PHOTO-A-DAY – DECEMBER USA ROAD TRIP – DAY 16 – Harry Potter World (Part 1)

The day had finally arrived. The one that the kids and I have most been looking forward to. Harry Potter World! Another early morning to make sure we could get a spot for the escape from Gringotts ride. We were sprinkled with some more pixie dust when a staff member let us in at 8.15 instead of 9. (It was reserved for resort guests).

Diagon Alley is AMAZING! OMG! If you are a Harry Potter fan, then let me say, you need to visit here. You first walk through the brick wall, which has been opened already as unfortunately, here in the muggle world, we don’t have real opening brick walls. You are greeted with cobble stoned streets and towering crooked buildings. Every light fitting, ornate sign and shingle is an exact replica of the movies.


It’s very authentic. Directly in front is Gringotts Bank and perched on top, is the fire breathing dragon. Once inside, you walk the impressive hall, lined with goblins. Hard at work, only pausing to give passers-by disgusted looks. You then walk the passageways, deep underground until you are greeted with a cavernous opening, complete with stalagmites. Ayrlie was rightly freaked out by now but we were being reassured by the young girl behind us that there is only one big drop and that’s right at the beginning. Nothing could prepare us though for just how thrilling the ride ended up being!. There was no way I was able to record it with my phone (as I wanted to) because you were so fully immersed in the moment. You plummeted down the track, screaming most of the way before stopping at Bellatrix Lestrange and Voldemort. You are identified as being an intruder and blasted off by Voldemort into another tunnel of turns and drops. The trolls grab the carriage and you go tumbling off a cliff. By now, your truly can’t distinguish between what’s real and what’s not as the special effects are like nothing you have ever seen!.   Finally, Harry, Hermione and Ron guide you out of the bank through collapsing walls and exploding bridges.  Mark exclaims it’s the best ride he has ever been on. He isn’t easily impressed so that’s saying something.



After pulling ourselves back together, we head out into the sunshine on Diagon Alley and into the heat of the Dragon. Every so often you will hear a rumble, and feel the sidewalk move slightly underfoot. Then you feel the heat from the fire breathing dragon on top of the bank. The video doesn’t do it justice. It’s really impressive and everyone stops to witness it.



Next up is the all-important interactive wants. You can’t be a wizard and witch at Diagon Alley without a wand. So we head to the only place to get one… Ollivanders. You step inside the dusty shop, stacked to the ceiling with wand boxes. We first witnessed a wand choose a wizard before the kids searched for their own.  Scattered throughout both Diagon Alley and Hogsmead are interactive stations where you can ‘wave your wand, recite the spell and watch as the magic unfolds’ (quote from Universal). Which is exactly what happens! You can make feathers float, umbrellas rain and turn on water fountains. It kept the kids entertained for hours.





After purchasing some chocolate frogs from Honeydukes, checking out the jokes at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes and having lunch at the Leaky Cauldron (unfortunately not the best) we headed over to King’s Cross Station to platform 9 3/4 to catch The Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade.


But that is a post for tomorrow…

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