A Little Tom Felton Inspired Forbidden Journey by a FeltFan at WWoHP

Part of the lateness on this post is due to my own, well, lateness (blame RL), but here is another submitted Feltbeats report from June’s opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. In this report, we are given those first hand accounts of all the shops and delicious park treats you can only find in Hogsmeade, an extra special treat graciously given by a park worker in the Gryffindor Common Room, and an in-seat video of the ride immortalizing our own Tom Felton, the Forbidden Journey. Not to mention a short clip of Tom riding one of the park’s rides, himself. 😉

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Sorry for the lateness of this, but it has taken me this long to recuperate from my Wizarding World of Harry Potter adventure! Muggles should partake in the WWoHP in moderation, and I overindulged. 🙂

I was lucky enough to be able to represent Feltbeats.com at the Red Carpet event on Wednesday night and the Grand Opening Ceremony on Friday morning. After a small scare when the park workers had no idea where to take us, and waiting two hours in a small restaurant in the park waiting for a storm to pass, we were finally escorted to the “Red Carpet” area. There, we lined the barriers all the way to the entrance of Hogsmeade and waited with barely restrained excited for the guests to arrive. We somehow missed Matt Lewis, but we saw Bonnie Wright, Warwick Davis, teased the Phelps twins about running around City Walk, got a small wave and smile from Rupert, watched TomsFriendDan get swarmed, sadly, not by me . Tom was a doll, as usual, stopping for a quick hello and picture and thanking us for being there before being rushed off by his handler. Jade took a moment to speak with us while waiting on Tom to get down the carpet, and we were amused to see her in sensible sandals while we were in high heels! The highlight of the evening (sorry, Tom) was getting autographs and speaking to JK Rowling. For over an hour, the actors were screamed at and cheered for, but when Ms. Rowling walked down that carpet, a hush fell over the crowd as if the Queen had arrived. She was gracious and lovely, and I had chills just being in her presence.

Friday morning, our fellow Feltbeats Army friends headed out early to get a good spot in line (kudos to those who got on the Today Show!) and we again were snuck in the back lots. We watched the Grand Opening Ceremony just a few yards behind the winning elementary school classes and the press. What a moment! Seeing the envelope drop to reveal the shiny, red Hogwarts Express was so exciting. Our group was the first to enter Hogsmeade after the school children, and I was in awe. In mere steps, I was transported from a theme park in Central Florida into the pages of my favorite books come to life. Granted, it was ridiculously hot for Scotland, but I chalked that up to a few Warming Spells gone awry! Suzanna (Stormlite02) and I headed straight to Hogwarts and the Forbidden Journey ride, but I admit I had giggles the entire walk to the castle. Everything in Hogsmeade has been crafted with finest details. I was a bit saddened to see that most of the stores were just “fronts” but it still felt like a tiny village.

Entering the castle made me giddy, as I’m sure it would for any true fan of the series. Pictures of the rooms/places you encounter while waiting to board the ride don’t do it justice. The greenhouses, with potted baby mandrakes in one corner, the House points counters, Dumbledore’s office, complete with pedestal pensieve and tinkling magical detectors, all ensure you are deeply immersed in the magical world. I really enjoyed the portrait hall. Hearing the four Founders bicker and banter with one another was entertaining.

The Forbidden Journey ride is unlike anything I’ve ever ridden before. There are dragons and acromantulas and Dementors, but there are also Quidditch and flying and sweeping views of Hogwarts and her grounds. I would have loved to have spent more time playing Quidditch, not the least of which because that’s the one time we get to see Draco being his Ice Prince self. However, the ride is 4 minutes long, so I guess I can’t complain too much. I will say that Hogwarts is definitely a force against Obesity, regardless of the amount of sweets in Honeyduke’s or the number of calories in Butterbeer, because the seats for the ride do not accommodate larger people very well. I know of several adults who were turned away because the restraints would not close over them. This is unfortunate, and I hope that Universal will do something in the near future to remedy this.

The Full Forbidden Journey ride:

The cut version (minus the black spots and the majority of the screams. lol)

The other two rides in Hogsmeade are refurbished rides that have been in the park for a while, but since I was new to the park, they were new to me, too. I loved the thrill of the Dragon Challenge, but I never turn down a roller coaster. They queue showcases Tri-Wizard Tournament flags, but for some reason, no Cedric Diggory banners could be found.

