Friday, January 14, 2011

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Waiting in line to go on the "Forbidden Journey Ride" in Hogwarts Castle // Hall of Talking Pictures

As promised, here are some pictures from my trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It's the newest attraction at Universal's Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida. Even though it's only a segment of the entire theme park, my family and I had two-day passes, which allowed us to fully experience the place at a leisurely pace, which was fortunate because the crowds really slow things down. We were there on a rainy Thursday in early January and we had hoped that most children would be in school, but by mid-afternoon the line to get into Ollivander's Wand Shop was two hours long! Then Friday was twice as bad. If you're thinking about going, I definitely would make it a Tuesday in the off-season, get there early, and be prepared to stand in line no matter what the weather is like.

It was a little disappointing that the magical illusion was interrupted by the theme-park atmosphere, but once we got over the general shock of being surrounded by people, we started to notice lovely little details. The construction was beautiful and everything looked authentic. Walls were expertly painted to look mossy and old, and even the fake snow was believable. I think my favorite part was all the shop window displays in Hogsmead. Many of the items in the windows are not for sale, and are difficult to photograph, so you'll just have to go and see them for yourself! There's so much to talk about, I couldn't possibly cover it all, and there are other websites that do a much better job. I recommend Universals' site, which has a 3-D virtual tour of the park, and this fan site that has great photographs and videos of all the attractions. I've only shown some of my favorite pictures here, but if you would like to see more or if you have any questions, feel free to ask me.

The view of Hogsmede from the top of the "Flight of the Hippogriff" roller coaster

The Honeydukes sweet shop window displays are just like the ones in the 3rd HP movie.

I was so excited about the chocolate frogs!

A wand chooses the wizard at Ollivander's Wand Shop.

Buckbeak the hippogriff greets you on your way up to the "Flight of the Hippogriff" ride.

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