A blog about general entertainment, fashion, and movies. And some random stuff too.

Friday, July 23, 2010

HP World Entry Part 1: First Impressions

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!


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.

OH EM GEE. Hogwarts and us! (We're waiting in line for Olivander's!)

Sheesh, just talking about it gets me all distracted! Back to walking into the HP section. The coolest thing ever was staying at a resort hotel, because it comes with all these amazing perks. Besides being so ridiculously close to the parks you can walk, getting to cut in line to most rides using your keycard, and free water taxi rides to the parks and City Walk, you also get to enter the Wizarding World an hour earlier than the general public and therefore have free reign of Hogsmeade! There are FAR less people there at 7:30 AM than usual... So that is exactly when we went down there. If you plan a trip down there, BOOK A UNIVERSAL RESORT HOTEL. Just do it! It's so worth it!

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.

Crooked chimneys and fake snow!

Extendable Ears! Hermione's dress from the 4th movie.

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!

Beauxbatons! And Frog Choir time!

Sirius and me. I am pouting because I LOVE him.

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! ;)


  1. What an awesome trip! I want to go there SO bad! Seeing your pictures eased the pain a little bit. :-)

    I totally know I would freak out if I went! There are SO many places/movies/people that I wish were real and that I'd love to interact with. I think it's so cool that they really brought the world of Harry Potter to life this way. And if you get to cut in line by booking a Universal Resort Hotel, I'm SO doing that. Awesome!

    I can't wait for the other HP posts!

  2. Im so glad you got to experience it for yourself. I don't think your dumb for describing it as magical...because it is :) Seeing your pictures made me wish I was back there!!! I will stay tuned for your next post, because that was my favorite part too!!!

  3. I am actually the only HP fanatic in the house. The boys like it but not as much as me. I am so excited to experience the park through your posts... I am ready to hall the family down there to satisfy my own perverse need. Can't wait to see posts two and three and I am so glad you guys got to go and tell me all about it and share your pics. I might have to grab some Mom fans and head down myself... just sayin.

  4. I never really noticed this before, but Justin looks like Harry in that engagement picture.

    It looks SOOO beautiful. I absolutely can't WAIT to experience it for myself. I've been wanting mine and Grant's next real vacation to be to Florida so I can take him to Disney and Universal and experience everything together. And now that HP World is there, it's even better! So I hope we can do this next summer sometime!

    Awaiting more pictures and info with bated breath!

    (And when I saw that someone named Penni commented, my first thought was that your dog was commenting! That would be cute.)

  5. Thanks for sharing! Living in Russia makes it rather difficult for me to get there myself, so I really appreciate your post! Looking forward to the next two!

  6. Gah I just wanna book a plane right now and go live there forever. Looks like such a magical place and so amazing to see this fantasy world we've all been experiencing and fantasizing about for over a decade come to life. Too bad it's bloody hot there, Hogsmeade would probably be more comfy when it's cold out. LOL

  7. Man, we have alot in common cuz i myself am a severe nerd for the books as well. It awesome to see how intricate they became with the details and how it seems like such a dream-place to go. I definitely want to check this place out now, just gotta find some mudbloods to go with :D.