Our first stop on our recent Florida trip was Universal Studios, because (if you haven't already heard), the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter has opened. My eight year old is a huge Harry Potter fan (our puppy's middle name is Potter if that's any indication) so we decided to head to Florida as part of our trip back South this sumer and check it out.
Personally, I've made it a bit into the first book and have watched parts of a couple movies, so I don't know nearly as much about it as my daughter but I do have a general idea. And the park seems very authentic and I'm sure will thrill and delight Potter fans. The effort put into detail really is amazing. The "snow" covered haphazard roofs and the buildings of the village really take you into the movie... well this part does:
But not exactly this part:
Yes. The crowds. They were insane. It was hot. The sun was beating down. And we were just about shoulder to shoulder with ... well, I can't even guess the number, but... a LOT of other Harry Potter aficionados. Sunday actually wasn't too too bad, but on Monday there was a line through other sections of Universal just to enter through the magical gateway into HP Land.
Over the two days (we visited other parts of the park too) we bought candy at Honeydukes, drank frozen Butter Beer (like melty caramel ice cream yum),
rode the one roller coaster that was mild enough for our group, and waited an hour and a half (hot but interesting window displays along part of the way) to get into Ollivander's.
There was a cool little show inside (for 30 people at a time) where a couple of children (I think it's usually just one) were chosen by their wands (and then the parents were offered the opportunity to buy them next door), and then we were ushered in to the shop. Here we were shoulder to shoulder as many people were still in there from previous shows. As I grabbed one of my children and clung to a wall, I learned that the Hermione wands were sold out (among a few others) but luckily I would be able to order my little fan her perfect wand online when they came back into stock.
So we will get my eight year old her Hermione wand eventually and my five year old chose a Willow #5. My seven year old said she'd rather go to Italy.
I'm already planning for next summer.
So all in all, I do have to say the Wizarding World is an amazing work of art, engineering, effort, and of course, imagination. I would probably just wait another year or two until some of the excitement dies down and it can be really seen and enjoyed.