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Wands at the ready!

- Alex

For all of you Muggles waiting for your Hogwarts letter, your day has finally come.  Yes folks, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is coming to Orlando Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure in the spring of 2010!

I’ll admit it, I’ve been a Harry Potter fan since the first grade, and had a Harry Potter themed 16th birthday party, so this is a big deal to me.  In the park, there will be a recreation of the Hogwarts castle for wizards and Muggles alike to venture through.  Passageways, classrooms, corridors, and familiar locations will be open to the public to explore; you might find yourself in Dumbledore’s office, or maybe even the Great Hall. 

Even if you haven’t passed your Apparation test yet, never fear, the wizarding town of Hogsmeade is nearby for those of you who aren’t able to vanish into thin air.  No need to don an Invisibility cloak here, you have full permission to let your wizard-loving nerdiness run wild here.  In Hogsmeade, you’ll find all of the local favorites.  Fancy a Chocolate frog or some Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans?  Honeydukes candy store is the place for you.  Or maybe you would rather purchase a new wand, in which case you would go to Ollivander’s and let the wand choose you in an interactive experience.  Zonko’s joke shop, the Owlery, Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods, and Dervish and Banges are all there if you are interested in anything from Quidditch gear to Spectrespecs.

Getting hungry after a long day of wizarding euphoria?  The Three Broomsticks is always open to serve you a Butterbeer or a pumpkin juice (plus some Muggle food if you’re interested).  The Hog’s Head is also available for adults who would want a break from their wizard-crazed kids to enjoy a Butterbeer…minus the Butter.

As far as rides go (remember, this IS an amusement park), Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and the Dragon Challenge seem the most interesting to me.  In the Forbidden Journey, you can join Harry and his friends in an adventure high above the grounds as well as through the notorious castle.  According to Travel Weekly, the Dragon Challenge requires “the courage of a Triwizard Tournament champion” as you embark on a thrilling ride with two racing dragons.  As far as “adventures” go, all I’m wondering is….will there be Quidditch?

For more information, check out http://www.universalorlando.com/harrypotter/.  It’s interactive, and if I do say so myself, pretty darn cool.  So wands at the ready fellow wizard freaks, Harry Potter will be flying your way this spring!

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