'The Wizarding World of Harry Potter' welcomes stars and fans alike

hogwarts.jpgFor the release of the final DVD of the "Harry Potter" series (we can't believe it's over either), we traveled down to Orlando for the party being thrown at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It was a magical weekend.

The park itself is amazing - not just the Wizarding World part of Universal's Islands of Adventures, but the whole thing. From the Seuss Island to Poseidon's Fury to the Marvel Comic Strip, it is a theme park the whole family can enjoy.

But obviously the Wizarding World was the highlight. The only complaint is that there should be more! Hogwarts was the best part, for us. The detail that went into recreating the Hogwarts castle is astounding. Even if you can't or don't want to ride the Forbidden Journey ride, you can tour the castle and then leave before you get on the ride. (Which we would advise if you are even the slightest bit prone to motion sickness. We thought we were tough for rides like that, but the video element of it had us a bit queasy afterwards).

The Hogsmeade village is OK - fans will realize it's really a Diagon Alley/Hogsmeade hybrid - but there are only a couple of shops to tour plus the two pubs (Three Broomsticks and Hogs Head). We just kept wishing there was more to do.

There are two other rides, a small coaster called the Flight of the Hippogriff and a dueling dragons coaster that was actually already in the park under the name Fire and Ice before the Wizarding World was constructed. The dueling dragons is fun, while the small coaster is one the younger kids can enjoy.

In addition to the park, we also got to sit in on Q&A sessions with the cast and attend a party with them Saturday night (Nov. 12). Unfortunately, no cameras were allowed inside the party - but Warwick David conducting the Frog Choir was awesome.

We've included some videos below, though they aren't our videos. Our recorder had a hard time picking up audio, so we had to use somebody else's videos. But all the still photos seen here are ours.







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Photo/Video credit: Andrea Reiher, Zap2it
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