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Harry Potter Theme Park v.2



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  #1  
Old September 27th, 2010, 11:18 am
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Harry Potter Theme Park v.2

This thread discusses the HP Theme Park in Florida.

Version 1

The last couple of posts:

Quote:
Originally Posted by boushh View Post
I'll be visiting the park this week. Any last minute advice for me?
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsBinns View Post
I just booked my tickets for my vacation! Nothing says Spring Break like a 27 year old schoolteacher going to the the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to act like a big kid! I am going with one of my oldest high school friends (also obsessed with all things HP) and am so excited. We are doing 3 days at Disney and 2 at Universal so that should give us plenty of time to take it all in. So excited!!!


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Old September 27th, 2010, 1:47 pm
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Re: Harry Potter Theme Park v.2

Boussh...I truly hope that you have a wonderful time! Just remember that feeling you have in your heart when you first look at Hogwart's! Take lots of pictures. When you get back tell us all about your experience (so I can relive it)! Have a safe & happy trip!!!


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Old September 28th, 2010, 4:34 am
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Re: Harry Potter Theme Park v.2

Boushh, The lines at the park dramatically went down since opening so there isn't much advice to give, except to "try everything".

Try the Butterbeer, try the Pumpkin Juice, and if your old enough and like beer go to the hogs head and ask for a "Black Velvet".

Also try all the rides, try shopping at all the stores.

Again TRY EVERYTHING.

My only other piece of advise is to go to HP twice. Experience the rides and grab a butter beer and take in some sites. Then leave HP and tour the rest of Island's of adventure. As soon as it starts to get dark head back the HP. Hogsmeade is awesome at night for window shopping and going into the stores.


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Old October 4th, 2010, 12:28 am
Dan_the_Man  Female.gif Dan_the_Man is offline
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Re: Harry Potter Theme Park v.2

OK, everyone. I visited Orlando back in June, but I'm going to share my experience with you, enjoy!: SPOILER

I rush to get to Hogwarts. I run past Dr. Seuss's land and glimpse at the merry-go-round. *sigh* Why couldn't it be closer? I suppose they save the best for last, eh? My feet carry me forward and moments later I stop. Hogsmeade, I stare at the sign, "Please Respect the Spell Limits." I grin then slowly walk forward, careful not to miss anything. First, I notice there is no line to get in, as I imagined. I look right and see the Hogwarts Express. I think how Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, etc. "rode" it days ago. I hear it's horn and see the steam pouring out of it. The conductor stands just in front of it, grasping his brown coat, smiling at all of the muggles.

Next, I hurry towards Honeydukes. I blush as I realize I was trying to enter through the exit then smile at the kind witch and wait impatiently to get through. My stomach lifts, and I have a wonderful feeling. I see all of the sweets and think back to the teaser pictures. It looks so much like it. I want to buy everything I see, but resist. I see the chocolate wands, peppermint toads, chocolate frogs, muggle candy, dark-mark lollipops, Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans, and more. I looked everywhere, determined to see EVERYTHING. I slowly walk towards the cash register, seeing cauldron cakes and other baked sweets. I won't buy anything now...

In the same building, is Zonko's. I cross from a turquoise room to a red room. I look to my left and see a door. Upon the door is a hand with it's pointer finger pointing up, I read: Shhh...The walls have ears... - I looked up, and saw three extendable ears hanging down, eager to hear everything. I smile and browse the shelves. I see Fanged Flyers, T-shirts, inflatable tongues, Dr. Filibuster's no heat wet-start fireworks (sadly, you cannot buy them), and muggle toys. There was much more, but I cannot name them all. Eventually, I exit and nod to the friendly wizard opening the door. I look at the window displays of the two shops I just entered and see wizard's chess at Zonko's along with puking pastilles, and huge chocolate frogs croaking with enlarged wizard cards showing Godric, Helga, Rowena, and Salazar.

I stroll down the street and my mouth waters at the sight of iced Pumpkin Juice, but I resist the temptation...For now. I look at the wands in the Ollivander's display and long for one. I look at the long line, then decide to join it. While I'm in line, I take pictures. I try to find shade, but there is so little. My throat is dry, but my mind is busy looking at the Gilderoy Lockhart books in window displays. I see a trunk containing a quaffle, to bludgers, but no snitch. The place where it should be is empty, so I assume it escaped. Finally I'm so thirsty, I ask my cousin to hold my spot and go buy a nice, cold, pumpkin juice. I return to the line and remove the pumpkin lid from the bottle. I take a sip, and it tastes like pumpkin pie and apple cider. Delicious. I'm refreshed and a few minutes later, a group of 20 or so enters, including me. It's dark, only a lamp lights the room. There are wands everywhere, and I picture the Ollivander's from the movie. So much alike. I'm near the front, and I see Ollivander on his ladder. He climbs down and writes something down on a piece of paper on his desk. He greets us and speaks about wands and the materials wands can be made out of. Their wood and core. He walks towards us all, and looks me up and down. He asks me my name, and I answer. He tells me to step forward and I rest my hands on his desk. He asks me to hold up my wand arm, so I lift my rigt arm, he measures my arm then continues to talk. Eventually, he walks over to his wand selections and picks one. He hands me the wand and I point it towards some red-wand boxes. He tells me to say the incantation: Incendio! - I say the incantation but create lightening and thunder instead. Ollivander shouts a counter-curse then picks out another wand. I hold the wand upright and and say Lumos! Well, that didn't work. He says: Your a tough customer! He picks out another wand, and light shines on me while air blows at me. I've found my wand. Hawthorn, pheonix feather core, 13 inches. My wand. I purchase the wand in the next room where they have character's wands, wands that match your birthday, and more.

Dervish and Banges is in the next room. There is a Monster Book of Monsters in a cage that growls at you. I backed away from that and saw bludgers with beater bats, quaffles, snitches, broomsticks, robes, t-shirts, triwizard cups, plush toys, and, ofcourse, MORE. After we have a good look around, and try on wizard robes ($100 by the way, so I didn't buy...), we head to the Three Broomsticks for lunch. Butterbeer. Delicious. Amazing. Awsome. All those words and more combined. Wonderful!!! Filling, so that prevented me from buying a gazillion. We rested and drank our butterbeer. We walked over to the bar (The Hog's Head), and saw an enormous Hog-head moving about on the wall. Snorting and all. Next to the head were three shrunken-heads. Awesome.

