|The Wizarding World of Harry Potter|
|Our New Pet Alligator|
|The Only Way to Travel|
|Sand Crane and Fuzzy Babies|
|How I Love My Spanish Moss!|
|Snow in Florida?|
When we first arrived at the park at about 8:15 (it opens at 8:00), we found ourselves surrounded by a lot of cars all heading in the same direction. That being said, it was relatively easy to find our way around and not as stressful as I thought it would be - kudos to Universal. We paid our $15 (ouch) for parking and were then guided to a spot to park our car (be sure to remember what area you're parked in...we were in the Dr. Suess section). Upon first arrival (after having our bags checked for contraband food and non-H20 beverages), we got confused about how to purchase tickets. We eventually figured it out, shelled out a whole lotta dough for our tickets (we had one freebie because my husband's mom worked at Universal - it was a nice savings), then proceeded to the spot where they check your ticket (which is where we headed first and were told with 'aren't the newbies cute?' smiles, that we had screwed up).
|Entrance to Hogsmeade and Butterbeer Cart|
groups to ride the roller coasters. Unfortunately, the sign that read 20 minutes for one of the roller coasters was being changed to 35 minutes as we approached. I went with my two oldest boys to ride the Dragon Challenge, a roller coaster ride where you nearly collide with the other 'dragon' flying around at the same time. As a kid I could ride any roller coaster without any effect beyond joyous abandon. This time I felt nauseous and had trouble keeping my eyes open, so I missed the near-collision part. I also shrieked a lot, which is totally unlike me. Ah, well. Maybe next time I'll be able to stare death in the face. While standing in line, we worried that we needed to present our tickets for each ride (you don't), but we eventually relaxed when we didn't see anyone else with tickets in hand (my husband had the backpack with everything, including tickets, in it - backpacks are good to have, btw - we stowed a bottle of water and sunscreen, along with wallets and the camera). We were in shade for a majority of the 30-minute wait (actually it was like being in the underground tunnels of a castle), so that was nice. My husband and youngest son, who was too short for the DC, rode the Flight of the Hippogriff (be sure to check the website for height requirements for ALL the rides). I didn't get to ride that one, but next time I plan to give it a go. It sounds quite fun. Both of them liked it, though my husband thought it was a bit scary...for him. The six-year-old was fine.
|Lockhart Entertains Us|
|The Quidditch Box|
|The Snitch Flying Through the Sky|
|Ollivander's Wand Shop|
While buying the wands, our clerk wondered if she could fit the wand boxes into the tiny plastic bag used to hold my postcard (I had to get at least one memento of my own). A spell was suggested, whereby the other clerk reminded her that 'use of magic' in front of Muggles was forbidden. I, of course, told them not to make assumptions about our Muggles status. Corny, yes, but most definitely fun. The crowd was all pretty much like-minded - ready to enjoy the fantastical world of make-believe and that, to me, was just brilliant.
Our visit to Ollivanders finished up our morning of fun and adventure. In Part Two I'll talk about dining at The Three Broomsticks, our visit to Honeydukes, and our tour of Hogwarts, including the ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, the absolute best part of the whole day!
Until we meet again...
|Come Explore Anaedor!|