Monday, September 13, 2010

Dementors, Butterbeer and Wands - Oh My!

This past weekend one of my biggest dreams (of the last two years) finally came true...I made it to Harry Potter World!! The official name of this area within Islands of Adventure in Universal is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Last Wednesday we boarded a plane to Orlando, Florida - we arrived early in the evening, picked up our rental car and checked into our room. We went to bed around 11pm after having dinner with my best friend and her boyfriend - I knew we had to get up early to make it to the park by 9 am for the opening! 

When we arrived at the park on Thursday I was like a kid getting ready to open presents on Christmas morning. I power walked through the parking lot, across City Walk and straight to the entrance. After a quick stop to pick up a fast pass for Becca, we headed off in the direction of Harry Potter World.  We bypassed Dr Seuss landing and cruised through The Lost Continent and then there it was...the entrance to Hogsmeade - the entrance to Harry Potter World.  As I about broke into a sprint (Drew, Becca and J were a good 10 ft behind me but caught up when I stopped to take pictures) a group of Chinese tourists yell out something in Chinese, squeal "HARRY POTTER!" and take of running. I break into a smile and think "at least I am not the only fanatic!" 
My first few photos look foggy because my camera lens was cold from being in an air conditioned room overnight - it was 90 degrees outside and the lens kept fogging up.  I was getting very upset and Drew finally took the camera from me to clean of the lens and take photos of me in front of everything. 
As I am walking through Hogmeade I have a serious case of sensory overload. I have no idea where to look - to my right there is the Hogwarts Express, to my left there is Zonkos and Honeydukes, and straight ahead I see Butterbeer and the Owlery. I want to run and do everything at once, to take pictures of everything at once. I finally catch my breath and make a plan of action. Everyone already came to the realization that we would be spending about 3 hours in Harry Potter World and they were fine with that. So we made our plan and began working our way through. The first stop, after taking initial pictures of Hogsmeade and Hogwarts was to head to the Forbidden Journey, an awesome new ride where you ride a broomstick and fly around avoiding spiders and dementors and follow Harry onto the Quidditch pitch. It was a great ride.  The best part was while you waited in line, you walked through about 5 rooms inside the castle, from the greenhouses, to the hall of portraits, to the Defense Against the Darks Arts Room, to Dumbledores office, to the Fat Lady, the Gryffindor common room and finally into the Great Hall to board the ride. I must have sounded like a little kid, squealing, laughing and shouting spells out as we rode. When the Dementors came Andrew and I both yelled "EXPECTO PATRONUM!" It was fabulous! After that ride, we hopped quickly onto Flight of the Hippogriff and then headed to the restrooms. The boys both came out saying that Moaning Myrtle came out of their toilets when they flushed - I wish I could have seen that!!! Also - Moaning Myrtle was in the girls bathroom, so I have no idea why she was appearing in the boys bathroom! Anyway - after eating an amazing lunch in The Three Broomsticks (I had Shepards Pie with a salad) where we all had our very first taste of butterbeer, we headed into the shops. I must side track here and make a statement: BUTTERBEER IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!! Seriously - it tastes like cream soda mixed with butterscotch and then covered with a butterscotch whipped cream topping. It was so freaking good. After browsing the shops we made a plan to come back an hour before closing to purchase all of our goodies so we would not have to carry them around all day. 

When we returned we rode the Forbidden Journey again and then went shopping! I got Harry Potters wand and a Hogwarts picture frame.  Becca purchased us Chocolate Frogs while Drew got a Trio coffee mug. For those non-Harry Potter fans, the trio is Harry, Ron and Hermione.  He also purchased the Slytherin tie that they were with their uniforms. Very cute! Below are pictures from my amazing experience! I will post about the rest if our trip later!