Late Honeymoon to Hogwarts

Okay, so I totally feel bummed that I vented before posting the photos. So I am taking down the section where I complain a lot about things that don't matter. :) Just enjoy the post; Love you all!

I had the time of my life last week. Gabriel and I went on a late honeymoon to Orlando, Florida. We visited Universal Studios for three days and were pretty hesitant to come home. We loved it there.

Ever since I was an early teenager, I have had deep connections with the world of Harry Potter. You see, I am one of the few luckies that are the same age as Harry, Ron, and Hermione. So it feels like I "grew up" with them. The books always felt like home to me. Not because I thought that world was real. But the depth of the story and the lessons within touched me in a way that no other story had. Harry Potter isn't really about magic. It is about good versus evil. It is about a boy who couldn't be killed by evil, because someone loved him so much that they died for him (sound familiar?). It is about that saving love residing within him throughout his life as he fights to uphold good for the sake of everyone he cares about. It is about a boy who grows into a man in just seven years because, essentially, he is forced to. All in all, it is brilliant and I dream of the day when I could meet the woman responsible for it all: J.K. Rowling.

The reason I bring this up, is because The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the newest addition to Universal Studios' Islands of Adventure. And it is why Gabriel and I took the vacation in the first place. Sure, we were excited about the roller coasters and the various movie-themed rides. But the moment our airplane reached Orlando, we were looking for that castle...

I took a lot of photos. And here are my favorites of the entire trip. If you want better detail, just click on the photo. A much larger version should appear. I hope you enjoy them!

[starting the vacation off with a great meal at Bahama Breeze]

On Tuesday, we boarded the shuttle from our hotel, driven by a hilarious Congan man who's amazingly deep voice I could listen to all day long. We got all of our ticket business out of the way and there it was, in the distance...

[can you spot it? all the way past everything else... the castle!]

We took our time, though. I really wanted to take it all in. This place is like no other. A world away from the world. And I loved it; I think I needed it more than I realized. We, obviously, chose to play around in Islands of Adventure for the first day.

[Orlando reminded Gabriel of his beloved South Africa]

[this is a tunnel of spinning water. that's the only way to describe it. it was cool.]

[toon lagoon was so fun!]

[marvel city from a distance]

[a captain america fan]

[universal at night= magical]

[hmm... i wonder where we will go next?]

[the moment we had been waiting for months to savor]

[a cloudy day in Hogsmeade]

[it was packed to the walls on that day]

[the line for Ollivander's wand shop was the longest wait in the entire park!]

[wonderful. spectacular. amazing. breathtaking. in love.]

[sirius black. my favorite character.]

[pumpkin juice. unfortunately, i didn't have the taste for it at all.]

[butterbeer. now that beverage was fantastic. i am craving more of that whipped butterscotch foam.]

[the three broomsticks restaurant]

[so many wands!]

[fun shops]

[honeydukes candy shop: one of my favorites!]

[adorable decor]

[i made gabriel try all the gross ones with me. it was awesome.]

[our chocolate frog]

[this store is dangerous for a sweet tooth like mine!]

[zonko's joke shop]

[i loved this puppet man. i wish i could have brought him home with me.]

[the feeling is called "authentic"]

[hagrid's hut]

[we took a tour of the castle...]

[the sorting hat. i wish there had been a little show/ride with it, but at least it talked a lot to passersby.]

[harry, ron, hermione]

[dumbledore's office]


[a hall of live portraits]

[they mastered the effect]

[i just couldn't stop looking at it. infatuation.]

[hogwarts at night. gorgeous!]

It was fantastic. And if you are a fan of the books like I am, I encourage you to go if you can!
You will not regret one second of it.
Unless you spill your butterbeer.
That would be very, very sad.

And Gabriel said it best as we were leaving the park for the last time.
"The feeling in that place feels the same way Christmas does. Home-like and just plain happy."


Sydney said...

Ahhhh I'm so jealous! I want to go to Harry Potter land sooo bad! Happy Honeymoon!


Sara Zahn said...

I am so happy for you! We plan on going, but when our kids are old enough to enjoy it and feel the magic with us. Maybe by then it will be a little less packed :D
P.S> I made Butterbeer a little bit ago, and I used a recipe that is "supposedly" just like the Orlando version, I will have to have you try some sometime and tell me how close it is.

Kim said...

We're so excited for you. Thanks for sharing the pictures and letting us enjoy it with you a little. My girls and I are so jealous (but still totally happy for you guys). Lizzi can't believe you tried the gross Bertie Bott's flavors. She thinks you're brave.

Caty said...

Sara, I am excited to try your recipe! I can't wait! And the workers said the slow season is when all the kiddies are in school, fyi.

Kim, "soap" and "rotten egg" were definitely the worst. Bleggggghhhh.

Alison said...

Wow, that looks like it was tons of fun. Glad you guys could go.