Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Harry Potter

Thank you so much to everyone who encouraged me to read the Harry Potter books.  I've finished the first, second, and third and have loved the stories so far.  I can't really remember the movies, so I feel like the plot of each book is new!

My friend, and housemate, Helen from Georgetown was training in Orlando for her job.  Her plane back to DC was overbooked (as always, Delta) so we seized the opportunity to get together!!!  I drove over Saturday morning and picked her up from her hotel.  We decided to go to Islands of Adventure because we were dying to go see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Holy.

Moly.

AMAZING.


We bought our tickets ($90.... gulp) and made a quick pitstop to buy shorts.  (Helen's suitcase was en route to D.C. and she was wearing PANTS... big NO-NO in Florida heat!)  We made a bee-line through the park to the Harry Potter section.  I don't even think words can describe how incredible it was.  Very, very well done.

Our favorite part was definitely the "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey."  The ride was SO COOL.  But the best part was the queue.  No, seriously.  You walk through the park and it is like you are in Hogwarts.  So realistic (minus an annoying hologram of Harry, Ron, and Hermione).

Here are my tips if you're planning on going to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

  1. Don't bother trying not to look like a tourist.  There's a lot of standing and waiting and sweating, so wear shorts and sneakers and a t-shirt.  You'll already be better dressed and more put together than 99% of the other visitors.
  2. Be prepared to spend money.  It's a theme park, it's a rip-off, and it's expensive.  Oh well.
  3. Take pictures.... as you can tell by the post, I have none.
  4. Be mindful of timing of the rides if you're storing things in a locker.  The first 55 minutes are free!
  5. You can walk through the castle without riding the ride.  Spend as much time as you want listening to (and watching) the portraits lining the halls!
  6. Don't stop at the first butterbeer station you see.  Keep walking through the street and there are more stations with shorter lines.  Everyone's so eager when they find that first one so the line is ridiculous.  Also, get the frozen one if it's super hot!
  7. Pay attention to what line you're getting in.  Helen and I got stuck in the front row line on accident for a roller coaster and our wait time easily tripled.
  8. Try to go on rides during "lunch time" as the lines are much shorter.
  9. Last, but not least, REMEMBER WHERE YOU PARK....  Not that Helen and I completely forgot and spent an hour roaming the parking garage trying to find my car or anything....
It's really amazing.  They did such a wonderful job with the whole exhibit.  After the Hogwarts tour ride, Helen and I decided we could have left without seeing anything else and still would have gotten our money's worth.

It's also really strange because I don't really consider myself a HP geek or anything, but I was ready to buy a cloak and enroll in Hogwarts!!!!  (And by every single Hogwarts t-shirt in the gift shop.)

Has anyone else been?  What did you guys think?

xoxo

12 comments :

  1. So glad to hear you've enjoyed the first few books! Hope you like the others - they each continue to get better and better, if that's even possible.

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  2. Carly, I couldn't agree more!

    We were in Florida in April and Harry Potter ride was our first ride EVER (including all the Disney theme parks) and it was by far the best - and to be honest, I'm not even a HP fan!

    it is just so clever, from start to end!
    x

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  3. Ever since it opened, I've been dying to go!! I'm glad you had fun and are enjoying the books so far. XO
    http://northshoreprep.blogspot.com

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  4. One of my best friends just went with her sister. She said that its okay if you're older, no one judges you (we're all around 30 with no kids, so it could be awkward!) and to go early with a "fast pass" to skip the lines.

    I'm jealous- I want to go!

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  5. I went over Christmas break, and I loved it, too! The queue is so fun; I loved visualizing Hogwarts. Hogsmeade Village was pretty cute, too.

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  6. I went when I was on summer break with one of my best friends. She had already been I hadn't. It was awesome! I love Harry Potter and agree with everything you said! I'm happy to hear you had a good time. Don't worry the only pictures I have are of Hogsmeade Village that is my phone background ha!

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  7. The HP section of IoA is always so packed!

    I love that it's so realistic. I felt like my childhood came alive when I first walked in!

    Lockers are tricky in both parks. Usually, the time limit changes depending on the ride the lockers are next to.

    Security is supposed to clear the lockers out 5 minutes after closing, but they tend do it before. My things disappeared on New Year's Eve last year- it was SO scary. Luckily the park was able to track it down and get it back to me.

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  8. I live in Orlando and have passes to Universal. My husband and I happened to be there during the HP "soft" opening and thought it was some pretty cool stuff. My sister, a true Harry Potter fan, came to visit me a few months later and thought it was the coolest thing ever. It's a pretty fun thing to see, even if you're not a true HP fan.

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  9. I have a couple more tips!

    - Stay in a Universal-owned hotel. You get into the parks an hour earlier than general access, and your room key doubles as an express pass!
    - Don't put a straw into your butterbeer! They explode! It has something to do with the foam topping mixing with the drink.

    I hope you had fun!

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  10. I'd love to visit the Wizarding World too! And glad to hear that you finally read Harry Potter, try to get your hands on the rest of the books, because the story got better, darker and more complicated from fourth book onwards!

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  11. I worked for Loews Hotels at Universal Orlando. Liek stated above you do get into harry potter an hour before the general public, and your room key acts as a fast pass for most rides (its a $70.00 value). The hotels are spectacular on top of all the other perks :)

    I still get excited to go to the harry potter part of Islands of Adventure! They did a spectacular beyond spectacular job! If you are a true harry potter fan the want shop is well worth the wait! stand towards the front left by the stairs, seems to be where the wand chooses the student.

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