The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Sat 1/15/2011

Claire and I returned last night from our trip to Florida, where we visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which was EPIC. We only brought Claire's camera with us, so she's got all the photos over in her Universal Studios Flickr Set. Links below will go to her photos.

"Harry Potter Land" (as Claire and I took to calling it) is located in the "Islands of Adventure" park at Universal Studios, and it basically consists of the main street of Hogsmeade, and then the Hogwarts castle. All the buildings on main street are covered in a thin layer of fake snow, which I thought would be really weird in warm, sunny Florida. Luckily, visiting in January meant that it was actually pretty cold (low 40s on the day we were there) with clouds and everything! It felt about as authentic as I think it could.

All in all, we spent about 4 or 5 hours in Harry Potter Land. The line for the castle ride was about an hour, which included walking through the castle and seeing all kinds of cool stuff, like a bunch of moving, talking portraits, Dumbledore's office and the defense against the dark arts classroom.

We also spent about an hour in line to get into Ollivander's wand shop. This was WELL worth the wait, because Claire was chosen to test out some wands! The first wand she tried had a unicorn hair core, but she totally fragged up the wand shop with that one, so next she tried lumos with a very evil looking wand (with a skull on the end of it and everything). That didn't go too great either, but finally a 9" hazel wand with phoenix feather core chose her and all ended well. I bought a wand too, which I think I'm going to start using in the classroom, instead of a pointer :)

We spent the rest of our time wandering around, looking in all the window displays, which were really well designed with all kinds of witchy and wizardy artifacts. Each storefront had its own custom made hanging sign, plus all the buildings are kind of off-kilter and wonky. This might be weird, but I think my favorite part of the whole Harry Potter Land was the interior of the Three Broomsticks restaurant. It felt so real. I only wish I could have gone in ALL the buildings... and also live in the castle forever.

ANYWAY, we ended the day by going on the two Harry Potter roller coasters: The Flight of the Hippogriff, which was pretty tame, and The Dragon Challenge, which gave me wicked bad motion sickness. I pretty much spent the rest of evening trying NOT to puke my guts out after that one. Yee-haw.

Claire did a really good job of planning this trip for a time when the park wasn't too crowded. Everyone said it was really slow, but even so, it seemed crowded to us. I can't even imagine trying to check out that place at full capacity! All the non-Harry-Potter parts of the park seemed totally empty, so it was definitely the hit attraction. If you are a big Harry Potter nerd, I would highly recommend making the trip! Even if you don't buy a bunch of stuff it's cool window shopping and checking out all the shops, just like a real trip into Hogsmeade from the books!

Well, back here at the "Hogwarts of Comics," school starts up again on Tuesday, so I'm frantically trying to get all my stuff together. It's going to be a busy semester. On top of all my teaching duties, I'm also going to be drawing the last chapter of Basewood and coloring the next Walker Bean book. I'll be a busy bee! Buzz buzz

3 comments on this entry

Looks pretty amazing. Glad you guys had a good time.

Looks like a good time. Did you check out the Marvel Island stuff, too? That Spider-man ride is killer!

On a self-publishing front, posted a Twitter rant on my blog you might find interesting.



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