I should begin with the fact that my sister and I unfortunately did not go to Diagon Ally :(. She and I only had enough money to go to Hogsmeade, but that was well worth the trip.
Payton and I arrived at Island of Adventures just after 4.00pm on the 30th of December. Orlando is usually very busy during this time of year as many people travel there for New Year celebrations. The parks are packed 97% of the time. However, we have learned that going to parks later in the afternoons opens the door for shorter lines and more space to move. When she and I arrived at IofA at 4.00pm, it was raining. Most people were heading back to their hotels to dry off and put their feet up after a long day in the park. Payton and I were ready to raid the town and have a blast. Immediately, she and I ran towards Hogsmeade.
My sister and I are big Harry Potter fans. We’ve each read all seven books and have seen the movies countless times. I’m personally a big Ron Weasley fan, but that’s beside the point. We were most excited to see how the wizarding world was recreated for us muggles to enjoy.
It. Was. Awesome.
The buildings look just like parts of Edinburgh. When I was walking through Hogsmeade, I kept saying to Payton, “It really looks like Scotland! They did such a great job!”
See what I mean!? It felt like I was wandering the winding streets of a wintry wizarding world. My inner self was so happy.
Payton and I walked all the way through Hogsmeade taking in the view before deciding to to go Ollivanders. The line to get in wasn’t terribly long. We maybe waited for forty-five minutes (much shorter than the lines we have stood in before!). Upon entering Ollivanders, we were huddled into a corner to listen to the wand maker himself tell us about wands. He selected a small girl from the crowd to come forward to get her wand.
She was given three different wands. When the first two were waved, drawers flew open, lights flickered, and boxes were knocked over. But when the girl was given the third wand, a shining light came around her and a great wind blew her hair. The wand had chosen the wizard. I know that may sound totally silly, but as Payton and I stood there watching the even go down, I couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear. It really was magical to see the small girls face as the wand chose her.
You can buy wands in the store. They have a wide selection of wands that are the ones the character used as well as wands uniquely made for us muggles. Some wands are also usable around Hodsmeade. The staff will give you a map that will lead you to spots about Hogsmeade, where if you wave the wand, different things will happen!! It’s truly a muggles heaven.
My sister and I didn’t buy wands though because I couldn’t settle to a specific make and hold. I’m incredibly indecisive. So what did I buy instead? Only the next best thing!! We had further option to purchase scarfs and mitts sporting the colors of our houses (I’m a Gryffindor while Payton is a Hufflepuff), but even the gold and crimson didn’t call to me. Something else did.
I got a pin. A simple little pin that makes a large statement.
Quidditch is a great sport, and of course I would support the boys in green. Gotta love my Irish lads. ;-P
After Ollivaders, Payton and I headed towards Hogwarts. We got to the entrance to the castle/ride, but the wait was well over an hour and a half. She and I decided to come back later in the night when the wait wouldn’t be that long. Good decision.
She and I chose then to try Butterber. We waited in line for about fifteen minutes before getting to the front to order. The lady asked us if we wanted the butterbeer froze or not. I didn’t realize we were going to have a choice! Because everything is better frozen, we chose to go that route. It was another good decision!!
Payt and I weren’t sure what to expect when we went to sip our butterbeer. Let me try to describe the taste. Imagine a fizzy drink that is frozen into a slushy state. It’s sweet as it is but with a slight bite. The butter (or cream as I’m pretty sure it was) as an extra sweet kick to the top. When mixed together the frozen butterbeer slides down the throat in a frozen fizzy sweet state.
After butterbeer, Payton and I decided to go to Honeydukes to get some sweets to eat as we walk around other parts of IofA. She and I weren’t quite hungry enough for dinner and the line would still be too long at Hogwarts. Getting snacks for the rest of the park was our best move.
In the Harry Potter books, the Honeydukes sweet shop is mentioned several times as the best place in Hogsmeade to get candy. There’s all kinds of sweet creations! The Honeydukes in IofA did not dissapoint. Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bots, and Pumpkin Juice was on sell around every corner! Payton and I chose to get cookies and creme fudge. It was to die for!!
Once we had our fudge, we were ready to head to other parts of Island of Adventures. After some fun with dinosaurs and getting a little lost, she and I were ready for dinner. We chose to eat at Three Broomsticks, which I must say was one of the best pub recreations I’ve seen. Period.
If memory serves me right, Payt ate chicken? and I had fish n chips. Y’all, it was so good. I’m not even saying that because I was hungry. I think it was actually just really good food. The inside of the pub had several open areas full of tables and chairs for people to eat at while above us was a second level full of winding staircases and a giant wall covers in antlers. Three Broomsticks was quick and efficient. It received a 10 in my book!
Last but not least, Payton and I decided to hop in line to go on the Hogwarts ride. The wait time for the ride had come down to 45 minutes. But the cool thing is that while you are waiting in line, you are going through different parts of the school. Most of the waiting period was spent in the greenhouse. It took us a little while to figure it out, but Payton eventually noticed all of the plants around and put it together. She’s smart and stuff.
But then, we walked through the doors.
We walked past the Fat Lady and the entrance to the Gryffindor common room, Ro, Hermionie, and Harry had a plan to sneak us onto the Quidditch pitch, and then we were off! We clambered into a seat contraption and few through the air with Harry and the gang! I don’t want to give the action away for those of you who haven’t been yet, but it was worth the wait! With the help of the three musketeers, we were able to save the day. My muggle self was very happy.
All in all, our trip to Hogsmeade was a wonderful one. It was well worth the money and something Payton and I will always remember. One day, I will get back to see Diagon Alley, but until then, I will keep that day in a special place in my memory.