at Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade -- cold, frozen and hot.  Cold Butterbeer is a creamy, buttery confection combining the taste of butterscotch and shortbread topped off with a foamy froth cap of deliciousness. Imagine mixing together a butterscotch sundae with a glass of cream soda and giving it the appearance of a pint of British ale and you have yourself a mug of Universal Orlando Resort's cold Butterbeer.

Butterbeer is also available heated up and the hot version is a nice way to warm up your belly on a mild weathered winter day or when there is a bit of an evening chill in the air during a night time visit to Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade.  My personal preference though is frozen Butterbeer.  This variation is like drinking a Butterbeer slush.  Oh it is good!  Plus frozen Butterbeer is the only one of the three you can drink with a straw because in the other two versions that utensil instigates a carbon dioxide overload that will turns your beverage into a bubbling cauldron which will quickly overflow from your cup like a school volcano science project.



Tongue Tying Lemon Squash


Made from real lemons this tart drink with a hint of vanilla has become the favorite lemonade among the Muggles who visit Universal Orlando Resort.  You may be enchanted to give someone a kiss after drinking a Tongue Tying Lemon Squash as its tangy flavor is sure to have your lips puckered.

Otter's Fizzy Orange Juice


Oranges and Florida go together like magical spells and wands so you'd have to expect something like Otter's Fizzy Orange Juice being available at Universal Orlando Resort's Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  It is a carbonated orange creamsicle flavored soda with a cinnamon and sugar coated rim to a cup that is garnished with a fresh orange slice.  It is not your typical orange juice but is a perfect beverage for a Florida vacation combining the State fruit with whimsical Harry Potter flair.

Fishy Green Ale


While the non-alcoholic specialty drinks at Wizarding World of Harry Potter are meant to be exclusive aspects of the Universal theme park experience, Fishy Green Ale stands out as being uniquely available at Diagon Alley.  It has a greenish coloring providing the appearance of a magical potion and a sip will provide you a creamy mint taste with a hint of cinnamon to it.  Take a look at the bottom of your cup and you'll notice it is filled with "fish eggs!"  Well not really fish eggs...they're plump blueberries.  Your Fishy Green Ale comes with an extra large straw so you can suck up these fish eggs through it.  Beware the blueberries absorb the cinnamon and mint from the drink combining with the fruitiness of the berries for a flavor explosion within your mouth.

Peachtree Fizzing Tea


Take a peach cobbler, mix it up in a blender, then drink it and you have yourself a Peachtree Fizzing Tea.  Featured in the Harry Potter movies, this drink has been brought to life at Universal Orlando Resort.  The resort boasts that this bubbly peach and ginger flavored concoction has a fizzing volume of a whopping 87%.



Pumpkin Juice


At first glance of a bottle of Pumpkin Juice at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I thought to myself how disgusting is that? Ugh!  But I mustered the courage to try out the drink and have to admit it really was delicious.  Pumpkin Juice combines the taste of apple cider with pumpkin pie.  Hints of spices and brown sugar compliment the main two flavors so that it is like enjoying Thanksgiving Day desert within a bottle of juice.  Don't hesitate in picking up a bottle of Pumpkin Juice while you are at Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade.



Gillywater


Visitors will notice bottles of Gillywater being sold throughout Universal Orlando Resort's Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  At first glance it will appear this is just normal bottled water with a Harry Potter themed label.  And that is all it is ... unless you add a secret ingredient.



Stop by Eternelle's Elixir of Refreshment located in Diagon Alley to purchase a vial with a potion that will transform your normal Gillywater into a flavorful treat.  Pick from one of four elixirs, pour the potion into a bottle of Gillywater, and shake it up.  Voila! You have one of these concoctions:

Babling Beverage that is the flavor of fruit punch;

Draught of Peace is a mixture of blueberry, blackberry, cherry and raspberry;

Fire Protection Potion which tastes like watermelon mixed with peach and strawberry;

Elixir to Induce Euphoria is pineapple flavored with a touch of mint.



