Welcome to a new atlimbo.net; no longer in limbo, I needed to take some time to consider how I want to use this space. Well, it turns out I’m a huge nerd (as if you all didn’t know that already) and, for the moment at least, I’ll be sharing tales of geekdom here in my online home, if you don’t mind.
The craziest thing happened a few weeks ago – I got a phone call from my mother (not crazy at all, in fact this happens most days) and she had a crazy idea. How would I like to drive down to Orlando, FL with her (9+ hours) to take advantage of a free three-night stay at a 5-star Disney resort? Uhhh… Yes, please? She really didn’t have to twist my arm any, but to sweeten the deal she said “why don’t we go for your birthday?” oh and then there was “I was thinking you might like to check out The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.” I. WAS. SO. IN.
Here’s a little insider’s tip: I have been obsessed with Harry Potter pretty much since my high school librarian lent me the book that she’d bought in London over her vacation (they weren’t published in the US yet). I am a proud Slytherin and my Patronus is probably a fat, useless house cat. My wand is made from Holly. If I were part of the wizarding world, I would have become a Potionsmaster, and have been writing one (in the form of Adrian Pucey) in online RPG groups for well over a decade.
[My mother has] always, always, supported my interests and I’m only the stranger for it.
I have made some of the best friends of my life via Harry Potter, and I’ve always been very grateful for the community, and for the fact that my mother never told me I was insane for wanting to believe in magic and unicorns and flying brooms. She’s always, always, supported my interests – from dance to politics and Jedi to Harleys – and I’m only the stranger for it (in the best way, of course).
First let me say this: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter nor Universal Studios Orlando is in no way compensating me for this post, though I really wish they would – seriously, Universal, call me, maybe? – and I have no reason to be writing it other than how utterly obsessed I am with a theme park 9+ hours from my home, that costs way more than I should ever spend on one day of activities, but I digress… Now that’s out of the way…
OMG KEYBOARD WTF FOR REALZ HARRY POTTER WORLD IS THE MOST MAGICAL PLACE ON EARTH. SUCK IT, DISNEY.
Phew. Okay. Just had to get that out. I feel immeasurably better.
Why? Because I’ve been holding that in since we wandered through Springfield and came upon – out of nowhere – #12 Grimmauld Place. Have you ever seen a child meet Santa Claus at the mall for the first time? Said toddler doesn’t care that the beard is fake and Santa has clearly had a little too much whiskey this morning — that toddler is staring at FRICKIN’ SANTA CLAUS HIMSELF. That’s what it felt like walking through the magical entrance to Diagon Alley. I didn’t care that things were made of plastic, that there were more adults than children in attendance, or that every single shop was trying to sell me over-priced tchotchkes. I WAS IN FRICKIN’ DIAGON ALLEY. I could run into a Weasley at any moment. JK Rowling herself could have greeted me and I wouldn’t have been shocked.
I am a 34 year old woman and for a few minutes I felt like I was eleven and had just gotten my Hogwarts letter via Owl Post.
Yes, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is an expensive experience – tickets start around $190 per person per day for the park-to-park trip, and the Harry Potter rides and experiences span two parks (Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios), and the gift shops and mementos add to that tab – but it is an incredible expensive experience. I had a wand choose me in Ollivander’s; I got fitted for my Slytherin robes at Madam Malkin’s; and got to toast pumpkin juice at the world famous Leaky Cauldron. I took a ride with Harry and his friends through Hogwarts Castle, and saw a dragon spit fire and smoke atop Gringott’s Bank. These are not things I can do in my everyday, because sadly I am not a witch and the hidden wizarding world of JK Rowling is fictional. At least as far as I know as a Muggle.
Final thoughts: Worth every single penny, it felt like a once-in-a-lifetime moment that I was lucky enough to share with my mother and to celebrate my birthday. If I lived in Florida, I’d be that idiot to shell out for a year-round pass every single year. Instead of spending my days off lounging at the beach like I do here in Myrtle, I’d spend every free moment exploring the faux-cobblestones of Diagon Alley and the fake snow topping every building of Hogsmeade. I would be doing so decked in my very best school robes, even if with the blonde hair I got mistaken for a Malfoy more than once throughout the day. I already can’t wait to go back, but may need to do some saving in the meantime 💰💰💰