The Wizarding World of Harry Potter



A few months ago, my friend Josie approached me with the idea to road trip out to Georgia, pick up her husband from training camp and go spend the weekend at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The whole thing was a surprise for her husband's birthday, so we took a solemn oath of secrecy and began preparation.

In the last month, I've spent most of my free time re-immersing myself in the Harry Potter books and movies, spiraling into a fervor of muggle mania.
Silently casting spells in everyday conversation, analyzing wandlore and story arc's, and, in general, driving everyone else crazy with my HP obsession.

It was in this craze that I entered the most magical place on earth.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Instead of a play-by-play of our weekend, here are my 10 Favorite Moments and general tips for having the best time of your life at Harry Potter World. 

1. The Rides. Holy Phoenix the rides.
The most important ones to get to are The Forbidden Journey in Hogwarts Castle and Escape from Gringotts. Do NOT skip the lines. I don't care if you have an express pass or are a single rider, the waiting in line is half the fun. In Hogwarts, you can explore different passageways and rooms, and interact with holograms of Dumbledore, Harry, Ron and Hermione. My favorite part was the hall of portraits where the school founders argue about Quidditch and student behavior (be sure to look at what they are holding!). 
Gringotts has the same dramatic flare, with animatronic goblins and an entrance hall that will take your breath away.

2. Ollivander's Wand Shop is a short presentation where Ollivander picks someone from the audience to receive a wand. I must of been giving off some serious magical vibes because he chose me! He'd hand me different wands and ask me to try spells. The first few times ended in some kind of misfortune, but the last wand he handed me...
I'm sure he tells everyone that they are "destined for great things", but he REALLY meant it when he said it to me, ya know? 

3. Buy the freaking wand. YES it's obnoxiously expensive, but it will double the amount of fun you'll have! If you get the interactive wand, you also recieve a map of Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade that marks all the areas where you can do magic. If you go to the markers and say the correct spell, MAGIC HAPPENS! Unlock doors, make things fly, turn on lights, make it rain... you may look like an idiot:
But it is totally worth the thrill. 

4. Drink all the Butter Beer you can. It is pure buterscotchy goodness with a mashmellowy froth top that will blow your mind.
They offer it both regular and frozen, I recommend the regular. The food at the Three Broomsticks and the Leaky Cauldron is surprisingly good, so sit in a corner booth and feast!

5. Go into the stores and look up! The bottoms are full of merchandise, but the ceilings of the stores are beautiful. You'll recognize a bunch of stuff from the movies, and some fun additions if you pay close attention.

 6. Do your research before you go and look for the details. Here were some of my favorites:
Moaning Myrtle in the bathroom in Hogsmeade.
The Goblin who will reply to your questions in the Muggle Money Exchange.
Kreacher peaking out the window at Number 12 Grimald Place.
Dialing MAGIC at the telephone booth to hear a message from the Ministry.
The dragon breathing fire every 15 minutes.
The creepy wizards who stalked you in Knockturn alley.
The Vanishing Cabinet in Borgin & Burkes that has a surprise if you listen closely.
Sending post cards by owl post outside Dervish and Banges.

7. In order to ride the Hogwarts Express, you need to buy park to park passes. It's a little more expensive but they make it worth the price! You run through walls to get to Platform 9 3/4, escape dementors in the corridors, and if you watch closely, you'll see a glimpse of Voldemort in front of Malfoy manor! The experience is different depending on which way you are traveling so make sure to ride it twice!

8. Sit Down. People Watch. Take as many pictures as your short battery life will allow.
Do all the weird geeky stuff you feel like doing.


Breck after looking at all my purchases:

9. If you can, splurge a little. Long story short, Breck bailed last minute (not even I can explain how I married a non Harry Potter fan) so I offered my Mom Breck's ticket. My Aunt Cathy lives in Florida, so she came out the second day to play with us. My Aunt spoiled us and got a room at an onsite resort, early access to the parks, express passes, and into some exquisite restaurants. All the perks were so fun, and the express passes truly make a difference. We rode twice the rides on the second day than we did on the first!

10. And hey, since you already bought the tickets, try out The Revenge of the Mummy, Jurassic Park, and The Incredible Hulk! And then quickly return to Harry Potter World and soak up as much of its glory as you can.

Annoyances from the trip:

1.  The couple in line behind me who were asking why Harry didn't  just shoot Voldemort with a gun.

2. The lady who looked at Gringotts and said, "So... is this like... the school?"

3. The sorority girls with "Best house since Gryffindor" shirts.

Going home was difficult. 

I'm currently sitting in Gryffindor boxers, sipping pumpkin juice out of my Hogwarts mug, nibbling on a chocolate frog and watching the last movie. But...

Sigh. You can't deny he's got style. 

P.S. I'm also counting this as #11 on my 25 before 25 list!


Mad Mad Catchup

Summer's over??? Well... it was pretty great! This is how it went, as told by crappy iPhone pictures:

I brought my friends home to San Antonio to meet the family. 

Lindsay Bull came to Dallas for some thrills.

We were locked in a room with a zombie for an hour... and survived. 

I helped throw a garden party for Baby Abigail Park (who made her arrival earlier this week!). The party was pretty amazing, if you want to check it out for cool ideas click here.

I spent a lot of time working! I had some cool of freelance gigs like this chalk board lettering I did for a Cidery in Bishop Arts.

The team had a segway tour, which was surprisingly delightful.

We also enjoyed a day at the Perot Museum. May I suggest the virtual experience of flying like a bird? Worth the wait.

We spent way too much time dressing our mascot, Manny the Mannequin. (You will not regret following that link.)

And other general tom foolery:

We threw an amazing party! Slowmo booth, live band, free drinks... it was pretty awesome! The team made this awesome art installation for the event:

But what's really been filling my days this past month is my new hand lettering venture! 
Last month, all of my co workers came up with the idea of a Social Media Death match:
Essentially, make a social media account and get as many followers as you can without telling your friends about it. 

The ideas we came up with where pretty nuts. We had an obnoxiously kind panda, a crazy One Direction fan, an account dedicated to pictures of ridiculously cute animals, a gluten free cooking account and a Sock Monkey. 

I decided to dedicate the time to hand lettering. 
The goal was to draw something everyday and then offer it as a giveaway in exchange for people spreading the word about my account. It went pretty well! I even got featured by Goodtype which may or may not of make me cry. 

In the end, the One Direction fan girls surpassed me. They are the spawn of satan and I will hate them forever. The End.