SO. we did harry potterville, which is actually called 'the wizarding world of harry potter'. but that's a mouthful. i could refer to it as wwohp, though. but that's strange to type. mostly because i'm not a fan of typing 'w'.
so harry potterville it is destined to remain.
we made our way back to where harry potterville is. it's actually the village of hogsmeade.
|the arched entrance to the village of hogsmeade|
|close up of the hanging sign|
|the hogwart's express. please ignore the muggles, i don't know who the fuck they are but we weren't about to wait in line to take a fucking picture.|
|hogsmeade train station schedule - very neat!|
now along with myself and awesome husband were brother, sisterfromanothermister, and mom. mom doesn't like thrill rides. so she sat out a few, including the newly revamped dueling dragons ride that is now called dragon challenge.
|dragon challenge ride - only 15 minute wait!!|
|the triwizard cup!|
since mom wasn't too keen on this ride, we needed somewhere to park her. we found a covered area with lots of benches and went to deposit her there. when we looked up, we realized this wasn't just a sitting area.
|the owls moved, but did not poop. thankfully.|
|the clock from in the inside|
finally, we did harry potter and the forbidden journey. words alone cannot express the awesomeness that is this ride. seriously. it is that good. i think universal outdid themselves and disney in this queue area and attraction. i can honestly say that i think this is the best ride i've ever been on. it is not comparable to any other ride i've ever been on and deserves it's own blog entry, frankly. i have been trying to think of things to compare it to, and NONE EXIST. i am not being over dramatic here. i rode this ride twice and sat in my seat slackjawed the entire ride BOTH times. i will probably do the same tomorrow. and the next twenty times i ride it. it is that amazing.
the queue area is long. super long. it is a very popular ride. the wait was 120 minutes that morning, and 45 in the afternoon. i recommend checking first thing though - it was definitely worth a long wait, but it appears to rise and fall throughout the day. i would not be upset waiting 45-60 minutes for this ride. if you can stand riding solo, there is a single riders line. it took us under ten minutes to get through the single rider line, and there was a 45 minute wait on the 'regular' line. i took some photos of the queue with sisterfromanothermister's camera, but we were moving and it's dark in parts, and i didn't know how to use her camera or if it had a low light setting. so i have some photos, and hope to take more of the other rooms (like the ones with the moving portraits!) with my olympus (which i mostly know how to use and does have a great low light setting). be prepared to be attacked with photoawesomeness. i'll try to put them in the order which we experienced them, but i cannot guarntee that. since i was overcome with ridiculous emotions. mostly awe.
|humpbacked witch - the same who hides the entrance to the secret tunnels in the books?|
|inside the herbology greenhouse waiting to enter the castle|
|another shot of the greenhouse - it's two levels and has real hanging plants|
|mandrakes! none of them were screaming though.|
|about to enter hogwarts castle!|
|i have read that this may be the statue of the architect of hogwarts.|
now, that was just some of the QUEUE. the actual RIDE. my mere words cannot do it justice. really. it's unlike anything you've ever done before. it moves up, down, side to side, you'll lie on your back at one point. it makes you feel like you're flying along the quidditch pitch, through the chamber of secrets, and across hogwarts grounds to escape a dragon. you can try to find ride throughs online, videos that people take of the ride. i haven't looked, but i doubt there are any out there that do it ANY kind of justice. i cannot say how fucking awesome this ride is.
HAVING SAID THAT. i would have liked to see some elfs. if you have read all the books, you realize what an important and central character dobby turns out to be. having said that as well - it feels like this version of hogwarts nd hogsmeade is kind of frozen in book/movie four - the goblet of fire. there's lots of stuff about the triwizard tournament, there are shows where the students from durmstrang and beauxbatons are introduced, and no one really mentions voldemort. you can see why they did it this way - it is immortal. nothing will really change in universal's harry potterville, and this was a great spot to freeze in time. voldemort had not yet returned to power, zonko's was still open (which is why there is no weasley's wizarding wheezes shop), and dumbledore was in charge of hogwarts. it is a beautifully done area, and worth many, many more visits - which is why awesome husband and i upgraded our day tickets to year-long passes before we left the park that day (it was only another $59 for both of us, and seems like a good idea considering).
i hope to give you another blog post with more photos of harry potterville soon. i'll exhaust my camera tomorrow, i promish. i will end with this: if you come to central florida, i don't care why you do it, but if you come here and can get to universal in any way, shape, or form - do it. it is worth checking out at least once. if you'd rather hang out at disney, i don't blame you. i still prefer disney to universal - but now i see that universal has something else to offer me!
plus, the fucking butterbeer is AWESOMETASTIC!