"One Lump, or Two?"

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Vacation 2016: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

   The Wizarding World of Harry Potter... To experience this fantastic theme park was near the top of my "bucket list". I still can't quite believe I got to check it off my list and I hope you enjoy this glimpse into my visit...
   King's Cross Station hid the entrance into Diagon Alley and my breath was instantly taken away... To be honest, I teared up a little bit... This was a moment I had been waiting for since this park opened! Since I first read about Hogwarts and the Wizarding World as a small human!
   The first building to my right had a familiar face who tipped their giant hat to me - Weasley's Wizard Emporium... The displays were fun and inside the shop was an array of familiar gag gifts from the books/films. My favorite was the Umbridge-On-A-Tightrope device that rode around above our heads that was also available for purchase.
   I was so excited to get inside Ollivanders Wand Shop that I didn't take many photos but it was just as described and shown to us - the walls were stacked with wands to be chosen, and those of famous witches and wizards as well... The staff I was able to interact with were so sweet and made me unbelievably excited to continue our journey through the parks.
   SugarPlum's was very cute... Can we appreciate this giant wall menu for a moment?
   The details around the park made my jaw drop! Talking creatures, moving objects, familiar displays, and just phenomenal quality everywhere you looked... You truly feel immersed in the Wizarding World; it made me rather emotional... JUST LOOK AT THAT DRAGON?!?!?!
   I also want to mention that the Escape from Gringotts ride was even better than imagined... I don't want to spoil the wonderful experience that this interactive ride is, but its definitly worth any sort of line you may wait in - plus, who wouldn't want the chance to see a whole lot of William (Bill) Weasley.
   Knockturn Alley was great because it reminded me that when I got back to Virginia it would be Halloween preparation time... It felt colder, wetter, and a bit spookier during the walk through and you could even hear the bird chirping inside the Vanishing Cabinet!
   I have now ridden the Hogwarts Express and not only was it dead accurate to what we see in the films but it was quite comfy... The windows on the outside of the train and of the doors to the hallway were interactive. You could hear Harry, Ron, and Hermione talking as their silhouettes went back and forth, while the train windows showed the outside action, both coinciding with the storylines - there are also some surprises if you pay close attention.
   We arrived in Hogsmeade and the first shop I noticed was HoneyDukes... Beautifully detailed with very kind cast members who helped me get a few clear shots while inside.
   We ate lunch at the Three Broomsticks and it was pretty yummy and a nice way to feel like you're in the story, but I didn't snap any photos.
   The Dragon Challenge was ridden almost instantly after entering Hogsmeade and again, this is a ride worth waiting in line for... It has been some time since I've been on a rollercoaster that actually surprised me with how the twists and turns felt. While walking through the path of the line there are TriWizard Tournament signs, and other great props from the films, as well as the growl of dragons behind closed doors... Hagrid's Hut can be found while walking the path to the Flight of the Hippogriff ride. It is a small scale rollercoaster that was nice to go on because it wasn't too jarring. Hagrid's voice is chatting with you while you wait in line, talking about a student he once had who amazed the entire class with his first Hippogriff encounter (Harry Potter), and you get to see Buckbeak face-to-face - laying in his giant nest, bowing in acceptance of your arrival to the pumpkin patch.
   Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was a marvelous sight, at which I teared up a small bit again because I get very emotional about Harry Potter and everything surrounding these stories...
   Through the path that leads to, inside, and around the castle to get to the Forbidden Journey interactive ride was packed full with mass amounts of details and it took all my willpower to stay even relatively calm... The best ride in the park, in my opinion, and one I would have waited in a long line for without question. There is so much to look at while waiting, including the Golden Trio inviting you to ditch class with them, that I can't imagine it would be a bother to wait for.
   The displays inside and in the windows of shops were great to look through for small details from the stories - most of them moved or made some sort of sound...
   And I had been waiting ages to see Madam Puddifoot's Tea Shop display and fill to the brim with jealousy that I not only do not own all these adorable tea cups/pots but that I can't get a print of this room to hang on my wall... SO PRETTY!
   We finished our Wizarding World walk-through by visiting the Harry & Hedwig snowman and hopping back onto the Hogwarts Express - which did have a totally different window experience than to original ride. Again, pay close attention to details.

   It was such a perfect thing to experience and I can't wait to return... Even looking back on all these photos makes my heart so happy, and I hope you get to experience this theme park one day as well.
xoxo Elle
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