After lunch, as you would think, I visited the restroom. As I washed my hands I heard Moaning Myrtle moping. I looked around me, to make sure she was still in her U-bend, then hurried out. We walked forward, towards the pillars with gargoyles on top. The wait for the Forbidden Journey ride was 40 minutes, shorter than it had been, so we entered.

- For now, as my hands are tired of typing. I will leave it at this. Let me know if you would like me to continue. Thanks!


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  #5  
Old October 4th, 2010, 12:30 am
Kierstoast  Female.gif Kierstoast is offline
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Re: Harry Potter Theme Park v.2

Let's just say I'd been waiting for this since January, and exclude the fact that it's technically been all my life, this way it sounds less melodramatic and I can get on with things. The car was approaching Universal when I saw it. . . among the green tracks of the Hulk Roller Coaster were the tall spires of Hogwarts Castle reaching to impale the sky. It was my Statue of Liberty, symbolizing to me that I'd finally made it home . . . I almost cried with happiness. What I actually did was put my iPod in my bag, scream, and begin talking nonstop about how excited I was.

So there I was, walking with my aunt and her boyfriend Steve [more like skipping, because they'd made me eat lunch in the Dr. Seuss land and I was about ready to spontaneously combust]. The Lost Continent is lovely, but when you've been waiting for your family to take you for about four months, nothing else is as beautiful to your eyes as the approaching arch of the entrance to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

My eyes got big, I couldn't speak, the hugest grin stretched my face from ear to ear as I ran forward, stumbling slightly. Glancing back, I saw that Auntie and Steve were still way behind, so I froze and just stared at the front half of the Hogwarts Express peeking out beyond the gate. Two words escaped my lips, somehow perfectly audible even through the sound of hundreds of people milling around me. "We're here."

As soon as I walked under the arch way I spotted the Conductor standing in front of the train, and my eyes grew even larger. I'd heard that he was fun to talk to. Let me just say, he was an amazing actor. Good British accent, funny expressions, and when he spotted my "The End Is Near" Hogwarts burning shirt he asked me why it was burning. I told him I was a seer and into Divination. His reply was, "Sorry mum, but for once I hope your inner eye is wrong." I just laughed and showed him my Dumbledore's Army backpack and he calmed down long enough for a picture.

The Express was a lovely piece of work, but could not compare to my first view of Zonkos and Honeydukes [which are interconnected by the way]. It was crowded, but not like it would be later on in the day. It was around 11 a.m. and the park was mostly filled with onlookers and a couple die hard HP fans. Zonko's had mostly muggle toys, which kind of lowered my mood a bit. But I spotted a Pygmy Puff, a giant fluffy pink thing, and clutched it to my chest, knowing I'd purchase him even though he was pink. It also bothered me that they only came in pink, because in the books they'd been multi-colored. Hopefully they will add on as the years go. I also saw the Extendable Ears, but they were rather large and made me laugh rather than desire to purchase one.

My eyes wandered the shelves, dissecting each object and discerning its purpose. My throat produced the strangest squeal ever let loose by muggles as my hands reached upwards to grasp a glass jar of light green m&ms. It was not the candy inside that had caused my reaction, but the label. "U-NO-POO: The constipation sensation that's gripping the nation". After deciding it was alright that Zonkos had ripped off the Weasley Twins yet again, I whisked the jar away. My aunt noted that we could pass right into the candy shop, so we did just that. Honeydukes was slightly more packed than Zonkos so we had to practically dance our way through. There were stacks of chocolate frogs, Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, sugar quills, dark marks to suck on, lemon drops, etc; all kinds of candy, muggle and wizard alike. The packaging was colorful and wonderful to look at, simply magical.

I handled my purchases for about two minutes, when I realized that I'd have to come back when the day was over, because it would all melt into a puddle of rainbow and chocolate flavored sorrow if I took it outside. The Florida heat is a suffocating monster whose grip turns anything it touches into liquid goo. My aunt took the U-No-Poo back to Zonkos after trying to convince me just to leave it on a random shelf, while I placed the chocolate frog and beans back into their respective places. My grandmother works at Wal-Mart, so I believe in not making life harder for the workers.

We stepped into the relatively short line in Zonkos, gazing at the wonders spread out before us in a buffet of imagination come to life. There was a man at the counter dressed in a detailed uniform with a wizards hat that I wish they sold at the park [they don't, I searched]. He gave a big smile as he took my Pygmy Puff. "Is this your first adoption?" My aunt grinned at me as I nodded.

"Um, yeah."

"What are you going to name it?"

"I'm not sure yet." It was a question that one doesn't normally receive, so I knew he needed to know for some reason or other. I set out to thinking of a name while he began to package it and I counted out my exact change.

"So do you know yet?"

With it finally decided, I confidently told him, "Yes, Cerberus." That was the name of the three-headed dog whom guarded the gates of Hades, quite coincidentally also reminiscent of Fluffy from Philosophers Stone.

He then proceeded to hit a giant bell the size of three heads that sat on the counter in front of me. "ATTENTION WITCHES AND WIZARDS, WE HAVE THE ADOPTION OF A PYGMY PUFF. HIS NAME IS CERBERUS, THREE CHEERS!" There was clapping everywhere and I laughed as he handed me the bag. "Don't worry, this is a special air conditioned bag."

Now that the adoption was made, my aunt and I escaped back to Steve, who was patiently waiting outside for us. The Butterbeer cart hit my eyes like spotting a Hippogriff in a shopping mall and I ran straight into the line. It was a long line, but only about a five minute wait, which was so definitely worth it. My aunt was talking to the girl working the cart, telling her about my obsession with tasting Butterbeer finally, and I counted out the money. I got the frozen kind in a lovely mug, which cost eleven dollars [because you usually can just get it in a cup]. I walked to the other side of the cart, and my aunts face, more excited than mine, loomed up and said, "Well then Kiers, taste it!"

