Recently, our good friend Steven, who is an event manager at Universal, gifted us tickets to go to Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. He knows I've been wanting to go see that part of the parks since I heard they sell wands (and more importantly, interactive wands). He made that dream come true since I never received my letter from Hogwarts, Durmstrang, or Beauxbatons.

We're not theme park people. S + I feel that if we ever went to hell, it would be waiting eternally in line queue. But, October is "slow" to "moderate" season according to Orlando Informer, thus, the perfect time to go. We arrived shortly after the park opened, said hello to our friend who was working a morning event at the Studios, and made our way to Diagon Alley. We chose Diagon Alley first only because it's the busier of itself and Hogsmeade. We went straight to Gringotts Bank where we enjoyed a fire breathing dragon and trolls as tellers. My kahleesi! Oops, wrong fandom...

The trolls and their brass scales of justice looked as real as some somber tellers at our local bank, we enjoyed scotch eggs and fish and chips for lunch at the Leaky Cauldron, and we spent a great deal of time admiring the curiosities at Diagon Alley wishing the creatures in jars were for sale.

Before entering our main objective of Harry Potter's wizarding world, I snapped a photo inside a London telephone booth, to send to my cousin who is currently studying abroad in London. Of course, I intended to purchase a wand (or two) to cast spells around the park. Brass emblems in the ground educated novice witches like myself on the movement and spoken spells. We shared a Butterbeer, licking our lips while casting spells to see the enchanted artifacts in the shop windows.

I had to snap a photo of 12 Grimmauld Place since Sirius Black is my favorite character. I bought his interactive wand, as well as Bellatrix Lestrange's gorgeous walnut wood and dragon heartstring wand. I felt I needed her wand (spoiler) because she killed my favorite character, and because I'd make a damn good Bellatrix for Halloween (my previous career as a hairstylist and hairdressing skills will reveal themselves October 31st).

Diagon Alley is made of dreams, everything I could only wish to be a part of in my muggle life. My friend Steven warned me to pack some tissues, and I managed to choke back tears with evidence of a simple teary eye as we entered the colorful and congested buildings. It was beautiful. Every shop I wished was real like an apothecary and household elf placement (substitute household elves for retired racing greyhounds).

We took the Hogwarts Express to the Hogswarts castle, entering the greenhouse and venturing the halls, passing the secret portrait entrance to the Gryffindor common rooms, and admired motion pictures in strewn newspapers. There was a dim hall of painted portraits as black as Rembrant's that moved and talked. I dream of owning paintings like that some day.

The only thing missing from my experience was real thestrals which are my favorite magical beasts; a winged and skeletal horse that can only be seen by those who have witnessed and accepted death. Maybe I just couldn't see them pulling the carriage at Hogwarts Express' Kings Cross Station after crossing Platform 9¾...
Recently, our good friend Steven, who is an event manager at Universal, gifted us tickets to go to Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. He knows I've been wanting to go see that part of the parks since I heard they sell wands (and more importantly, interactive wands). He made that dream come true since I never received my letter from Hogwarts, Durmstrang, or Beauxbatons.

We're not theme park people. S + I feel that if we ever went to hell, it would be waiting eternally in line queue. But, October is "slow" to "moderate" season according to Orlando Informer, thus, the perfect time to go. We arrived shortly after the park opened, said hello to our friend who was working a morning event at the Studios, and made our way to Diagon Alley. We chose Diagon Alley first only because it's the busier of itself and Hogsmeade. We went straight to Gringotts Bank where we enjoyed a fire breathing dragon and trolls as tellers. My kahleesi! Oops, wrong fandom...

The trolls and their brass scales of justice looked as real as some somber tellers at our local bank, we enjoyed scotch eggs and fish and chips for lunch at the Leaky Cauldron, and we spent a great deal of time admiring the curiosities at Diagon Alley wishing the creatures in jars were for sale.

