Mark Went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Totally true fact I did not make up for this post: I have slept 16 hours since Friday morning. I generally think that sleep is for the weak when I am on trips because I want to maximize every waking hour and it totally helps if all your hours are awake.

Also I have drank four cups of coffee and there is not enough in the world to keep me going and I am going to drown in espresso any minute now so this post is the worst post of posts that were ever posted and you should accept this reality.

My feet hurt and I’m sore and I might have a blister and I’m exhausted and every moment of this is worth it because the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is fantastic.

First of all, check out my photos of Day One and Day Two of my trip there. Do it. You know you want to.

It’s time for a list. OH, LISTS, I HAVE MISSED YOU.


  • Honestly, when I first walked into Hogsmeade, I think I stood there for over five minutes just gaping. I could not believe how realistic it looked. It’s so overwhelming that first moment you arrive.
  • The attention to detail is out of this world. I’d like to believe that the people who made this place were Harry Potter fans themselves because it’s frightening how accurate the place is and how many inside jokes are placed around the park.
  • BUTTERBEER. Enough said.
  • FROZEN BUTTERBEER. I still have my mug!
  • PUMPKIN JUICE. How. Just how.
  • Zonko’s. Silly and childish and colorful and pretty much what I imagined the place to be.
  • DRAGON CHALLENGE. Anyone who tells you this ride isn’t worth it is WRONG. I KNOW ALL THE FACTS. Yes, it’s just an old coaster retrofitted with dragons, but the ride itself is SO INCREDIBLE. I recommend doing what I did yesterday: Ride each color coaster, twice, while in the front row. Ain’t nothing like seeing yourself coming barreling head on with another coaster. Exhilarating. Also, the line to get in is pretty neat, with lots of references to the series, but be prepared for a very long, twisted walk, even if the line is short.
  • The men’s bathroom. I feel like I shouldn’t spoil it. Go in there.
  • Find Gringotts. I laughed.
  • THE LINE FOR THE FORBIDDEN JOURNEY. What’s that? A tour of Hogwarts? YES, PLEASE.
  • And I saved the best for last: The Forbidden Journey. It’s one of the strangest rides I’ve ever been on, but it is SO NERDY that super fans will be impressed. The quality is spectacular and the story is cute and I don’t really want to spoil it for the people who haven’t been yet. You really need to experience it for yourself.

And, because I have to be critical…


  • The line for Flight of the Hippogriff. The ride itself is silly and cute, lasts maybe 25 seconds, and is obviously for children, BUT WHY DID IT TAKE NEARLY AN HOUR. Oh god.
  • The park is too small. WHAT. I AM GREEDY. Just turn all of Islands of Adventure into Harry Potter stuff. Except the Comic Alley because it’s awesome and the Incredible Hulk ride is SPECTACULAR.
  • This isn’t really a realistic complaint, but it’s very jarring to be walking around a village with snow-capped roofs and you’re sweating buckets because it’s almost 90 degrees out in NOVEMBER. Oh, Florida, you truly are special.
  • MOAR.
  • I didn’t go into Ollivander’s because the line was always absurdly long. But not as bad as the worst thing about the park…
  • The line for Dervish and Banges. NINETY MINUTES TO GET A RAVENCLAW ROBE? ARE YOU SHITTING ME. Like, I didn’t go on Saturday because the line was so long and there’s always less people in the park on Sunday, WHICH WAS TRUE, yet somehow the line for D & B was twice as long as the day before. My advice is to find a way to expand the size of that shop so more people can go in. I would have spent myself broke if I could have.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: Loved it, exceeded expectations, would go again in a heartbeat.

WHEW. I made it through the post without falling asleep. I would also like to publicly state that I am so excited and honored to have met the ten of you or so this weekend, especially those of you who accompanied me throughout the day on Saturday while I was in the park. Honestly, the trip would not have been the same without you. So thank you to Sarah, Tori, Jamie, Kimberly, and Stephanie. You made this trip so wonderful. (And sorry for missing you, Shae! I shall return and we will MAKE THIS HAPPEN!)

Don’t forget. The Deathly Hallows contest/meet-up ends tomorrow at noon PST. ENTER AWAY. Or buy tickets and JOIN US AWAY.

(PS: That surprise I keep annoyingly hinting at will be revealed this weekend. PROMISE.)