Saturday, November 27, 2010


I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

I am sorry for the delay on the pics, but with the holiday and running around central Florida, I hadn't had the time to sort through and post these AMAZING scenes from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida.

I left off the story as I am searching for parking. I finally make it to the final lag of my journey. On the top of the parking garage, a few spaces remained.

I pull into the first spot of the last row. Behind me the next twenty-five or so lucky visitors follow and take the last spaces available.

I had never seen people move so fast, it was like a blur of colors in my peripheral  vision.

The intense sun beat down upon me. I rummage through my backpack, pull out the sun screen and slather it onto my exposed shoulders, arms, and face. With my pale northern skin, I burn way to easily.
Throwing the sunscreen back into the bag, I search for my camera. I take a deep breath, wipe the sweat from my brow and off I go!

I can't begin to tell you the masses of people ahead of me as I trek through the garage on my way to WW. Down escalators, stepping onto the people movers, trying to get ahead. As I cross over into the park itself I look up and there it is .... HOGWARTS CASTLE! My heart beats faster. I stop. Gazing across the bay I see all the exquisite details piercing the sky. I searched for the little boats. Where are they? Can't we cross the lake like Harry and his friends? I sigh. Alas no boats.

Rushing with the masses, I search in a frenzy for the entrance into WW. You could imagine my disappointment when there is no Hogwards train waiting to take me into the Hogsmeade. One has to pass through the colorful world of Dr. Seuss' Seuss Landing first. The vibrant colors slap you into the world of the Cat in the hat and the Grinch who stole Christmas.

After several minutes weaving my way through, I come to another section of Islands of Adventure: the lost continent. I begin to hyperventilate. Between the 85 degree heat, the thousands ... yes, I mean thousands of people, I still can't find WW.

I decide to follow everyone else and I come to a roped off section with four of five lines of people. In the distance I see the gates of Hogsmeade. My heart skips a beat. I wait for several minutes. I notice the masses handing a white slip of paper. What now? What's this all about?

I hear, "You need to have a entry ticket. You must go back into the voyages of Sinbad."

At this point I mumble a few choice words and I join the conga line back into the Lost Continent. Following another line back, I am handed the white slip of paper that enables me to finally enter.

A moment later, I arrive back to the entry. Slowly, ever so slowly I get my second glimpse into this amazing world....

With the sun blazing through through the gate, I approach. Me and hundreds of others. The first stop is to try and get to the Hogwarts express. With the smoke billowing through air and sunlight streaked across the engine, you can see the incredible detail of the Hogwarts' Express and the surrounding snow-capped cottages and storefronts of Hogsmeade Village.

The incredible details jump out at you! I must impress upon you fellow HP fanatics that you must be very patient. One has to be with the amounts of fellow fans meeting you at every turn. As thrilled as I am to be here, it is very difficult to get a pic without some HP fan jumping into the scene ... each and every step is another fabulous pic. 

Oh, look! ZONKOS! Look at those adorable Pigmy Puffs in the window! It looks like they combined Diagon Alley to Hogemeade.... Where's Gringotts?

OOOOOoooooo, shall we get something sweet at Honeydukes. Oh, my God, that line wraps all the way around the building .... I'm not that desperate for a sweet. I'm thirsty, so I look down the street and see what I want....

Where's the end of this line? I get distracted by the unbelievable roofline. This is AWESOME! 

Well friends, I leave you here now. I must get that delicious looking butterbeer. Who knows how long that will take? 

Until Tomorrow.....


  1. I don't know if I'll ever make it there-I deplore giant crowds. So, thank you so very much for sharing your journey and I love the photos!!!!

  2. Thank you for sharing your pictures and story! I have to live vicariously through you because I don't think I could brave those crowds.

  3. Gorgeous! I look forward to going there sometime in the future! ;)

  4. ohmygawd! I want to go so BAD! It looks fabulous! Thank you so much for sharing your pictures, Michael!

  5. Do you think in her wildest imaginings, J K thought that her fictive world would become an American theme park? I envy you the trip in one way. But I am like Words Crafter, I am uncomfortable around crowds. The Lakota in me wants space and the sound of the lonely winds singing to my ears.

    I loved your photos. But those crowds!! Take care. I am back to writing the darkest chapter in THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH. But don't worry, the chapter's title says it all : "Victor's not just my name."

  6. Wow! Looks so beautiful! I donno about all those lines and people though. Might wait a while before I get to it. Looks sooooo lovely though, that could be a hard wait!

  7. I'm glad you enjoyed the pics Words Crafter. I am not a fan of crowds either, but sharing a common bond with the masses does help.

    Heather, you would be better to go off season. Remember WW is only five months old. Very happy to oblige.

    Marieke, thanks for stopping by. Always a pleasure. You will LOVE it!

    Hart, my pleasure. I hope you get here soon.

    Roland, the crowds are INSANE, but it's worth seeing the "magic" in person.

    Colene, it truly is lovely. The realism is so incredible. I have wonderful closeups coming in the next post. You'll love them.

    I hope my next visit will be equally as wonderful with less people of course.


  8. Such great pictures. My kids would just love it there. I likely won't be headed that direction until 2013 at the earliest because I want my youngest to be at least 5 so he can remember going there. I usually detest crowds unless I'm prepared. If the trip was planned I could bear it but if I stumble upon a crowd out of nowhere then I feel claustrophobic. You've been very lucky to get to go and we are all so lucky to catch a glimpse inside through your pics.

  9. Wow. They have done an amazing job recreating the HP world. You must have had an awesome time!

  10. It sounds so fantastic. I can't believe they've built a whole theme park around HP! Incredible stuff...


  11. AMAZING fun pics Michael! Thanks for sharing them with all of us sitting in a rocking chair at home with a laptop and a a four year old on our laps! And, um, rainy snow pelting our windows! :0) Glad you're having a blast!!! christy

  12. Ugh... Is it possible to ache for a place? If I could apparate, this would be my first destination.

  13. Thanks for taking us on the journey Michael. I'm loving it :O)