Potterhead July: Harry Potter and the Orlando Bloggers!8:00:00 AM
The day before kicking off ALA weekend, a group of local bloggers and myself decided to spend the day with one another at Universal! It was a frenzy of rides and laughs and magic, and watching the others' reactions as they saw things for the first time was absolutely fantastic.
Of course, being the book nerds we all are, we spent the majority of our time in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We rode each ride they had to offer, sipped butterbeer and fishy green ale, explored Knockturn Alley to beat the heat (and to satisfy the Slytherins in our group), and altogether spent the day bonding with one another and enjoying ourselves.
When it came time to ride Gringotts, we were fortunate enough to have a minimized wait time and breezed through the queue line! The ride follows what happens in the seventh book, as Bill Weasley and a Gringotts goblin give us a tour of the vaults. Everything goes awry when we are met by Bellatrix and Voldemort, and Harry and the gang swoop in as we are caught in the middle of their battle. It's cinematic, it's a whirlwind of fun, and I just wish it lasted longer. If you've ridden Transformers or Spider Man, then you know how Universal combines visuals so seamlessly with the motion of the ride. When we exited the ride, the dragon over Gringotts breathed fire! We could feel the heat all the way down at the butterbeer shop we were standing by.
From there, we explored the shops a bit more, marveled at the amount of detail put into things, and headed out to King's Cross Station to catch the train over to Islands of Adventure.
Christina and Lillie going through the platform.
I had never experienced the Hogwarts Express before, and the journey was seamlessly magical and absolutely nostalgic. Before we knew it, we had arrived at Hogsmead station and it was time to leave. We headed straight for Dragon Challenge, breezing through the ten minute queue line, and riding both the Chinese Fireball and the Hungarian Horntail. By now we were starving (and quite dizzy from the coasters) and decided to have lunch at the Three Broomsticks.
One of my absolute favorite things to photograph, Hogwarts Castle!
After a break for lunch and more shop browsing, it was time for the Forbidden Journey! We raced through and around Hogwarts, fought off Aragog and some Dementors, zipped by the Quidditch pitch during a game, and landed safe and sound back in the Great Hall. I hadn't ridden it in years, so it was a delight to relive it all again!
Our day came to an end shortly after this, but it was in exceptional company and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. We parted ways, noting we would see one another bright and early the following day for our first day at ALA!
Left to right: Stephanie, myself, Lillie, Carrie, Christina, and Kendice.
But how could I possibly write up a Harry Potter post without including some House Pride?
I'm a Hufflepuff, through and through. But where is the love for us? We're so frequently written off as the ditsy house, the pushovers, the food lovers (well, I mean we DO have a secret entrance to the kitchens from within our common rooms...) and the castoff house. But that certainly isn't the case!
Hufflepuffs, I've been told, are exceptionally good finders.
By that, I mean we seek out the best in people. We are ever the optimist, but that doesn't mean we aren't equally skilled in the language of sarcasm. Not always sunshine and butterflies, Hufflepuffs are realists. We are logical and methodical, and always whole-heartedly devoted to whatever it is we set our minds to. We aren't going to start something and then half-ass it; although we might procrastinate a bit in the process, that doesn't mean we aren't hard workers. Just and loyal mean that we seek the truth and we fight for what we believe in, and we are fiercely loyal to our friends and family and value that in others as well. We are committed to doing what's right, even if that means making a difficult decision.
Often the butt of jokes and made to feel like the least important house, I want to change that by trying to bolster morale among my fellow Hufflepuffs so that we can show the world exactly the kind of house we are! We're compassionate, fierce, headstrong, and above all some of the best people you will ever meet.
So go find your favorite Hufflepuff, give 'em a hug, and show them that you know the real meaning of what it is to be a Badger!