YOU’RE A WIZARD, HARRY
It finally happened. I made it to Harry Potter World!
I freaking love Harry Potter. I have clear childhood memories of asking my mom if she would mail letters I had written to random people I had found online who were supposedly in charge of casting extras in the Harry Potter movies. If you were curious, I never heard back. Shocker.
When I found out I was going to a work conference in Tampa, I knew that was my chance. The hour and a half that I drove to get to Universal Studios felt like a lifetime, and let me tell you, Florida is FLAT. The most interesting things I saw on the drive were all of the Spanish moss hanging off of the trees and a classic giant T-Rex advertising Dinosaur World.
I arrived around 9:15 am and was shocked at how many people were there despite it being a Tuesday in October right after a major hurricane had just passed. I walked quickly through the park looking for anything that looked Harry Pottery. I finally saw a building that looked Londonesque and then laid eyes on the Knight Bus. They couldn’t have made the entrance to Diagon Alley any more perfect, you had to weave in and out of some brick walls and then…there it was. I thought I was going to cry because it felt so magical. Disclaimer: This was a solo mission at age 28.
Stop 1: Diagon Alley.
One of my favorite parts about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was that you could buy special wands that can make magical things happen throughout the park when you do the right wand motions at certain landmarks. If you scanned the crowds, there would always be kids that were really focused on trying spells with their wands which made it feel more like the movie! If this would have existed when I was 12 – I would have lost it.
I am so glad I spent the fortune and made the trek, I felt like I lived out a dream that has been such a big part of me for so many years. Harry Potter for life.
My tips for others:
- Arrive right when the park opens! I thought it was crowded at 9:30, but it only got WAY crazier as the day went on.
- If you really want to get into it, bring a cloak with you. The ones you could buy at the park were over $100 and part of me was jealous of the people (and families!) who had thought of bringing their own from home to wear.
- Drink butter beer! Go into all of the shops! Sit somewhere for a while and soak it all in because there are so many small details you can miss otherwise.
- I went as a single on all of the rides right when I got there and hardly had to wait for any of them.