Monday, December 9, 2019

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

This past summer, our kids were reading the Harry Potter books and watching the movies. They even took the test online and each fit a different house. Oldest got Ravenclaw (she's the brainy one)... our sneaky second child was Slytherin of course... then the third in Gryffindor and the youngest in Hufflepuff. We had a point system going on where points were taken away for arguing or whining... and points awarded for doing chores. Then they can redeem the points for either $ or some sort of treat like going on a one on one date with mom or dad and picking the game, movie, or restaurant for the family.

Here they are dressed up in their "house" robes for Halloween...
So we thought it'd be fun to surprise them with a trip to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal! We were planning to go right before school started at the end of August. However, Hurricane Dorian was due to hit Florida... thus we ended up postponing the trip... 

The morning of our flight, I left this pack of letters on the table for my oldest to find and hand out.
 
Basically... owl'd them each a letter from Hogwarts inviting them to visit...
It also happened to be our second child's birthday... making the day even more special...
Universal Studios did not disappoint... amazing the attention to details...

First we visited Diagon Alley...

The minute you walk in... it is as if you have been transported into the book. On top of Gringotts Wizarding Bank is a dragon that breathes out real fire! Scared my youngest to death... but the older kids loved it.
Ollivander's Wand Shop was as I imagined... S got chosen to be part of the demonstration. She went through the whole wand choosing ceremony and ended up with a wand made of vine...
and interestingly, the characterization portrayed actually depicts her quite well...
 
Actually we let all our kids select a wand and funny enough all the descriptions of the particular type of wood selected seemed to match their personalities. 

So after that, my kids pretty much walked around Potter world wielding their wand magic and posing for my pictures.
Now to get to Hogsmeade (Islands of Adventure) from Diagon Alley (Universal Studios), we took the Hogwarts Express of course!
This was amazing... probably my favorite part of the whole Harry Potter thing... they truly thought of everything... the whole experience was super entertaining and most impressive... check this out...

So when you are on the train, you look out a "fake" window but it really looks and feels as though you are in Potter world travelling from one destination to another. Theme music is playing throughout the ride. They even simulated Ron, Harry, and Hermione passing by our cabin and pausing only to move on because... "this one is already occupied". The scenery going and coming back is different so it is definitely worth riding the train both ways.

Now once at Hogsmeade... another adventure awaits... but more on rides in a different post. Here are some snapshots...

 Hogsmeade at night...
Will only mention a few other highlights here so the post doesn't get too long...

Calling the Ministry of Magic... you actually hear a recording from them.
(LOL ...my kids had no idea how to dial a telephone and it took literally 5 minutes to explain how. I think they had to start over like ten times. "ok put your finger on the number... now turn it turn it... no don't let go yet... start over... now go all the way till you can't go anymore... then let go... ok what's the next number...")


Talking to Dre Head on the Knight Bus... truly interactive and talks to you. "creepy" my kids thought.... 


And finally... of course have to mention the delicious butterbeer!
 So... more on all this later... but for Harry Potter fans... Universal has created a magnificient fantasy world!
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