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Hogwarts and Horrendous Weather

 Sunday, 10 July 2011

Thursday was a mixture of Awesome Nerdy times and seriously insane rain. To my extreme joy we went to Universal's Island of Adventure which if you don't know is the home of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!! Last time I'd been to Florida the park was still being built so I've been dying to visit it for *aaages*!

The day started off looking bright enough although it still took a beastie-sized cup of coffee to de-zombiefy my lazy ass. When we got to Universal it was batshit-crazy busy in Hogsmeade, seriously there was a line that looked nearly an hour long just to get into Ollivanders! That's not even mentioning the 75 minute line to get into the Hogwarts Castle ride.

We first hit up the Triwizard Dragon Challenge ride (formally the Duelling Dragons ride) which is a fab way to make yourself light-headed early in the morning. Strangely the queue for this ride was tiny in comparison to the Hippogriff ride which was nothing more than a glorified runaway train, being the adrenaline junkie that I am I found that odd since who'd pass up the chance to get flung around upside down and instead sit and go round and round in speedy circles with a bit of steep banking?

After retrieving our bags from the teeny-tiny-omg-why-are-they-so-small? lockers we wandered towards the castle, shuffled our way through the *extremely* packed shop by the exit to the ride, drooled enviously over purdy scarves, ties and $50 Marauder's maps (yipes that was crazy), before escaping to freedom in the baking sunshine. That's when we noticed the cart selling wands.

Spot my Mommy in Hogsmeade!
Now before this trip I knew that what I wanted most from TWWoHP was a wand, so that I could finally stop messing about like a pathetic muggle with the crappy wand I made from K'nex donkey's years ago (no, really). So my sister and I had a nosy at the different character's wands and decided that we both really liked Ginny's and Luna's wands so we batted our eyelashes like suck-ups and the rentals agreed to let us have them *happy dance*. We also got Hermione's wand for a very special Twin of mine - Jess m'dear we are gonna Accio nerdytimes like nobody's business! I think we should mock-duel in the middle of the cinema when we meet oui?

Ahem, moving on. Thus wandified we then had to decide what to do next and with a choice of humungous queue for Hippogriff ride or humungous queue for the Hogwarts Castle ride... Hogwarts won out. Once again we had to stuff our bags into lockers I swear someone had hexed to be that tiny and useless, and join the endless queue which snaked *outside* of the normal park area into hidden, special staff only areas because it was *SO FREAKING LONG*.

For an hour we shuffled round all the queue lanes, getting baked by the sun (which later became sunburn),  and fanning ourselves frantically with maps so our entire faces didn't melt off. It was actually kinda cool being in the queue as you end up in the Herbology greenhouses just before you enter the actual castle, there were mandrakes behind a little cage thing and what I think might have been a Venomous Tentacula but alas there were no staff around to ask and I'd hate to reveal my extreme nerdiness by asking the general queue-folk.

The House Points system

This is my sister and I just as we get to the castle entrance (praise be to sweet, sweet air conditioning), please ignore how hideous I look as I am not suited to hot climates :S

Inside was super-cool and chock-full of awesome Hogwarty stuff as we continued queueing to the actual ride. Check out ze pics.

Entrance to Dumbledore's Office
 The ride itself was an awesome amalgam of a simulator ride with a big-ass projector screen (like Soaring at Epcot) and a crazy coaster. You have to run down one of those conveyor belts and jump into the four-seat box thing and chuck your harness down as everything keeps moving the whole time so you gotta be quick!

Then you get lifted off the ground and away you go! There's an awesome bar on the front of your harness which you hold like you're on a broom and it seriously feels like your flying round Hogwarts. Occasionally the scene changes and bam! You're in the Forbidden Forest and there's fecking SPIDERS EVERYWHERE! Then everything goes back to nice and normal for a while... wait no NOW THE DEMENTORS ARE COMING FOR YOU!!! *Freaks the frick out*

Sorting Hat!
I will hands-up confess to being genuinely scared when the Dementors appeared because damn... that's one thing the movies did perfectly *shudders*. I will also own up to being a major spaz and yelling "Expecto Patronum" like it would bloody do something, oy vay I'm an idiot.

Overall the ride was absolutely amazing and dang if you didn't feel like you were really flying (I know I was leaning forward to go faster), it was a total rush and *so* worth the hour's queue time. If we could have I would have ran back round and rejoined the line as I wanted to live in that castle!

