Amy Ratcliffe

Diagon Alley Nerd Approved 1

The streets of Universal Orlando seemed empty. It was a Thursday morning and the park had only been open for half an hour. I could take photos with no other people in them. A cheerful Despicable Me parade rolled by and only a few spectators gathered to see the adorable Minions. As I walked past Springfield from The Simpsons I realized why the park’s attendees seemed few and far between: we were all headed straight for Diagon Alley.

Universal Orlando recently expanded the popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter to include the colorful and rich Diagon Alley. The area opened in July and includes a plethora of shops and dining options as well as two new attractions: Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts and the Hogwarts Express. The latter takes you between Universal Orlando and Universal Islands of Adventure (a two park ticket is required) and dumps you right into the heart of Hogsmeade near the Hogwarts Castle. Magical? Yes. Worth the trip? Absolutely.

If you’ve visited the Hogsmeade portion of Wizarding World, you know what kind of detailed theming Universal is capable of providing. I’m pleased to say they went above and beyond to make Diagon Alley even better and more immersive.

Read all about my experience, the food (butterbeer ice cream!), and the new rides after the break. And yes, I’ve got plenty of photos for you to enjoy.

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Luke Skywalker looks good in his Jedi robes, but the man absolutely rocks the X-wing pilot outfit. Sideshow Collectibles has captured every detail of the bright orange jumpsuit and Mark Hamill’s likeness in their new sixth scale Luke Skywalker figure. They’ve made a screen accurate flight suit and harness and given him a removable helmet. Here what the Star Wars statue comes with:

Helmet with Visor and Comlink
Detailed Flight Pressurized G-Suit
Flak Vest
Life Support Unit with Chest Pack Straps
Gear Harness with Belt Flares
Data Cylinders
Right and Left Relaxed Flight Gloved Hands
Right and Left Flight Gloved Fists
Right Force Gesture Flight Gloved Hand
Right and Left Flight Boots
Signal Flares
Support Stand with Yavin Base Flight Deck Graphic

You can pre-order now to receive this statue in October 2015.

See more beauty shots after the break.

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PeeWee Herman and Jimmy Fallon

Paul Reubens appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon earlier this week to promote the shiny new remastered version of Pee-wee’s Playhouse on DVD and Blu-ray from Shout Factory. While he was chatting with Fallon, he announced that a new Pee-wee Herman movie is coming to theaters. Judd Apatow is producing the movie, and they’ll start filming in February 2015. Thanks, Paul Reubens, for keeping my childhood alive forever!

Watch the interview after the break along with his redub of the Age Of Ultron trailer.

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NicoNico user “A” has an incredible amount of patience. The builder took the word “miniature” to the extreme by making small dioramas of Pokémon Red’s Pallet Town, Super Mario 64’s Bob-omb Battefield, and Legend of Zelda’s Hyrule. How small you ask? They fit on a coin the size of a quarter. Seriously. I can’t imagine the precision required to make these dioramas look so great.

See more photos and a video of the Hyrule diorama after the break.

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thor cat

Yesterday was National Cat Day (yeah, apparently it’s a thing), and Marvel showed their love for felines everywhere by sharing some delightful superheroes-as-cats art. The style of the illustrations by Jenny Parks is similar to the Doctor Mew portraits she did earlier this year. They feature Thor, Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Iron Man.

More meowtastic cat superhero art after the break.

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firefly funko pop 1

Funko is having all the fun with the Firefly franchise. They’ve released ReAction versions of the characters, and now the Pop! vinyl figures they teased at Toy Fair are available for pre-order. They’ve got a great line-up for the first series including Mal, Jayne, Wash, Zoe, and Kaylee. Everyone’s dressed in the costumes we know and love, and each character comes with an accessory. You can’t take the toys from me!

The figures will ship in November.

See the rest of the series after the break.

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DIY Totoro Baby Bouncer

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When blogger Cation Designs started shopping for merchandise for her soon-to-be-born baby, she realized that baby stuff is both kind of generic and very expensive. She found a used Snugabunny bouncer for a great price that was suitable, but she didn’t care for the bunny and bird theme. She brainstormed and came up with a much cooler look for the baby accessory: Totoro! She covered the existing cushion with an adorable Totoro and turned the birds into soot sprites.

Check out more images – including a before picture – after the break.

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mr. pointy plush

Wooden stakes are the best tool for getting rid of vampires, but maybe could you stop them with cuddles by giving them a plush stake? Indeed, this plush version of Mr. Pointy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer actually exists. The 12″ toy is definitely one of the weirder licensed items I’ve seen, but it works. Bonus: you could also pretend it’s a wand.

Mr. Pointy will be available to purchase in Q4.

See a couple more photos after the break.

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one piece sword 1

Fans of the manga series One Piece can get excited because Toho Animation is working with sword makers (like you do) to create replica blades from the franchise. They’re made to order so you know they’ll be of the highest quality, but they cost almost $1,000 each. The craftsmen at Tozando are making replicas of the Sandai Kitetsu, Wado Ichimonji, Shusui, and Kikoku. The swords will be available to order at Amazon Japan.

See pictures of the sword replicas after the break.

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Peter Quill’s rocking Awesome Mix Vol. 1 will be released on cassette tape. I can’t think of any format that is more perfect for the soundtrack of Guardians of the Galaxy. The limited edition cassette will hit select stores on November 28th and is exclusive to independent retailers associated with Record Store Day. You can search for participating stores on their site.

Now all you need to do is check your attic for that old Walkman because authentic Star-Lord versions are pretty pricey right now on eBay.

(Billboard via ComicsAlliance)