02 November, 2012

Harry Potter

So the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was everything I hoped it would be and more.  Between phone calls and emails from work, I was able to duck into the park for about an hour before they closed.  It was well worth it.  There were almost no lines and I was able to jump on a couple of rides right away.

First thing you see is the Hogwarts Express.  All aboard!

Then Hogsmeade... Did you picture it any differently in your mind?  Walking the streets and looking into the shops, I was already on nerd overload.

And then there are the shops.  The amount of detail in the shop windows is just amazing.

You keep walking down the street and suddenly, there it is.  Hogwarts castle.  If you allow for perspective, it's amazing.  Identical to the movies, looming above you.

So the first ride I jump on is the Flight of the Hippogriff.   It's a fast but somewhat tame roller coaster in the vein of Big Thunder Mountain at Disneyland.  And don't let tame make you think it isn't fun.  It's fast and curvy and definitely worth a ride.  As you walk the line, you run across Hagrid's hut.

Next I went into the castle itself for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.  This ride is a little, Soaring over California and a dash of Indiana Jones.  It's fast and moves you around quite a bit. But it also uses projection to make you feel like you're flying with Harry.  Honestly this was one of the most fantastic rides I've ever been on.  Between the details of actually walking through Hogwarts, where the paintings move and Harry, Ron and Hermione talk to you, it's nerd heaven.  I'll be honest, it was near to tears of amazement through the whole thing.

Tomorrow I'll ride the Dragon's Challenge and the other two all over again.  So hopefully I'll have more photos to post tomorrow.

In the meantime, I'm staying in the Loews Royal Pacific Resort.  It's the least expensive of the Universal hotels.  It's nice and has plenty to do.  It's about a 5-7 minute walk to Islands of Adventure and the City Walk.  Not too bad at all. 

They also have a lovely bar, Jake's American where I ended the night with a few drinks and new friends.

So tomorrow I'm headed back to the park for the early hours.  I'll jump on a plane around 7 and head to Ft. Lauderdale.  I'll try to post more photos after dinner tomorrow night.  Now it's off to bed and dreams of Harry Potter.

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