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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

by Meghann on June 19, 2010

I read my first Harry Potter book when I was a junior in high school. The first movie was just about to be released and my Mom started reading the first book aloud during a random road trip to one place or another. Usually I would ignore my mom when she read aloud in the car – she did it alot – but there was something about this book that I couldn’t ignore. I was hooked a couple chapters in and so began my obsession with Harry Potter.

Over the years I’ve attended almost every midnight opening of every Harry Potter film and waited in endless lines waiting to purchase the latest Harry Potter book release, so it would only make sense I would want to attend the grand opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter the same weekend it opened at Universal Island’s of Adventure. πŸ˜‰

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In fact, the whole reason why Derek and I renewed our annual passes was simply for the fact that Harry Potter was opening this summer. After over a year of watching the park develop behind scaffolding and barriers, today was the day all my nerdy dreams could finally come true! Today was the day for Harry Potter!!

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The alarm was set for early this morning – 5:30am early. We knew there would be crowds and wanted to reserve our spot in line for the park before it got too crazy.

Derek, Josh, Adena, and I arrived just before 7:00 am and were surprised to see the park was already opening. We took our place in line and began the wait to enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which at 7:00 am was already at capacity.

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My younger brother and his girlfriend had arrived at the park an hour before of us and were a ways ahead of us in line. They were only letting as many people in the park as were leaving, so we knew we had a wait of us.

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Don’t worry – we came prepared with food and entertainment.

I had packed breakfast on the way out the door.

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I knew a breakfast wrap would be easy to eat while in line and I wouldn’t have to worry about any squishing in my bag.

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My wrap contained almond butter, fresh strawberries, and blueberries.

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The fresh berries were a nice touch to the wrap. It was a light and refreshing treat in the already blazing sun.

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Fresh watermelon was enjoyed with the wrap.

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Slowly, but surely we made our way to the front and just around 9:00am I could see the entrance!

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3…2…1… GO!

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Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Here We Come!!

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We got lucky. I heard rumors that some people had waited up to 10 hours to enter the park on Friday and 5 hours today. Crazy! That my friends is why we had no problem waking up so early this morning. πŸ™‚

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The park was beautiful! Every little detail was as I pictured in it in my head as I read each and every book. From the Owl Post to Three Broomsticks – I really felt like I was in the world of Harry Potter!

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As soon as we entered the park we headed to the newest ride – The Forbidden Journey – located inside Hogwarts Castle.

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The Forbidden Journey is a simulated flight ride that features memorable characters and scenes from the book, such as quidditich, the whomping willow, Aragog, the basalik, dementors, etc. The ride is very similar to spiderman with the way the ride moves and syncs with the screens. It was lots of fun and thanks to the singles like we were able to skip the 120 minute line and instead only waited less than 5. πŸ˜‰

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I loved the attention to detail with this ride. Everything from the moving photos in the queue, the costumes all the ride operators wear, and even the appearance by the sorting hat right before you board brings the whole experience to life. πŸ™‚

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One of the things I couldn’t wait to try in the new park was Butterbeer!

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Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one. I think the longest line we waited in all day was for the butterbeer. πŸ˜‰

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I’m not sure what I was expecting with the butterbeer? I think I was expecting something very buttery and warming. This butterbeer was served cold and resembled cream soda with a non-dairy butterscotch topping. I’m sure it tasted good if you like cream soda or root beer, but I’m not a fan. I had a few sips for fun and shared the rest. πŸ™‚

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While waiting for the butterbeer, something else caught my eye as well.

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Pumpkin Juice.

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I mean, why not?

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I was expecting the drink to taste like apple juice because apple concentrate was the main ingredient, but that was not the case. It really does taste like pumpkin! Almost like pumpkin cider? It was ok, but a little strong – almost too pumpkiny. I think it would be a good addition to smoothies or incorporated into a baked good somehow, but on it’s own it was a bit much. Still, it was fun to pass around and try.

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Honestly, one of the reasons to visit Harry Potter is because of the fun shops. The details that went into the shops make them just as much a part of experience as the rides! πŸ™‚

There was a line for everything today and most of the lines for the shops were pretty crazy. There was a 3 hour wait for Ollivander’s Wand Shop! And the one for the Owl Post was too long to even track the ending of. Crazy!

Luckily, the line for Zonkos and Honey Dukes weren’t too too bad.

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Candy, Candy as far as the eye can see!

