But you see, I had to visit one particular theme park. Not because of the rides, but because of the setting it brought to life for the book lovers. Yes, I'm talking about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park.
As a side note, I have to say that all of the "islands" at Universal Islands of Adventure felt like you were walking on a movie set. The designers and builders of the park did an amazing job of bringing the whole park to life, not just Harry Potter.
But back to Harry Potter.
I'm not ashamed to admit that one of the main reasons I wanted to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was to try the butterbeer. When I first read about butterbeer in the books I thought it sounded delicious. I wanted some. So when word got out that the WWOHP was going to have butterbeer I was all like, "I have to go there!" Oh yeah, and I wanted to see Hogwarts and walk through Hogsmede and all that, but no I really just wanted some butterbeer.
So was it worth it? Did the butterbeer deliver?
I'm here to say that yes it most definitely did.
JK Rowling describes her made-up beverage as "less sickly butterscotch." Universal definitely got it right then because it wasn't sickeningly sweet but it definitely had a butterscotch flavor. The best way I can describe it is that it tasted like butterscotch and cream soda with a buttery whipped cream foam on top. It was perfection. I had two glasses.
|Not my most flattering picture but I don't care... I'm having a moment with my butterbeer|
Now I have to figure out how to make it myself because of course no one at Universal is giving up the recipe. I'll have to experiment with some of the recipes floating around on the internet. I think I'll perhaps start with this one.
"But Beth," you ask, "what about the rides? Were they awesome?"
Honestly, I didn't go for the rides. I know that's a stupid thing to say when you're paying like $90 a ticket to go to the theme park, but I really just wanted to go and experience the world of Harry Potter. Did we ride the rides? Of course we did, but that's not necessarily what I'll remember the most from that day.
But if you must know, the main ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey was cool, but not worth waiting hours in line for. Resist the urge to do any ride with long, multiple-hour waits because chances are, later in the day, it will be much shorter.
The best ride in the Harry Potter section of the park was definitely the dragon challenge roller coaster. It had two different coasters that were extremely fast and exciting, and the best part is, their lines were never long so we rode it three times and never had to wait more than ten minutes in line for each ride.
If the line is long, do yourself a favor and skip the Flight of the Hippogriff coaster. We waited over an hour to ride that stupid thing and it only lasted like 20 seconds. Total waste of time.
I'll leave you with two final pictures that kind of capture why I wanted to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in the first place. The strange hue of the sky later in the evening made the ambiance of Hogsmede even more enchanting and made you feel like you had really been swept away inside the pages of a book. Isn't that the ultimate dream for all book-lovers? To live inside the pages of their favorite book for a while?