My eyes darted first left, then right. I licked my lips. Sweat dripped down my forehead, collecting beneath the brim of my hat. Dare I do it? The mug was cold in my grip, condensation forming over it, the white foam thick and creamy in appearance. Oh I dared. My mouth darted quickly to the rim and I tipped the mug slightly. An explosion of flavor hit my taste buds. I'd been told it was like cream soda, but in my opinion those people were so wrong. I understand how they were unable to properly express themselves, because it is hard to describe. The foam was sweet and thick, covering my upper lip in a white mustache. It was thick and creamy, but not bubbly like soda or fizzy in any way. It was calm and sweet, like half melted ice cream with a caramel undertone. The iced liquid slid down my throat and I heard Auntie and Steve begin to laugh. My expression was of pure, unadulterated joy. I can only assume that it was jealousy that caused their laughter, for neither of them would be able to experience what I felt now.

Next stop: Dervish and Banges. That place was even more packed than Zonkos and Honeydukes, but full of lovely goodies. There was Triwizard Cup that lit up blue, shirts and hats for all the houses. But my biggest peeve of the whole park was this: There was more stuff for Gryffindor and Slytherin than the other houses. I wished to purchase a Ravenclaw blanket, but they only came in Gryffindor and Slytherin. This happened again and again throughout my day, and I hope this eventually changes.

Anyways, I purchased a Ravenclaw shirt, Hogwarts hooded sweatshirt, Ravenclaw pin, keychain, and ID holder, along with a Ravenclaw patch to put onto my winter jacket [since there were no Ravenclaw jackets to purchase]. There was a Monster Book of Monsters in a cage next to a row to purchase. The one in the cage moved around and I have an accompanying video for it. There were many different things to purchase, including Triwizard shirts, Quidditch equipment, small statues, blankets, pillows, etc. I even spotted some broomsticks.

The Owl Post was also connected to Dervish and Banges, and trying to fight the tide into it was like going against a rip current. But my aunt and I made it through to once more be amazed. First thing we saw were the wands, all of them quite lovely. The most boring looking one was definitely Draco's, and it was a battle between Sirius Blacks, Snapes, and Voldemorts on which to purchase. I had already decided weeks ago that I was not going to buy a wand, but my aunt said, "Who cares about practicality? You've been saving for months! Get a damn wand!" So, clutching a box holding Voldemorts wand, I began to scour the rest of the shop.

There were quills, even the quick quotes quill in its acid green glory, among other bits of beautiful stationary. Including wax seals in all four Houses, Hogwarts, and a Dark Mark. They also had real stamps you could use with different Harry Potter related pictures. Next time I go I'll probably buy more stuff in the Owl Post, like stationary and Quills and such because it was all so neat and pretty. They also had these stunning leather books embossed with gold crests . . . but they only came in the Hogwarts Crest, Gryffindor, and Slytherin. See why this distressed me? People always forget about Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff! Anyways, I bought a postcard and had it stamped from a Hogwarts mailing stamp, which was pretty cool.

Once we exited those two shops I dragged them up the lane to the Forbidden Journey. There was a cart there selling plastic Gryffindor swords that made clanging sounds when you swung it, some cool shirts, and a black radar cap just like the one I was wearing but with the Hogwarts crest on it. So quite obviously I bought the cap. I must quickly comment on the woman running the cart, she and I had a wonderful conversation about Harry Potter, which also happens with a few more employees, as you will see further on in my review.

Steve absolutely abhors rides with motion, so he was just going to wait in line with us then turn back and take our stuff [this is good since I had to give him my Dumbledore's Army bag, camera, and huge bag of Wizarding World purchases].

The castle loomed above us like a monument to my most wonderful dreams, representing my entire childhood up until now. You never know how important your dreams are to you until you see them standing before you. We walked down the roped lines through a darkened corridor, torches burning artificially bright with golden statues of the founders lining it. Colorful tapestries hung from the walls, covering the stonework with scenes of the most interesting type. Paintings bickered above us, and the trio appeared to tell us that they wanted us to play Quidditch with them. The portraits were humorous, and the interior was the most stunning sets I'd ever seen.

First we were outside, beneath the detailed arches of the Herbology greenhouse, real plants and fake alike hanging and planted everywhere. There was a huge vine crawling up the side of Hogwarts and it added a sense of realism that I just couldn't help but admire.We passed through Dumbledore's office where Michael Gambon quoted the movies. My mouth moved along in unison with his oh-so-familiar words. "There comes a time when we must choose between what is right, and what is easy." His office held shelves of magical instruments that boggled the mind, and I went right up to the Pensieve and touched it, giddy with excitement. After Dumbledore's office, we entered the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, another perfect redo of the movie set. The best part was definitely the dragon skeleton dangling from the ceiling. Here, we saw the trio again and they hid beneath the invisibility cloak. Once through this we passed into a few random corridors, the Gryffindor Common room, and then to the ride itself. The wait had said 40 minutes but hardly felt like it, everything was so amazing!

A man in wizard robes strapped me and my aunt in, said I could keep my hat on, and sent us off into an adventure I'm not likely to forget anytime soon. It was a startling mix between virtual flying and sets, but it worked well enough. The screen ones was where I truly felt like I was soaring after Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and the sets made the Acromantulas and Dementors come alive. A dragon had been let loose and I believe we were trying to escape it. There were wonderful birds eye views of the castle, we ended up in the Forbidden Forest and the Chamber of Secrets, everywhere important from the first few movies. A Dementor tried to suck out my soul, a dragon was chasing us, and I was exhilarated.

I don't think the ride was particularly jerky or fast, just that they could have made the transitions between the virtual ride and the actual sets a little smoother. All in all, simply stunning, and I had truly felt like I'd been flying. In the gift shop, a.k.a. Filch's Emporium, there were goodies galore!

The Marauders Map, a continuation of their thousands of pins and keychain collection, stuffed animals, shirts House socks, a chess set, Ministry of Magic wear, etc. It was mostly Slytherin and Gryffindor in the clothes once again, but I purchased a Ravenclaw banner and Snape keychain. Definitely a wonderful place of magic and intrigue. I wanted to buy the stuffed Crookshanks but my aunt talked me out of it. There were also many other stuffed magical creatures such as Buckbeak, Fluffy, and Fawkes. It was hard to keep from purchasing the lot!

After this excursion, my aunt and I went into the line for the Flight of The Hippogriff, which was stated as being 20 minutes. This was a complete and total lie. We must have waited at least an hour, if not an hour and a half. I really am not complaining, but Auntie is a very impatient person, so it was hard for her. We decided it took so long mostly because there was only one coaster, and the Express people kept getting to go on faster.

