Part 1 of our Harry Potter adventure here.
So after walking through Hogsmeade, we rushed to the back of Harry Potter World to get in line for the Forbidden Journey-and this ride is located INSIDE HOGWARTS. They built Hogwarts. Emma Watson (Hermione in the movies) said that seeing the castle was a big deal when she visited Harry Potter world, as in the movies its all computer generated-Hogwarts had never been assembled in sum before. It towered over the whole park, so every time you turned around there it was.
We rushed through the empty parts of the line. It was maybe 7:15 a.m. by this point, and there was already a wait; lots of others had had the same idea we did! You waited in line in Professor Sprout's greenhouse for a bit, then you went into the castle. There was a locker room where you had to stow your stuff (anything that didn't fit in your pockets); the lockers were free for the amount of time it took you to ride (there was a computer that updated the lockers on how long the wait was), and you accessed it using a fingerprint. It was awesome. So we stashed our stuff and walked through Hogwarts. It was surreal.
Here we are in front of the entrance to Dumbledore's office....
The Defense Against the Dark Arts Classroom. The cast had recorded special bits, so at one point Dumbledore talks to you, and Harry, Ron and Hermione appear from under the invisibility robe to tell you how they're going to "sneak you out of the castle so you can avoid Professor Bins' lecture on the history of magic". You see the fat lady, walk through the Gryfindor common room, see talking portraits and way more. After the sorting hat gives you some safety info, you rush into "magical benches" and take your seat for the ride. The ride is a mix of movement, real effects and on screen technology...at one point you fly over the lake to Hogwarts with Harry and Ron on broomsticks in front of you. It. was. amazing.
After the Forbidden Journey you're dumped out into a killer gift shop, Filch's Emporium of Confiscated Goods or something, where you can also grab your stuff from your locker.
There are only 3 rides in the park--The Forbidden Journey, the Flight of the Hippogriff and the Dueling Dragons Challenge (which is modeled after the TriWizard Tournament).
What's that? The Triwizard cup!
Did you see our wands? Ryan got us a sister gift for Christmas-he ordered me Luna's wand, Allion Hermione's wand and Mary Ginny's wand. Awesome. And we obviously enjoyed having them immensely. We made house scarves too. We let our nerd flags FLY you guys.
I wish I could tell you how crowded it was, but there aren't even words. It was jammed with people every way you turned-the first day in the park, Harry Potter world had a wait to get in due to capacity.
And tomorrow I'll tell you how delicious Butterbeer is :)