As I entered the park, I first saw the famous 'Hogwarts Express' steam train that dutifully brings students from London's King's Cross station, platform 9 & 3/4 to Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It was a nice way to start the experience, just as the kids do in each film. Of course, I couldn't miss the opportunity for a photo op with the train conductor...
The park is very well designed, with wonderfully authentic architecture, right down to street signs such as these, calling out the way to Hogwarts and Hogsmeade. Look to the right of the sign post- you can just see the snow-capped roof. The entire park has snow covered roofs, an interesting sensation, considering it was in the mid 80's in Orlando.
This view of Hogwart's castle is quite awe-inspiring. Scores of kids gasp, and shriek with delight as this comes into view as they 'round a corner walking in the park. Unlike other structures at theme parks, this park looks very "old England", complete with old, worn roofs and chimneys. Interspersed throughout are the five rides, such as this one above, to the right of the castle.
|A nice stone arch, covered in snow...|
|It truly has a village atmosphere to it.|
|Lockers provide safe storage during the rides.|
|See what I mean about the slanted chimneys?|
|...and these banners throughout make it feel like a school area|
|The Dragon Challenge has two rides, both are pretty scary.|
|Inside the castle- complete with "talking" paintings|
|The Sorting Hat- it speaks when you walk past|
|The Book of Monsters is safely locked up.|
|The Three Broomsticks serves English Pub Grub|
|Nothing quite like a cold Butter Beer to take the edge off.|
|Honeydukes sweet shop!|
|Zonkos jokes shop had cool stuff too|
|The Owl Post|
|Inside Olivander's Wand Shop|
|Flight of the Hippogriff is a family ride|
|This is the Weasley's flying car|
Before I left, I had the opportunity to scrawl out a few postcards, conveniently available at the many gift shops throughout the park. The cool part is they had their own post box, so if you mail them from inside the park, they will be post-marked as mailed from Hogwarts (or so I was told). So I borrowed a quill pen and hastily wrote out a few post cards. I had an absolute blast at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Like most theme parks, it can be expensive for a family, but any Potter fan worth their salt will gladly fork out the dough for the experience. EXPECTO PATRONUM!