Hagrid's Hut was huge and brilliant, just like in the movie. Buckbeak himself was sitting in a nest woven out of real branches so intricately that I stared at it for about a half hour while waiting, trying to see how it all managed to turn into a bowl. I still don't know how they did it. Buckbeak was made of animatronics and completely real looking, with his big yellow eyes blinking and his head bowing each time a coaster rolled on past. The song "Hippogriffs Deserve To Die" by Draco and the Malfoys came to mind, and that was stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

When we finally got to the ride, it was about thirty seconds long, and not the most exciting thing ever. It was cute, and not incredibly babyish. Just definitely not worth the extensive wait. I wish the sign had told the time wait accurately. I was unable to ride the Dragon Challenge because the wait was too long, but I have ridden it back when it was still Dueling Dragons, and I've read accounts of its appearance. There are banners copied from the ones in the movies for the Triwizard Tournament, and it's a fast paced coaster, also the only one with two coasters in one.

I finished the day with another Butterbeer, which turned out to be a bad idea because after one, you don't really need another. The sweetness clogs your mouth and even cold water can't clear it. I decided it's just like they said in Mugglecast, ButterSugarBeer. The drink had way too much sugar. So don't ruin your trip by trying to force down a second mug, just buy a bottle of nice refreshing Pumpkin Juice. It's literally liquid pumpkin pie, with a faint apple cider taste too it. So if pumpkin pie is not your most favorite flavor, I wouldn't recommend it. But if it's your cup of tea then by all means, drink it. I bought two, it's so delicious. Sharp, cool, and full of flavor it clears all other flavors from your mouth but doesn't linger like the clotting thickness of Butterbeer.

We watched the students of Beauxbaton and Durmstrang perform, with a loud British MC. I felt bad for the performers because they were forced to wear their uniforms, which were winter style in the movie. They all looked as if they were ready to pass out. I went back into Honeydukes to buy my candy, and ended up having a five minute conversation with the employee behind the counter about how Goblet of Fire was not what I considered the best book, how her favorite one was Deathly Hallows and how I was faithful to the Half-Blood Prince. Let's just say, I'm glad that people who know the books work there. It makes the experience all the more real to me.

On my way out I saw a girl with a t-shirt that said, "Harry kills Voldemort, marries Ginny, and they have three kids." I left the park laughing hysterically, laden with my many purchases, and happier than Dobby with a sock.


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  #6  
Old October 4th, 2010, 1:42 am
Frogki  Male.gif Frogki is offline
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Re: Harry Potter Theme Park v.2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kierstoast View Post
Let's just say I'd been waiting for this since January, and exclude the fact that it's technically been all my life, this way it sounds less melodramatic and I can get on with things. The car was approaching Universal when I saw it. . . among the green tracks of the Hulk Roller Coaster were the tall spires of Hogwarts Castle reaching to impale the sky. It was my Statue of Liberty, symbolizing to me that I'd finally made it home . . . I almost cried with happiness. What I actually did was put my iPod in my bag, scream, and begin talking nonstop about how excited I was.

So there I was, walking with my aunt and her boyfriend Steve [more like skipping, because they'd made me eat lunch in the Dr. Seuss land and I was about ready to spontaneously combust]. The Lost Continent is lovely, but when you've been waiting for your family to take you for about four months, nothing else is as beautiful to your eyes as the approaching arch of the entrance to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

My eyes got big, I couldn't speak, the hugest grin stretched my face from ear to ear as I ran forward, stumbling slightly. Glancing back, I saw that Auntie and Steve were still way behind, so I froze and just stared at the front half of the Hogwarts Express peeking out beyond the gate. Two words escaped my lips, somehow perfectly audible even through the sound of hundreds of people milling around me. "We're here."

As soon as I walked under the arch way I spotted the Conductor standing in front of the train, and my eyes grew even larger. I'd heard that he was fun to talk to. Let me just say, he was an amazing actor. Good British accent, funny expressions, and when he spotted my "The End Is Near" Hogwarts burning shirt he asked me why it was burning. I told him I was a seer and into Divination. His reply was, "Sorry mum, but for once I hope your inner eye is wrong." I just laughed and showed him my Dumbledore's Army backpack and he calmed down long enough for a picture.

The Express was a lovely piece of work, but could not compare to my first view of Zonkos and Honeydukes [which are interconnected by the way]. It was crowded, but not like it would be later on in the day. It was around 11 a.m. and the park was mostly filled with onlookers and a couple die hard HP fans. Zonko's had mostly muggle toys, which kind of lowered my mood a bit. But I spotted a Pygmy Puff, a giant fluffy pink thing, and clutched it to my chest, knowing I'd purchase him even though he was pink. It also bothered me that they only came in pink, because in the books they'd been multi-colored. Hopefully they will add on as the years go. I also saw the Extendable Ears, but they were rather large and made me laugh rather than desire to purchase one.

My eyes wandered the shelves, dissecting each object and discerning its purpose. My throat produced the strangest squeal ever let loose by muggles as my hands reached upwards to grasp a glass jar of light green m&ms. It was not the candy inside that had caused my reaction, but the label. "U-NO-POO: The constipation sensation that's gripping the nation". After deciding it was alright that Zonkos had ripped off the Weasley Twins yet again, I whisked the jar away. My aunt noted that we could pass right into the candy shop, so we did just that. Honeydukes was slightly more packed than Zonkos so we had to practically dance our way through. There were stacks of chocolate frogs, Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, sugar quills, dark marks to suck on, lemon drops, etc; all kinds of candy, muggle and wizard alike. The packaging was colorful and wonderful to look at, simply magical.

I handled my purchases for about two minutes, when I realized that I'd have to come back when the day was over, because it would all melt into a puddle of rainbow and chocolate flavored sorrow if I took it outside. The Florida heat is a suffocating monster whose grip turns anything it touches into liquid goo. My aunt took the U-No-Poo back to Zonkos after trying to convince me just to leave it on a random shelf, while I placed the chocolate frog and beans back into their respective places. My grandmother works at Wal-Mart, so I believe in not making life harder for the workers.