By the time we got finished in Hogwarts we were starved so we went and sat at the back of the Three Broomsticks and ate our sandwiches whilst cooing over our wands (Beth and me that is, our parents just thought we were mental :P). We still had a few more places we wanted to go in Hogsmeade, like Honeydukes so after lunch we joined the crush in the sweet shop. There were so many awesome looking sweets in there (although jeepers they were pricey) but we eventually got a chocolate frog and some Bertie Bott's beans for my sister and I to share. Later however when my sister butchered the poor frog we realised that the chocolate wasn't all that great so we still haven't finished it *oops*. On the bright side we got Rowena Ravenclaw as our Wizarding Card.

Beth  & Me outside the Post Office
As the day was getting on we had to finally try and do some other rides cos we'd done only two so far and we'd been in the park for 3 hours or more. So we started walking round toward the Hulk ride but as we got into the Jurassic Park area it started. The Rain. The Torrential Monsoon Season Rain. The OMG Will It Ever Stop Rain.

We were stuck inside a restaurant for probably getting on for an hour waiting for the downpour to ease off, in the end we just manned up and got out there in our super-cool yellow ponchos (I was lucky enough to have my special pink mac instead :P). With how shit the weather was the two rides that we'd wanted to go on (Hulk and Dr Doom's Fearfall) were now closed cos of the lightning risk so we decided to schlep our way to the exit and went for an early dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe (the food was really nice btw).

So that was our Epic-turned-Epicly-Wet day at Universal's Island of Adventure where we managed an amazing TWO rides due to the horrific turn in the weather. But in my eyes it was totally worth it because we got to go to HOGWARTS for crying out loud! I kinda wish that the other shops in Hogsmeade were actually accessible instead of just being cool shopfronts with "just popped out" signs on the doors cos that would have been super-awesome. I also think that it would rock if they built a full-size Hogwarts Express that you could travel round the outside of the park on cos then you could sit with other Harry Potter nerds in the compartments and revel in the awesomeness! (Alas I realise that Universal has like no space for expansion unlike Disney who have practically a county to themselves).

But yea, it was a fab day and I gots to say thanks very muchly to my parentals for tolerating my nerdiness enough to take us to the park (not that they'll read this but at least the thought is there).

Has anyone else been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? If so what bit did you like best? Do you think that it could have been even more awesome? What HP goodies did you buy? Let me know!

Witchily Yours


Ellie 10 July 2011 at 20:15  

OMG, I want to go to Hogwarts! Even the pics from the queue line look cool, how many rides can say THAT? And hey, there's so often a well-timed moody rainstorm in Harry Potter, it all sort of fit. Seriously, who didn't read HP3 and think 'Gawd, Hogsmeade sounds like my kinda awesome town'?

I'm going to go now before I outnerd you. And btw, you yelling 'Expecto Patronum' mid-ride would have made me snort my drink everywhere had it not been safely on the table out the way. :D

Btw, have you seen Jen's HP satire yet? I keep retweeting them, so watch out for 'em, they're hilarious! 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Wotsit', 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Teenage Angst' and 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaboom' so far! Hehe, brilliant.

Library Gal 10 July 2011 at 22:06  

Our family is hoping to go in January....It sounds like you had a fab time- who got Luna's wand and who got Ginny's? :)

Liz. R 10 July 2011 at 23:53  

So...jealous. I really want to go! :P. I'm glad you enjoyed it! What flavour beans did you get in the pack? And wow, the Three Broomsticks! I hope you tried some butterbeer! :D

Katie 11 July 2011 at 01:21  

Jealous! I've been to Islands of Adventure, but it was well before the HP stuff was built. And I agree that Dueling Dragons is amazing. It also rained a ton when we went, but we just decided to go on the water rides and get soaked :P

I want to go to WWoHP so bad! It looks so awesome. Me and some friends are aiming to go once we're all graduated and have a little bit of money saved up.

Untouchable Treasure 11 July 2011 at 09:54  

Oh my goodness, this makes me want to go to TWWoHP SO bad!! Thanks so much for sharing!! :)


Liz Tea 11 July 2011 at 22:44  

I went with a group of friends earlier this year, and it was amazing! Although, I totally challenge your nerdiness with the dementors with my extremely embarrassing crying for joy when I first saw the castle. Seriously, I sniffled and lip-trembled and everything.

I swear, working there would be my dream job. I don't care about the heat, I'd be working in Hogsmeade. And how nerdily awesome would that look on a resume? ;D

Katie 27 July 2011 at 14:10  

OMG!! I missed you by mere days!!! I could gush about it for days...but you were there, so you get it! Fave part: yummy :)

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