Tuesday, March 29, 2011
This blog post is dedicated purely to my experience at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! As you may have noticed from my blog name, I'm a little bit of a fan...okay, kind of a big fan.
Now, I'll start off by telling you that I'm not going to give away all the intimate details...because I don't want to "ruin" it for Harry Potter fans that haven't been able to make it there yet (but in all honesty, you can't ruin it because it's that amazing).
So, thankfully I have a travel bud that shares my love for Harry Potter! I mean, it would have been fun anyway...but being able to gush & squeal in excitement with someone that is equally as excited makes it amazing. So Kevin & I set out for a day of adventure at the Islands of Adventure in Orlando where we had one of the BEST DAYS EVER! As we raced through the park, trying to find our way to Hogwarts the anticipation was KILLING me and once I saw with my own two eyes that magnificent castle on the top of the hill...it was all over, chills up & down my whole body! We walked through the gates of Hogsmeade Village with the Hogwarts Express to my right & the familiar shops & scenes from the books & movies ahead of me, I was in awe that this was happening in real life.
Now, for all of you skeptics that think I'm a HUGE NERD, you may be right...but I don't care, there were MANY other people like me that were just as or more excited than I was! Think about it though...think back to a book series you may have read as a child/teen or a movie or show that you watched often...imagine it coming to LIFE and being able to walk down the streets that you read about & wondered what it would be like...it was MAGICAL!
We were informed we should get in line for "Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey," located inside of the Hogwarts Castle that is actually a simulation ride that takes you through a collaboration of events that go along with the book series. The line took almost two hours to get through, but it was more than worth it. Hint: For those of you that plan to visit, a couple suggestions is to not bring a bag, you have to lock all bags up & it makes your wait shorter if you don't have one. Second suggestion is to go in the single rider lane even if you're not a single rider because you can't really see the person you're next to during the ride, so unless you want the ride photo of the 2-4 of you in a row, then reduce your time by doing the single rider lane.
Once you move past the outdoor waiting & into the castle YOUR LIFE WILL CHANGE. Again, I'm not going to give away the details, but I kid you not when I say it made me believe dreams come true & I will probably have to put that in the top 3 best life events ever. I will say this, there are talking portraits...and not cheesy screens that move a little & sound comes out of a speaker...but these looked like REAL portraits & they moved in & out of the frames & talked...it again was just magical. The rest of the castle/line is awesome too so many little details JUST as I imagined they would look & sound from the books were right in front of me! I kept squealing in excitement! At one point I turned to Kevin & said, "Gosh, I feel like such a nerd...I'm just SO excited!" and the guy in front of me that was at least my age or older turned around & said, "It's okay, I think everyone else around you feels the same way!" Haha.
The actual ride is AWESOME...so many elements of the books & movies rolled into one ride! It's no secret that the ride is a simulation of you riding on a broomstick, so I'll tell you that much. It's a thrill dodging obstacles & seeing characters & scenes from the books...especially being on the Quidditch pitch, SO COOL! The photo at the end came out hilarious because they took it during a part that freaked me out...spiders, enough said. Not only was the ride cool because of it being Harry Potter dreams come true...but the way it was designed is just amazing to me, like...whoever made that ride is the coolest, most talented person on earth. I was on such a high when I got off the ride, Kevin & I wanted so badly to discuss back & forth each piece of the ride but we were still trying to take it all in! We knew exactly what we needed...Butterbeer.
So after the ride we got ourselves an ice cold Butterbeer & waited in line to get into Olivanders wand shop! Butterbeer is a mix between rootbeer & cream soda, topped with a butterscotch cream foam, it came in two variations, ice cold & frozen...for the record I liked the regular one better over the frozen, but I'm glad I tried both. Olivanders is very cool as well, they do a "wand selection ceremony" & then your can roam the shop which is strategically a gift shop. We also stopped in Honeydukes Sweetshop & I got some red & black licorice (yes, I know...I think I'm alone when I say I like black licorice...it's okay.), Zonko's Joke Shop is attached to Honeydukes, so we checked that out as well.
Kevin & I had lunch at The Three Broomsticks (enter squeal here!) where I tasted pumpkin juice for the first time...hands down, best beverage EVER. It tastes almost like apple juice with a pumpkin flavor to it! I recommend having it at the restaurant because you can buy it from the shops, but it's not as good from the bottle (and it's less expensive from the restaurant as well). The atmosphere of the pub is so cool too, make sure while you're eating that you keep your eyes open for little pieces of magic...like Dobby the house elf who literally brought tears to Kevin's eyes. And actually as you exit the restaurant you notice that it actually IS a pub & you can order beer...even their own brew the Hog's Head Brew! AMAZING.
We also rode the Dragon Challenge roller coaster which was fun. There weren't many Harry Potter elements to it, as it previously was the "Dueling Dragons" ride at the park. There is also a mini water ride, The Flight of the Hippogriff, but Kevin & I didn't want to wait in the line for that one. We saw pretty much everything else & visited a couple gift shops, then decided to head out to the other areas of the Islands of Adventure park...but ultimately came back to The Wizarding World because it was just that interesting.
In closing, I can't express enough the importance that ALL Harry Potter fans need to visit this place. Like I said before, it's like magic...it's dreams coming true...it's just amazing & if I won the lottery one thing I would do is pay for all the HP fans of the world to be able to go there & experience what I got to experience that day! I mean...talking portraits!!!! Hope y'all enjoyed this post, especially you HP fans out there! Muah! <3