Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: "Wizard" Version

Hello Potterheads!

Entering Platform 9 3/4

You should read the "Muggles" version for the basic park info and tips, especially the restaurant ones.  

But if you are a true fan, I know you would like to know details of that part of the trip.  

As the Muggle version will tell you, the Wizarding World sections of the parks are more crowded then the rest.  So we recommend going back to Hogsmeade first as the crowd looks like it hits Diagon Alley as they first walk in.  So, the rides at Hogsmeade have little to no wait times first thing in the morning (8:00 a.m.)  

The Forbidden Journey ride queue winds through Hogwarts and is really neat.  The line actually went so fast that I think we missed some of it.  Note the talking portraits and all the stuff they have packed in there.  It would be nice if one could just tour Hogwarts on their own and not necessarily ride the ride.  I guess you could just bail at the end though.  The ride is jerky and not necessarily for everyone, but it is cool.  You feel like you are flying with them.

The wait time for the Gringott's ride said 20 mins, but it was at least double that, so don't rely on the signs.  It also had things for you to see in the line which is mostly inside a building.  While I'm thinking of it....

I know the desire to shop is a strong one, but really that should all wait until you are done with the rides.  They do have 1 hr free lockers at each ride, but they are tiny and really only meant for stuff like cellphones, glasses, etc.  The locker areas are crammed with folks entering and exiting.  They use fingerprint technology so the same person has to get the stuff out.  

Since the Potter areas are in two parks, it makes it a pain to use their free package storage service.  We were thrilled to send the stuff up front, but at the end, we found out we had to go back to the other park to pick up things too.  Now there is a huge area called City Walk in front of both parks.  Why didn't they just have one main pick up place there?  Just buy what you must in one park, pack it to the other via the train, then add it to whatever you buy there and send it all up front at once.

The exact replica of the Hogwarts Express.  This is a nice, but short ride between the parks with a video through the windows that makes you feel as you are actually traveling through the English countryside with wizard students.

The one thing folks might want to pack around is their interactive wand.  Taylor and I decided against it at the last minute as it was more money $53w/tax for an already silly purchase:) Audra wanted to use the map and try the interactive spots.  Not all of them worked or took more effort to learn then the time one had with the crowd waiting.  BTW, Taylor got Dumbledore's wand, I got Professor McGonagall's and Audra got Professor Snape's.  They are neat looking, but made of resin, so not only breakable, but meltable if left in a car, etc.  I have to say that I was actually more interested in having the Ollivander bag:) They have a show next door where "the wand chooses you," but we just chose our wands and got out of that crowded store.

Most of the stuff we purchased.  We had very limited space to carry stuff home on our flight.  Clockwise from L:  Remberall--just lights up, about $20, Dumbledore's wand, chocolate frogs with trading cards $11, McGonagall's wand, a popular candy "Fizzing Whizzbees" $9, caldron coffee mug $17, feather (ballpoint) pen $11, filled Honeyduke's jar $12 (unfilled ones are in black/white lettering), pumpkin juice $8, in the blue box-mint frogs $8, Snape's wand, then Hogsmeade postcards $10 for 10.

I purchased some postcards and sent from the "Owl Post."  I took my own postage stamps (they charge an outlandish price for stamps) and saved some time by pre-addressing labels.  I jotted a little note, took them to the Post and they postmarked them with a Hogsmeade mark.  Then I dropped them in the mailbox that was right there.

The prices they can charge for stuff and still actually sell it in droves amazes me!  I bet the markup on some things is 1000 percent!  

They tried to mimic the food and drinks--there was butter beer in all forms (regular, frozen, ice cream, hot.)  I think it tastes like cream soda with a lot more foam.  The pumpkin juice tastes kind of like apple/pumpkin pie--the bottle is cute though.  I had a cauldron cake for $6 which was like a fudge-filled cupcake.  The large chocolate frogs come with a two-dimensional trading card of one of the house heads or Dumbledore.  The most popular candy with the staff seemed to be the Fizzing Whizzes.  They are basically chocolate covered pop rocks and are pretty good.

We missed one wizard ride, the Flight of the Hippogriff.  It's a moderate roller coaster, but apparently the line queue goes past Hagrid's hut.  It was either closed or a long wait every time we were by.

Fizzing Whizzbee
The famous Chocolate Frog--solid chocolate.  Good, but not great--the trading card is fun though!

Close up of Snape's wand and the interactive wand map.

Dumbledore's wand on left, McGonagall's on right.  I especially like the wand shopping bag!

Well, that's it for now...please feel free to comment or email me with any questions/comments!  It's a necessary "Pottered Pilgrimage" if you love the books!  Here is a video of Taylor walking through Platform 9 3/4...

Until next time!


PS:  Please excuse the multiple colors and fonts....I have no idea why I can't change it.  Must be the wizards messing with me!

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