I don’t think that I can adequately describe the excitement that I felt at the notion of coming to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Ever since they announced that they were going to build it I’ve been drooling over the idea of visiting, and I think that all that pent-up excitement just exploded and was magnified all at once the second I could see the rooftops of Hogsmeade.
I picked my aunt up from the airport that afternoon, and we immediately booked it to Orlando so we could get a few hours in at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I almost cried as I explored and passed amazing storefronts that I had only read about in this amazing book series, or had seen in the movies, but the difference was I WAS THERE! I was living the Harry Potter dream!
Our first stop was Olivander’s Wand Shop, which was incredible. They did a demonstration with a little kid from the crowd that was very much like the scene from the first Harry Potter Movie when Harry goes into the shop trying to find his perfect fit. After the demonstration we went into the wand shop to find the wands that fit for us (along with a couple of loved ones from home). I ended up with Luna Lovegood’s wand and I’m proud to say I do not regret that purchase one bit!
Our next stop was Zonko’s Joke Shop/Honeydukes where I’m not ashamed to say that I spent 250 dollars on Harry Potter themed candies alone over the next three days… (Okay, maybe I’m a little ashamed…) I got everything from chocolate frogs to pumpkin juice to exploding bon bons to fizzing whiz bees and so much more!
After our first shopping spree in Honeydukes we saw the buttterbeer station, and you had better believe that we were all over that! It’s like a cream soda, but with a thick layer of extra-buttery, creamy foam on the top. You have to take a picture of your first sip when that foam is all over your upper lip! It was everything I wanted it to be and more… So, of course I had 5 or 6 over the next three days! So yummy, and they were actually really cheap for an amusement park drink (less than four dollars)!
So, while you’re in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you’re still a muggle, which is my one qualm with the park- if I’m in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I want to be a witch! I get to be a muggle every other freaking day…. just let me be magical for three days, is that really too much to ask? Sorry… Back to the amazing-ness…
Not every shop was actually open, which I would love for them to change eventually because the storefronts were so enticing, and had so much to them that I remembered from the books, but even seeing the windows was a treat. We had to stop in at the Three Broomsticks one afternoon because I was getting hungry, and we just got a kids chicken tenders meal, their sautéed veggies and a beer, and it was fairly reasonable priced, and amazingly delicious. I would go back for the veggies only in a heartbeat!
Of course the rides were a blast! We rode The Flight of the Hippogriff after dark each time, and it offered a really incredible view of Hogsmead and Hogwarts Castle all lit up! Seriously, I’m getting swoony thinking about it now. The Dueling Dragons is definitely the ride for more of the thrill-seeker. It goes much, much faster and takes you through curves, upside-down-loops and up and down hills. It was a ton of fun, but not a ride I could continuously ride.
The Hogwarts Castle Ride was by far my favorite. Not only are you completely okay with waiting in a line because, realistically you’re too busy walking through the castle, listening to Dumbledore and the talking portraits, looking at trophies, pensives and so much more, that you hardly even notice that you’re standing still for a moment. The ride itself is so much fun! You sit in the ride kind-of like sitting on your couch, but your legs are dangling. What happens is Hermione puts a spell on you to make you invisible so that you can tour the grounds, learn to play quidditch, and many other things, and by doing this you go on an adventure of a lifetime as you meet Aragog, almost get hit by the Whomping Willow, out run a dragon and so much more! It’s seriously a blast!
They had unveiled the new plans for the addition onto the Wizarding World of Harry Potter a few days before we were there, and needless to say we’re planning a return trip this fall to explore Diagon Alley, ride the Hogwarts Express, venture to the hidden vaults in Gringotts, and whatever else they want to magically throw at us!
I think what the Wizarding World of Harry Potter taught me, besides the fact that I have the coolest aunt ever (she flew all the way there from Missouri just to meet me for a long weekend in Orlando), is that life is truly magical!