While some die-hard Potter fans are getting their robes cleaned for tonight’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows premier, I shall have to content myself with reminiscing about the wonderful time I had at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando.
Now where did I end my last post?
Out of all the experiences Harry Potter Land had to offer, Butterbeer was the thing we looked forward to the most.
There was a long line of people waiting to get their fill of Butterbeer from the cart right at the center of Hogsmeade.
Having done my research ahead of time, I knew that standing in line for hours just to get one mug of Butterbeer wasn’t the only option, so I told them that I knew of an easier, less painful way of getting our fill of Butterbeer.
I lead them all to the Hog’s Head Pub.
The Hog’s Head Pub is actually physically connected to the Three Broomsticks. Together they make one big restaurant/bar. I pointed them to the bar and told them they could buy Butterbeer there.
We all decided to get lunch out of the way so we could focus all our energy on enjoying every sip. Bringing our own lunch was the best thing we did, because the sudden lunch hour brought about a river of people. We didn’t have to line up to buy food, and even found the best outdoor seats. Most of all, we got to enjoy our first Butterbeer experience without having to wait in line outside, while the sun baked our heads.
Plus we had a pretty good view of the other Islands of Adventure from where we sat.
What does Butterbeer taste like? It takes like rootbeer and butterscotch all rolled into one fizzy drink. On top, is a buttery foam that not only sticks to your lips, but lingers long after you’ve swallowed it. There are two options for drinking Butterbeer, as we found out from the barkeep—frosted or regular. The best Butterbeer is the frosted kind so make sure to try it!
After savoring every sip of the drink, we trooped back into the busy streets of Hogsmeade.
We studied all the shop display windows, wishing they were all real shops we could actually enter and buy from.
There were only a few actual shops within Hogsmeade — Honeydukes Sweet shop, which is adjoined to Zonko’s Joke Shop, and Dervish and Banges, which connects to the Owl Post and the Ollivander’s Wand shop. There’s a line to get into every shop, but by far the longest was Ollivander’s, where people get to watch the wand show.
The second longest line was to Dervish and Banges–and this was the line we tackled.
There was a cart outside Dervish and Banges which sold small souvenir items such as postcards, stamps, journals and wax seal sets. While the rest of us waited in line, Maiko purchased some postcards from the cart. She was told that she got these postcards stamped with the Official Hogsmeade Owl Post Stamp, so she hurried to the exit door of Dervish and Banges, where a lady stamped all her postcards.
The problem was that the stamp was really wet and took a long time to dry. The whole time we waited in line, and even after browsing through Dervish and Banges, the stamps were still wet and in danger of smudging.
Inside the shop, they sold quaffle balls, broomsticks, mugs, robes, ties, shirts and a lot more Harry Potter merchandise.
We spent some time watching the growling and snapping Monster book:
Then, worked our way to the adjoining Owl Post where we purchased a whole bunch of souvenirs.
After taking taking more pictures of the Hogwarts train station and other shops, we headed out of the Wizarding World to explore the other Islands of Adventure.
We went to Poisedon’s Fury to watch the show.
Although there were no long lines leading to the entrance, there was long wait to get into the building itself. The heat was intense and we tried to hide from the noontime sun behind the big pillars. We were relieved to finally get inside the building where the AC was fully blasted. Of course, we ended up freezing our buns off after an hour of waiting in line to get to the actual show.
When we finally got in, we were met by a tour guide who happened to be part of the show. He led us from one room to the next as we tried to find a way to escape Poisedon’s arch enemy. It was a bit slow at first, but the final room we went into made up for the long wait time as we watched Poseidon and his arch enemy duel in a battle of fire and water.
After Poseidon’s Fury, we ambled on to Mythos, where we took a break and waited for Sinbad’s Eighth Journey (another show) to start. We entered this small arch.
We were surprised to find that the arch led to a big ampitheater with wooden benches that can seat maybe a thousand or more people.
Sinbad’s show was full of lights, explosions, rope swinging and some comedic moments.
After the show, we trundled on to Seuss Landing.
While we roller coaster non-fans looked at the various Seuss Landing shops and took pictures,
Bon and Lena– roller coaster enthusiasts–headed for the Marvel section of the Islands of Adventure to try out the Hulk ride.
They came back an hour later, disappointed looks on their faces.
Apparently the Dragon Challenge was a more thrilling ride compared to the Hulk. Leeann, Maiko and I looked at each other and gaped, remembering the Dragon Challenge ride we had just ridden that morning. Of course, we roller coaster scaredy cats just HAD TO ride the scariest ride in Universal!
We browsed more shops until we got to the entrance of the Islands of Adventure section.
We agreed that we wanted to make the most of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We wanted to see Harry Potter Land in lights and have dinner at the Three Bromsticks, so when twilight came, we all trudged back toward the Wizarding World.
Earlier that day, while having lunch, we saw a family eating this great feast of a meal–so we already had an idea of what we wanted to order. While Maiko, Lena and Jen fell in line to order the food, Bon, Leeann and I gathered the utensils and condiments and found a table at the still busy restaurant.
When our food arrived, our stomachs gave an approving growl.
The food was delicious and more than enough to feed six hungry tourists. Naturally, we ordered a round of Butterbeer to go with the wonderful salad and the yummy plate of steamed vegetables, corn, ribs and chicken.
Jen had never experienced brain freeze in her life. We all demonstrated how easy it was to get one by taking a long sip from the mug of frosted butterbeer. She tried in vain, taking several long sips–but never got a brain freeze. How odd!
It was almost 8 PM by the time we had demolished our dinner. We went outside and took pictures with a vengeance. We snapped several shots of Hogwarts castle lit up at night.
Hogsmeade looked like a truly magical place at night, with all the shop windows lit up and the street lamps blazing.
It was like the different shops came to life at night. The lighted moving displays were more visible in the dark. We saw Hermione’s dress from Gladrags moving up and down, and the various quills from Scrivenshaft swirling around in their inkpots, and the musical instruments from another shop playing to an invisible conductor.
Though the shops were supposed to close at eight thirty, we found ourselves still wandering Hogsmeade and taking pictures at nine PM. People still purchased souvenirs at the Owl Post, and milled about inside Honeydukes, and Zonko’s. The staff of the Wizarding World, not wanting to spoil anybody’s fun, probably stayed their until the last stubborn tourist decided he was tired and went home.
We left the Wizarding World at nine, and after one last look, vowed that we would be back on Sunday to sip more butterbeer, buy more souvenirs, watch more shows and take a gazillion more pictures.
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