Last Sunday night, I went to Universal Studios to see the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Even though I live only an hour from the theme park, I have only been three times in my life. The first time, I was maybe six, and I don’t remember very much about that visit, except for there was a giant black telephone somewhere in the park, and on the studio tour, I remember seeing Jaws, and going through a tunnel where there was a strange light vortex. The second time I went, was sixteen years ago, when my great-aunt was visiting from Canada, and she, my oldest son who was one at the time, and I went. I didn’t recognize the place at all, but when we went on the studio tour, Jaws was still there, and he was still every bit as cool as I had remembered.
When I walked into the park on Sunday, again, I didn’t recognize anything. There was a Simpson’s attraction that wasn’t there before, that was a cool replication of Springfield, and even had a Moe’s Tavern, Kwik-E-Mart, and other iconic locations from the show. My boys loved it. There was even a ride, which was pretty cool, but made me so motion sick that I’m sure my face was a sickly shade of green by the time I got off of it. It wasn’t a traditional ride, but one of those stationary rides that simulates the movements of the moving picture on the screen surrounding you. The picture moved around so fast, and the ride jerked around so much, that you felt like you were really part of the world it was portraying to you. I was so bummed out, because as someone who could once handle rides with the grace and poise of a child, I was feeling my age, and performing a walk of shame of sorts when I walked off the ride.
We took the studio tour, which of course had changed yet again from the first two times I had been on it, but Jaws was still there. Good ol’ Jaws. Something tells me, he’ll still be there when I take my grand kids to the park some day in the distant future.
The most exciting part of the visit to the park was the Harry Potter attraction, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t fangirl out when I stepped into Hogsmeade and took a look at the world that had been replicated straight out of the books – and movies.
It was nice and cloudy out, so it had that legit England feel about it, which to me, made it all that much better. I bought my boys and I a butterbeer – which tasted exactly as I thought it would – and we set off to check the little cobblestone village out. It’s not very big, and it really doesn’t need to be, but it is filled with all the shops from the stories, and they seem to have incorporated almost every little detail.
I was completely in love with this place. I had no interest in the rest of the park by this point. I could have stayed there for the rest of the night, honestly. The most impressive part, to me, was Hogwarts.
It was absolutely gorgeous. I only got a nighttime shot of it, but I think I captured it well. Inside, there are other details from the movie, as you follow the path to the ride that is inside – another one similar to the Simpson’s ride, only this time you are flying on a broomstick. I didn’t know the nature of this ride going inside, and after feeling ill after riding the Simpson’s ride, I wasn’t about to put myself through another five minutes of that torture. I bowed out.
So, I have no idea when I’m going back, but the Harry Potter thing will likely get me back there before another chunk of time slips by. So will Jaws.
P.S. I’m on Tumblr now. You can check it out here: http://nefariousnanci.tumblr.com/