Around 9:30 a.m., they started letting us in. As we crossed the bridge from Jurassic Park to the Lost Continent we realized that this was it. We were getting in! It's difficult to explain that first moment of seeing Hogsmeade. All you could do was stop and take it all in. I stood there taking picture after picture as I had the biggest smile on my face. After that initial reaction, we made a beeline straight to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The wait time was 90 minutes, but we got through the line in about an hour. It felt fast thanks to all the cool stuff inside the castle. We saw mandrakes and the house points! When we got to the room with the moving portraits I wanted to stay in there and look at each one. Plus the conversations going on between the portraits were rather interesting.
Dumbledore's office held many fun items including the pensieve. I wanted to take more of it in, but the line was flying fast and the people behind us were a bit impatient and kept trying to pass us. Rude. By the time we got to the sorting hat I felt like I had been running through the line, and next thing we knew were being harnessed into the ride. I didn't know what to expect with the ride. I had heard it was part Spiderman part Haunted Mansion which sounded cool since those are two of my favorite rides. But the Forbidden Journey was much more frightening than either of those rides could pretend to be. I spent the entire ride screaming!
At times we were upside down, and there were spiders squirting at you, and by the time the dementors came out I was yelling, "What is this!?" Poor Tasha was still shaking two hours after we had dismounted. It was that intense. Now if you're a roller coaster enthusiast and love thrill rides, then it probably won't do much for you, but for those of us who don't get on rides much, it was intense. But I loved it and can't wait to go on it again.
After surviving the Forbidden Journey, we made the line for The Three Broomsticks. This was our chance to try Butterbeer. Having the pickiest taste on the planet, I was prepared to not care much for it, but as it turns out, butterbeer is really sweet and refreshing. I drank it pretty fast and wanted seconds. We also tried the pumpkin juice which tasted just like pumpkin pie. Talk about odd. But I liked that one as well.
After taking that time to rest and eat, we headed to the long wait for Olivander's. Originally we thought everyone would get a wand experience, but they only let 25 people in at a time and then chose only 1 person to have the wand experience. That was a bit disappointing, but once I saw why they did it that way I understood. Still, it would be nice to have my wand choose me. I didn't buy any wands this time around, but when I go back I think I'll start my collection with either Draco's or Snape's. Maybe Voldemort's. Did I ever mention that I took the Sorting Hat Quiz and was placed into Slytherin? No? Well now you know.
We didn't stay long after that. After waking up so early and being in line for so long, our exhaustion and the heat started to get the best of us. So we left so that three others that were still in line could get the chance to experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Overall I loved the experience and I really can't wait to get back there. It is small, but it's relatively the same size as the other lands at IOA and I think they did a great job with the space they had.
I do have one suggestion for IOA. A teeny, weeny suggestion. At night, maybe during Halloween Horror Nights, you should flash the Dark Mark in the sky. Seriously! This would be brilliant. Think about it, Universal.