Thursday, October 28, 2010

Harry Potter Land

Last week, we went on vacation, and our destination was the brand-new Harry Potter land at Universal Studios Florida. My family had to literally pull me out of there at the end of our visit as I cried, "Noooooooo....I don't wanna leeeeeeave!" Small children were looking at me askance, clearly shocked by my bad behavior. I didn't care: it was a spectacular place, quite literally looking and feeling as if we were in the Harry Potter movie world. (Just much hotter and more humid than I imagine Hogwarts' rumored Scottish location to be...)

We've got hundreds of photos to sort through still, but here's a few quick shots to start with:

Hogwarts Castle, with a signpost pointing the way to Hogsmeade. The castle was enormous, and the ride inside (not to mention the queue area for the ride, which winds through the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, Gryffindor Tower, and Dumbledore's office) was breathtaking.

Inside the castle, this was the main portrait gallery. It stretched for several floors overhead, and the paintings talked, moved, and conversed with each other just like in the films. It was amazing.

Outside the cauldron shop in the adjoining village of Hogsmeade.

The sign for Olivander's wand shop, with Hogsmeade buildings in the background. We waited an hour to get in the wand shop, where I gleefully bought a ridiculously overpriced souvenir wand (more on my souvenir haul in a bit), but it was still a fabulous experience.

Inside Olivander's wand shop: towering shelves jam-packed with teetering boxes.

Behind the bar at the Boar's Head, with Butterbeer on tap.  The boar periodically came to "life." Note the shrunken heads in the top left corner!

Naturally, I had to buy a lot of souvenirs at Harry Potter land. I need them for my job, of course. We throw huge HP parties at my library. Hmmm...maybe I can write off my purchases on my taxes???

What I Bought on My Vacation at Harry Potter Land:

a Monster Book of Monsters (it really works: snaps and bites and rolls around and growls!)
a wand (it doesn't really work, unfortunately...)
a Sneakoscope (lights up!)
Extendable Ears (they really work! they have a tiny microphone inside!)
a Fanged Flyer (came with a "handler's glove")
an edition of the Quibbler, complete with SpectreSpecs
a deluxe Chocolate Frog
a box of Bertie Botts' Every Flavor Beans (unopened)
a tiny bottle of Skelegro (empty)
two bars of Honeydukes chocolate
5 postcards
a sheet of actual Owl Post postage stamps
a stuffed Pygmy Puff (doesn't do anything; it's just cute)
a bottle of Pumpkin Juice
a box of Honeydukes salt water taffy (for everyone back at work)

We had to use an extra suitcase to get it all home.

More pictures to come: Honeydukes shop windows and interiors, more inside-the-castle views, and the Hogwarts Express train!


  1. You're not wearing those extendable ears and waving that wand right now, are you?

  2. Very magical trip!Lucky girl!
    Florida is so far from Italy :-((
    Thanks for the photos....I have dream for some minutes!
    Have a great Halloween!

  3. Yes, Christine, I AM! How did you know?!

    Hi Sonya: keep watching, more pics to come. The Honeydukes shop windows were incredible. Maybe they'll open a HP park somewhere in Europe soon? There were lots of people from England at ours, and I heard several of them complaining that it should have been built in England, not Florida, considering the story's British origins and setting...

  4. I take it your a BIG Harry Potter Fan Tracy!!!
    I love it!
    Hey...did ya get it yet? Huh? Did ya?