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But not just any candy, these were all perfect replicas of the candies featured in the movies and books!

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I walked out with a chocolate frog.

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Blah… this chocolate was not good at all. It tasted like plastic. Such a shame, I had high hopes for it too.

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And then my camera died. πŸ™

Many thanks to Adena for letting me borrow hers the rest of the day. πŸ™‚

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RIde #2 of the day πŸ™‚

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Flight of the Hippograph is a cute little kid’s roller coaster that circles around Hagrid’s Cottage. It’s short, sweet, and had a very short line – not bad if you ask me.

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After 5 hours of exploring the park we were all ready to say good bye and head to lunch. The crowds were getting even more intense and the sun was starting to shine higher and higher in the sky. We were done.

Sure, we didn’t get to see exactly all we came for, but that’s why we have the annual pass – so we can come back when ever we want. Hopefully, the crowds will die down in the next couple of months, but for now I give The Wizarding World of Harry Potter two very big thumbs up! This park is awesome and worth all the hype! I can’t wait to return again and again and again!

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There are no words for how hungry and tired the four of us were as we headed out of Islands of Adventures. We bee lined it to CityWalk and hit up Margaritaville for lunch.

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I ordered the grilled portabella mushroom sandwich with blue cheese, red peppers, and lettuce on a whole wheat bun with a side of broccoli instead of french fries.

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I was too lazy to mess with the camera setting so I took a quick photo with the flash and dove right in. I think the whole table cleaned our plates – food had never tasted so good. πŸ™‚

We headed to Universal Studios for the reminder of the afternoon.

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I had so much fun hanging out with my brothers and their girlfriends. I have the best family in the whole wide world. πŸ™‚

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We stopped at Starbucks for pick-me-ups at one point and I ordered a Venti Iced Green Tea.

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You know what goes best with a hot day outside?

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Fro Yo!

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A-MA-ZING

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Dinner was extra special this evening. It’s very rare that all 4 of my siblings get together and the fact we were all able to get together this evening with all of our significant others was even more of an extra special treat. πŸ™‚

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The couples

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We had dinner at Cedar’s of Orlando – a lebanese restaurant I’ve been meaning to try in the Dr. Phillip’s area for a while.

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Any place with live belly dancing is a-ok in my book. πŸ˜‰

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The table started with pickled beets and olives

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And fresh from the oven pitas, that were warm, doughy and quite honestly the best pitas I’ve ever tasted. I had 3 through the course of the evening! πŸ™‚

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Instead of a big meal I chose two appetizers to create my entree.

The first was the ‘Cedar’s Salad’ a chopped vegetable salad that was well seasoned and coated with olive oil and vinegar.

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Secondly, I selected the hummus with shawarma – a roasted beef that paired beautifully with the hummus.

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I also had a few nibbles off of other people’s dishes too. Everything was delicious. πŸ™‚

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What a day! I’ve been going non-stop since 5:30am and I am more than ready for bed.

Good Night!

1 Diana@mymarblerye June 20, 2010 at 12:02 am

Omg thank you so much for this recap! Makes me wanna leave Disney world for a bit and hit this up when I’m there next week!!! And your family is gorg!!! Lebanese makes me drool!

2 Sara June 20, 2010 at 12:23 am

Oh wow…I’m going to live vicariously through you, as you return to Harry Potter World! It looks awesome! Glad you had fun.

3 Angela June 20, 2010 at 12:25 am

Awww. I grew up with Harry Potter. I’m the same age as Emma and have been reading the books since I was age. I’ve been to every midnight premiere and this year will be the first year I have to watch it in German! :/ Not sure how I feel about that.

4 Cristin June 20, 2010 at 1:22 am

So jealous!! I cannot wait to go but will definitely have to wait til the crowds die down. So glad you had a good time. Thanks for the re-cap!

5 ellaroo88 June 20, 2010 at 1:31 am

Oh my Gosh looks amazing! My Mom also read Harry Potter out loud to us when I was a kid! Love the story- just so wonderful and so much imagination

6 Dee June 20, 2010 at 1:40 am

Oh my goodness! It sounds like you had a great time! I can’t wait to get out there and visit HP’s park. I’ve been looking forward to it ever since they announced it! πŸ™‚

7 Sarah June 20, 2010 at 1:49 am

Wow! Thanks for the tour! I never really got into Harry Potter but I have seen one or two of the movies. I saw some of the media coverage and now your post and it looks so cool! I love how they totally transport you to someplace that’s supposed to be fictional. So cool!

