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Magic Moments

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Since I am now back in rainy London, I thought I would recount for you a little tale from my long break in Florida.

Mom had saved some news clippings about the new opening of the Harry Potter part of the Universal Orlando theme park for me. So when we decided to take a little trip as a reward for finishing my PhD, the choice seemed obvious to us both. We were going to Harry Potter World. (It has a poncy official title, but I think it’s fair to say that most visitors will shorten that to HPW.)

While we were booking the tickets a little survey popped up on our computer, dangling the prize of a draw for two free tickets before us. I couldn’t resist. The survey was full of questions like, “When talking about your upcoming vacation, do you refer to it as an Orlando vacation or a Disney vacation?” and “Were you aware that Disney tickets are not valid for admission into Universal Orlando attractions?” Chip on your shoulder much, Universal?

But they need feel this chip no more, for HPW is one of the most intricately designed and meticulously crafted theme park attractions I’ve ever seen. It’s pretty amazing.

Also crowded. Very crowded. As we entered, we noticed a crowd forming in front of a barrier to HPW, separating it from the rest of the park. These people all had tickets. We had no tickets. This confused us, because usually once you’re inside the theme park you don’t need tickets to get on the rides or anything, you just walk around at will. So we just boldly walked to the barrier and marched on through. This, somewhat unexpectedly, had the desired effect.

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