The Magic is Real

Picture it. It was a clear, warm day in the summer of May 2012. The crowds are starting to form at the other rides,and as I join my group in the lines, my mind wanders over to the place where I want to visit most. I look over the lake,only to see Hogwarts standing tall and proud, as if to draw me closer. I smile to myself and know that, no matter how far away I am, Hogwarts will always be there to greet me. 525571_3963853981112_859362757_n

I ride rides such as the Hulk and Jurassic Park, but I just can’t keep my mind off the castle. Finally, I can’t wait anymore, so, dragging my friend and godson along, I wander over to the entrance of Hogsmeade. I step around the corner and am immediately greeted by the Hogwarts Express and shops. My eyes beam with excitement, and without further hesitation, I head in to Zonkos Joke Shop, all the while knowing that I am making the Weasley twins proud. The Muggles inside play with the different gadgets and gizmos, while Istand back and just admire the items that inspired Fred and George to play so many pranks and gags. Out of the corner of my eye, I catch sight of little pink and purple fuzz balls. I gasp and pick up a pink one, knowing that I had just become the proud owner of a Pygmy Puff.  All of a sudden, my noses catches wind of the greatest thing in the world..chocolate. That alone draws me over to Honeydukes, my mouth waters as I catch site of the various fudges and sweets. Picking up a box of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans and a Chocolate Frog, I know that I just can’t resist their temptation any longer, so, I make my way to the counter and pay for my Pygmy and sweets.

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Once done at the shop, I make my way towards the castle. The line is long, but I don’t mind. Patiently, I wait for an hour, and then the most amazing thing happens..I find myself within the walls of Hogwarts. The flash on my camera is put on overdrive as I take pictures left and right, and I really fangirl when I see the faces of three old friends: Harry, Ron, and Hermione. I grin as Ron makes it snow and Hermione scolds him, but alas, the line keeps moving. Sighing, I follow suit, but am soon greeted by the Gryffindor common room, and the talking pictures. I give myself whiplash as I look up to see all the pictures talking, and this provides me so much entertainment that, before I know it, I hear the faithful voice of the Sorting Hat.  I look up in awe, imagining the old, raggedy hat is talking directly to me. The rules are read, the flashes from cameras are seen, and now a Hufflepuff is sending me to the ride.

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Excited, I follow the directions of a Slytherin walking along the moving walkway, and before I know it, Hermione is whisking me away on a magical journey. I don’t know what to expect on this ride, but it doesn’t take me long to find out. The Golden Trio, spiders, dragons, the whomping willow, and even dementors and the dark arts themselves send me through twists and turns. The ride lasts a few minutes, but, as all good things in life must, it comes to an end. Dumbledore bids me farewell, telling me I can return to Hogwarts any time.

Once off the ride, another Slytherin points me and the large group down a group of steps. I take it, and immediately find myself in the gift shop. It is overcrowded, but well worth the look around. There are shirts, stuffed animals, and anything a witch or wizard could ever want. I decide to come back later once the crowd dies down, so I head back out into the Florida heat. As I make my way back towards Hogsmeade to treat myself to a butterbeer, I hear a melodious sound. Surrounded by a small crowd is the Hogwarts choir with their frogs. I grin and make my way towards the front, calling out the House names when appropriate. The Ravenclaw who was up front looks over at me, grins, and gives a small wink, then rejoins his singing companions. I love their music so much, that I decide to come back to the next show, so I continue my journey towards the butterbeer stand. I pay my $10.50 for the butterbeer souvenir mug, and go stand off towards the side. Taking a deep breath, I take my first sip, and immediately feel something on my face..alas! my life has been completed by a butterbeer foam mustache! I giggle to myself and continue drinking. Satisfied, and with a cool butterbeer in my hands, I head back up towards Hogwarts and the choir.

The choir is gone, but knowing that they will return within a half hour, I take a look around at the souvenir stands. I find a Draco Malfoy pin and buy it without hesitation. I go back to where the choir was due to return and wait. It takes awhile, but they finally return once more. Once again, I am listening to the music and sounds of Hogwarts, and again, I am one of the pumped up ones in the crowd. After the songs are over, the fans are asked to get in line for a photo opportunity; however, the manager walks over to me and pulls me aside. “Wait here” she says, and walks off. I wait, not knowing what to expect, and after the photos are done, the choir walks back towards the school, but this time they summon me to follow them. Once backstage, they all introduce themselves. I have my Slytherin shirt and Gryffindor backpack on, so I explain that I am a little bit of each house. When asked how, I explain, and once I’m done, they all laugh. I am asked to take pictures with them, and for a brief moment, I feel like one of them, so I withdraw my wand and smile at the camera. It only takes a few minutes, but as I leave to head back to my hotel, I am full of fangirl joy. The first day at WWOHP was terrific, and I vowed to come back the next day and do it all over again..and maybe even ride a dragon or two!

 

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Care for a Spot of Tea?

Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shop store front is now complete (or mostly, one of the cakes is still white) over in Hogsmeade!Image

One of the cakes had an Easter bunny on it, so we are hoping they are going to change the cake decorations for the time of year. But it may just be chance that today was Easter and the decorations matched.

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The place is full of teacups and girly pinkness!

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Gryffindor butt!

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Sorry, Closed : (

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The Hogsmeade Station construction is moving along, looks like the archways may be red.

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Over at Diagon Alley they are still working on the light posts out by the water.

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I put Heather to work trying to get you a photo over the fence and I failed. I will try harder next time!

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There is another little green house on the left side now, I’m thinking a food and drink cart maybe?

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Here is a shot of the completed Screed and Sons sign. It looks beautiful!Image

 

Four new trees that will block the back area of the Gringott’s ride.Image

We didn’t see any train movement today and are still hoping to hear the whistle, maybe next weekend. Let us know what part of the London storefront is your favorite!!

Finite Incantatem Recap

We had a great time at Disney’s Winter Summerland mini-golf course. The Weasley twins tested a new product called Weather in a Bottle and the miniature golf course was stuck between Winter and Summer. We had to pick so we went with summer.

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If was a great course with all sorts of fun elements like snapping clams, a water squirting bridge and a snoring Santa.

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We of course took the game seriously and there were no shenanigans or illegal touching to be had like usual meet-ups.

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The summer quickly faded into the Christmas season with a difficult ribbon loop hole and a fun Christmas tree.Image

 

 

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Our new member Derrick won the best score of the day and received a certificate and special golf ball! Congrats Derrick!

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It was great to see everyone again and we can’t wait to see you at the next meet up on Monday, May 5th for the Battle of Hogwarts Laser Tag!

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April Meetup – Finite Incantatem!

Join us on Monday April 14th for some mini-golf, and to put a stop to an atmospheric charm gone wrong! The Weasley twins tested a new product called Weather in a Bottle and now this miniature golf course is stuck in between Winter and Summer. The only way to cast the Finite Incantatem counter-spell is to play through the course, battling an enchanted snowman, a hungry clam, snow banks, and sand traps. (Don’t worry – Santa’s house elves have left you clues at each hole on how to break the spell.)

This will qualify for the Physical Strength and Tactics portion of your Auror Training. The cost is $14 for 18 holes. Parking is free. Disney Cast Members and Annual Passholders receive 50% off for themselves and up to 3 others. Slug Club members who offer their discount will receive an additional 20 House Points!

RSVP: Facebook or Meetup

My New Favorite Color is Knight Bus Purple!

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The Knight Bus has arrived at Universal Studios! Can you see the two men working in the bus?

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And guess what? It has lights that turn on inside along with advertisements on the walls inside the bus.

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All Destinations, nothing underwater? Now that bothered my Slytherin counterpart since it can’t be all destinations if it doesn’t include underwater! But I still like it.

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I haven’t been there in a while so I was excited the windows were in place. Then I saw the signs (Charing Cross Rd, London Underground) as well as street lights and trees.

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Leicester Square Station

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Grimmauld Place sign!!

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Full view of the London storefront.

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And then to top off our night we got the see the Hogwarts Express in action! It pulled out of the station we waited about 8 minutes and came around again and then backed into the station again. Totally Awesome!!

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New WWoHP Merchandise Alert!

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Check out this sweet new Slytherin shirt on the market at Universal’s Islands of Adventure! We found this in the massive store up at the front of the park (to the left as you’re going in, to the right as you’re exiting) back in the Harry Potter section. It looks and feels super comfortable. I’ve seen similar designs on shirts on the Internet before, but can you really have too many house pride Quidditch shirts? I think not. (So yes, that’s my way of telling you that they have these available for every house – just in time to add to your summer wardrobe!)

Meetup: Lumos et Nox – March 30th at 4:00PM

You know what your home needs? Some Harry Potter themed light switch plates. You might not notice it yet, but now that we’ve put it out there, you’re going to think about it every time you switch a light off and on. Fix that easily by attending the Slug Club meetup on March 30th at Central Park in Winter Park! Wear comfortable clothes that you don’t mind messing up, because we’ll be sitting on the ground (unless you bring your own chair) and painting.

Materials fees are covered for this event, thanks to a generous donation by Claudia of Gryffindor! We will provide paint, traditional toggle size switch plates and brushes. If your plate switches at home are different than the traditional plates you can bring them with you to paint. http://www.homedepot.com/p/Lutron-Fassada-1-Gang-Toggle-Wall-Plate-White-FG-1B-WH/203782225?N=c6quZ1z0v9zg#.UtXU7P1Z6Yg

Please RSVP by Friday, 3/28/14, at 10:00PM so we can be sure to have enough supplies. We will bring newspaper to lay down to paint on but you may want to bring a chair or blanket to sit on and maybe even a hard surface or old magazine to paint on.

RSVP:    Facebook   /  Meetup