Looking for a stronger drink than a Butterbeer? Try a Dragon Scale, Hogs Head Brew or Wizard's Brew.  These actual craft beers are brewed exclusively for Universal Orlando Resort by Florida Beer Company which also produces the Duff beers for The Simpsons area of the Universal Studios theme park.

Hogs Head Brew can be found at Universal Orlando Resort's Islands of Adventure theme park.  Stop by the Hogs Head Pub in Hogsmeade to get yourself a pint.  Hogs Brew tastes quite a bit like George Killian's Irish Red with a Scottish ale twist to its flavoring.  If you want to be a bit more adventurous try yourself a Deathly Hallows, which for some sort of copyright or other legal reasons the resort can't refer to the drink as but the bartenders will know what you are talking about, when visiting the Hogs Head Pub.  It consists of golden Strongbow hard cider, topped with amber Hogs Brew and capped with the dark coloring of Guinness.  Each beverage has its own level creating an interesting look within the cup and create an interesting blend of flavors as you drink it.



Hogs Head Pub doesn't serve soda but rather provides apple and pear ciders as non-alcoholic beverages.  These also make for great mixers in alcoholic drinks.  Try a Hogs Tea which is essentially a Long Island Iced Tea that instead of soda uses raspberry iced tea mixed together with a combination of gin, rum, tequila, and vodka.  You may also want to try a Pear Dazzle which is vodka mixed with pear cider and lemonade.

Dragon Scale and Wizard's Brew, like Fishy Green Ale, are unique to the Diagon Alley area of Universal Studios theme park.  Wizard's Brew is a dark stout with coffee and chocolate flavoring.  This sweet stout is a strong drink but remarkable not bitter.  Those who like dark beers like Guinness or Bell's Kalamazoo Stout will definitely appreciate a Wizard's Brew.  Dragon Scale is an amber lager similar to the regular Duff's beer available in The Simpson's area of Universal Studios theme park.  This brew is more for people who enjoy pale ales.  A Deathly Hallows drink mix in Diagon Alley is a combination of Strongbow Cider, Dragon Scale and Wizard's Brew.



In the Harry Potter books, Fire Whisky is an alcohol partaken by witches and wizards described as causing a burning sensation when drunk that fills one's body with courage and that is too potent for Muggles to drink.  A shot of Fire Whisky can now be enjoyed though by Muggles who venture to Universal Orlando Resort's Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade attractions.  Created by TerrePure Spirits, Blishen's Fire Whisky is a Harry Potter branded cinnamon flavored alcohol that is a bit mellower than Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey but still has that great Red Hots candy style taste to it.  Have a shot by itself or toss it in a pint of Dragon Scale, Hogs Brew or Strongbow Cider for an extra jolt to your drink.



As you can see there are a lot of great Harry Potter themed beverages to help enhance your experience while visiting this fantasy world of wizards and witches at Universal Orlando Resort. These really are some great elixirs to help you have a good time. From family friendly non-alcoholic potions like Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice to alcoholic elixirs for the Over 21 crowd like Dragon Scale, Hogs Tea and Fire Whisky there is something for everyone to help put them in a Wizarding World of Harry Potter mood.  Which of these beverages either is your favorite or one that you would like to try?

Monday, November 13, 2017

Freaky Feast Prize Pack Giveaway

This Thanksgiving Day you can feast upon freaky movies playing all day long on COMET TV.  On Thursday November 24th, COMET TV is airing The Freaky Feast Movie Marathon featuring Superbeast, The Incredible Melting Man, Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf, The Video Dead, The Beast Within and Creature. Tune in to see plenty of stories featuring moments that will look like a pass-the-cranberry-sauce scenery gone wrong.



COMET TV has also provided A Geek Daddy with a Freaky Feast prize pack to giveaway so that one lucky winner can have their own horror-fic celebration.  For a chance to win please follow @Geekdad248 on Twitter and retweet the embedded message below before 11:59 pm ET on Friday, November 24, 2017.  Must be a United States resident over 18 years old to be eligible for the giveaway.


