Apr 2, 2013

Loges in Disneyworld- Day 4!

This was the day that the Harry Potter obsessed girls were really looking forward to- Universal Studios and Hogsmeade! We booked a van to take the 7 of us to the park and headed out fairly early.  We had to turn our paper vouchers into park tickets at the gate in what we assumed would be a simple matter. Turns out there was small print saying you also needed to bring photo ID along with the paper. Which of course, none of us had planned for. Who carts around their personal documents to go to a theme park?  It would mean an $75-$80 return cab trip to fetch them... so pleading and whining commenced. It took a bit to sort it all out, but we all were eventually granted park access. I was dreading telling the girls that we were not going to make it into Harry Potter World after all...

The girls were troopers while waiting for everything to get sorted out! There was no rain on this parade!
The park angels smiled down on us, and we burst into Universal Studios with enthusiasm and started to beeline to Hogsmeade, right at the far end.  Until....

we had to detour for a candy apple!
Onward! We trekked the rest of the way to Hogsmeade uninterrupted.

Although it was just past opening, Hogsmeade was FULL!

How lucky! The Hogwarts Express just pulled in!

Zonko's had everything you could have hoped for: Sneakoscopes, Puking Pastilles, Extendible Ears, Wizard's Chess sets, t-shirts, Chattering Teeth, and Remeberalls were all here!

Of course we bought a chocolate frog and Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans at HoneyDukes.

We toured the whole area and gave the wand kiosks special attention. The girls were very methodical and thorough about their selection. We visited several times throughout the day, but waited until we were ready to leave to make our purchases.
 While we were walking about and exploring, Mama Rink kindly held the girls' spot in line to visit Ollivander's Wand Shop. The line up to get into the wand demonstration was about an hour and a half. And there are no fast passes here!

While we waited we saw the Hogwarts Frog Choir Sing...

And had some Butterbeer and pumpkin juice. (Only a half hour wait in line for that!)

Finally, the big moment came, and the girls went into Ollivander's to see the wand demonstration. A group of about 30 kids are sent in at a time, but only one is picked to 'choose' their wand. As she tried out the wands, the spells tried with the first few wands create disaster, but finally the right wand is in hand and the spells work.

Would this not be the coolest job ever? Ollivander leads the new students through their wand selection process...

Love the crazy piles of wands!  I wonder how many of these are sold in a day? These were not the ones for sale as they were part of the staging/demonstration room. To buy a wand you either had to go to an insanely crowded little shop adjacent to the demo room or to one of the street kiosks.
With the wand wait finally done, we went off to check out the rides. The first we went to was at the Hogwarts Castle called the Forbidden Journey. We learned that the theme park designers are experts at hiding how long the line is. They do post the times, and so we knew that we were in for at least an hour and a half wait for this ride. But you don't really get a visual sense of the line because it started in the front of the castle, and looked like it went along the side, doubled back and then went in. What actually happened was this. Start at front, turn and go along the side, double back but once you reach the castle front you turn back again but this time you turn along the back of the castle. Go back and forth along the back of the castle for about 6 rows, then come back along the side and into the front doors, where the line snakes through the castle in similar fashion. You don't see 80% of the lineup! Nonetheless, we did the line shuffle, talking the big girls through their impatience. Funny thing was Littlest Rink took it all with the least amount of complaining, and she was too small to even go on the ride! What a trooper! Anyways, once you make it to the castle line up, there are lots of interesting things to look at:
Dumbledore's office

a hall filled with portraits that talk to each other
 The ride itself was pretty amazing! It was like going to an iMax theatre, but your chair also moves with the scenery. Sometimes you are riding with the screen scenery, sometimes you are riding past a dragon and you feel the heat as it fires at you, and sometimes Aragog and her family cover you with spider spit! Of course, the girls were beyond delighted with it, and seemingly forgot the long complaint filled line to get there; they immediately wanted to do it again, so I know it was worth it!

on the far right you can see a bit of the 'Flight of the Hippogriff' ride, a smaller roller coaster that all of the kids could ride.  And we did!
From there we went to the 'Dragon Challenge' roller coaster. I left everyone to ride it and took Littlest Rink for her wand as she was also too small for this one. This ride was actually two roller coasters in one that intertwined with each other; you chose to ride the Hungarian Horntail of the Chinese Fireball at the end of the line.

After buying a replica of Fleur Delacour's wand, we returned to meet up with everyone else and found Mark waiting with Avery outside the ride; she had a cloud over her head and tears in her eyes. I found out what happened as Avery stormed over to the ride measurer to inform me that they thought she was too small and she had a rather different opinion.  She stretched for all she was worth and if she just slightly raised her heels she grazed the bottom of the stick. Two millimetres separated her from what she knew was the best ride ever! A traumatic experience for sure, made all the more stormy by the fact that her best friend had that extra two millimetres of height...

The Chinese Fireball goes by... your feet dangle over your head!

And the Hungarian Horntail... After the others got off, Mark and I did go for a ride. It was too intense for this cowgirl! And given that we never saw waits more than 20 minutes for it, I don't think I was alone in thinking so. This was no consolation to our girl, however. She will forever hold a grudge for the missed opportunity!
By now, it was time to eat! Where do you eat in Hogsmeade? The Three Broomsticks of course!
English pub fare was served up here! The restaurant itself was HUGE... 

...and cool!
We decided it was time to leave Hogsmeade and head over to another area of the park for a bit. We made it as far as the Jurassic park ride. You take a boat through the Jurassic Park breeding facility and it starts off quite lovely... but soon you realize that things are not so good here! And you have to dodge velociraptors and t-rexes before you plunge down a waterfall to escape just in time. It was also a lot of fun to hang out at the bottom of the waterfall in the 'splash zone'.

The day was nearly done, and it was time to head back to our resort.  But not without one last stroll through Hogsmeade, where Avery entered the park at her absolute stretchiest and walked up to that measuring stick confident that she would somehow pass this time. Alas...

1 comment:

  1. loved your photos of Ollivanders and glad you got to enjoy and see it all!!! Wonderful to read about your adventures!!!


You really want to make me smile? Add a comment!