I've been waiting for this for about 6 months.
I'm not kidding.
In fact, I almost had a massive panic attack when we stepped foot into Hogsmeade because I was so excited.
We checked out a Parisian joint for lunch [not really authentic, but some of the menu items had French titles and it was called 'Paris Bistro', so, what the hey], and it was so cute. Made me want to live downtown forever.
|open-face salmon sandwich for lunch today|
But I won't bore you with tales of the city. I'm here to entertain you with tales of Hogwarts.
|left: giant lollipops from honeydukes; right: authentic pumpkin juice|
In short, it is epic. They've done a phenomenal job with the place. Hogwarts castle itself is really well done; you can't enter it aside from the 'Forbidden Journey' ride [which is amazing, by the way], but the real focus of the area is Hogsmeade village. And it is, for lack of better words, and pun entirely intended, magical.
We visited it for the fist time yesterday, and, like I said, I almost cried tears of joy. Snow-topped roofs, buildings of all shapes and sizes clustered together cozily, cobblestone streets, Butterbeer stands around every corner, familiar shops, British accents. It is perfection.
Our first stop was, of course, Honeydukes Sweets. Which, upon entering, you find out is combined with Zonko's Joke Shop. It was delightful. And colorful. And delicious.
|inside honeydukes sweet shop|
I felt what I assume 7-year-olds feel when they unwrap Christmas presents. Times a hundred.
Of course, I had to buy something. So I went with a cauldron cake. Which was delicious, might I add. Mustafa bought a pack of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans [and, let me just say, they were all fine up until I got sausage, ear wax, and rotten egg, all of which made me want to spit the crap out right there in the street and cut my tongue off], Murtaza got a chocolate frog, and Yusra picked up some pumpkin juice.
|chocolate frog with a helga hufflepuff wizard card|
So many souvenirs! And so many wands! You have the option of purchasing a character wand, which are designed to mirror the wands used by specific characters in the movies, or you can give your birth month and date to a wizard who uses a Celtic calendar to select your wand. So, of course, we all opted for our own unique wands.
Needless to say there will be a lot of wizards' duals happening in the near future.
|the three broomsticks, where we enjoyed a dinner of fish & chips, rotisserie chicken, and cornish pasties|
Ahem. Sorry about that. There are few things that I am disturbingly passionate about. Harry Potter happens to be one of them.
The second performance was of the Wizarding School Spirits, i.e. the lovely ladies of Beuaxbatons and the proud sons of Durmstrang.
Like I said before, our first day at Hogwarts was really crowded. Like, hardly-enough-room-to-move crowded. Today, though, there was significantly less traffic. Likely because it's Christmas Eve and lots of people are off visiting family, and it was really peaceful at the park. We drove over late in the afternoon and stayed until after dark, which was quite a treat because all the Christmas lights and lampposts brightened the night. And my new Ravenclaw scarf kept me warm enough when the chill set in.
As a side note, those enormous turkey legs that I'm sure you've seen showcased on some Food Network holiday special [because I like to think that I'm not the only person who does this] are actually really tasty. And enormous. But really tasty. If you come down to Universal or Disney World at some point, get one. It will not disappoint.
Aaaand now that I've ramble for far too long about my little vacation, I will end this unnervingly lengthy post.
Maybe if I wish real hard, the Time Turner can take me back. Right? Right.
Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, ring the Hogwarts bell
Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, cast a Christmas spell
How wondrous the ways of Christmas
Have a Merry Christmas Day
Move around the sparkling fire
Have a Merry Christmas Day
Happy holidays, everyone! I hope it's a magical time of year for all of you, too.