Today is the first full day of conference. After the fun and stress of the Lit Signing (I love signing but being 1 in a sea of 500 can be intimidating) Smarty Pants and I have some fun planned for today. Yes, we're playing hooky and skipping the AGM, workshops and various Pan/Pro events to attend a theme park. But this isn't just any theme park...it's HARRY POTTER.
This 'world' at Universal Studios only opened last month. It's new and for a fan of the books it's a chance to see the places and things that we've read about for years. As an author it's amazing to be able to watch the visualization of a story as it comes to life.
From what I understand it's actually a fairly small place...especially for the number of people who are trying to cram into it at once right now. I'm looking forward to riding the three rides. Forbidden Journey a state of the art trip through Hogwarts and the Harry Potter world. Flight of the Hippogriff where you have to learn how to bow to the proud animal before you're allowed to ride. Dragon Challenge which gives you the opportunity to be part of the tri-wizard tournament by riding on the back of a dueling dragon roller coaster. I've heard the lines are atrocious but I know they're going to be so worth it.
But the rides aren't the only things I'm looking forward to. Ollivander's, Filch's, Dervish & Banges, Honeydukes, the Owl Post, Zonko's, the Three Broomsticks. I want to see all the treats from the books. I want to buy a wand. I want to try a frozen butterbeer and eat at the three broomsticks. I want to walk through Hogwarts. I want to immerse myself in the world that I've read about for years...the world I've imagined in my own head for years.
For anyone also planning to hit the park while we're down in Orlando, a little advice. It's being reported that there is a 2 hour wait to enter that area of the park during the morning and late afternoon hours. Forbidden Journey is running at a 120 minute wait. All of the rides do have a single rider line, however, if you do it on Forbidden Journey you'll miss seeing some of the castle. Ollivander's is running at a 2 hour wait (all of it in the sun). They take 20 to 25 people at a time and only one person will be picked for the show where the wand chooses the person. If a child is in the crowd they will be picked. The Three Broomsticks usually has an hour wait to get in for lunch and dinner and they do not take reservations.
For any Harry Potter fans out there, I'll be happy to report on my favorite parts of the experience when we get home. Have you read Harry Potter? Do you have plans to visit the park?