Thursday, 23 June 2011

Places to go, people to see: Hogwarts and Hogsmeade Village

What do you mean 'those are fictional places'?! Shut up.

Yeah ok, this post is actually about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Orlando. For those HP fans who've not been, go. And go now. It's completely amazing, magical you might say. Even my non-HP fan dad was thoroughly impressed when we went last year. The headline ride (Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey which makes up the contents of Hogwarts Castle) is spectacular, the merchandise is brilliant (stand out pieces: a wand from Ollivanders, Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Botts' Every Flavour Beans) and Butterbeer is the best thing you'll ever taste, especially a frozen one in the mid-afternoon Floridian humidity. 

It's also a topical post for obvious reasons film-related reasons and because WWOHP itself has just celebrated it's first birthday. And I'm spending my Saturday night - all of it - at the BFI watching films 5-7. Hugely exciting geekery. 

I don't claim that these photos represent the definitive account of WWOHP - because they absolutely don't - but I quite like them. And I can't wait to take more when I go back next summer!

One entrance to Hogsmeade, with Hogwarts in the background.

'Please respect the spell limits' 

Hogwarts Castle. Famous for its palm trees. (Taken from the bridge between WWOHP and Jurassic Park)


The metal work in the background is the Dragon Challenge dual coaster. Slightly underwhelming for this coaster fan.

The other entrance to Hogsmeade, from Jurassic Park. 

Part of the INCREDIBLE queue area for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, the INCREDIBLE main ride in WWOHP. The best ride in Orlando as decided by me, my mum, my non-HP fan dad and also Jonathan Ross.
Ridiculous attention to detail.

More detail. It's difficult to photograph the queue area because it's mostly in the dark - and involves some amazing technology that isn't easily captured - but it really is just incredible. Especially the 'magic' paintings.

Detail on the outside of Hogwarts, at the entrance to the ride.

One of the many hugely lucrative and cool merchandising opportunities. Not a hugely practical thing to buy in Orlando in the middle of August but do you really think that stopped me?! A huge, solid block of super sweet, American chocolate. Also has the trading cards, as per the books. I got Godric Gryffindor. 

The first view of Hogwarts you get on entering Islands of Adventure where it's located. Jurassic Park is to the left.

The Hog's Head pub.

The Three Broomsticks (restaurant).

A very very VERY quiet day in Hogsmeade, relatively speaking. You can see the pavement and everything!

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