Orlando, Florida, U.S.A. – I was 10 years old when I picked up the first Harry Potter book. Relatively new to the world of fancy vocabulary and books, I dived into an unknown yet mesmerizing world.
There were bits in the novel which at that time were difficult for me to comprehend, but by the end of the first book, I had gotten the gist of Harry’s story and was completely convinced that next year, when I turned 11, my letter would be arriving soon.
Well, we all know how this ends – to my utter disbelief, the letter never came. But this didn’t diminish my awe and need to be in this wizarding world. Role playing as one of the characters and watching the films became my abode.
Exactly 11 years later, I got the chance to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
I have no words to describe my feelings as I was transported from one world to another in a matter of seconds. Yes, you heard that right. Diagon Alley was right under my nose and I didn’t know.
It was so real that a few times, I had to touch the walls of Hogwarts castle and experiment with the wands at Ollivander’s to be sure that I wasn’t in a dream.
They’ve captured every major and minor detail from the books. You’re welcomed by a miniature London where Sirius Black’s house is and if you observe closely, you will notice an elf (Kreacher, of course) peeping at you from the window.
The Knight Bus and King’s Cross Station are all there, waiting to transport you to another world.
We took the Hogwarts Express from King’s Cross Station and by this time, I was literally in tears.
Disappearing into platform 9 3/4, boarding the Hogwarts Express and landing into Hogsmeade, they have missed no detail. Even the snowpeaks are created to perfection!
The Hogwarts Express shows you the different journeys of Harry, and you can also see silhouettes of Harry, Ron and Hermoine appearing outside your carriage which is followed by a Chocolate Frog on the door.
Upon entering the Hogsmeade in the Universal Islands of Adventures, you have tons of Harry Potter-themed entertainment that will keep you captivated for longer than you think.
From buying Butterbeer to the Forbidden Forest ride, you can enjoy everything. The weather was so warm and Butterbeer was the ideal chilly drink to get hooked on. There’s even a Buckbeak-themed ride that lets you sweep pass Hagrid’s hut.
Diagon Alley, which is in the Universal Studios, has a red brick entrance. The bricks form an opening as if Hagrid is standing next to you, tapping the bricks in order.
Leaky Cauldorn, Gringotts, talking to Goblins, and the most bright and colourful spot of all, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, are all there. You can literally munch all those fun-filled sweets made by Fred and George.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a perfect escape from the Muggles’ World, a place where dreams come true and so does the essence of being a wizard.
Marium Abid is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International.