Fun in Florida: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter & Disney World

-Brianna Huber

When I learned that my family would be going to Disney World over winter break 2012, I was thrilled.  It’s rare that I get to travel anywhere outside of Oregon and Washington.  Before a trip I took with my mom to Disneyland in winter 2011, I hadn’t been on a plane since my eighth grade trip to Washington, DC.  The only time I’ve been out of the country is when my family went to Victoria, Canada.  Florida is the farthest I’ve ever traveled from home, and even though the trip had some complications here and there (like my whole family getting sick with food poisoning and our flight home being diverted to Portland) it was a great experience. This blog will include some of my photos from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Disney World.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was like walking into a book.  I was greeted by a train conductor and a replica of the Hogwarts Express before venturing onward through the streets of Hogsmeade.  The ride through Hogwarts castle, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, was so much more than I expected.  I figured I was in for a mellow tour through the castle, but that was just while waiting in line.  The actual ride was a fast-paced, immersive thing where I flew across the Quidditch pitch, got spat at by Aragog, and was nearly smashed by the Whomping Willow.  I think a Dementor tried to steal my soul, too.  It was pretty intense.

Florida weather is even more temperamental than Oregon weather.  Torrential rain will come on in a matter of seconds, last for about twenty minutes, and then disappear for the rest of the day.  I took this photo during the second half of a downpour with a brief pause in the middle that my family and I used to run from under a covered doorway and into Honeydukes.  The rain started again the second I passed through the door.

This roller coaster was in one of the ‘lands’ adjacent to the world of Harry Potter and was based on the Incredible Hulk. It’s probably the coolest roller coaster I’ve ridden in my life. “Expedition Everest” in Disney’s Animal Kingdom was a close second. There were two Harry Potter-themed coasters, but they were both closed the day we were at Universal Studios due to nearby construction.

There was a skywriter above Epcot.  I have never seen a skywriter in real life before then, and it brought out my usual sense of childlike wonder.  I didn’t get to read the whole message because some clouds moved in front of it before it was finished.

No Disney World photo essay would be complete without Epcot Center, or as I like to call it, the giant golf ball.  There’s a ride inside of the ball that takes you through the history of human knowledge with animatronics.  I just missed getting a photo of “Michelangelo” painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and still haven’t gotten over it.

At the end of the night at Epcot, there was a spectacular fireworks show.  Apparently it could be seen every night around 9pm from one of the top floors of our hotel.

That’s the first half of Disney vacation in a nutshell.  I look forward to sharing my adventures at the space center with you soon.

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