We stepped into the relatively short line in Zonkos, gazing at the wonders spread out before us in a buffet of imagination come to life. There was a man at the counter dressed in a detailed uniform with a wizards hat that I wish they sold at the park [they don't, I searched]. He gave a big smile as he took my Pygmy Puff. "Is this your first adoption?" My aunt grinned at me as I nodded.

"Um, yeah."

"What are you going to name it?"

"I'm not sure yet." It was a question that one doesn't normally receive, so I knew he needed to know for some reason or other. I set out to thinking of a name while he began to package it and I counted out my exact change.

"So do you know yet?"

With it finally decided, I confidently told him, "Yes, Cerberus." That was the name of the three-headed dog whom guarded the gates of Hades, quite coincidentally also reminiscent of Fluffy from Philosophers Stone.

He then proceeded to hit a giant bell the size of three heads that sat on the counter in front of me. "ATTENTION WITCHES AND WIZARDS, WE HAVE THE ADOPTION OF A PYGMY PUFF. HIS NAME IS CERBERUS, THREE CHEERS!" There was clapping everywhere and I laughed as he handed me the bag. "Don't worry, this is a special air conditioned bag."

Now that the adoption was made, my aunt and I escaped back to Steve, who was patiently waiting outside for us. The Butterbeer cart hit my eyes like spotting a Hippogriff in a shopping mall and I ran straight into the line. It was a long line, but only about a five minute wait, which was so definitely worth it. My aunt was talking to the girl working the cart, telling her about my obsession with tasting Butterbeer finally, and I counted out the money. I got the frozen kind in a lovely mug, which cost eleven dollars [because you usually can just get it in a cup]. I walked to the other side of the cart, and my aunts face, more excited than mine, loomed up and said, "Well then Kiers, taste it!"

My eyes darted first left, then right. I licked my lips. Sweat dripped down my forehead, collecting beneath the brim of my hat. Dare I do it? The mug was cold in my grip, condensation forming over it, the white foam thick and creamy in appearance. Oh I dared. My mouth darted quickly to the rim and I tipped the mug slightly. An explosion of flavor hit my taste buds. I'd been told it was like cream soda, but in my opinion those people were so wrong. I understand how they were unable to properly express themselves, because it is hard to describe. The foam was sweet and thick, covering my upper lip in a white mustache. It was thick and creamy, but not bubbly like soda or fizzy in any way. It was calm and sweet, like half melted ice cream with a caramel undertone. The iced liquid slid down my throat and I heard Auntie and Steve begin to laugh. My expression was of pure, unadulterated joy. I can only assume that it was jealousy that caused their laughter, for neither of them would be able to experience what I felt now.

Next stop: Dervish and Banges. That place was even more packed than Zonkos and Honeydukes, but full of lovely goodies. There was Triwizard Cup that lit up blue, shirts and hats for all the houses. But my biggest peeve of the whole park was this: There was more stuff for Gryffindor and Slytherin than the other houses. I wished to purchase a Ravenclaw blanket, but they only came in Gryffindor and Slytherin. This happened again and again throughout my day, and I hope this eventually changes.

Anyways, I purchased a Ravenclaw shirt, Hogwarts hooded sweatshirt, Ravenclaw pin, keychain, and ID holder, along with a Ravenclaw patch to put onto my winter jacket [since there were no Ravenclaw jackets to purchase]. There was a Monster Book of Monsters in a cage next to a row to purchase. The one in the cage moved around and I have an accompanying video for it. There were many different things to purchase, including Triwizard shirts, Quidditch equipment, small statues, blankets, pillows, etc. I even spotted some broomsticks.

The Owl Post was also connected to Dervish and Banges, and trying to fight the tide into it was like going against a rip current. But my aunt and I made it through to once more be amazed. First thing we saw were the wands, all of them quite lovely. The most boring looking one was definitely Draco's, and it was a battle between Sirius Blacks, Snapes, and Voldemorts on which to purchase. I had already decided weeks ago that I was not going to buy a wand, but my aunt said, "Who cares about practicality? You've been saving for months! Get a damn wand!" So, clutching a box holding Voldemorts wand, I began to scour the rest of the shop.

There were quills, even the quick quotes quill in its acid green glory, among other bits of beautiful stationary. Including wax seals in all four Houses, Hogwarts, and a Dark Mark. They also had real stamps you could use with different Harry Potter related pictures. Next time I go I'll probably buy more stuff in the Owl Post, like stationary and Quills and such because it was all so neat and pretty. They also had these stunning leather books embossed with gold crests . . . but they only came in the Hogwarts Crest, Gryffindor, and Slytherin. See why this distressed me? People always forget about Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff! Anyways, I bought a postcard and had it stamped from a Hogwarts mailing stamp, which was pretty cool.

Once we exited those two shops I dragged them up the lane to the Forbidden Journey. There was a cart there selling plastic Gryffindor swords that made clanging sounds when you swung it, some cool shirts, and a black radar cap just like the one I was wearing but with the Hogwarts crest on it. So quite obviously I bought the cap. I must quickly comment on the woman running the cart, she and I had a wonderful conversation about Harry Potter, which also happens with a few more employees, as you will see further on in my review.

Steve absolutely abhors rides with motion, so he was just going to wait in line with us then turn back and take our stuff [this is good since I had to give him my Dumbledore's Army bag, camera, and huge bag of Wizarding World purchases].

The castle loomed above us like a monument to my most wonderful dreams, representing my entire childhood up until now. You never know how important your dreams are to you until you see them standing before you. We walked down the roped lines through a darkened corridor, torches burning artificially bright with golden statues of the founders lining it. Colorful tapestries hung from the walls, covering the stonework with scenes of the most interesting type. Paintings bickered above us, and the trio appeared to tell us that they wanted us to play Quidditch with them. The portraits were humorous, and the interior was the most stunning sets I'd ever seen.

First we were outside, beneath the detailed arches of the Herbology greenhouse, real plants and fake alike hanging and planted everywhere. There was a huge vine crawling up the side of Hogwarts and it added a sense of realism that I just couldn't help but admire.We passed through Dumbledore's office where Michael Gambon quoted the movies. My mouth moved along in unison with his oh-so-familiar words. "There comes a time when we must choose between what is right, and what is easy." His office held shelves of magical instruments that boggled the mind, and I went right up to the Pensieve and touched it, giddy with excitement. After Dumbledore's office, we entered the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, another perfect redo of the movie set. The best part was definitely the dragon skeleton dangling from the ceiling. Here, we saw the trio again and they hid beneath the invisibility cloak. Once through this we passed into a few random corridors, the Gryffindor Common room, and then to the ride itself. The wait had said 40 minutes but hardly felt like it, everything was so amazing!

