Universal Studios & WW (Day #1)

Wow. I got excited seeing the Hogwarts towers from the freeway, but the actual Wizarding World definitely took my breath away when I saw it up close. It was about 4 times larger than I had expected and the lines for the stores were about 100 times longer than I’d expected (I knew there was a wait for Olivander’s, but there was a wait for Zonkos/Honeydukes and the Owl Post as well).

Sad moments: they’re out of pigmy puffs! I really wanted one. They’ll be restocking (in purple and possibly blue) in 4-5 weeks but I won’t be around then. Maybe they’ll have them when I return for LeakyCon (if I return for LeakyCon). Veeeeeeery little for me to eat at the Three Broomsticks. Even the Potato & Leeks soup has a chicken base (but the really nice cashier told me that up-front and I admire her honesty). I had a chicken salad, hold the chicken but for the same price, which is unfortunate. Also, the gift shop here charges $1 for $0.56 in postcard stamps, no change given. Grrrr. So people who are getting postcards from me, expect them in batches as I acquire quarters for the machine. LOL Sorry about that. If I had a car I’d go track down a post office but, alas, no such car exists.

Happy notes: EVERYTHING ELSE! The forbidden journey was excellent; I went on it twice. Marissa and Austin were happy to stay in rooms of the castle while people walked past us, just so that we could listen to the portraits talk and see it snow indoors. And M was great and Ravenclaw-y about asking the people who worked there for more information about rooms, so they pointed out where Gryffindor’s Sword was hiding and such. I spotted the pensive and practically squealed and grabbed M & A to show it to them. My second time around I went in as a single rider and got to see other things I hadn’t been near the first time around, like the Umbridge-era Defense Against the Dark Arts textbook and a second unicorn tapestry. The only thing I didn’t get to do today was Olivander’s, unfortunately. But I did make it onto all the rides at least once (though I need to do the Dragon one again and go through the whole thing so I can see the floating candles and such) and I went into all the other shops. I got a couple nice Christmas(?) presents for my Kindred Spirit (I love you and wish you were here with me, Kate!) and I got a quaffle. That’s right, DADAers, we’re going to be playing Quidditch with a real, authentic quaffle in a couple weeks. No more basketball for us! The Quidditch is half owned by M, which was awesome of her. And she helped me debate about the Bludgers & bats. We feel that SOME members of the DADA might use the bats for purposes other than Quidditch and, frankly, they looked a little cheap in construction (and the balls looked like they would hurt; I think sticking with our nerf balls might be the best course of action for our team). I bought tons of candy for myself (I knew Honeydukes would be a weakness of mine). I bought myself a Marauder’s map t-shirt. And I had the butterbeer. I’m debating buying a Durmstrang/Krum long-sleeved shirt but it’s $50 and not the most flattering color on me. But ooohhhh it’s gorgeous. And the Hufflepuff robes are only $99 but the yellow is all wrong. Why do they always mess up the Hufflepuff stuff? If you’re going to use the wrong yellow at least use it consistently on all merch (ties, scarves, robes, and patches). There were some kickass Gryffindor & Slyterhin shirts, naturally, but very little in the Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff variety (not that I expected any different). I got to eat dinner in the Three Broomsticks, though, and I had a butterbeer–which I LOVED. Not at all too fizzy for my tummy. I’m told there is pumpkin juice in the non-fizzy variety as well. I might track that down. But, seriously, I got to SIT in the THREE BROOMSTICKS and eat! Really, the whole thing was so magical. The shop windows are gorgeous–everything from a moving Mimbulus Mimbletonia (did I butcher that spelling) to Gilderoy smiling in moving pictures. And the little details in the shops are great, too, like the Marauder’s map with footprints and names that move and Charlie’s suitcase (OMG OMG OMG “Weasley, Charles” CHARLES! *loves my Charlie-boy*) and extendable ears with sound coming out of them and owls with eyes that blink and heads that move. Great care was taken with everything… except in a few cases (missing the portrait of fruit by the door marked “Kitchens”, tons of Fleur, Krum, Harry Potter banners on way to Dragon ride but NO Cedric ones–“The true campion, Happy Potter” WTF?!, and a Slytherin banner with the colors green and light blue–huh?) but 99% of it was beyond what I had let myself imagine.

Tomorrow the convention officially starts. I’ve got a meetup group leader meeting at 10am at the Starbucks in Universal and then I get to meet my fellow ‘puffs in the common room at 11am. Squeeeeeeee! I’m very excited about both meetings. I’m less excited about the panels scheduled tomorrow (on Saturday EVERYTHING I want to see is scheduled at the same time and there’s little on Thursday). But the WRock concerts at night prove to be a complete blast and I’m looking forward to watching a little Quidditch and checking out the convention merch. I’m sure I’ll find something to do *EG*