I made it guys. I finally made it to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
That is... The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL.
I'm a poor church worker friends - I can't afford to go off to Europe to find the real Hogwarts. ;-)
This however, made me feel as though I really had just departed Platform 9 3/4, boarded the Hogwarts Express, and entered the halls of Harry Potter's beloved school.
On our first full day in Orlando, Kirstie, Lor, and I (and Kirstie's friends Sarah and Julie... or was it Julia? Crap. I'm a horrible person.) hit up Universal Studios so we could pretend we were witches. I had been told by a close friend that the Hogwarts ride was a MUST and one of the best things in the world. Naturally, it was the first line we got into.
Let me tell you, the hour + wait is well worth it. At most amusement parks, while you wait in painfully long lines for a three minute ride, you amuse yourself with your phone. Not this one. Oh no. You walk through the castle. Wander around it. Characters and parts of the castle talk to you (as in... the talking portraits and the Sorting Hat). They set the scene for what's about to happen. If you go here, you need to go through the long line at least once.
At first I was terrified. When I saw that you had to be harnessed in... I started to get really scared. As someone who hates roller coasters, having to wear a harness is never a good sign. (The workers stopping you to be sure that you're tall enough is also not a good sign. ... Yes, I was tall enough thank you very much.) I actually even started praying that I wasn't going to die or get seriously injured.
Of course, with Harry, Ron, and Hermione guiding the way, I had nothing to fear. Although I learned it was a good thing they double checked my height. If I were any shorter I may have fallen out of the harness.
Enter my over active imagination.
I don't know what it is, but I am overly willing to dive head first into a good story. For those few minutes "flying" around the castle, I really felt as though Harry was right there beside me taking me away on an adventure. Even when I thought my feet were going to get smashed by imaginary cliffs or Draco was going to knock me off of my broom on the Quidditch pitch, when Harry said assured me that if I stuck with him I would be okay, I believed him full heartedly.
When I told Alice this when I got back to her place that night, she promptly said, "Fan girl much?"
Well... yes. But it doesn't end there.
Later that day when we were done with Harry Potter (although we went back later), we continued onto the Marvel comics section of the park and went on the Spiderman ride. In this ride, it was the same concept, only we were on an adventure with Spidey instead of Harry and we were in New York, not Hogwarts/Hogsmeade.
I found myself having the same reactions. I jumped completely into the scene that was playing out in front of me (being splashed with water and feeling the heat of fire helped...) and even found myself wanting to banter back at Spiderman when he would talk to us.
Why is it that I am so willing to leave the "real world" behind and go on adventures with Harry Potter and other superheros (and I'm not even a huge fan of comic book characters!)? I let myself dive into the deep end of the story-pool and swim around in it. Maybe even drown a bit.
I think this is partly why I am drawn to theatre, music,writing, reading, and other creative arts so much. They let you tell a story, create a world, and live there for awhile. In the arts, you're allowed to do that. It's the one time it's socially acceptable to live in another world where anything is possible.
Too bad you have to come back to reality at some point.
|Nothing like having a good ol' butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks after flying around a castle.|
Not only would we lose stories such as Harry Potter, comic books, Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, etc., but we would lose so much more as well.
These crazy imaginative stories also help us see the world the way it is, but also how we want it to be. Over active imaginations help us to strive for a better, more ideal world. That's why people get so emotionally attached to characters and the lives they live. They reflect something in us and the deepest desires of our hearts.
What sparks your imagination? What makes you dream of something beyond yourself and your little corner of the world?
I'll talk about this more later in the week when I post about our trip to Disney World. Stay tuned!
If you want to view paradise, take a look around and view it. Anything you want to, do it. Wanna change the world? There's nothing to it. - Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory "Pure Imagination"
And I might be watching ALL of the Harry Potter movies right now.