8 tropicaleats June 20, 2010 at 2:01 am

i am dyingggggggg reading this post. I’m like the ultimate HP nerd too and have had a countdown going for WWoHP for like a year lol. There are butterbeer recipes online so u can concoct it at home.. pretty yummy stuff!

9 britchickruns June 20, 2010 at 3:20 am

Gah what an amazing day! You are SO lucky to live near so many theme parks!! I don’t like Harry Potter, but after reading this I really want to go πŸ˜€

10 Hatty June 20, 2010 at 6:02 am

I adore Harry Potter so that looks absolutely fabulous! πŸ˜€
My only issue is it looks a bit out of place with so much sun, haha!!!!
Still it looks like a great day and i love how close your family is πŸ™‚

11 Alison June 20, 2010 at 7:15 am

Wow, what a day. I’m exhausted just reading about it!
I never got into Harry Potter, but my near 40 yr old husband has read all of the books and seen all the movies. He’d probably love the new attraction.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

12 Kath June 20, 2010 at 7:22 am

Absolutely amazing!!!! I’d come back to I of A just for Harry Potter!! Glad you got to try the fun HP foods πŸ™‚

13 Carolyn @ lovinlosing.com June 20, 2010 at 7:51 am

Looks like a blast. Islands of Adventure has always been my favorite theme park. But, I think I’ll be going in mid-late fall next time. I can’t take the heat.

14 dailygoods June 20, 2010 at 8:13 am

omg I must go to orlando to visit you AND go to this Harry Potter world!!! PLUS i love that you’re wearing a romper. i’m still trying to find one that looks cute, so far i’ve looked like i was wearing a clown outfit which doesn’t really work for me. I LOVE yours though!! must find one soon, they’re so cute

15 Marissa June 20, 2010 at 8:29 am

Ah I’m so excited to go to the Harry Potter world! Looks like so much fun! And I love how the main attractions are more of the shops and just walking around instead of the rides–since I hate rides! I would be… well, like a kid in a candy store if I went to Honey Dukes! I love Bertie Bott’s every flavor beans… just glorified jelly beans, but they’re so much fun to try!

16 Brittany June 20, 2010 at 8:39 am

Islands of Adventure has always been my favorite theme park and I was just tweeting on Friday about how much I wanted to go to Harry Potter Land. Needless to say, I was pumped to see your post and to get a sneak peek – it looks awesome! Now I want some pumpkin juice. πŸ™‚

17 Frugal 'n' Fit! June 20, 2010 at 9:07 am

I think I’m the last person in the western world who hasn’t read or seen any of the Harry Potter books/movies, but I still would love to check out the theme park. Sounds like a lot of fun! I love all that attention to detail.

18 Brynne June 20, 2010 at 9:28 am

Thanks for the AWESOME recap Meghann! I want to go now more than ever!

19 Tiffany June 20, 2010 at 9:50 am

This post is made of so much win!

I <3 Harry Potter so much. My bf and I can't wait until we can make a trip out to Florida. The Wizarding World looks amazing. I'm so jealous that you're just a hop, skip & jump away.

Plus, you had Lebanese food. Looks wonderful + belly dancers are fun.

OT – do I spy ''Something Borrowed" in your bag? Add that to list of things you did today that I love!

20 Kyra June 20, 2010 at 10:00 am

Chris Columbus, the Harry Potter producer, and his family are currently 6 houses down from mine! It took a little while to dawn on me that they were here for Wizarding Worlds grand opening!

21 Cassie June 20, 2010 at 10:32 am

What a fun day! I can imagine how tired you must have been after πŸ˜›

22 caronae June 20, 2010 at 10:39 am

I seriously cannot even begin to describe how jealous I am. HP is kind of the greatest thing ever and I NEED to go here ASAP. NYC has its perks but I might trade it if I could live next door to my own little HP wonderland…

Glad you have fun! Hope today is just as awesome.

23 Emilyeatsclean June 20, 2010 at 12:16 pm

What a post!! Looks like such a fun day……it’s amazing how much all that stuff looks like how I pictured it in my mind too! It’s a shame the chocolate frog wasn’t very good, though. πŸ™

24 Tay June 20, 2010 at 12:21 pm

How cool!! I just watched the Today special on it last night and got excited over the Pumpkin Juice. Not sure when I’ll ever make it out there, but maybe some day!!

