Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Daytona Beach, Florida

When we decided to visit my daughter in Daytona Beach, I thought it would be a good idea to finally visit

The entrance to Hogsmeade

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

If you've read This post, you know it took me awhile to become a fan. I've read the first 4 books already, but I wished I had gotten a chance to read the rest of the series before our visit. It really wasn't necessary.

When we walked beneath this archway into Hogsmeade, my eyes filled with tears. I can't explain my emotions. It felt like we were magically transported into the pages of a book.
Our first stop?

Honey Dukes

Chocolate Frog
Since Sunday was the hottest day so far (94 degrees) in the Orlando area, I waited until we left the park before purchasing this chocolate treat. Surprisingly, the box did not crush in my luggage. I still haven't opened it, so I don't know if the chocolate is still in the shape of a frog or just a chocolate blob.

Of course, we had to get in line for a frozen butterbeer. Why didn't I take a photo of this? The continuous brain freezes I experienced must have had something to do with it!

Across from Honey Dukes, we spotted the train platform.

We wandered through the cobbled streets of Hogsmeade, gazing at the snow-covered roofs and crooked chimneys. My daughter and I squeeeeed the whole time!
Three Broomsticks

Across the street, what did I see? 

Ollivander's Wand Shop

Of course, I made my family stand on line to watch the demonstration. My daughter had already witnessed this last year, but I would not be swayed by her comments about it being cute but possibly not worth the time. Heck, the wait was only 20 minutes! I would be the judge of worth...

We piled into the small shop and I stood in the front row, trying to make myself look shorter and younger. It didn't work. Austin, a young boy, of about 12 years old, who could have passed for a member of the Weasley Family, was chosen. I couldn't be upset. The young man was so excited, he giggled like a school girl. Of course, it was corny and predictable, but it was adorable.

The group was led into Dervish and Banges, where assistants eagerly helped me find the wand that would choose me. The oak wand with the snake and skeleton was perfect for my birth month, but it was meant for someone else. Across the room, a 12-1/4" wand made from ash with the core being a hair from the tail of a unicorn, called out to me.

My wand--just like Cedric Diggory's.
Hogwarts Castle was by far the highlight of my visit. What an impressive sight!

Hogwarts Castle

In a way, I was disappointed there were no crowds to slow my progress through the rooms. Almost every corner and nook held an interesting prop. The ride was awesome, even though it left me a bit queasy.

While Amanda went on to the Flight of The Hippogriff, hubby and I sat on a bench--acting old. But I did get a great photo of the Beauxbaton students.

Can you imagine writing a series of novels, made into films, and then having your imagined world come to life, where millions of people visit every year? John and I spent a good deal of time people-watching. I marveled at the diversity of languages we heard. Yet, in any language, they all knew Harry Potter.


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