Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure. It was a two day extravaganza of fun and magic. The first day we headed to Orlando for some fun at the Florida Mall and Downtown Disney

   The Sea Room With A Giant Squid At T-Rex Diner

Baby Mammoths

After dinner my best friend, her boyfriend, my husband and I went to the shops and got into alil mischief 

We all went a little mad

Finally the day was upon us that we have been waiting for since we (by we I mean Diana and I) have waited for since we started reading Harry Potter! The day started early we got up at 4:40am and were at the park by 6:30am. If you do not already know I am from Florida and by 6am the heat is already unbearable and we were in a crowed line.

That was the line in front of us it wrapped around and through the rest of the Jurassic Park area
The line behind us that went out the park and around to Universal Studios

This is a map of Islands of Adventure and the yellow line shows how we were lined up. The black X shows my place in line at 6:30am. The wait for the park was long and fraught with anxiety and stress. The part of the line that we were in was poorly managed allowing for people to move up and pick a position that was not rightfully theirs. Eventually security was present and did corral the issue. Another issue of the wait was the fact that myself and my party could not see the opening festivities. We were told by Universal that monitors to watch the show. When we got to the park only one monitor was present at the port of entry and no more were to be found. 
There was my little rant on this waiting business, now on to the good stuff. Diana and I created these amazing t-shirts that received massive praise and adoration by other Potter fanatics. Here is what they looked like

Now we finally got into the land at 10:15am after 4 hours of waiting the time was upon us. Its hard to describe my excitement for this particular moment. When i walked through the Hogsmead Arch I was in awe. It was like I stepped into a magical world. There was something in the air that made me feel that I was really in a Wizarding World and I belonged. 

Our main objective was to get to Hogwarts to ride Harry Potters Forbidden Journey. As Diana said, "Bre we do not have time to be awed." So we made a bee line for the castle and as we almost ran through Hogsmead, Hogwarts become a towering focal point of the 20 acre land.
Hogwarts Almost There

I am going to let you know in advance this is not a spoiler free review. It is full of spoilers and if you don't wanna know about it then please skip down.
Now with that said, I do not have many photos from the inside of the ride. I was too busy enjoying the events that were happening all around me. Now this ride is  So after you stand in line, which most of it is outside of the castle, you enter and walk toward the griffin that hides Dumbledore's stair case to his office. As you walk around the griffin you are greeted by talking portraits. Now this portraits look like they do in the movie I have yet to figure out how its done. After you are accosted by two talking portraits you walk into a room that is full of them.
The main talkers are the four founders of Hogwarts: Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, Rowena Ravenclaw and Helga Hufflepuff.
They are discussing Dumbledore's allowance of muggles into Hogwarts. Of course if you have read the books Salazar hates muggles and non pure bloods. So he is highly upset about muggles at Hogwarts. Godric comes to the defense of the muggles and Dumbledore. As you past the room of portraits you enter Dumbledore's office. It was an exact replica of how the office looks in the movies. There are random movie props like the pensive and cabinets filled with magical objects

Both of these photos were taken by my friend Randy. These photos are from the office it shows the pensive and Dumbledore's desk. If you look close you can see Dumbledore in the photo.

Dumbledore comes from upstairs on the balcony to welcome you to the school and to give you a quick run down of how everything works at Hogwarts in addition to letting you know that there is a dragon on the loose. From Dumbledore's office you move to the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom. From there you meet up with Harry, Ron , and Hermione who want to sneak you out of Professor Benz's lecture on the history of Hogwarts. They devise a plan that involves Hermione creating a spell to make muggles fly. At one point in their explanation of the plan it actually begins to snow bubbles.

As you move on through the rest of the castle you run into the Fat Lady and an amazing bulletin board with a moving newspaper clipping of Harry playing quidditch. 
Once again taken by Randy
Finally your almost to the ride final talking portraits go over ride safety and debate how great of a wizard Hermione really is. The last character you meet is the Sorting hat, he was an amazing touch to the whole experience. He was very interactive and guides you with final ride safety. Finally your on the ride and they strap you in.
Randy Photos

This ride was amazing and that statement does not even give it justice. It is a fully imersive ride that makes you apart of the movies. You spin flip and turn through out watching flimed sequences and actual sets that have various creatures comming out of the shadows to get you. This ride takes the scarest creatures from the movie and makes them real. From dragons, acromantulas, and dementors who try and almost succeed in giving the kiss of death. Its a ride that has you believing that it is real and at any moment you will plunge into darkness and never resurface. A must ride for all Harry Potter Fans!

No comments: