20. Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


In a lot of ways you forget the awe and wonder that can happen in a day. After a while of living it becomes a rinse and repeat motion.

With two years of working a full-time job and only take little breaks here and there, I never considered that I had too forgotten.  This was my vacation to remember.

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Coat the world in magic to make it better. Wish everyday could be this way, coated in joy and continuous amazing potential. Going to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was just that.

You step through the Hogsmeade archway and into this all-wizarding village and you push to the Hogwarts train. It gives the feeling that you have really arrived, and there is no turning back now. I pushed through the awe and unto the excitement of this great adventure.

I rushed forth to the first ride Champions Challenge, where we rode a hair wrenching loop-to-loop roller-coaster.

“I’m a champion, I’m a champion,” I chanted waiting on-line for the coaster. I’m horrible with loop-to-loop roller coasters. I aimed for fearless. I was living in the wonder, and fear wasn’t getting in my way.

Maybe I should have listened to the fear, and ultimately the reason.

The swirling, spinning overture may have allowed me to defy death before planting me back on my feet, but these feet were shaky sticks that couldn’t even hold up a marshmallow. I chugged water. I held the wall as I walked.

This wasn’t holding me back from the rest of the day. I was determined, even on shaky stick legs.

Breathing slowly I used the opportunity to pop into cramped Dune and Burke to gaze upon the fantastical souvenirs that coats ever aspect of life in the magical world of Harry Potter. From cloaks to copies of the Quibbler with glasses and all. They even had a growling The Monster Book of Monsters locked in a cage.

Walking into streets from the crowded shop I could see magic soaked into every nook. It made me feel like it wasn’t all in my head.

I walked into Olivander’s and watched a wand selection. I ventured on to Hogwarts where we waited on-line for the ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, a combination simulation and roller coaster ride. As we waited we were walked through Dumbledore’s office, gazing upon the little trinkets in the glass cabinets and on his desk, and then on to the portrait hall to watch them welcome up and even scowl at our Muggle presence.

Approaching the ride were greeted by the dynamic trio; Harry, Ron and Hermione explained how they were going to sneak us into Howgarts to go on our own sort of adventure. They weren’t joking, I swirled, swooned and tried to envision a breeze. It didn’t work.

As we whirled our final turn and settled into our final resting spot, I hurled. It projected half way across the holding space, and even a little down my shirt. There were no words. Shocked and stuttering, I attempted to apologize at the wizard at the section. He wasn’t fazed at all.

Probably just another part of his day. For the rest of mine, it meant cleaning up, and attempting to calm down. I then took to the restaurant to get some water and greasy fish in my stomach to help it settle. After a glass of butterbeer I felt better, but in need of a safe place to land.

Returning to hotel, I laid my eyes on the magnificent place we would be staying for the night. Plum beds overflowing with soft fluffy covers. everything felt divine. Stepping into the bathroom, I was a gasp. It was twice the size of the bathroom I had at home, and spoke of luxury. It still surprises me that a phone was located on the wall next to the toilet.

Flopping on the bed, I shut my eyes for an afternoon break among the fluffy pillow masses.

Within a hour it was time to rise and explore the rest of the park, milking our tickets for every aspect of the two parks at Universal that is conceivable. After a day in the parks the night was also filled with adventure, going to the boardwalk filled with evening events. Catching a drink with my aunt and uncle was divine after the day of constant moving.

Throughout the trip, it was constant diving in head first. Going for the next adventure. Never holding back and seeing what magic can come from it all.

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Sometimes you get so isolated dreaming up these fantasies to escape while your working through everyday life that you forget that there is a real world ready to explore. In this case it was a place I had imagined for so long that it stuns you when it becomes so real.

Thanks to all the people that helped make this trip not only possible but magical: Annie, Linda & Ed Brunner, Patricia Thompson, Eileen Thompson, Karen Speight, and all my cousins.

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