Florida & Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!!!

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Since returning from my semester abroad and being back at Springfield, the next exciting thing on my planner was my eagerly anticipated Florida trip with Dad =)

Though I stayed on campus an extra day to work, once back in CT, I completely lost all motivation to do anything. For two days, I promptly procrastinated on the whole “cleaning/packing/doing anything other than making a list” thing and earned myself an all nighter before we flew out at 6:30 Monday morning. Once boarded, I wolfed down my chocolate chip muffin and grasped my latest fun read, The Night Circus, on my lap with full intentions to dive deeper into the book’s twisting plot. Per my usual flight routine, however, I was asleep before take-off. 30,000 feet up and a pile of drool later, I was rudely awakened by what my dazed state thought was a cacophony of popping metallic machine guns. Wrong, it was just the audacity of other passengers violently opening their cans of soda at 7AM. Don’t worry, I was asleep again in seconds, woke up just in time to catch the packet of animal crackers the flight attendant flung at my lap, and later regained consciousness upon the impact of landing. Attendants tell flyers to turn off all MP3s, phones, and “anything with an on/off switch” during take off and landing (to presumably avoid distractions), but they never consider the deepness of my sleep or lack of attention I pay to in-flight safety procedures (that haven’t changed since I was 10, besides the fact from 18 flights last semester I probably sub-consciously memorized them)….

And now to the exciting part: spending our first Florida afternoon at Universal Studio’s Island of Adventures: Wizarding World of Harry Potter!! Insert gasps, applause, excited giggles, jealous glances, and even a few tears of joy perhaps.

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Although we’d been to the park for the first time this week last year, I waltzed around with a mile-wide smile taking pictures of everything and humming along to various recognizable soundtrack songs, quizzing myself on which movie it came from. I was also rocking my Sigma Tau Delta (English Honor Society) shirt; I figured it’d be best to get all my nerd out on the first day of our trip, seeing as it’s no secret I’m refusing to do anything school-related while I’m on break other than brainstorm for a couple upcoming papers/projects. In the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we hopped on the most popular part of the park, the “Forbidden Journey”, an amazing ride that takes you through a handful of awesome scenes, including the Observatory via Floo powder, the Forbidden Forest (complete with book 2’s scary spiders), soaring through a Quidditch match, the Chamber of Secrets’ snake skin, the Great Hall, around the grounds behind Harry’s Firebolt chased by book 4’s Hungarian Horntail breathing fire, dementors, and maybe another scene that I’m forgetting. Either way, it’s an awesome ride, and for any fan that doesn’t get motion sick, it’s absolutely worth the wait!!!! While you’re in line beneath the towering Hogwarts, visitors pass through a greenhouse, a hall with talking and moving paintings like those from the main staircase, past the chatting sorting hat, and through the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom with realistic holographs of the trio, and a candle lit Great Hall =) I absolutely loved it! I also rode “Dueling Dragons”, the flipping roller coaster Universal re-themed to fit Harry Potter, the waiting line complete with a replica of Mr. Weasley’s Ford Angelica, the Tri-Wizard Cup, contestant’s clue eggs, etc., and Dad bravely joined me! I also rode the more family-friendly “Flight of the Hippogriff”, which actually was deceivingly faster than I’d expected. We wandered around the snow-capped shops of Diagon Alley into Dervish and Bangs, Ollivander’s, Honeydukes, and Zonko’s, snapping pictures at the incredible detail at every corner. Once Dad’s queasy stomach (from the rides) settled, we ate dinner in the Three Broomsticks, washing down chicken and shepherd’s pie with the two kinds of refreshing Butterbeer they serve. Yummm! Since this is the newest addition to Islands of Adventure, even the storage lockers are high-tech!: finger-print recognition- you don’t have to worry about losing a key, as long as you remember your locker number and which finger you used!!

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More pictures and a post from the beach to come =)

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