The Flight of the Hippogriff is an easier coaster for children or those who don’t see the Gryffindor-appeal of larger, faster rides. It does offer up close glimpses of Hagrid’s Hut, Buckbeak and a crashed Ford Anglia.

Tom at the end of the Flight of the Hippogriff ride.

Honeyduke’s and Zonko’s Joke Shop are connected and, like the other shops, are small in size. We asked the workers why everything was so small, and the response was that JK Rowling insisted that everything stay like it is described in the books. Honeyduke’s, covered in cotton-candy pinks and blues offers practically every sweet you can remember from the books, stacks of chocolate frogs, peppermint toads, sugar quills, etc. I must admit that I would make the trip back to Universal just for the Cauldron Cakes. Palm-sized chocolate cakes filled with creamy chocolate mousse, coated in dipping chocolate to create a ‘cauldron’ bottom, complete with chocolate rim and handle….. heavenly, and I’m not even a chocolate fanatic!

Ollivander’s wand shop made me wish I was 11 years old and preparing to leave for my first year at Hogwarts. For opening weekend (not sure if this will change when the crowds thin) 25 people at a time were led into the tiny shop with boxes of wands on every wall, shelves stretching twenty feet or more to the ceiling. One person, generally a child, was chosen by ‘Ollivander’ to try wands. I will admit that I got chills during the process. I don’t want to describe it all here, because it will ruin it for those of you who plan to go, but I will say that they took great pains to make the experience as much like the movie version of Harry getting his wand as possible. You exit Ollivander’s into the Owl Post and Dervish and Banges where you find postcards, stamps, character wands, wands that are chosen for you, robes, scarves, etc.

Much has been said about The Three Broomsticks and the Hogs Head Pub. The food was good, at least what I tried was, and it wasn’t any more expensive than the rest of the food throughout the park. The Butterbeer was nearly $10 if you got it in the collectible mug, but they did offer discounted refills. The Hogs Head Ale was good if you are a beer drinker. We did have fun with every glass creating foamy white mustaches though.

I have to give a special Shout Out to the Gryffindor student who snuck my friend and I in after the ride had closed so we could get pictures “snogging in the Gyffindor Common Room.” It was really cool seeing the inside of the castle with the lights on, and he even let us go behind the barriers into the study niche!

I met lots of people who worked in the park, and they were all excited to be there, even dressed in full robes and sweater vests. I have to give kudos to BSerLori, who battled an illness the entire week, but provided us with lots of great pictures and videos during her press rounds.

All in all, it was a fantastic experience that I can’t wait to do again.

11 thoughts on “A Little Tom Felton Inspired Forbidden Journey by a FeltFan at WWoHP

  1. OMG, that looks so amazing!!! Thanks a lot for the footage and the detailed report! What exactly does Draco say? (I couldn’t understand.)
    Since you been talking to her, you don’t by chance have footage of Jade too?

    • That’s fine. Privacy is privacy. Jade has right on her image, I can solely approve this decision of hers (and Southernbets’s) of protecting it.

      Thank you so much for your résumé, where you’re sharing all your adventures back over there with us! And looks like than riding a Hippogriff is pure invitation to get one’s hair messed up! *lol*

      With Love,

      Sam.

  2. All the screaming in the first two videos make me laugh. And reading this makes me feel like I was back there on opening day.

  3. Wow, that was so great!! It took me back to the ride, and yet its so much better when you are actually there. If I lived near Orlando, I think I’d go back every weekend (even with the lines) just to ride the Forbidden Journey and drink some more pumpkin juice! (What can I say, I love pumpkin!)
    In fact, I was trying to figure out when I could return there on the flight home. 😀

  4. i got to go on the forbidden journey ride.it looks really good.stunning special effects and the idea of not going upside down is a good thing.simulator meets dark ride.like the idea for the ride.hope to see some more harry potter based rides for the future.maybe this shrieking shack haunted mansion based idea ride.

  5. Pingback: Feltbeats.com’s 2010 Year In Review

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