So I'm hoping this wasn't just a once-in-a-lifetime thing, but visiting Hogwarts felt so magical. and wonderful. and precious. and perfect.
Two weeks ago I accomplished one of my most exciting bucket list goals: visit Harry Potter World! This whole thing began when Reese, ever so supportive of book nerd goals everywhere, noticed that I was really getting into Harry mania. I read the entire series last year. She lent me the books, watched the movies with me (I still have to finish the last two), and planned this awesome weekend to Orlando to make these dreams a reality. I went with two people that I already know and love: Reese and Michal. Then I also got to meet their friends from college, Sarah and Esther, who went too, and now I know and love them as well! I know very few friend groups who can adopt a new girl into their plans so quickly and kindly like they have to me. I've been so blessed by Brian's college friends and this was just one of those icing-on-the-cake experiences. Waiting in line to ride the Hogwarts Express didn't feel so long with these four to talk to.
We packed five of us into a one-room Airbnb condo and kicked off the weekend by meeting our enthusiastic 70-year-old hosts at midnight to get the keys, learn the layout of the area, and hear all of their precious musings and marriage advice. They must've thought we were here to party, because they decked out the room in Mardi Gras beads and decor, chocolates, brochures, and a bottle of Chardonnay that tasted like old perfume. The whole gesture was almost too adorable for me to handle. Little did they know we were totally here to pretend to be Hogwarts students for two days. No beads necessary.
All I can say about the park is that IT EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS. The RIDES. The TRAIN. The DRAGON. THE FROZEN BUTTERBEER. (I was skeptical if I would like ButterBeer...ummm...so fantastic in frozen form.) It was all just magical. I took the quizzes to be sorted (we all did at some point either prior to this weekend or while in line for one of the rides) and was put into Ravenclaw, which I can embrace. Then I took the quiz for my hybrid house and it put me in RavenPuff, which is TOTALLY me. I am definitely interested in rebranding Hufflepuff as a baller house to join. Kindness, friendship, and loyalty? Yes please.
At a few points throughout the weekend, I caught myself just looking around with a big dopey smile on my face. A thought creeped into my head: Am I too old to be this happy visiting a place like this? And that thought would quickly vanish when one of the other four would point to the next most awe-inspiring thing and we'd be off to visit that. Nope, not too old. I'm probably just now old enough to appreciate the place with some appropriate respect. With each passing year I'm kind of loving getting older. I don't wish to be 21 again or even 18. Sure, some memories make me nostalgic, but I like that with each stage of life comes its own dose of adventure and experience. I love that with each stage I find more people that prove to me that God is good.
One funny little detail about this trip was that it coincided with Valentine's Day. Brian and some of his guy friends also had a little weekend trip, so I didn't feel too bad about leaving. I have to say, it was one of the best Valentine experiences of my life. To me, one of the things that makes J.K. such a strong voice is her intuition for eternal and important themes. I mean what on earth does Harry Potter stand for if not friendship, sacrifice, and the power of unconditional love?
It only lasted for about 48 hours, but Valentine weekend seemed like it lasted for several sunlit days. It was that good.
|It's hard to take selfies sometimes. The other four look good, though :)|