First off, I would also like to apologize for not posting much lately. And to inform you that I won’t be posting much at all for a while because I think my internet is going away in a few weeks. The reason why it’s going away is because I can’t afford to have internet when I keep going on so many trips to amazing places like……
THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER!!!
Ever since they announced that there was going to be a theme park, I made it my life’s goal to go there. I did have to wait over a year after it opened, but I think the timing worked out perfectly.
I went down to Florida with my sister from September 18-24. We went there to see her friend Zac, swim with dolphins, go to SeaWorld, and chill out at the beach. But mostly, we just went so we could go to Universal to go to the HP theme park. Anne was the perfect person to go with because she is just as much of a hardcore fan as I am. I could talk about all the other fun stuff we did, but I will just focus on the park.
It. Was. Unbelievable. I knew I would love it, but I didn’t realize just how amazing it would feel to walk through that big stone archway. The atmosphere inside the park was unforgettable. There is music from the movies playing everywhere, owl sounds, and moaning myrtle whining away in the toilets. Anne and I spent at least a couple of hours over two days just sitting in Hogsmeade, sipping Butterbeer (the frozen kind for me) and soaking up the atmosphere. Yes, the shops and the rides were really fun (we didn’t go on the dragon one because we DON”T do rollercoasters, even Harry Potter ones) but really the best part was just being there, if that makes any sense.
Since I know that Jill is the only Nerdgirl who has been to the park, I thought I would list a few tips for anyone interested in going. Since we visited the WWoHP 4 times over the course of two days, I feel like it is my second home.
1–Go during Mid-September!!!! This is probably the most important tip of all!! There were obviously other people in the park, but it was not crowded at all. We didn’t have to wait for either ride and I never had to wait to buy stuff in the shops or get food. The only time we really waited in line at all was to get into Ollivander’s wand shop demonstration and that was only for 15 minutes. We went on Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday was the better day because there were a lot more people there on Thursday, but nothing to get too excited about. The main reason the experience was so awesome was because there were no frustrating lines or big crowds to lose each other.
2–Eat at the Three Broomsticks in late morning or mid afternoon. To be honest, the real food at the restaurant (lunch and dinner stuff) looked really gross, but that could be the vegetarian talking. We went around 2:30 and had dessert and drinks and it was fabulous. Anne had the chocolate trifle and a butterbeer and I had peanut butter strawberry ice cream (straight outta the books) and a delicious Hogshead Brew. If you get a chance just sit in the Three Broomsticks and look around. Every once in a while an owl shadow popped up on the wall I was facing, and Anne pointed out a house elf’s shadow along the upstairs hallway. We would never have noticed them if we had been rushed through the park.
Chocolate Trifle and Frozen Butterbeer
3–If the line is horribly long, skip the Ollivander’s demonstration. Granted, this was pretty cool, but it wasn’t what I thought at all. I thought if you waited in line, you got to go in and pick out a wand at Ollivander’s. This is not the case. When you go in it is more like a little bit of theater. A creepy Ollivander comes down from a ladder and picks one person to demonstrate a wand. It is literally just like in the movie. Lights flash, shelves open, and boxes pop in and out. Pretty cool, but nobody really gets a wand. The wands you can buy are just in the regular shops.
4–Get a postcard and get it stamped with the Hogsmeade postage seal. You have to do this outside the post office under the big roof with all the owls. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to have some postcard stamps with you when you go. Then you can just drop it in a postal box and have the whole process over with.
Inside the wand shop (where you really buy the wands)
5–Use the single riders line for the Hogwarts Forbidden Journey Ride. The line for this was actually rather long, but using the single riders entrance, Anne and I hopped right on. But if you do this, you must also do #6.
6–Go back into the castle and ask to just take the tour. The whole first day we were there we missed out on a huge aspect of the park. We were talking with Zac and he mentioned something about Dumbledore’s Office and we were like, “What??” Apparently as you are waiting in the long line for the ride, you travel through the portrait hall, Dumbledore’s Office, the Defense Against the Dark Arts Classroom, and the Gryffindor Common Room. The single riders line does NOT go past this stuff. So take the short trip around for the ride and then come back for the tour.
7–Beware of the expensive prices!! I am not ashamed to admit that I spent well over $50 in Honeydukes. Everything in all of the shops is really pricey, so be prepared to spend. Also, I was sad that almost everything was Gryffindor and Slytherin, but very few things came in all four houses. As a Ravenclaw, I was a little perturbed by that.
8–Make sure to take a minute and appreciate it. Zac couldn’t believe that we spent so much time at a park he said could be done in 2 hours tops. After you have visited all the shops and done the rides, make sure you take a minute to sit back and appreciate where you are.
I had a fantastic time and will hopefully go back again soon. Anne and I decided that when we win the lottery we are going to build a replica of the castle and Hogsmeade right here in Iowa. She wants to live in the castle (too drafty for me) and I can live above one of the shops. There would also be lots of other openings in Hogsmeade for other lodgers (like the Nerdgirls).
So if you are any kind of Harry Potter fan, make sure you take a pilgrimage to Universal Islands of Adventure and check out the WWoHP because it is worth every penny!