Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Day of Muggles, Magic, and Ma

The Hogwarts Castle 


As we usher in a new year, I'm forced to think of how I spent my last day of 2010.  I may have gone to sleep at 10:30 and awakened in a retirement village for active seniors, but that doesn't mean my day was any less eventful.  For me, it was spent drinking Butterbeer and casting spells while touring the Hogwarts castle.  That's right, between the hours of 10am-4pm, my December 31, 2010 was spent at the Wizarding World of  Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida. 

After parking in Spider Man row 352, my grandmother, Ma, and I paid for our Islands of Adventure tickets and immediately headed towards J.K. Rowling's vision.  The line just to enter t Hogsmeade was 90 minutes, but it was well worth the wait.  After winding around the land of Jurassic Park, we received a standby ticket and were admitted.  Greeted by the conductor of the Hogwarts Express, Ma and I were completely blown away by the quaint village nestled just outside Hogwarts, Hogsmeade.  Although the temperature may have read 76°F, snow covered each magical marketplace.  
At the Snow-covered Markets
 of Hogsmeade 
Our first stop was the Hogwarts castle.  On the ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, after waiting in line for an hour and a half, Ma and I made our way through the classrooms and corridors of Hogwarts.  Just like in the books (and movies), talking portraits hung on the wall, and Albus Dumbeldore greeted all passerbys.  We took a broom ride with Harry, Ron and Hermoine over the Hogwarts castle, battled dementors and played a game of Quidditch against Malfoy and the Slytherin gang.  
Lunch was had at The Three Broomsticks.  Paired with a hearty glass of Butterbeer, I had roasted potatoes and frenchfry wedges.  Sure, the food was delicious, but let's be honest, the Butterbeer was the real reason for dining in the bewitching bistro.  I can't really describe the flavor; it was like buttercream but better!  Just know that if you even make it to the Universal Studios, the $9.99 price tag is worth it( this does include the commemorative mug, just the frosted beverage is only $3.99).   

Ma Drinking Butterbeer at the
Three Broomsticks

Next, we visited Olivander's Wand Shop.  I took pictures with Harry and Hermoine's wands, but I'm glad to say I resisted the $29.95 cost.  However, I did buy a Hogwarts Express Platform 9 and 3/4 tee and a chocolate frog from Honeydukes.  
Our goal was to be home before "all the crazies were on the road," as Ma put it.  So once 4pm rolled around (and only after we'd covered every inch of The Wizarding World multiple times and taken more picture then is really necessary) we bid Harry Potter adieu and made the long two hour trek back to Ocala, Florida.  
Holding Hermoine's Wand

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