First off, sorry for the quality of some of the pictures inside the castle! It was so dark in there, and I was impressed that my camera was even able to capture ANY light!
Sooo… one of the first things we did when we got to HP World was get in line for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which is the main event ride inside of Hogwarts. The line was long, and it was raining and sticky, but once we got inside the castle, all was well. :) Part of the fun of waiting in line is the tour you take through the halls and chambers of Hogwarts, including Dumbledore’s office, the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, and the Gryffindor common room. It was all done SO well. I was in awe. Totally felt like you were actually inside Hogwarts! Then it occurred to me that J.K. Rowling and the actors in the movies had been there right where I was standing, and I was tempted to kiss the ground a little bit. But don’t worry, I refrained.
The ride itself was completely mind-blowing. This is when I cried. (both times we rode the ride) It was way scarier than I thought it would be, though I really went into it not knowing at all what to expect. It was like a cross between a roller coaster and a virtual reality simulation, and there were dementors and dragons and big ass spiders, and you were flying with Harry through caves and over Hogwarts and the Quidditch fields, and at the end you’re back in the castle and all of Gryffindor is cheering for you and yep, I lost it. I was overcome by emotion after the awesomeness that was that ride. Tears of joy, I tell you.
Next we had lunch at the Three Broomsticks, where there was a fabulous selection of traditional dishes they ate in the books, like Shepherd’s Pie, fish and chips, etc. I ordered the frozen butterbeer (I’ve heard it’s much better than the iced butterbeer), and it was so, so good. Tasted kind of like a Werther’s or butterscotch. There was a thick layer of sweet cream on top and… my mouth is watering right now just thinking about it It was really rich and I couldn’t finish the whole thing, but I will be thinking about that butterbeer for weeks to come, I’m sure.
Here’s a few shots in the Three Broomsticks…
Now, there’s one last thing I wanted to tell you about. Inside of Ollivander’s Wand Shop, there’s a little “show” you wait in line to see. It’s a small room with a maximum occupancy of 30 people, and you all pile in within the high walls filled with wandboxes upon wandboxes, just like in the stories. An old man with a very long beard plays Ollivander, and his voice is eerily similar to in the movies. He talks about wands and wand law and picked a little boy out of the crowd to be a part of the demonstration. He was the cutest little boy ever, maybe 7 or 8 years old, and I teared up yet again as I watched his wide eyed wonder. “Ollivander” handed him several wands to try and had him wave them at different things in the room, such as a pot of flowers that wilted immediately when the little boy cast a spell on them. His eyes looked like they would pop out of his head; he thought he was really doing it. It was THE cutest thing. Then, just like in the movies, when Ollivander handed the little boy his third wand, there was dramatic music and lights… a wand had chosen a wizard. :)
It. was. amazing. Pure magic. Oh, to be a kid again, eh? Personally, I don’t think we ever have to really stop.
And that about sums up our Harry Potter World experience! I would most definitely love to go back one day. But until next time, I think I’ll just dive back into the books… I hope you’ll give them a chance, if you haven’t yet!
Part 1 here.