Wizarding World of Harry Potter FIRST visit!

Tons and tons of stuff has happened over the past few weeks. Firstly, my friend Rachel visited for her birthday “week” as she dubbed it. We went to St. Augustine and also Discovery Cove plus Busch Gardens. We had lots of laughs and it was great to have her down to visit because it’s been so long.
The other, most exciting news ever in a long time is that I finally got to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. After an unsuccessful attempt at getting in last Friday May 28 (which was the soft opening for people who booked packages back in March), I decided this was the week it would happen. After some intense internet research, I found out that they were letting in anyone who was staying at a Universal Resort. I immediately told a few people about that and booked the Royal Pacific Hotel. I got a great annual passholder rate and checked in on Wednesday afternoon. Stpeh joined me and we just lounged around and enjoyed the resort. On our way back from Citywalk, we just happened to be standing beside Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys. He was headed back to the same resort as us, Steph was ready to crap her pants. I thought it was cool, but we kept our distance and left him and his posse alone. After dropping off Steph, I went back to the hotel with Kim as we excitedly joined Shanan and Lisa for the evening and early morning. This morning we all woke up super early and walked over to Islands of Adventure. We were still hesitant that we were actually going to get in. Once 8am hit, we got into the park and rushed to the gates of the WWOHP. As we turned the corner, the gates were open and we all lost it. We were so excited. Our game plan was to run to the Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey ride as we’ve heard it’s been breaking down, so we wanted to get on it right away. As we walked through the line I couldn’t believe the details .They got everything right, down to the talking pictures, interactive rooms that snow on you and have holographic versions of the characters. As we got to the ride vehicles, a sense of crazy excitement overcame us all. We were actually going to ride this. We sat down and had no idea what to expect. Other reports have said it’s like Soarin mixed with Spiderman with a bit of Haunted Mansion. I must agree to that. After riding the second time, I figured the ride out. So your vehicle is attached to the Kuka arm that follows a track. The arm rotates and moves up and down, but the track stays flat the whole time. As you move from a live scene into the film part, a dome hitches onto your ride car and moves with you. All of this is seamless unless your looking for it like I was. I must say parts of the ride startled me, and the show elements are great. It’s not the best ride I’ve ever been on, but sure is up there. I think that’s because the hype is so much that it simply can’t live up to it. I’d give the ride a 9 out of ten. After getting off the ride, we of course bought our picture and then ran off to get Butterbeer. It’s simply amazing, and the foam on top is scrumptious. Like butterscotch vanilla foam. We noticed the line for Ollivanders was really long, so we waited to experience that before it got too crazy. They picked a young guy and went through the whole wand choosing him procedure. Then we bought our wands. This place was crazy small and crazy busy, you could hardly move. Since all the shops are very small, I foresee tons of crowd control issues once it opens for good. Hogsmeade streets are fine, it’s the stores that are not very stroller or wheelchair friendly. To be continued…..

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