• Orlando Day 2

    Date: 2010.10.08 | Category: Halloween, Life List, OMG YAY!, Travel | Tags:

    Also known as the day I visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and nearly pass out from shear nerdy excitement.

    I’ve been a Harry Potter fan for a long time… back before the movies and when I cried at the end of book 2 because it would be well over a year before the next one hit shelves.

    So when initial rumors of the HP theme park started circulating, I salivated and searched the great wide web for photos and any details I could find.

    Thus when the opportunity presented itself to actually visit the theme park came about, we made it our top priority to visit.

    We got to Islands of Adventure and practically ran through Suessland and the Lost Continent, knocking over small children and old ladies along the way, until we stumbled into Hogsmeade village. And then I came to a grinding halt, took a deep breath and gazed in amazement.

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    Hogsmeade Village

    I felt like I was there (all I had to do was ignore all those pesky tourist muggles walking around). They really outdid themselves. The whole section of the park is constructed in such a way that you can’t see the rest of the park. John William’s music flows through the speakers and I wanted nothing more to pull on my Gryffindor robe and settle into the Three Broomsticks with a butterbeer.

    But first, oh first I had to wander through all the delicious shops. So while Mark took on the Dueling Dragons, Becki and I wandered through Zonkos (the famous Weasley Twins’ joke shop and marveled over the details, the toys, the fireworks, the workers’ outfits!

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    Zonkos Joke Shop

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    Inside Zonkos

    Before moving onto Honeydukes and trying to decide between the Chocolate Frogs, Every Flavored Beans, Tongue Taffy and Sherbert Lemons (Dumbledore’s favorite!)

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    Inside Honeydukes Sweets Shop

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    Dare to try some?

    Then we headed to wait in the 45 minute line to ride the HP ride inside Hogwarts. Waiting in line alone was part of the ride. You go through the greenhouse (complete with crying mandrakes), pass Dumbledore’s office, through the hall of talking photographs (just like the movie!), to a few rooms where Dumbledore and the famous three talk to you, past the painting that’s the entrance to Gryffindor common room. We were simply amazed.

    And then the ride. Oh the ride.

    Don’t fear readers, it was virtual, well mostly. After sitting in a seat and riding down a conveyor belt through the castle, a robot arm scoops you up. During the course of the five minute ride, you manage to actually feel like you’re riding on a broomstick through Hogwarts, under the whomping willow and attacked by dementors. The realism was amazing and it was, by far, my favorite ride I was able to do.

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    Going to Hogwarts

    Following the ride, we hopped into the Three Broomsticks for lunch. After ordering shepherd’s pie, we settled in and I finally got to have my first taste of butterbeer. (Life List item, accomplished!)

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    Sampling the Butterbeer

    For the record, it tasted like carbonated butterscotch with whipped cream on top. It was perfect. Exactly what butterbeer should taste like. Mark went for the Hogshead beer.

    There were several other amazing things including: The Owl Post store, the frog choir, Hogwarts train station, the Hippogriff, Hagrid’s Hut and about 8 million other details.

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    Train to Hogwarts

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    Mark in front of Hagrid's Hut

    Then we got a text from Liz, an LJ friend I’ve known for 5 years that I was finally about to meet.

    Somehow we got turned around in the park and had trouble tracking her down. But we finally did meet!

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    Liz and Jessica

    After that we were pretty exhausted, so we hit the rapids and got soaked before heading out and resting for Halloween Horror Nights.

    And wow this post is already long. I’ll continue on the rest of Day 2 in the next post. ☺