PEr FYI

March 30, 2018

Warner Bros Studio The Making of Harry Potter, London…an absolute must-see for Potter fans

A movie fanatic would always enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at how the films were made. Unlike the theme parks at Universal, this is the actual studio where they filmed the movies, and actual props. And there’s no doubting that Potter aficionados will love what they see here, because it is the real deal. Potterheads rejoice!!

You’ll see things like the Great Hall (yes it was as dramatic as it appears in the movies!), #4 Privet Drive, The Hogwarts Express, the Knight Bus and the forbidden forest. If you’re really big on details, get the audio guide, note there is a cost but you can book it advance with your ticket. This is 100% worth the price. The highlight – which drew gasps from me – is the model of Hogwarts. Built to 1:24 scale, it was used in the exterior shots for the first six films. The attention to detail is incredible. Even if you are just a mild fan of Harry Potter like me, you will love this place. It’s incredible! Definitely allow a lot of time for this excursion but it’s truly worth the trip. I binge-watched all 8 episodes after visiting this studio.

If you want to book a tour, you should be looking to schedule a time slot about two months out, otherwise there is a good chance it will be sold out. There is also a large shop at the end where you can buy all kinds of Harry Potter and Hogwarts swag. Definitely don’t forget to get some butterbeer or butterbeer ice cream.

The tour is a must-see for Potter fans. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 10, 2018

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London…100% worth a visit

If you are already planning your year end holidays, here’s how you can make your Christmas extra special and magical.

If you fancy some festive atmosphere, Winter Wonderland is an annual event in London’s Hyde park with fairground rides, Christmas stalls, markets and entertainment for all ages. Entry is free. This is truly a wonderful wonderland thanks to the sheer volume of what’s on offer. There are pre-bookable attractions that you can book online.

Wrap up warm for The Magical Ice Kingdom as it’s -8C in there! Last year the Magical Ice Kingdom presents an ‘Deep Sea Adventure’ – an immersive walk through experience filled with ice, snow sculptures and a bubble wall. Bar Ice is next to the Magical Ice Kingdom and this time it’s about -10C. Here, you’ll be given a winter cloak and gloves. That’s because the seats, tables, walls and even your glass are made of ice.

As it gets really dark the whole place seems to shimmer with light and it does indeed feel very festive. The food on offer looked tempting – including the usual bratwurst and German beer, to fish and chips, hog roast, minced pies and mulled wine.

They’ve got every kind of ride imaginable… Christmas coasters, carousels, waltzers and dodgems. They’ve got a Fun House which is four storeys tall! The Haunted Mansion is actually a mansion. Of all the thrill rides, highlight for me was Air Maxx. G’s all the way. My inner adrenalin junkie was truly satiated.

The Grinch would have a real challenge stealing all the Christmas from Hyde Park. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 24, 2018

Pandemonium, Boston…nothing extraordinary

Filed under: Activities, American, board games, Books, Entertainment, games, USA — Tags: , , , , , — PEr @ 3:09 pm

The board game is enjoying a resurgence. Sales in the U.S. grew 28% last year and worldwide, the industry is worth nearly $10 billion. Why? Probably it’s just fun to spend time with friends and get immersed in something completely unique.

Pandemonium has got a really decent selection of books (mostly used paperbacks, focusing on sci-fi and fantasy) and they put conscious effort into getting material from local authors. The game selection is good, though tabletop RPGs and a fairly decent area (if you can overlook the unattractive smelly basement) for the gaming community to meet.

This store isn’t terrible but it’s nothing extraordinary for a game shop. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 21, 2018

Laser Ops, Singapore…it’s never too late to be a kid

Filed under: Activities, Entertainment, laser tag, Singapore — Tags: , , , — PEr @ 8:08 pm

Amp up your family or team-bonding fun with a laser tag activity…oh, and did I mention it’s a totally great time.

I had a blast at Laser Ops. You can easily take over the entire room. The space is fun and feels bigger than it actually is, and the games seemed a perfect length. I really got into the game, the idea of earning points and ranking, and working with your team to take down the other teams.

If you’re looking for fun, laughter, and excitement, I would highly recommend Laser Ops! It doesn’t matter what anyone says “It’s never too late to be a kid”! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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May 1, 2017

Camp Greaves, Seoul…reel to real

The chance to spot movie locations is a favourite game the world over. But even better than spotting recognisable places on the screen is spotting recognisable film locations in real life.

Home to one of the major hit 2016 South Korean television series – Descendants of the Sun – Camp Greaves,  the former US military camp near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Paju, north of Seoul, is one of the best movie sites in the city. Here you get to visit Song Joong-ki’s waiting room, try on soldiers’ uniform, make military dog tags, get a photo taken in front of a green screen photo booth.

Though I am not familiar with this K-drama, judging by the high octave excitement of the folks in my group, this has been a reel to real experience for them. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 18, 2017

Asia Tour MICE and Leisure Co, Bangkok…fixer – par excellence

The popularity of escorted tours is on the rise.