A man in wizard robes strapped me and my aunt in, said I could keep my hat on, and sent us off into an adventure I'm not likely to forget anytime soon. It was a startling mix between virtual flying and sets, but it worked well enough. The screen ones was where I truly felt like I was soaring after Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and the sets made the Acromantulas and Dementors come alive. A dragon had been let loose and I believe we were trying to escape it. There were wonderful birds eye views of the castle, we ended up in the Forbidden Forest and the Chamber of Secrets, everywhere important from the first few movies. A Dementor tried to suck out my soul, a dragon was chasing us, and I was exhilarated.

I don't think the ride was particularly jerky or fast, just that they could have made the transitions between the virtual ride and the actual sets a little smoother. All in all, simply stunning, and I had truly felt like I'd been flying. In the gift shop, a.k.a. Filch's Emporium, there were goodies galore!

The Marauders Map, a continuation of their thousands of pins and keychain collection, stuffed animals, shirts House socks, a chess set, Ministry of Magic wear, etc. It was mostly Slytherin and Gryffindor in the clothes once again, but I purchased a Ravenclaw banner and Snape keychain. Definitely a wonderful place of magic and intrigue. I wanted to buy the stuffed Crookshanks but my aunt talked me out of it. There were also many other stuffed magical creatures such as Buckbeak, Fluffy, and Fawkes. It was hard to keep from purchasing the lot!

After this excursion, my aunt and I went into the line for the Flight of The Hippogriff, which was stated as being 20 minutes. This was a complete and total lie. We must have waited at least an hour, if not an hour and a half. I really am not complaining, but Auntie is a very impatient person, so it was hard for her. We decided it took so long mostly because there was only one coaster, and the Express people kept getting to go on faster.

Hagrid's Hut was huge and brilliant, just like in the movie. Buckbeak himself was sitting in a nest woven out of real branches so intricately that I stared at it for about a half hour while waiting, trying to see how it all managed to turn into a bowl. I still don't know how they did it. Buckbeak was made of animatronics and completely real looking, with his big yellow eyes blinking and his head bowing each time a coaster rolled on past. The song "Hippogriffs Deserve To Die" by Draco and the Malfoys came to mind, and that was stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

When we finally got to the ride, it was about thirty seconds long, and not the most exciting thing ever. It was cute, and not incredibly babyish. Just definitely not worth the extensive wait. I wish the sign had told the time wait accurately. I was unable to ride the Dragon Challenge because the wait was too long, but I have ridden it back when it was still Dueling Dragons, and I've read accounts of its appearance. There are banners copied from the ones in the movies for the Triwizard Tournament, and it's a fast paced coaster, also the only one with two coasters in one.

I finished the day with another Butterbeer, which turned out to be a bad idea because after one, you don't really need another. The sweetness clogs your mouth and even cold water can't clear it. I decided it's just like they said in Mugglecast, ButterSugarBeer. The drink had way too much sugar. So don't ruin your trip by trying to force down a second mug, just buy a bottle of nice refreshing Pumpkin Juice. It's literally liquid pumpkin pie, with a faint apple cider taste too it. So if pumpkin pie is not your most favorite flavor, I wouldn't recommend it. But if it's your cup of tea then by all means, drink it. I bought two, it's so delicious. Sharp, cool, and full of flavor it clears all other flavors from your mouth but doesn't linger like the clotting thickness of Butterbeer.

We watched the students of Beauxbaton and Durmstrang perform, with a loud British MC. I felt bad for the performers because they were forced to wear their uniforms, which were winter style in the movie. They all looked as if they were ready to pass out. I went back into Honeydukes to buy my candy, and ended up having a five minute conversation with the employee behind the counter about how Goblet of Fire was not what I considered the best book, how her favorite one was Deathly Hallows and how I was faithful to the Half-Blood Prince. Let's just say, I'm glad that people who know the books work there. It makes the experience all the more real to me.

On my way out I saw a girl with a t-shirt that said, "Harry kills Voldemort, marries Ginny, and they have three kids." I left the park laughing hysterically, laden with my many purchases, and happier than Dobby with a sock.
So glad you had such a great experience! I am absolutely stunned that you (at least you say you did) had to wait so long, because absolutely no one rode Flight of the Hippogriph for the first few months. It sounds like you had an incredibly fun time, and I'd like to say: I know your aunt would disagree, but don't you think Flight of the Hipporgriph was worth the wait for the view?! And I plan on having all cannon conversations in the park, letting my imagination soar. Out of curiosity, why did you buy a character wand? Why not your very own wand? Heck, why didn't you try getting picked in Ollivanders? Too long a line?


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  #7  
Old October 5th, 2010, 1:42 am
Kierstoast  Female.gif Kierstoast is offline
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Re: Harry Potter Theme Park v.2

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Originally Posted by Frogki View Post
So glad you had such a great experience! I am absolutely stunned that you (at least you say you did) had to wait so long, because absolutely no one rode Flight of the Hippogriph for the first few months. It sounds like you had an incredibly fun time, and I'd like to say: I know your aunt would disagree, but don't you think Flight of the Hipporgriph was worth the wait for the view?! And I plan on having all cannon conversations in the park, letting my imagination soar. Out of curiosity, why did you buy a character wand? Why not your very own wand? Heck, why didn't you try getting picked in Ollivanders? Too long a line?
Thank you! XD it was heavennnnn! I was shocked too, I think it was because people just kept getting back in the express line. For some reason just because they paid more they got to fill up the first four or five carts and the normal people gt the last two. Twas crazy, my aunt wanted to kill them XD. She agreed that it was amazing at least, especially since one of Hagrids windows say "carpe diem" which is random latin lol. The Hippogriff made her jaw drop too. She can appreciated awsomeness when it comes along ;D

The conversations truly are brilliant! And I bought a character wand because I truly appreciate the thought and creativity put into the wands and because I love the characters so much. You also must admit, Voldemorts wand is very worth the cash. I didn't want any of the other random wands because none of them appealed to me. Voldemorts wand honestly fits my hand perfectly while none of the others did. And the other wands also have copies so the "there's only one kind of wand" isn't true their either. Might as well just go with one from Voldemort. and yes, Ollivanders wait was too long so I just decided not to go. I saw it on TV ages ago and that was plenty good enough.


