Friday, February 3, 2012

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

     Just about a year ago last February, I was lucky enough to have gone to Universal Studios in Orlando to see Harry Potter World. For years, I can recall seeing every movie with my father. About two years ago, I read the whole series in what must have been record time. When I heard that a Harry Potter theme park was in the works, I almost exploded with anticipation. I  have spent your childhood with Harry Potter being present. If you remember the heated debates parents had about whether or not it was "black magic," and if you remember when the series was almost banned in public schools, then this theme park is well worth the trip. It was everything a fan could imagine and more.
The entrance to Hogsmeade. The sign reads, "Please respect the spell limits."
     My dad, boyfriend, and I arrived early. The park wasn't even open, and there was still a huge line. After the park attendants let everyone through, we walked into Hogsmeade. It was exactly like the books. The roofs were  blanketed in snow, and you could see Hogwarts castle looming in the distance. There were even functioning shops and restaurants. There was Zonko's toy shop, which had all sorts of wizarding toys mentioned in the book (including extendable ears). After Zonko's, I went inside the pink storefront of Honeydukes candy shop.

They had chocolate frogs, pink coconut ice, and all sorts of bizarre treats. There was even The Three Broomsticks, where we ate lunch, and Hog's Head, which was a bar.
The Three Broomsticks. That day's menu was fish and chips, and turkey legs.
Me looking a little sweaty, fiendishly grinning with butter beer and a turkey leg .
Hog's Head
 There was even a Butter Beer stand which also served Pumpkin Juice. These two are now my favorite drinks, which I want to attempt to replicate soon.

The Butter Beer Barrel-Truck
There was also Olivander's wand shop, where a wand chooses you based on your birth date. After a good time stuffing my omnivorous self with turkey leg, butter beer, and pumpkin juice, we decided to venture on to Hogwarts castle.

The inside of the castle had objects from the movie, and portraits that moved and talked. Holographs of Harry, Hermione, and Ron led groups through the line and to the ride itself. The ride was meant to be a wild broom ride. At one point, dementors filled the room. After going through the castle, my Dad and I (since my boyfriend, Joe hates roller Coasters :/) decided to ride the Dragon Challenge. This ride has two separate "dragons" mirroring each other throughout the ride.  Near the end of the ride, the two "dragons" nearly collide.  It was probably the most exhilarating roller coaster I have ridden.
     After spending a few days in and out of the park, I still feel like it wasn't enough time. I miss it already. I really enjoyed Universal Studios as a whole as well. It is worth the long lines, crowds, and the year-round hot weather. Go see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You won't regret it, and you'll have memories for a lifetime. Meanwhile, Here is the website with their online virtual tour.

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