Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Yesterday I was invited to visit Universal by a good writing friend, and I finally scratched something awesome off of my bucket list: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. 

First, this area is split into two parks. Universal Studios Florida: 

and Universal's Island of Adventure:

My friend and I started at Universal Studios Flordia. 
We rode the Mummy ride, which was awesome and scary (at least for me) 
But the ride and the gift shop had some really cool merchandise:
After that we headed toward San Francisco:
At the pier, you could see most of Universal Studios. But every witch and wizard knows that the only way to get to Hogwarts is through London:
You know you're close when you see the Knight Bus. 

The Knight Bus Driver might even let you take his picture! He's a cheerful bloke.
But there are a few clues that will point you towards the Wizarding World, and none of them are obvious. One that most muggles miss is the phone booth. 
You can call the Ministry of Magic, just to let them know that you're on your way.

And if you're really close, you'll see a very familiar house elf peeking at you from the Black's household.
Your best clue of course is the sign for the Leaky Cauldron. But take care that muggles don't see you.
Once you sucessfully get to Diagon Alley, it is only natural to take it all in.
Your first stop is Gringotts Bank: 
There might be a dragon on the lose: do be careful. 

Magical shops await you, including:
Weasleys Wizard Wheezes
With pranks and candy galore, this shop is a must for all your goofy occasions.
Including love potions, and of course the Pygly Puffs.
Now, after you've had your fun, it might be time to select your wand. There are two locations including Wands by Gregorovitch:
Or the well known Olivanders. There, your wand will choose you as the Wand keeper helps you find your perfect match.

And there are many to choose from. 
Once you have your wand, you must get your robes at the lady Madame Mabkins boutique.
She has featured Hermione's lovely ball gown this year.
And off course her mirror will tell you what is in style, and what is not.
Don't forget your Cauldron.
Or your pet.
And don't forget your quills for exams and notes.
Gilderoy Lockhart's autobiography is optional.
This book, unfortunately is not. (I'm told you should stroke the spine.)

Once you've gathered your school supplies, it's time for some entertainment. There are three shows you shouldn't miss.
Two of them are performed by the students of the Wizarding Theatre academy. Their performances include two well known stories from The Tales of the Beetle and the Bard, including my favorite, The Fountain of Fair Fortune.
And if you're really lucky, you'll see a performance by none other than the famous Celestina Warbeck!
Some back alley treats include Pumpkin Juice, Tea and Potions.
But of course, the best option is Butterbeer. A delicious beverage enjoyed by all ages in the wizarding world.
Other entertaining displays are the  Museum of Muggle Curiosities.

And my favorite shop: Wiseacres
So many celestial findings:
and also a great shop to get a time turner: use with caution.
I must warn you not to get carried away, for you could wind up in Nocturne Alley. It is a very dangerous place, and they sell cursed objects.
You might want to avoid the diary of Tom Marvolo Riddle. It is not what it seems.
Once you are ready, it's time to board the Hogwarts Express.
Don't forget your ticket. It's very important.
Once you arrive, you will get off at Hogsmeade.
It's still winter there. But you have more opportunities to do magic, and of course
Eat all the goodies at Honeydukes.
I hear their cauldron cakes are magicial.
Before you get to Hogwarts, there are more performances to watch, including the entertainment for the Triwizard Tournament.
And the very well known acapella Hogwarts Choir.
 The Hogwarts Castle is a sight to behold.
And inside you will find some well known locations from Harry Potter's adventures.
The previous headmasters and heads of the household greet you (mostly) warmly. 
You may see some familiar faces guiding you through the castle.
And as always, you are welcome to visit the wizarding world, as long as you remember to shine a light in the darkness.

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