The Comet TV November Freaky Feast Pack has:

1 -Limited Edition Teen Wolf T-shirt: Get ready to Howl! This shirt sports the classic Teen Wolf logo on the front and is perfect for letting your inner freak fly. Whether you’re playing basketball or just letting your beard grow in, we got you covered! Literally, I mean… It’s a shirt. Hello!

2 -Limited Edition COMET TV Condiment Bottles: How can you have a feast without the accoutrements? These condiment bottles are just the thing for adding that secret sauce at any Freaky Feast!

8 -COMET TV Table Place cards: Haven’t you always wanted to tell your friends, “You’re a beast!” Now you have a chance, in a nice subtle way. These place cards are perfect for that elegant classy touch at your next Freaky Feast. Featuring aliens, robots, and more!

1 -COMET TV Collectable Card: You’ll get one of four collectable COMET TV cards featuring Teen Wolf, Once Bitten and more.

BUT… You can’t have a feast without candy! You’ll also get an assortment of gummy brains, hearts, livers as well as some candy blood bags and even a wax fang or two!

COMET TV is an over-air broadcast network that can be tuned in with a digital antenna and viewed subscription free.  No need for cable, satellite or Wi-Fi, to watch COMET TV.  In the Metro Detroit area of Michigan just tune to Channel 19-7 with a television antenna.

Also during your Thanksgiving weekend don't miss out on watching TEEN WOLF + TEEN WOLF II playing back-to-back on Saturday, November 25 starting at 10 pm ET. That promises to be a howling good time!


Disclaimer & Rules:  A Geek Daddy has not been financially compensated for this endorsement or hosting the giveaway but was provided the same items being provided as a prize for personal use. The prize is provided by COMET TV and A Geek Daddy is hosting the promotion as a benefit to our readers. Must be a US resident over the age of 18 to participate.  One entry per mailing address and winner will be randomly selected from all eligible entries.  If you have already won this prize through another blog participating in this promotion, your entry will be disqualified.  By participating in this promotion you waive any liability of any kind against the publisher of this blog. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. No P.O. Boxes allowed for delivery of the prize. COMET TV will be responsible for shipping the prize to the selected winner.  A Geek Daddy is not responsible for delivery of the prize.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

FINGERLINGS TOY GIVEAWAY

My daughter has gone bananas over her FINGERLINGS Baby Monkey from WowWee!  This cute robotic toy that can hang from your fingertip looks to be one of the hottest toys for this year's holiday shopping season.  They're so popular right now Fingerlings may be difficult to find at stores in time for Christmas so A Geek Daddy is excited to be able to give one away!

These cute baby monkeys come to life within your hands!  Fingerlings react to touch, motion and sounds through more than 40 sound and animation responses.  Tapping on a Fingerling's head will trigger a variety of different reactions.  Hang a Fingerling upside down by its tail and see what happens.  These toys show affection when petted and fall asleep when rocked in the palm of your hand.  Clap your hands to get your robotic pet to sing or whistle to you.  Rub your hand in just the right spots on a Fingerling and it will even burp or fart!



So who wants one?!  A Geek Daddy has a Bella Fingerlings toy to giveaway!   For a chance to win it complete the entries in the form below.  Must be a United States resident over 18 years old to participate. No P.O. Boxes for mailing addresses please. Valid entries must be received before 11:59 pm ET on Sunday, December 3, 2017.  A Geek Daddy will randomly select one eligible entrant to win the prize and mail the prize out to the winner.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Some of my daughter's favorite toys have come from WowWee including MiPosaur and CHiP the robot dog. The toy company has impressed her again with these adorable robotic baby monkeys! Check out A Geek Daddy's toy review of FINGERLINGS.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Hog Wild Toys Head Lites



Whether it is reading in bed or walking from your tent to a bathroom during a camping trip, Head Lites from Hog Wild Toys make lighting up dark spaces fun.  These adorable plush animal heads that kids can wear feature LED lights for eyes.  My son wore his Head Lite outside the other night to get something out of the back yard after dark and I have to say it was impressive how brightly his path was illuminated by this plush hat.  They also provide the perfect amount of light for reading.  My daughter wears her Head Lite all the time in the evening to avoid eye strain while reading.



