Tuesday, January 8, 2013

When Books Come To Life

OMG we're at Hogwarts!
So I went on an adventure over Winter Break- to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando Florida. As a huge fan of the books (We named the dog Weasley for goodness' sake!) this experience took our love of all things Potter to a level that the films never could. Head buried in a book? How about your whole body surrounded by one?

 Can you read the sign?
This is the entrance to the village of Hogsmeade, where all good Hogwarts boys and girls get to visit on weekends during the school year. The village is a really a mashup of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, combining the shops known in those places, but that didn't bother me at all because I finally got to taste Butter Beer- the famous magical beverage, which is really a fancy soda. It's a cross between root beer and cream soda with a dash of butterscotch. Yummy!

The village of Hogsmeade.
As you can see it was very crowded the day we visited but that didn't stop me from shopping. I took my oldest son Conner to Dervish & Bangles and bought him a proper wand. Then we went to Filtch's Emporium of Confiscated Goods, a dark shop filled with festive T-shirts and decorated with items Mr. Filtch has removed from students' possession. No trip to Hogsmeade would be complete without a stop at Honeydukes. The Chocolate Frogs were huge! I did not sample the chocolate covered flies though.

Another view of Hogwarts.
Hogwarts is really the star of this park. It's built almost to scale and is a magnificent sight in person. The ride inside the castle takes you through Hogwarts, the Quidditch field and the Forbidden Forrest. I'm reluctant to give too much away, but I will say that the most fearful creatures from the books make an appearance. So be prepared to run (or fly away on a broomstick) fast!

The Sorting Hat in all his glory. He spoke & moved!
The Sorting Hat is one of my very favorite characters from the books. He gets far too little screen time in the films plus they took out all his lyrical rhymes and songs. I found him to be quite dashing in person.

If you're a fan I highly recommend a visit if you can swing it. I know Universal Studios Hollywood is planning to add a Harry Potter section to the park in the near future, making easier for us here in Arizona. I can only hope that literary theme parks become a trend. I'd love to visit Jane Austen Land or Panem or Mount Olympus from the Percy Jackson series. As a writer I confess to a touch of envy toward J.K. Rowling. As if it's not enough to not only finish a book, but see it published successfully, but she now has had her work presented in all dimensions. Wow!

My trip was practically perfect in every way but one- I'd like to find the witch or wizard who put an Expecto Fizzious spell on my hair!*

*See the first picture.

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