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Old October 5th, 2010, 3:15 am
Frogki  Male.gif Frogki is offline
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Re: Harry Potter Theme Park v.2

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Originally Posted by Kierstoast View Post
Thank you! XD it was heavennnnn! I was shocked too, I think it was because people just kept getting back in the express line. For some reason just because they paid more they got to fill up the first four or five carts and the normal people gt the last two. Twas crazy, my aunt wanted to kill them XD. She agreed that it was amazing at least, especially since one of Hagrids windows say "carpe diem" which is random latin lol. The Hippogriff made her jaw drop too. She can appreciated awsomeness when it comes along ;D

The conversations truly are brilliant! And I bought a character wand because I truly appreciate the thought and creativity put into the wands and because I love the characters so much. You also must admit, Voldemorts wand is very worth the cash. I didn't want any of the other random wands because none of them appealed to me. Voldemorts wand honestly fits my hand perfectly while none of the others did. And the other wands also have copies so the "there's only one kind of wand" isn't true their either. Might as well just go with one from Voldemort. and yes, Ollivanders wait was too long so I just decided not to go. I saw it on TV ages ago and that was plenty good enough.
lol, Well the next time you get to go, I suggest experiencing everything and everything if you get what I'm saying xD. I understand that it's not really true, but they couldn't make thousands of different wands. Besides that, no two wands are exactly the same. I am fully aware that, in reality, the wands are plastic and all exactly the same. But let's not forget this is a theme park that has a towering school for witches and wizards xD And think, there are different cores in the wands (once again, fully aware that there is no core). I am not going to buy a character wand, because I want a "cannon" experience... I think we were all aware that the birthday wands had copies, we just go with it and pretend they are different because it's fun. But to each and his own, I am certainly happy you like your Voldemort wand, and once again, very happy that you had such a great experience! Sorry to hear about all of those express line people ruining it for everyone else. I don't know if I said it in my last post (and I apologize if I did), but I'm a very big theme park nerd, and I do know a bit how it works. That's why I never use my express pass if a line has a 20 or less minute wait. It backs up the regular line for absolutely no reason, and you can easily miss out on some things using express (if you've been in the regular line for E.T. and the express line, you know that using the express pass is absolutely killing the line experience, because you don't get to go through the forest, quite the contary, you walk down a totally unthemed hallway). Things are MUCH calmer at this point in time (although when December rolls around I think we'll see lines as long or longer than they were in the summer), and lines usually peak around 45 minutes (Forbidden Journey can go up to about an hour wait).


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  #9  
Old October 5th, 2010, 5:08 am
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Re: Harry Potter Theme Park v.2

I just got back from visiting and yes it was awesome. I went three days in a row for a half day each. I wanted to go back even after that.

I'll try to have a full report at some point soon, but I will concur that Flight of the Hippogriff had a really long line all of the time... around 30-45 minutes. It was one of the last rides we went on because of that, and unfortunately I only got to ride it once even though I would have gladly gotten on that one again. It's lots of fun! Forbidden Journey's line was almost always a long wait, but at least that a "single rider" option, which moved very fast.


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Old October 5th, 2010, 7:37 pm
Dan_the_Man  Female.gif Dan_the_Man is offline
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Re: Harry Potter Theme Park v.2

I understand the whole character wand thing, but you really should've gone to Ollivanders. Not just for the chance of getting your own wand, but to see the room, and watch the whole experience for yourself. It is amazing getting chosen though. Everyone watching you wreak havoc with the inappropriate wand. It's delightful. I got a rather plain wand, but I love it all the same. Hawthorne, pheonix feather core, 13 inches. Wonderful. - When I went, they didn't have the best character wands such as Voldemort, Snape, Sirius, etc., they were all sold out!! Ah, well. I wouldn't have bought it anyway, as I had my wand.


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Old October 6th, 2010, 12:26 am
Kierstoast  Female.gif Kierstoast is offline
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Re: Harry Potter Theme Park v.2

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Originally Posted by Frogki View Post
lol, Well the next time you get to go, I suggest experiencing everything and everything if you get what I'm saying xD. I understand that it's not really true, but they couldn't make thousands of different wands. Besides that, no two wands are exactly the same. I am fully aware that, in reality, the wands are plastic and all exactly the same. But let's not forget this is a theme park that has a towering school for witches and wizards xD And think, there are different cores in the wands (once again, fully aware that there is no core). I am not going to buy a character wand, because I want a "cannon" experience... I think we were all aware that the birthday wands had copies, we just go with it and pretend they are different because it's fun. But to each and his own, I am certainly happy you like your Voldemort wand, and once again, very happy that you had such a great experience! Sorry to hear about all of those express line people ruining it for everyone else. I don't know if I said it in my last post (and I apologize if I did), but I'm a very big theme park nerd, and I do know a bit how it works. That's why I never use my express pass if a line has a 20 or less minute wait. It backs up the regular line for absolutely no reason, and you can easily miss out on some things using express (if you've been in the regular line for E.T. and the express line, you know that using the express pass is absolutely killing the line experience, because you don't get to go through the forest, quite the contary, you walk down a totally unthemed hallway). Things are MUCH calmer at this point in time (although when December rolls around I think we'll see lines as long or longer than they were in the summer), and lines usually peak around 45 minutes (Forbidden Journey can go up to about an hour wait).
I'm sure it makes the experience all the better, but I don't know, I just always loved the character wands. And I have a strict family, so my grandmother would be all "*** did you buy a random wand for?" She just doesn't get it. :P And the Voldemort wand has this handle with a little hook on the bottom and one on the top, andmy pinky and index fit perfectly into them like little slots, as if it were made for my hand. If that isn't the wand choosing a muggle then it's pretty damn close XD I also never saw the birthday wands, I bought mine in the Owl Post. ^^

