Thursday, November 5, 2015

The World of Harry Potter

Today is Thursday and I am just starting to recap my weekend. We returned home from our vacation on Monday and it has taken me a few days to get back to the real world. We headed down to Orlando this past weekend with some friends. Richard and I planned to go to Orlando because we wanted to go to Harry Potter World and we went with some great friends that are equally in love with with Harry Potter. Ever since Richard got me hooked, I have been pretty obsessed with the series and we wanted to experience Harry Potter World in person. We had three full days in Orlando, so we decided to do two full days at Harry Potter World. It was plenty of time and we even had extra time to see the rest of Universal Studios. It was fun to just hang out and pretend that we were actually living in the movies. We took hundreds of pictures so I will try to keep this to a minimum, but long story short it was so much fun to experience and every Harry Potter fan should head to Orlando and experience it for themselves.

P.S. if you are not a Harry Potter fan you may just want to skip this because it is extremely heavy with the Harry Potter nerd speak. Don't judge me and my nerdiness.
We started our adventure in London since that is the route that Harry took to get to Hogwarts. Yes, we did say that when we made that decision. Without ruining it too much for those who have never been, you get to the London area and then you have to actually find where Diagon Alley is. In the London area, we found King's Cross Station, 12 Gimmauld Place, the Knight bus and the entrance to the Ministry of Magic.
Once we found the entrance to Diagon Alley, we had fun exploring and experiencing all they had to offer. We found The Leaky Cauldron, Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, Gringotts Bank, Knockturn Alley, Borgin and Burkes, and Ollivanders. The giant dragon sitting on top of Gringotts is definitely the coolest part. He would breathe fire every so often and it was always fun to see. We also went to Ollivander's wand shop where we picked out wands for ourselves. Richard got the wand from Sirius Black and I got Dumbledore's. We also tried butter beer which was pretty good at first, but after a while it got old. But it came complete with the foam mustaches.
They also had the Escape from Gringotts as a ride that we could go on. In the line, you got an inside glimpse of Gringotts bank and the goblins all around the line looked exactly like the movie. The ride itself was a rollercoaster with some added 3-D imaging that was pretty cool to experience.
When we were done with Diagon Alley, we boarded the Hogwarts Express and headed over to Hogsmeade where we could then actually see Hogwarts. So we headed to King's Cross station and the line took us through platform 9 3/4. They even had a special effect that made it look like you were walking through the wall. It is hard to see in a picture, but we have it on video.
Once we arrived in Hogsmeade, we had lunch at The Three Broomsticks where we had a patio view of Hogwarts. We then adventured around and visited Honeyduke's where we bought a chocolate frog and visited a few of the other stores they had there. We then went up to Hogwarts and rode the ride within the castle. The castle ride was well animated, but it gave me a really nasty headache and made me feel pretty dizzy. We ended up leaving with far too many souvenirs, but they are totally worth it.
Overall, the two days we spent in Universal were so much fun. It seriously felt like we were in a different world when we were there. They had interactive wand stations where you could preform magic, people were walking around with their wizard robes on and everyone around us was equally nerdy about all that there is to see with Harry Potter. Such a neat experience and I am glad we made time to go and visit Orlando. Next up, our day at Disney!

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