Throwback Thursday – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

I cannot wait for this week to be over! Not only has it been stressful at work with deadlines galore BUT I leave for Florida Saturday morning for the Disney Princess Half Marathon. I can’t wait for warm weather especially since it has been 30 degrees here lately.

Sitting at my desk thinking about Florida I always remember my most geektastic trip. It was in August of 2010. My cousin Steve was marrying his long time lady. We had all decided to make the trip down for the wedding a vacation as well. The wedding would be in Orlando closer to Universal. We started out at my cousins in Hollywood (they have a boat) and then headed to Disney for a day. The following day we went to Universal Studios. Luckily my aunt booked a Universal hotel so we got to go in early.

The one thing that I wanted to see since it had opened was The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Mind you I was 25 at this point but still obsessed with the world J.K. Rowling imagined. The park section had also just opened in June 2010 so it was brand-spanking new! Cheryl and I found it on the map and looked for the most direct way to the area. We had to be there early before general admission crowds caused long lines. We went with my mom as soon as the park opened and entered an amazing paradise.

Our first stop (after taking pictures with the Hogwarts Express) was for butterbeer. It is a drink seen so many times in the book and recreated in the park but its description. I have to say it was absolutely delicious. I have seen recipes online how to make it and I might just have to.

After downing our delicious butterbeers we headed over to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey or what I like to call The Castle Ride. They recreated Hogwarts (much smaller) and inside is a motion/flying/anamatronic/computer ride. We waited in line for quite a while. We heard that the ride was having issues and they had to shut it down for a little. We later discovered my Aunt and Uncle were on it when it shut down and saw the workings inside. The great part was that the whole line portion of the ride was filled with things to look at. You went through the dungeon, out to the gardens, inside past Dumbledore’s office and into the school itself. FINALLY we got on the ride and it was incredible. One of my favorite rides! (And yes I am wearing a fanny pack haha I forgot a bag!)

After that it was around lunchtime so we headed into the Three Broomsticks for food. The line was long (as I would assume) and the food was good but not great. We did head into the Hog’s Head for some alcoholic drinks as well.

At this point we decided to try out the other rides like the Dragon Challenge (two roller coasters that race each other), The Flight of the Hippogriff (more of a kiddie coaster) and peruse the shops like the Owl Post, Honeydukes and Zonkos.

Now the time was around 3 and we had been inside Harry Potter World since we got there. Our other cousins (who had gone to different areas of the park) all came in to see what the fuss was about. So we HAD to bring them on The Castle Ride again (I mean how couldn’t we?). Needless to say we spent the ENTIRE day in Harry Potter World. The only time we left was to go on the Dinosaur ride then we went right back again. Most of our family thought we were nuts that we stayed there all day, but I had the best time ever and I don’t regret it for a second.

Also walking around the park didn’t seem like it would have been much fun. We were in Florida in August and it was sweltering. Cheryl and I must have had 3 butterbeers each plus some beer and lots of pumpkin juice to keep cool. Good thing the Hog’s Head was air-conditioned!

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