There are eight cute Head Lite animal designs to choose from ranging from chickens to unicorns.  Each of the characters' eyes can be independently be adjusted (up, down and off to the side) so the stream of light can be shined just where it is needed.  Just place two AA sized batteries in the hat and the lights can be turned on simply by touching one of the ears to click them on and off.



My kids really like the animal themes of these Head Lites and use them quite a bit more than I actually expected they would.  In addition to using around the house, we've taken the kids' Head Lites on several camping trips and they have been really handy to have around after the sun has gone down.  From our experience the lights have worked great plus the product has been easy to use along with being very durable and dependable. 

The fun factor of the plush animal heads make Head Lites more than just a wearable head lamp.  Because of the enjoyment and usefulness my family has gotten out of Hog Wild Toys Head Lites, I'm giving them A Geek Daddy nod of approval. Hog Wild Toys Head Lites are a wildly fun way to light up the night.


THE LION KING Roars To Life With All Star Cast

The next movie in Disney's efforts to recreate some of its most beloved animated movies in a blend of real world environments and life life CGI special effects is moving forward with the recent announcement of the casting for director Jon Favreau's new take on the "The Lion King."  After Favreau's efforts in The Jungle Book, my whole family is excited to see this new adaption of "The Lion King!"  Especially after learning about the stellar cast that will be voicing the characters in the movie.

Lions rule the African savanna in “The Lion King,” which welcomes Donald Glover (“Atlanta,” “Solo: A Star Wars Story”) as future king Simba, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter ("Dreamgirls,” “Lemonade” visual album) as Simba’s friend-turned-love interest Nala, and James Earl Jones (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” “Field of Dreams”) as Simba’s wise and loving father, Mufasa, reprising his iconic performance from Disney’s 1994 animated classic. Chiwetel Ejiofor (“Twelve Years a Slave,” Marvel Studios’ “Doctor Strange”) was called on to portray Simba’s villainous uncle Scar, and Alfre Woodard Juanita,” Marvel’s “Luke Cage”) portrays Simba’s no-nonsense mother, Sarabi.

Every kingdom comes with a trustworthy advisor or two. John Kani (“Coriolanus,” Marvel Studios’ “Captain America: Civil War”) was cast as the wise baboon Rafiki, and John Oliver (HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”) was tapped as hornbill Zazu, Mufasa’s loyal confidant. When Simba goes into exile, he relies on two newfound friends—Seth Rogen(“Sausage Party,” “Neighbors”) lends his comedic chops to naïve warthog Pumbaa, and Billy Eichner (“Billy on the Street,” FX’s “American Horror Story”) joins the cast as know-it-all meerkat Timon.

While most of the animals in the kingdom respect the king, the hyenas have other plans. Florence Kasumba (NBC’s “Emerald City,” Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther”) portrays Shenzi, Eric André (Adult Swim’s “The Eric André Show,” FXX’s “Man Seeking Woman”) is Azizi, and Keegan-Michael Key (“Predator,” Netflix’s “Friends from College”) plays Kamari. 

THE LION KING is expected to roar into theaters across the United States on July 19, 2019.

National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America

Bird watching has become a favorite activity for my children and I to do together.  It is something that you can do together as a family outdoors anytime of the year with relatively little expense that provides a great opportunity to get some exercise.  The regular nature hikes I took my kids on as toddlers have evolved over the years into bird watching expeditions as they always get a thrill seeing these creatures in the wild.  It is amazing how encountering birds brings out a sense of wonder in children.