Before entering our main objective of Harry Potter's wizarding world, I snapped a photo inside a London telephone booth, to send to my cousin who is currently studying abroad in London. Of course, I intended to purchase a wand (or two) to cast spells around the park. Brass emblems in the ground educated novice witches like myself on the movement and spoken spells. We shared a Butterbeer, licking our lips while casting spells to see the enchanted artifacts in the shop windows.

I had to snap a photo of 12 Grimmauld Place since Sirius Black is my favorite character. I bought his interactive wand, as well as Bellatrix Lestrange's gorgeous walnut wood and dragon heartstring wand. I felt I needed her wand (spoiler) because she killed my favorite character, and because I'd make a damn good Bellatrix for Halloween (my previous career as a hairstylist and hairdressing skills will reveal themselves October 31st).

Diagon Alley is made of dreams, everything I could only wish to be a part of in my muggle life. My friend Steven warned me to pack some tissues, and I managed to choke back tears with evidence of a simple teary eye as we entered the colorful and congested buildings. It was beautiful. Every shop I wished was real like an apothecary and household elf placement (substitute household elves for retired racing greyhounds).

We took the Hogwarts Express to the Hogswarts castle, entering the greenhouse and venturing the halls, passing the secret portrait entrance to the Gryffindor common rooms, and admired motion pictures in strewn newspapers. There was a dim hall of painted portraits as black as Rembrant's that moved and talked. I dream of owning paintings like that some day.

The only thing missing from my experience was real thestrals which are my favorite magical beasts; a winged and skeletal horse that can only be seen by those who have witnessed and accepted death. Maybe I just couldn't see them pulling the carriage at Hogwarts Express' Kings Cross Station after crossing Platform 9¾...

10 comments

  1. that looks really fun. i haven't been to an amusement park bigger than six flags since I was a kid, so in my mind i still think they are the best ever(!), but i don't know if i'd actually think so now - i get impatient in the fast lane the grocery store. but still, you know, usually these things are worth it in the end. there is certainly a bit of real life magic to such adventures too.

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    1. living in orlando, i know a lot of people that visit theme parks often and it's always the most fun going with them because they know exactly when to go on the rides to avoid lines, they know where to get the cheapest food to eat, and they know all the programming! once in a while, i can handle theme parks, but it's not something i can do on a monthly basis like many of my friends :)

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  2. Oh my gosh, I really want to go there! Seems like you had a fun time & took very lovely photos! Sirius Black is also my favorite :)

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    1. love for sirius black! you should definitely make it out there sometime - it's magical!

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  3. UGH wow I am jealous. I went when it first opened and I swear to you it was the best day of my life. Awesome photos. I need to go again now that the new stuff is there.

    xx
    scarlettandgiselle.blogspot.com

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    1. yes you must! i have to say, i love the new diagon alley so much!

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  4. We're not theme park people either (motion sickness, fear of heights, loathing of lines), but my son is! SO basically we're screwed. Not really. But when we went to Orlando with my in laws over Christmas last year, this was by far the highlight of the trip. Our hotel got us in early so we avoided a lot of the lines, and it was so worth it regardless. I'd totally go again!

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    1. i'm so glad you got to experience it! i had no idea that the hotels could do that - that's awesome! definitely worth it to avoid the lines and go early :)

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  5. I knew I liked you for a reason (many, many reasons ;), but Sirius Black is MY favorite character, too! And no, not just because of the Gary Oldman connection, haha. So jealous you got to go, and for free no less! I looked at going and it is still so expensive when you factor in airfare and hotel. Plus, I'm hesitant to spend money going anywhere but Paris ;), but for HP I would make an exception. xo

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    1. hah! i may be a little biased too because i think gary oldman makes the PERFECT sirius black. i had high expectations for his character; he was my favorite since first reading his introduction. just how the perception of his character evolves and how you can't help to grow and love him, he's such a warm character. le sigh. if you make it down here for some HP magic, tell me!

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