Asia Tour MICE and Leisure Co, led by Panyawat Peter Tongprasert (CEO – Chief Entertainment Officer) has proven itself to my evident satisfaction. Its portfolio is wide-ranging: from Fototastic Challenges and party vehicles to team building activities and golf tournaments and police escort services. They customize sophisticated itineraries which cater for every type of traveler. With excellent planning, good contacts on the ground and close attention to detail, they set extremely high standards of customer service and his staff have consistently delivered.

If you are looking to book anywhere in Thailand – either a detailed itinerary or a fairly straightforward trip – you won’t do better than to get quotes from Peter and Asia Tour MICE. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 4, 2017

4DX Theatre, Paragon Cineplex, Bangkok…the next generation in movie watching

4DX theaters come with the technology providing environmental effects synced with the movie. Imagine seeing a movie in 3D (glasses and all) but with added physical sensations like wind, rain, and a moving seat.

I tested the technology for the first time through Disney’s new release, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” I have to admit that at times watching the audience seems more compelling than the movie I was viewing. Perhaps, thankfully too, I could not detect any smells during the movie. I am not sure whether a malfunctioning system, a programming error or my sinus allergies were to blame. Whenever someone was firing bullets, compressed air was fired at my head. The flashing lights on the side of the auditorium that were supposed to represent lightning and timid sprays of water whenever the action got near bodies of liquid. Whenever punches are thrown, your chair pokes you in the back, like an airport massage lounger gone berserk

The short of it? 4DX is unlike anything I’ve felt in a movie theater before, and it was just cool enough that I would recommended splurging on a great movie. However, movie selection is key. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 21, 2017

Dragon-I, Hong Kong…cream of Hong Kong’s club scene

Whether you’re looking to meet someone new, dance to the biggest DJs in the world or just want to have the kind of legendary night you’ll keep secret until the day you die, you’ll find it all in Hong Kong.

Dragon-I is an amazing uber-chic club with a stunning setting. A dining area known as Red Room, a dance floor and bar space with New York-style booth seating called Playground. It doubles as a modern restaurant and the food is surprisingly good. The crowd is those that know and those that want to find out.

Dragon-I is the cream of Hong Kong’s club scene ensuring a great night out in style. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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October 18, 2015

Beyond the Barricade, Singapore…Only after the interval was I looking on the bright side of life

“Beyond The Barricade”…when I read those words, the first thing that comes to my mind is… Les Miserables. When I got tickets to see Beyond The Barricade I honestly didn’t know what to expect apart from the fact it has something do with Les Mis.

The show stars past principal performers from Les Miserables. I was distanced by the opening numbers, taken from Miss Saigon. I’ve never seen the musical so it didn’t really have enough substance to draw me into the performance. The following choices, the secondary selections from the immortal Phantom of the Opera, was equally nonchalant. The compilation of Juke box musical numbers from We will rock you, Jersey Boys and Mamma Mia were trivial and forgettable. It was not until after the interval when the show really began for me, leaving me happily toe-tapping along. Stands out included the adorable showmanship displayed by Andy Reiss on “Suddenly Seymour” and “Master of the House”, David Fawcett and Rebecca Vere’s humorous and funny rendition of “Song that goes like this” from Spamalot, Katie Leeming’s phenomenal and passionate version of “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”, Andy Reiss soulful and emotive take on “‘Jesus Christ Superstar” and Rebecca Vere’s gorgeous and melodious performance of “I Dreamed A Dream”. That said, I was truly disappointed in David Fawcett who had been an understudy/cover for Jean Valjean. His introductions to each set of songs were brief yet informative with just the right touch humour but he was also the weakest link of the night with the poorest expression, unstable vocals and singing technique.

This show is a mixed bag that lurches from the sublime to the ridiculous with some uncomfortable moments that mask the genuine talent of the performers. Personally as a seasoned musical theatre-goer I would like to hear these incredible performers sing a better selection of songs. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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September 11, 2015

Universal Citywalk, Orlando…super touristy but I love the atmosphere

Universal Citywalk is a shopping and entertainment area that is free for anyone to enter. You don’t have to go to the parks. You can hang out here. Located at the entrance of their main theme parks, there is a lot to see & do; plenty of dining options, drinking holes, souvenir shops and cinemas. All or almost all of them are chains so you aren’t getting any local flair here.

The largest Hard Rock Café in the world, The Bubba Gump Shrimp & Co and many more…no matter what your taste, you can find something you love here! For what they do, Hot Dog Hall of Fame is great. The place itself was pretty teeny tiny but they offer a line up of 9 hot dogs all served with French fries. The Detroit: Koegel dog, Abbott’s coney chili and diced onions was simply outstanding. I wish I had ordered two.

CityWalk’s Rising Star, Bob Marley-A Tribute to Freedom, Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville, AMC Universal Cineplex 20 with IMAX and many others provide entertainment that comes alive when the sun goes down. More than 10 million people worldwide have experienced the unique style of Blue Man Group. Three mysterious, talented, and energetic bold and blue characters takes the audience ona goofy, kiddish, colorful, big ole party…which would be fun for kids. It’s definitely so overloaded with skits/acts that you almost forget there’s legitimately no substance to them. I’m not sure why the audience was laughing so hard; either they were into the silly acts or they were all high.

Super tourist-y or not, I love the atmosphere and hustle & bustle of CityWalk. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

 

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