One of our favorite resources to learn about the birds is a book from National Geographic Kids.  Light weight and just the right size to hold in a child's hands or throw inside a backpack, National Geographic Kids BIRD GUIDE OF NORTH AMERICA highlights more than 100 species of birds that you could come across in the United States and Canada.  It's great to flip through before going out on an excursion to provide an idea of what birds you may encounter as well as nice to flip through after getting back home to identify what you may have come across while out and about.



A favorite type of bird that we like to go out looking for during the summer months in Michigan are Great Blue Herons.  They truly are an incredible sight to behold especially when you can get up close to one.  National Geographic Kids BIRD GUIDE OF NORTH AMERICA features wonderful two-page spreads on fifty of the most popular birds that people are on the look out for including the Great Blue Heron.  Enjoy some great photographs of the birds showcased in this section of the book while reading about where they live and what they like to eat.  Each of these profiles also includes a weird fun fact and a facts box with information like a bird's scientific name and wingspan.  All this information is fun to read about for curious minds but also educational as well.



The book also has a section divided by habitats and breaks down which environments different birds live in.  Planning on taking a trip to a different part of the country?  National Geographic Kids BIRD GUIDE OF NORTH AMERICA shows you various examples of interesting birds to keep an eye out for.  Plus the book provides tips bird watching to help make the activity enjoyable for kids.



In addition to birds living in the wild here in North America, the book also gives examples of extraordinary species from around the world that you may be able to see in a local zoo.   The Detroit Zoo recently opened a new penguin exhibit and my children like to read up about these birds in their National Geographic Kids book before our family outings there.  This 176 page paperback book is an eye-opening look at the impressive diversity of birds and encourages readers to get outside and do some bird watching for themselves.



A Geek Daddy is a member of the National Geographic Kids Insider blogger program. Insiders get a behind-the-scenes look at National Geographic’s resources, activities, content and projects for kids and families. They also review copies of books, magazines and toys, and are offered interviews with authors, explorers and editors.  A Geek Daddy does not receive any financial compensation for my participation as a National Geographic Kids Insider.

Friday, November 10, 2017

REVVIN UP THE REINDEER

Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, New Year!  It is a season of celebrations filled with high hopes and holiday music in the air.  My family always enjoys listening to holiday tunes to put us in the spirit of the season.  This year we'll have some new songs to enjoy as Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could have released Revvin' Up the Reindeer, a fresh album featuring 13 cheery, all-original holiday songs.

Revvin' Up the Reindeer is the ninth album for families by the three-time Grammy nominated musical group.  Not only does the album reflect the festive atmosphere of this time of the year with caroling harmonies, brass, and bells incorporated into its songs but every track is also inflected with the band's rootsy, feel-good sound.  Revvin' Up the Reindeer instills a recollection of classic holiday tunes with songs that have their own distinctively fresh and engaging style.



The title track of Revvin' Up the Reindeer is a 50’s rock ‘n’ roll romp, imagining Santa with a souped-up sleigh; the ska-beat “Holiday Jam” is a humorous take on the many ways we cope during the busiest time of the year; lyrical accordion embellishes the Klezmer-inspired "Rainbow Candles;" the hopeful sing-a-long “Christmas Wishes” radiates  with a children’s choir “The Fa La Las;” and the band rings out the old and swings in the new in raucous, Dixieland jazz fashion with "Baby New Year." Indeed, whispers of holiday standards weave cleverly throughout, conjuring up the magic of the holiday season. 

A Geek Daddy has a Revvin' Up the Reindeer CD to giveaway! Follow @Geekdad248 and retweet the embedded message below for a chance to win it.  Must be a United States resident over 18 years old to participate. Valid entries must be received before 11:59 pm ET on Sunday, November 19, 2017. A Geek Daddy will randomly select one entrant to win the CD and Brady Rymer's publicist will be responsible for mailing it to the giveaway winner. Good luck!
Revvin' Up the Reindeer is available on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify and through other musical sources.  For more information about the band, swing over to bradyrymer.com.