Monday, September 13, 2010

I solemnly swear I am up to no good

Note: I know. I know this is WAY overdue, but here it is. The post on Harry Potter World!

I was lucky enough to stay with my awesome friend Jillian at her house in Orlando, and one beautiful (albeit cloudy) Saturday, we went to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Alright, so before I go completely fangirl, I'm going to say this: If you're planning on going to this park, WAIT. It's not that it's not worth it, but people are flying from all over just to see HP world. That means that even when the rest of the park is abandoned, HP world will be FULL of people. There are lines for rides, lines for stores, and lines for eating. It's all worth it, but if you're claustrophobic, just wait till next summer. It'll still be crowded, but probably not as much as the opening summer has been.

My trip to heaven:

1) We got to the park at about eleven, and parking wasn't too bad, despite the weekend. Apparently the rain deterred many people from going, which was fine with me. It rains in England, so I think it only added to the atmosphere.

2) It was a long walk from the garage to the actual park itself. THEN we had to walk through city walk. THEN we had to go through Marvel land, Toon Town, Seuss land, and Jurassic Park to get to Harry Potter World.

3) We made it to Harry Potter World.

4) I seriously could have spent the day staring around. Yeah, the shops were cool. Yeah, the rides were fun, but OMG I'm in Diagon Ally/Hogsmeade! Look at all the shiny stuff!

5) I said it once, I'll say it again. It was CROWDED.

6) We got butterbeer! It wasn't amazing, but it was cold, and I think it was 90 degrees outside. Also, they had a lot of people from England working this section of the park. I wonder why?

7) The line for the main ride seemed long, so we decided to bring our drinks with us. Then we bumped into one of Jillian's friends who happened to work there, and she put us through the express lane! It was so awesome! We didn't even have time to finish our drinks.

8) The ride was beyond awesome. Like, SO awesome. It was a combination of a projected movie thing and actual props jumping out at you. I don't want to ruin it, so I'll just put a brief warning that if you're afraid of spiders you should ask someone when to close your eyes, or just avoid the ride entirely (depending on the severity of your phobia) because it gets quite intense. But speaking as someone who is a complete wimp when it comes to spiders, it's worth the temporary fear. I promise.

9) After the ride, we decided it would be a good time to go to Ollivanders. It was one of two shops you can enter, and it's kind of a combination of several shops. Ollivanders was really Ollivanders + Flourish and Blotts + Owl Post. Honeydukes is Honeydukes + Zonko's. There is a line to get into Ollivanders (there's a line to get into ANYTHING in HP world, including the bathroom and restaurants), so we just looked around. There is so much cool stuff there that you could legitimately just sit around and absorb it all. For example...

10) They had Hermione and Harry's dress robes on display:

But back to Ollivanders, because there was so much cool stuff in there. Like the monster book of monsters (it moved every so often to growl at random people):

Also, it had a model of the solar system, which of course means you never have to take another astronomy class at Hogwarts:

And check out the BROOMS! They moved, and I had to fight every urge to get on them:

11) We then went into Honeydukes/Zonko's. It was a madhouse, and I didn't buy anything (because I just wanted chocolate, and Florida+Chocolate=hot mess), but it was so much fun to see all of the candy from the book.

In the Zonko's side of the store, they did not play around with the HP toys:

Fanged Flyers!

Pygmy Puffs!

Cool, right?

12) For lunch we went to the Three Broomsticks (DUH), and there was yet another line. Again, it was worth it. The inside of this place looks EXACTLY like it does in the movie, and I seriously think my heart skipped a beat.

13) I should mention now that it was raining on and off for most of the day, so the other cool coaster, The Dragon's Challenge, was also on and off for most of the day. After lunch, we decided to wait in the line of people waiting to get in line. Twenty minutes later, the uncomfortable and awkward location of the line (smack in the middle of the park) paid off, and we pretty much waltzed up to the coaster.

The downside of this, is not having sufficient time to soak in the atmosphere. Let me explain, because I feel like I need a DAMN good reason to complain about a line moving too quickly. See, the good people at Universal put a lot of effort to make HP world look genuine. I highly suspect that actual props from the movie were used. Here are the decorations JUST for the Dragon's Challenge:

Hagrid's Hut:

Ford Anglia (flying car from year 2):

Champion's Tent:

Goblet of Fire:

Triwizard Trophy:

Golden Eggs:

Do you get it now? Waiting is part of the experience. Sitting in the champions' tent after seeing dozens of posters rooting for the different Triwizard champions, it gave me goosebumps. So no, I'm not really complaining about the lack of lines, I'm just saying that if you go to the park, don't worry about waiting in lines.

14) Once we got off The Dragon's Challenge (which is an awesome coaster in its own right), we caught a dancing show! It's one of two that take place every thirty or so minutes. The other one is an a capella group with frog puppets. I didn't get a chance to see that one, but the dancing one was pretty fun!

Here are some pics:

Aaand a video:

Cool, right? As the girl in Hogwarts robes said, it's all in the name of international magical relations.

15) We browsed around the stores a bit more, and ducked into a few of the other parks (much to my dismay... I really could spend like, a week in HP world without blinking an eyelash), and then returned for another round on the main HP ride. This time, we got a LOT more pictures:

16) "The time has come," the Walrus said... It was high time to leave the park, so with one last picture (with the beloved Hogwarts Express), we headed back to the car for a lovely Italian dinner with Jillian's family.

It was perfect, and I would recommend any Harry Potter fan to get thee to HP world!

One last gem (Sorry for the picture overload!!!):

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