25 Katherine: What About Summer? June 20, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Looks like so much fun! You were brave to face the crowds! (+sneak food in haha)

How fun would it be to work there?

26 Jenny June 20, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Ahhhh I so want to go to wwohp!!! That coupled with your eats looks likethe perfect day, I love shawarma!

27 Marina June 20, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Wow, that was one amazing day!
I would so like to visit that world of harry potter, it looks pretty amazing!

28 Chelsea June 20, 2010 at 3:25 pm

So jealous you got to the Harry Potter park. I so wanna go!!!!!!!

29 kaztronomic June 20, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Wow, I’m jealous! I started reading Harry Potter probably in the ninth grade? Over a decade now, yikes! I’m glad you enjoyed it, though, and thanks for the review of it. πŸ˜€

30 Cate June 20, 2010 at 4:26 pm

WWOHP sounds totally awesome! Thanks for a review of your experience there. I cannot wait to go! πŸ™‚

31 Kelsey June 20, 2010 at 5:15 pm

I read my first HP book when I was in grade 9 in high school and fell in love with the series, so I’m very jealous you got to go to the HP park! I live in Ontario, so I’d have to plan a whole vacation to get there, haha!
And may I add that your Frozen yogurt looks mighty delicious right now… πŸ™‚

32 Lisa @ bakebikeblog June 20, 2010 at 5:59 pm

What a fun day! I want to visit this park!!!!

33 Gabriela @ Fro-Yo Lover June 20, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Oh, WOW!
I canΒ΄t wait to visit Harry PotterΒ΄s park!
Butterbeer! YAY πŸ˜€
Wish you a great week, Meghann!
Brazilian XOXOΒ΄s,
Gabriela

34 Anne @ the doctor takes a wife June 20, 2010 at 10:45 pm

This looks so amazing!!! In October Hubby and I are going to be in Orlando and I’m DYING to go here!! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

35 Milca June 21, 2010 at 12:11 am

I’m glad you had a great weekend!! Looks like you all had so much fun!! I also noticed You had “Something Borrowed” by Emily Giffen in their!! I love all her books, I just finished her new book, “Heart of the Matter” it was amazing!! Well, have a great week!!

36 Marika June 21, 2010 at 4:42 am

OMG, so jealous! Thanks for all the photos. It’ll probably be years before I can visit it myself since I don’t even live in the USA right now, but mark my words… I will visit that park someday! πŸ™‚

37 Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday June 21, 2010 at 9:22 am

Awesome!! That looks so cool.

38 sweetersalt June 21, 2010 at 11:38 am

LOVE the romper! I’ve been a big fan this summer, I talk about them here: http://sweetersalt.com/2010/06/13/i-want-to-romp/

Super fun!

39 missyrayn June 21, 2010 at 7:12 pm

I love HP! I started reading the books while I had to take a semester off of school for illness and got really bored. But I loved them and see every movie. And I even got my Hunni into them when he was really sick and they were the only movies in our house he hadn’t seen.

40 Heather @ Junk Food Break Up June 22, 2010 at 1:47 pm

O…M…G! I am so mega jealous of your day last Saturday, that looks like it was too much fun to handle.

I’m a GIANT Harry Potter Geek and cannot wait to hit this park…thanks for your review, it looks like it’s fantastic and a ton of fun.

41 crystal June 22, 2010 at 2:49 pm

oh my gosh looks like so much fun! and i just love me some harry potter!

42 Shannon June 22, 2010 at 3:36 pm

I’m going to WWOH next week. We’re doing Disney and Universal. I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, read all of the books more than once and have seen all of the movies more than once. I am not a roller coaster rider. I ride things that go in circles but don’t have drops. I’m usually the bag holder person, but since i love harry potter so much I actually am tempted to ride. I do not like roller coasters mainly because of being turned upside down and because of drops and dips. Are there any drops and dips on the Forbidden Journey ride? Is it intense or is the only intense part the actual show? Also, could you tour the castle without actually getting on the ride?

43 Lily's Health Pad October 31, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Infinitely jealous that you live so close and can visit whenever you like! I’m both stoked and sad that the final movies are so close.

44 Joy March 29, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Wow, this looks so cool! I’m going to WWoHP this may as a Graduation Vacation after this semester and I can’t wait!

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