This is Part 1 of a 3 part series post! This one will be about the general look and feel of the park. Stay tuned for much, MUCH more (and maybe more exciting stuff) in posts 2 and 3!
Just to begin with, for those of you who don't know how much I love Harry Potter... I may need to bring you to speed. I've been to every midnight showing since the 3rd movie (except for the 4th because of college... but I went the very first day!), each midnight book release since the 6th book (and have finished each of the 6th and 7th in their entirety within a day and a half of their releases), and I've read every single book multiple times. I audited a class in my last semester of college that was just about Harry Potter and we studied the entire series. We were sorted into houses (I was in Slytherin, and we WON the house cup! Suck it Gryffindor!) and actually played quidditch one of the class periods. At the end of the semester, we had a Great Feast, and honestly, it was one of my favorite classes of all time. I still have the audio to the discussion from last day in class on a CD that I enjoy listening too from time to time.
So obviously, I can EASILY nerd the heck out about Harry Potter. The same goes for my husband, Justin. In fact, that's how we met. When the 6th book came out, we both worked at the same entertainment store. We both read the book so quickly that no one else around us at work had finished yet, therefore, we were forced to talk to just each other about the book, our reactions and theories... and through that, began a friendship. By the end of that summer we were dating. The rest is history... well except how much we still love Harry Potter. In fact, some of our engagement pics (taken by the awesome BellaPop) were HP themed! Which is why it was the perfect idea for us to go to the new Harry Potter World in Orlando for our first wedding anniversary!
WIZARDING WORLD: THE LOOK & FEEL
Now, the first time I heard there was going to be a HP World, as you can imagine, I absolutely freaked out. I said in multiple conversations about this place, "I will cry when I get there. I'll just break down." As much as I love the experience of seeing a book I love come to life on screen in a theater, I just knew that I would absolutely lose my crap having it come alive all around me. So driving up to the hotel, it was no surprise to my husband that at first glance of the top of the beautiful castle of Hogwarts, I had a physical, outward reaction. I had to apologize to the driver and the one other passenger for nerding out so severely! But I couldn't help it. There is something about SEEING it in real life, even from far away, that pictures can never capture. Probably the whole being REAL thing that we fantasy freaks aren't used to and never get to experience! Haha.
I don't know if I can explain the feeling of being able to walk through pieces of a world you never thought could exist. Especially Hogwarts, because for me, besides Middle-earth, Hogwarts is the place that I wish the MOST could exist in this world. All you Potter-heads understand. And for those of you who aren't into HP, imagine your favorite movie or song or something like that... and then imagine you get to walk into that thing and experience it that way, all around you, tangibly. There is NOTHING like it!
And so, my impression of The Wizarding World! The genius of the placement of this part of the park is that you have to walk through Suess Landing to get to it. So as you rush through the million babies and their mommies, you are surrounded by this strange cartoon world, and as you keep your eyes on the top of that castle, nothing looks more real in the entire world than Hogwarts. Every time I saw Hogwarts, I just had to stand in awe of it. It's beyond BEAUTIFUL. Therefore, I ended up taking 30 pictures of Hogwarts itself, just because from every angle, it's breathtaking! I very literally could not get enough of it. I just wanted to take the sight in and soak it up as much as I could every time I was near it, to last me for after we had to leave. It is now my iPhone background, just fyi.
As we entered Hogsmeade it was the most SURREAL moment ever. This place is SO detailed in every single way possible. We were immediately met by the Hogwarts Express! (If you're wondering about the shirt, I had 4, one for each day of the trip! I'm not just Slytherin!) The conductor was around taking pictures with everyone in front of the train, and there were suitcases with Hogwarts tags on them!
There were no details that this place overlooked. Every shop from the books had a window display stocked with things that we would all recognize, every building was sculpted and built to look exactly like the buildings from the movies, Moaning Myrtle talks to you in the bathroom, you can order a Butterbeer or Pumpkin Juice at a vendor or at the Three Broomsticks, and all the workers are dressed for the part of Hogsmeade/Hogwarts they belong in! It's BRILLIANT.
Not only is the world itself perfectly detailed, but they play the best tracks from all the soundtracks as you walk through the park . Plus, there are a few cute little presentations every hour or so. One is the Frog Choir where a few Hogwarts students and their giant toads sing a set of HP songs. Another is the Durmstrang and Beauxbaton performances from The Goblet of Fire. Plus, there are great spots to take pictures, my favorite being the Azkaban Sirius Black poster. Which moves, by the way! Just like all magical pictures are supposed to do!
I know it's really dumb and expected to say that HP World was 'magical' but it's hard to describe it as anything else. It is truly living a fantasy to walk through that place, which makes it that much harder to leave and have to rejoin the real world. THAT wasn't done so easily, but more on that later. Parts 2 and 3 of my HP World blog posts will be coming soon! Part 2 will be about the rides, (Click on the orange! Which I PROMISE will be the best, more than likely, because I have TONS of pictures of the ride inside Hogwarts, The Forbidden Journey!), and Part 3 will be about the snacks and food (The Three Broomsticks to be specific; best EVER)! Please stay tuned, because the best is yet to come!
BELIEVE ME. The inside of Hogwarts is what I'm REALLY excited to tell you guys about! See you in the next post! ;)