Backstage Travels

All the world's a stage…

A Long Awaited Journey

So I’m here in Orlando. All by myself. For a couple days until my job starts and I’m on the high seas for six months.

What’s a Harry Potter nerd to do? In Orlando?

Convince her friend to play hookey and GO TO HARRY POTTER WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, so hooray and, seriously, finally. I’ve been wanting to go for AGES.

Walking in, I was literally skipping. I’m 24 years old, and jumping up and down to get to this place. Worth it.



The entrance. I don’t know what the spell limit means. Is it the speed at which you can cast spells? Is it the number of spells you can produce per hour? Do you get pulled over more often if you have a red wand?



I wanted to ride it. Also, it was quite something to see snow on all the buildings. In May. In Florida.

Then I saw this!


They’re expanding!!!

So we went to Honeydukes first (and then last, because we didn’t want our chocolate that we knew we’d buy to melt)



They had so much stuff! And Zonko’s was attached (I didn’t take pictures there). I loved all the packaging on all the stuff. Also, I really didn’t know what “sweet” smelled like until I walked in there. I don’t know if it was just from all the candy, or from them pumping in the smell (which I know for a fact happens…KD is going to reek this year at Haunt from all the not-as-much-scary-as-really-really-gross smells in all the haunted mazes), but it was almost too much.

Then we went straight to the Three Broomsticks for the obligatory Butterbeer.


They have it on tap!IMG_0178

I had to get the far-too-expensive souvenir cup 🙂



^Profile pic if ever I saw one.

I’m not going to lie, though. I feel like a bad Harry Potter fan, but…I don’t think I’ll buy Butterbeer again. It was far too sweet for me, which is a sign of my getting-old-ness. In the fourth book, when the trio goes to visit Dobby and see that Winky is drunk off the stuff, Harry says it’s not strong, but Dobby counters that it’s strong for a house elf. I honestly think that there should be an adult version with a bit of alcohol in it. The bitterness would cut the sweetness nicely.

Or maybe I’ll just stick with Strongbow.

We rode the Dragon Challenge and chose the Hungarian Horntail. I should have taken pictures of the outside part of the queue line. It has banners cheering on the various TriWizard Champions. Cedric’s was bittersweet. They were all clever.

We went to the Hogwarts castle next.

Outside, the winged boars:


Wide shot of the castle:


I was quite unsure what to expect, but the queue line was easily the best part of the entire thing.

In fact, I might have held up the line for a few seconds at a time because I was taking pictures EVERYWHERE.

The first part was inside. (I think it would have been awesome if there was a boat ride to the castle…but whatever 🙂 )

Bad flash picture of the Mirror of Erised!


I didn’t see anything but myself…so I must be pretty happy with the way things are!



I think it might be Salazar Slytherin (?) because then we see this:


A pipe from the Chamber of Secrets!

And the Potions Storeroom. I think…



The next part was outside…in the greenhouse!


We are such dorks. The entire time we were in here, we talked about how awesome it would be to be on the design team for this place.



A welcome statue with the icons of each house.



I still can’t find the snake though :/

Ooh ooh! House points!


On Pottermore, I was sorted into Hufflepuff. Go, Hufflepuff, go!

More statues!IMG_0193

I took a picture of this tapestry because it was used in the imagery of a play I was in called “Night Train to Foggy Bottom.” At that point in the play, I was trying to seduce a unicorn. It was a weird play.

IMG_0194 IMG_0196

The griffin the guards Dumbledore’s office!!



The people in the pictures were talking about us…


Map of Hogwarts. It reminds me of the old 8-bit world maps from Legend of Zelda…


The Portrait Gallery! They were talking about us, too.

Salazar Slytherin:


Helga Hufflepuff:IMG_0200

Godric Gryffindor:IMG_0201

Rowena Ravenclaw:IMG_0202

Then we went to Dumbledore’s office.

Spindly instruments!IMG_0203


And the Pensive!IMG_0207



Ooh, and he spoke to us lol


The hologram was actually really good all throughout this line. Colour me impressed.

Next was a Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom. For some reason, the trio was trying to rescue us from History of Magic boredom here.

I found the skeleton parts fascinating. I’ve often wondered about the biological studies of the Wizarding World.







And the Fat Lady! She wanted us to take her portrait to the Quidditch pitch so she could see Harry fly.IMG_0220

Then it was time to spend MOAR MONIES.


Hawthorn, 11 inches. Doesn’t match my Pottermore one, but I like it 🙂


Phoenix feather core. Why not?




Not made of the best chocolate, but still good. I’m nibbling it as I type this!

And, of course, the chocolate frog card:





It was quite the day. We had just the right amount of time. More, and we would have gotten bored. Less, and we wouldn’t have spent so much money.


Why my ship is like Hogwarts

I have noticed several things that parallel the magic castle from the Harry Potter universe known as Hogwarts, and it makes me smile. My friends accuse me of making a very feeble argument, but here’s what I’ve got:

1.) We have to walk through a special curtain (secret tapestry) to get to our rooms.

2.) We have secret doors that look like the walls:


Plus, most of these doors lead to secret passageways throughout the ship.

3.) In our atrium, we have a glass ceiling that opens up to the sky…or perhaps an enchanted ceiling??

4.) I have a transforming set of stairs and moving floor at my disposal in the theatre. We couldn’t decide if taking a picture of the stairs would be allowed due to copyright law. And the moving floor is just a circle till it moves. Just believe me on this one.

5.) Pretty much every day that we open our doors or windows, they open up somewhere different. Like the Room of Requirement in the last book for Neville secretly living in it.

6.) When I come back to the room after working even for like 20 minutes, my bed is made and we have fresh towels. Room stewards or HOUSE ELVES??
On top of all of this, my first week I experienced elation at finding my theatre from my room without getting lost, which paralleled immensely with the described delight experienced by Harry and Ron when they first found their class without getting lost in their first week at Hogwarts.


And that’s why working on a ship is like living at Hogwarts.