Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The First Day of Summer

Yesterday I went to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal and you didn't!! Nya nya nya!

I can say that because no one asked me for a free bar of soap, so I have deduced that no one is actually reading my blog!

So, how was it, the hypothetical reader may ask?

Hot. Crowded. Hot and crowded beyond what you would deem possible.

I decided to take the girls yesterday for a few reasons. First, since Potterland had opened on Friday, I figured that the initial crush of people had died down. (You know, kind of like going to Krispy Kreme on opening day versus four days later. Maryanne and I did that once back in Stupid New Mexico, just so I could show her this particular phenomenon. Hundreds of people lined up on opening night for donuts. They handed out free samples. After looking around and splitting a free donut, we went home.) Second, at a mere projected high of 89 degrees, it was "cooler" than it had been for days. Third, the rains weren't predicted to start until 2pm; in fact, they never did (after days of downpours).

So off we went.

Now, we're regulars. So I've learned some tricks. We actually managed to get in, do most of what we wanted to do, and get back out by 1pm. But for everyone around us: two-hour wait to get on the Forbidden Journey ride. Two-hour wait to buy your wand. A mere ten-minute wait to get on the coasters. And by the time we left, at least an hourlong wait to get into any shop, any restaurant, or the bathroom. Yes, that's right, the bathroom. Now I don't know if they were actually standing in line to see the bathroom ghost Myrtle or actually had to utilize the facilities, but God help you if you actually had to pee.

And it's not like you could just leave Potterland to find a bathroom and re-enter. By the time we left, the line to get in (just to the Wizarding World!) was around half a mile long. And it was around 290 degrees in the shade. I just wanted to yell at these people. "GO BACK!" I mean, they were going to wait for hours in the relentless Floridian summer sun, only to enter Potterland and have a one to two-hour wait to do absolutely anything else. Kinda makes going to a tar-soaked beach look good by comparison.

Was it worth it? Absolutely! But, then, we bypassed the lines... The heat alone was enough to have my girls clamoring to go home by 1pm. But they really wanted to go, and we're all glad we saw it. We'll go back in November, when the crowds and temperature are both significantly lower. Okay, maybe a little sooner.

And Cathy got a wand. In fact, she got to be the girl in her group whose wand picked her. The rest of the group had to go pick out their own wands. Reed with Phoenix-tail feathers. (I knew you were wondering!) And we took photos by Hogwarts Express. And we wandered through Hogwarts itself. Maryanne went on the ride, but Cathy chickened out last second, so she and I sat it out. While we waited for Maryanne, I spoke with the ride attendants. They said you should definitely not go on if you are prone to any motion sickness... and then informed me that there is a special puke-cleaning crew that gets called in regularly. Okay. Definitely not going on THAT ride. Note that the Dumbo ride does not require its own puke-cleaning crew!

Cathy also picked up a Snitch. Just after we exited a store, I overheard someone say, "I bet I can get $200 on-line for this!" I was kicking myself not to have thought of that one! And Cathy has already informed me that she's keeping her Snitch.

The crew at Olivander's Wand Shop got a kick out of Cathy. When she was told that the wand cores consisted of dragon heartstrings, Phoenix tail feathers, or Unicorn hair, my little animal rights activist asked if there were any plant-based cores. The answer was no, of course, but in the end she decided that Unicorn hair and Phoenix tail feathers were acceptable, but not dragon heartstrings, since the dragon would have had to die to provide those.

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