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Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Wizarding World: Your Vicarious Experience, Part 2

Last post I started my tour of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Here is the second half.

Rides, Wands, and Hogwarts Castle

Further up the street you find a roller coaster: Flight of the Hippogriff. You heard it was family friendly. This is something everyone in your party can do.

While waiting in line, you find Hagrid's Hut.

And sneak a paparazzi picture of Buckbeak.

You sit and pull down a lap bar...then blast around the track! Family friendly? What was the lady thinking!? You were expecting a Mister Toad's Wild Ride, but you got something a step below Big Thunder Railroad! You scream in surprise and zoom around the track.

Behold! You have finally arrived at Hogwarts! And it's magnificent! The wait for this attraction is always long, because not only do you get to explore the castle, but board a one-of-a-kind ride: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

But after standing in line for 20 minutes, the ride breaks down! Time to send someone out for a few glasses of Butterbeer to help beat the humid heat. You have to stand in line for that too, but who even cares? You could just stand hear and enjoy the atmosphere forever!

You get your first sip of official Butterbeer standing in line in the greenhouse. Woah! Butterscotch, cream soda, and rum extract are having a party in your cup, and cream decided to crash it, blanketing the liquid with froth.

While in line, you find some Mandrakes!

Once inside the castle, you spot the Mirror of Erised.

Griffyndor is in the lead for the House Cup!

To Dumbledore's office!

The Pensieve.

Meet the Trio in the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom. They invite you to a game of Quidditch, but you have to sneak around the castle to make it there.

This room has portraits of all the founders of Hogwarts, and you can listen to their conversation while you wait in line. The pictures really move.

This is THE longest list of warnings I have ever seen for a ride. Take a look at the last one.

Time to hop on The Forbidden Journey. Wow, you've never been on a ride like this! And to be quite honest, I'm not sure how to even describe it in a few sentences since it is the first of its kind, but its got everything: Quidditch, a Dragon, the Spiders in the Forbidden Forest, The Chamber of Secrets, The Whomping Willow, and Dementors that suck out your soul. Five stars to this attraction.

You feel slightly queasy from the last ride, but you don't waste time! You start down the other side of Hogsmeade. First stop: Ollivander's.

You wait in line, and it starts raining! It rains all the time here, but luckily you make it inside just as it starts really pouring. The store is loaded with wands. One lucky person from your group gets picked for the attraction.

She has to test out several wands. The first few don't work and create havoc in the shop. Then finally, the wandmaker finds the match. After all, it's always been clear that the wand chooses the wizard (or witch).

You head through the shops further down the street. Dervish and Bangs. There is always so much detail to look at in these stores. You look up and spot three hovering broomsticks.

On the side of the register, you hear growling. It's the Monster Book of Monsters.

In the owlery, you find owls (of course), with parchment, quills, postcards, journals, etc.

After the shops, you reach Dragon Challenge. Two high-speed roller coasters with loops and cork screws, based off the triwizard tournament in Goblet of Fire.

It's dinner time. Finally you get to check out the Three Broomsticks. Everything looks delicious.

Tonight you go for the spare ribs, which come with corn on the cob and potatoes. Of course, the meal wouldn't be complete without a mug of Butterbeer.

It's getting late (okay late by Florida standards. The park closes at 10 p.m.) But for you, the night is just beginning. You have a special ticket to a private park event called "Open at the Close." While the park closes for the ordinary muggles, it stays open for the die-hard Potter supporters until passed midnight. While people are being kicked out, you get private access to everything, free food, a dance floor, and short lines!

After the ride, you go looking for more food (it's free, so eat all you can, and also free drinks!). But you stop in your tracks as you see a crowd of people up ahead and hear talking. It's Evanna Lynch! The gal who plays Luna Lovegood!

After visiting the shops and riding the rides, you snap a night shot of the castle before heading back to the hotel. Don't feel too bad, you still have a two day park hopper ticket you get to use while in Florida.


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