And yeah, I prefer the waits because of beautiful things to see, and thank you for not using your express pass when the line is only twenty minutes! <3 I love ET!!! And thanks for the advice on line waits later on in the year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan_the_Man View Post
I understand the whole character wand thing, but you really should've gone to Ollivanders. Not just for the chance of getting your own wand, but to see the room, and watch the whole experience for yourself. It is amazing getting chosen though. Everyone watching you wreak havoc with the inappropriate wand. It's delightful. I got a rather plain wand, but I love it all the same. Hawthorne, pheonix feather core, 13 inches. Wonderful. - When I went, they didn't have the best character wands such as Voldemort, Snape, Sirius, etc., they were all sold out!! Ah, well. I wouldn't have bought it anyway, as I had my wand.
We all have our wayof experiencing things, and I'd've loved to have seen Ollivander. But remember, I was with my aunt and her boyfriend and did not want to subject them to the horrific line. And how strange that younamed each wand I want. . . in exact order! Voldemort, Snape, and Siris. XD


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Old October 6th, 2010, 12:56 am
Frogki  Male.gif Frogki is offline
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Re: Harry Potter Theme Park v.2

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Originally Posted by Kierstoast View Post
I'm sure it makes the experience all the better, but I don't know, I just always loved the character wands. And I have a strict family, so my grandmother would be all "*** did you buy a random wand for?" She just doesn't get it. :P And the Voldemort wand has this handle with a little hook on the bottom and one on the top, andmy pinky and index fit perfectly into them like little slots, as if it were made for my hand. If that isn't the wand choosing a muggle then it's pretty damn close XD I also never saw the birthday wands, I bought mine in the Owl Post. ^^

And yeah, I prefer the waits because of beautiful things to see, and thank you for not using your express pass when the line is only twenty minutes! <3 I love ET!!! And thanks for the advice on line waits later on in the year.



We all have our wayof experiencing things, and I'd've loved to have seen Ollivander. But remember, I was with my aunt and her boyfriend and did not want to subject them to the horrific line. And how strange that younamed each wand I want. . . in exact order! Voldemort, Snape, and Siris. XD
ROTFL... And the birthday wands are in the Owl Post as well, but I understand - the place is a mad house... Surprised no one has been trampled in there rotfl. Well once again I am very glad you had a good time. Very jealous as well xD Hoping to get to go in December...


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Old October 6th, 2010, 2:46 am
Kierstoast  Female.gif Kierstoast is offline
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Re: Harry Potter Theme Park v.2

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ROTFL... And the birthday wands are in the Owl Post as well, but I understand - the place is a mad house... Surprised no one has been trampled in there rotfl. Well once again I am very glad you had a good time. Very jealous as well xD Hoping to get to go in December...
XD It's so psychotic I just wanted to leave. I was afraid my purchases might impale someone, or poke their eye out, or WORSE. Break them D:

I hope to get a year pass for Christmas then I'll be there whenever my friend Josh's mom decides to take us, and she's a right nice lady. :3 YOU WILL HAVE AN AWESOME TIME. Just remember: one butterbeer two pumpkin juice.


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Old October 7th, 2010, 8:38 pm
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Re: Harry Potter Theme Park v.2

Just thought I'd share some pictures from my trip to the park.

100 plus photos at this link to flickr.


Hogwarts Castle 4
by boushh2187, on Flickr


Hogwarts Express with conductor 2
by boushh2187, on Flickr


Honeydukes indoor window display 1
by boushh2187, on Flickr



Last edited by boushh; October 7th, 2010 at 8:44 pm.
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Old October 8th, 2010, 3:31 am
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Re: Harry Potter Theme Park v.2

^Great pictures! I hope you enjoyed yourself and had fun, boushh!


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Old October 8th, 2010, 4:57 am
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Re: Harry Potter Theme Park v.2

Thanks everyone for the tips, advice, and experiences and boushh for those photos. Reading this has gotten me really excited to visit the park. I'm a freshman in college and I am going to try and visit the park with my older brother and some of my older cousins as well over our winter break. Although it may have to wait because I am sure it will be insane than it has been over the holiday. I hope the trip will happen though because walking through the magical world I love is defiantly an amazing. I lived in London so I've been able to attempt to push through platforms 9 and 10 hoping I'd be on my way to Hogwarts. I've heard they may be expanding the magical world though, so it may be worth it to wait a bit longer to go, did anyone else hear this?


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Old October 8th, 2010, 6:52 am
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Re: Harry Potter Theme Park v.2

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^Great pictures! I hope you enjoyed yourself and had fun, boushh!
Thanks. I did. I want to go back!

sblowers: I think it's worth going even now because the rest of the park is also good... I really enjoyed Universal and Islands of Adventure quite a lot this time around.


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Old October 8th, 2010, 3:09 pm
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Re: Harry Potter Theme Park v.2

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Originally Posted by boushh View Post
Just thought I'd share some pictures from my trip to the park.
Boushh!!! What awesome pictures!!! Looks like you had a great time, can't wait to hear about it and how you felt seeing it all.

p.s. It was cool to finally see a pic of you...I've always wondered what you looked like. Beautiful woman!


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Old October 8th, 2010, 5:46 pm
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Re: Harry Potter Theme Park v.2

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Originally Posted by gottriplets View Post
Boushh!!! What awesome pictures!!! Looks like you had a great time, can't wait to hear about it and how you felt seeing it all.
Glad you liked them. I really should start writing down my thoughts on the trip before I start forgetting everything! One thing that will happen is that all the HP stuff is going to merge together. Oh and I sooo wish the park was open late. I would have loved to see the castle and Hogsmeade at night!

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p.s. It was cool to finally see a pic of you...I've always wondered what you looked like. Beautiful woman!
I wouldn't go that far, but thanks!


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Old October 8th, 2010, 6:53 pm
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Re: Harry Potter Theme Park v.2

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Originally Posted by boushh View Post
Glad you liked them. I really should start writing down my thoughts on the trip before I start forgetting everything! One thing that will happen is that all the HP stuff is going to merge together. Oh and I sooo wish the park was open late. I would have loved to see the castle and Hogsmeade at night!



I wouldn't go that far, but thanks!
What? The park wasn't open at night? When I was there with Jenn in the summer it was open and Hogwart's was absolutely beautiful!!!

Yes ma'am, you are beautiful!


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