Harry Potter’s Wizarding World; A new home for muggle followers, a bizzare yet fun discovery for non-Harry fans
Not long ago we were leaving the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World and spotted a young girl entering in her Harry Potter like cape. Strange days there are in Central Florida where it used to be the Mouse who all came to see. Now, a young Wizard named Harry and his friends are the drawing attraction and those young and old who are caught up in his life come from around the world to be amazed and awe-inspired by Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
I’ll be honest, I’m not a Harry Potter fan. I just never really got into it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t know some of the characters such as Harry and Ron, nor am I oblivious to the muggle (I being one myself). I have heard of a butterbeer (though it doesn’t sound all that good) and even I am impressed with Hogwarts as a school. While we all had to deal with our own sort of Sorting Hats in school, and I’m pretty sure I dealt with a few rejects from the Ministry of Magic along my life’s path, I think I prefer having been a soccer goalie over a Quidditch one – broomstick riding aside.
So see, I’m not a total Harry-looser.
We have not yet made the trek to Universal Orlando (hoping to soon though or I may loose my assistant, Laura) but living in Orlando one cannot make it through most days without some sort of Harry Potter story.
One of the dearest I’ve heard comes from Laura who had an adorable conversation with a 5 year old who told her everything she needed to know about where to find and buy a magic wand.
Kids now come to Orlando not to see a fairy tale castle or visit with a mouse – though these remain strong pulls (the princesses seem to have been more a marketing focus for the Disney execs) but rather to find a dark castle-home to wizards. They wish to sip on a beer made with butterscotch and chomp on chocolate frogs as a treat.
Suspense, fear, frolicking and fun all surround the life of the boy-wizard, and while you, like I, may not know the full story nor find yourself drawn to the books or movies of this adventurous young life, even you and I must admit that Harry and company offer up a fun new twist on the Orlando theme park magic.
When we make it to Hogwarts and Harry’s world, be sure to go along with our discoveries. In the mean time, perhaps you too should study up on the terms, after all, you want to be a hip and cool muggle rather than a total looser one don’t you?! (yes, trust me, you do…)
Here are a few terms to help you get into the Harry groove…(thanks to the folks at Universal Orlando for helping us out with these) Definitions with an asterisk (*) are specific to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Bludger: A bewitched, round, black ball used in Quidditch that rockets around the pitch trying to knock players off their brooms. Each team’s Beaters try to defend their teammates from Bludgers with bats, and redirect the Bludgers toward the opposing side.
Butterbeer *: A frothy drink, reminiscent of shortbread and butterscotch, served in Hogsmeade.
Chocolate Frogs: Wizard confectionary that contains collector’s cards of famous witches and wizards.
Fang: Rubeus Hagrid’s beloved pet boarhound.
Floo Network: A method of transportation in the Wizarding World, governed by the Department of Magical Transportation and overseen by the Floo Network Authority; to access the network, a person must toss a handful of Floo powder into a fireplace, walk into the green fire, and declare the desired destination.
Goblet of Fire: Large wooden cup full of flames, used as an impartial selector for the contenders in the Triwizard Tournament.
Gryffindor Common Room: A circular room full of armchairs and tables where Gryffindor students study and relax.
Hogwarts Founders: The founders of each Hogwarts house – Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, Rowena Ravenclaw and Helga Hufflepuff.
Marauder’s Map: A magical parchment that reveals all of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and identifies anyone in the castle grounds as they move around. To view the map, one must tap it with a wand and recite, “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good;” to hide the contents of the map, one must again tap it and recite, “Mischief managed.”
Ministry of Magic: The governing body of the Wizarding World whose primary objective is to keep the Muggle world from learning about witches and wizards.
Sorting Hat: The magical hat that decides which house students shall be in while at Hogwarts.