Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The time I went to Hogwarts

Like most people who have ever been within two feet of a Harry Potter book, I am a total nerd about it.  There was the time when Alisa and I tried (failed) to knit Hogwarts scarves for the 6th movie premier in November (yeah, we can’t knit at all).  By God we still had a party.  Or that when one of the books come out I read all 800-1200 pages in 19 hours? I can’t describe it exactly.  It’s not hero worship (I don’t think he’s dreamy), it’s not because the clothes and lifestyles are so enviable (although no one was too crazy about SATC movies so maybe that’s a terrible standard), there is no love story for all the ages… and yet, you fall in love with the zillion aspects of their charming world.

Enter my Florida work trip which conveniently gave me a spare day to traipse around Orlando. 

I have to say, for someone whose parents didn’t love her enough for a Disney/Universal vacation as a child, I was pretty impressed. 

Just kidding Mom and Dad! Considering I forked over $90 for a single ticket all I have no idea how families afford to go. That stuff is ludicrous.

But awesome.  Let the tour continue!

There were two parts of the HP part of the theme park, Hogsmeade, where all of the shops (Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley) and restaurants were.


Holy crowds.  I forgot how rarely I am surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people and screaming kids.  I thought it might be weird to be there alone (hello, creepy adult alert). Except I don’t know how you could do it with a group, there are just so many people.  At the very least it got me to the front of rides quickly. Sweet!


The Butterbeer was out of this world.  It tasted like butterscotch root beer (I don’t even like root beer!) with some sort of butterscotch cream foam on top.  Pure carbonated sugary delicousness.  Two enthusiastic thumbs up Orlando.  It was 100 degrees and it was pretty sweet so I didn’t end up finishing it.  I admit, this would have been nice to split with somebody.

all the butterscotch joy without the loud candy wrapper  
I hope i don't get the mucus flavor
I hope I don't get the mucus flavor
Honeydukes was the candy shop and my oh my was it yummy.  Look! Every flavor beans!
Cauldron Cakes!


Treacle Fudge!

white chocolate? what is a treacle?
Do you think it's white chocolate? What IS a treacle?
However more than Hogsmeade, my favorite part was Hogwarts itself.


You could get your photo taken with some of the Tri-Wizard tournament schools, like this excited person.

he can't wait to put this on facebook
he can't wait to post this on facebook
You could watch the Beauxbaton Academy’s girls (Fleur? is that you? yes I had to look up the name of the school) and their Will Ferrell esque ribbon dancing routine.  Or you could stick around and see the Durmstrang academy guys do some sort of stomp routine meets military rifle moving sequence (with their walking stick things).  Also they did back flips.  Those guys were always kind of cute.  (does that make me a creep? How old do we think they are here?)

This guy is next to normal
This guy is next to normal
Finally there were the rides.  Now there were three rides here and I hadn’t necessarily intended to go on any of them but the shops were too crowded and otherwise that’s the whole HP part of the park, so in I went.  Two of the three rides are pretty standard theme park fare.  One is slower and fully themed hippogriff style and has tons of Hagrid’s house/hallmarks around it.  The other was the Tri-Wizard Challenge that was a buckle in flip upside down go sixty miles an hour ride.  Good ride, not so much to do with Harry.  Mostly I was just utterly charmed by the last ride, the Forbidden Journey which happened once you entered Hogwarts.  It was part regular rollercoaster and part virtual ride.  It seriously knocked my socks off.  One minute you were being spun around to close enough to touch a giant snake skeleton in the chamber of secrets and  another you were face to face with a dragon head that spewed red hot air in your face, the next you were surrounded on all sides by a screen that had you following Harry through the Hogwarts towers via broom.  I felt completely and totally immersed in the ride.  I’m sure I had my mouth gaping open in wonderment the entire time.  Hands down the best part of the whole park.  Tip of the hat to you Universal.

seal of approval
seal of approval
So I spent three solid hours there and felt I got to see a little bit of everything.  I am not necessarily one for souvenirs (hello studio apartment), so I resisted getting a wand, or commemorative do-dads.  Also because the candy (yay) would have melted en route out of the park (boo). 
Speaking of leaving the park, on my way out I meandered through the comic section and couldn’t help but take a photo of this appetizing picture.
money shot
Money shot
Bret and I used to always jokes about the Cathy cartoons all the time.  This killed me.