Saturday, February 27, 2016

Attending Hogsmeade (Wizarding World Hollywood)

Last night I purchased my Universal Studios Hollywood annual pass. I went with their best pass which is the Gold Pass. This gives me access to the park 313 days out of the year which is cool but I'd love to have a 365 days a year pass.. but I'll take what I can get. Weekends in the summertime are all blacked out as are a few weekends here and there.

The reason I got my annual pass is that the past week or so Universal has been doing soft openings or as they like to call them technical rehearsals for their Wizarding World of Harry Potter section. I heard rumors that it might be opened this weekend, there is a hashtag on twitter "Potterwatch" that is notifying when the Wizarding World is open. So after this mornings workout I checked my phone and sure enough the park having a soft opening. These soft openings can last a few hours or the entire day.. it's all very random. So I flew home, showered and got the the park entrance in about a half hour.. I don't know how I did it but I did. I got into the park around 11:30am and immediately made my who in looking for the entrance to the park, about halfway into the park on the right you can see the backside of Hogsmeade so I kept following it until I saw the entrance and yes they were still letting people in. As I passed over the threshold a chill when down my spine and a biggest smile came across my face.. I am in Hogsmeade!!

I went to the Hogsmeade in Universal "Islands of Adventure" in Florida a few years ago but this was different because this is in my own backyard. I can come here whenever I feel like it. The first thing I did was walk through the entire section. I wanted to see how similar it was to Hogsmeade Florida and with a few exceptions it's identical. I think the biggest different is Olivanders is on the opposite of the street and Florida has an extra roller coaster (Dueling Dragons) and Hollywood does not.

After my walk through which really only takes a few minutes (that section of the park isn't that big) I decided to grab some lunch as I had just come off of a workout and needed some food quickly. Of course the only place to eat in Hogsmeade is The Threebroom Sticks so I headed over and ordered some yummy fish and chips. I asked for a Frozen Butterbeer but they informed me that they were currently not offering that in the Three Broomsticks so I grabbed my lunch and found a seat. As I as sitting down I saw to figured in the doorway and they were waving at me. At first I could only see their silhouettes as the sun was behind them but they kept waving and then I noticed one of them. It was my friend Chrissy and as they entered I recognized the girl next to her, Amy.  I was talking to Chrissy earlier today at NerdStrong as she was debating on if she was going to come to Hogsmeade today or not. Well they grabbed some lunch and I moved to a larger table. We all gushed over how awesome it was to be eating lunch in the Three Broomsticks.

After lunch we decided to stick together and experience Hogsmeade together. Both Amy and I had been to the Florida park but this was Chrissy's first time so it was great to see it through her tearful eyes. We did everything, we rode The Forbidden Journey, we walked through every shop, we went to Olivanders for a wand and Chrissy was selected to get her wand. We did The Forbidden Journey for a second time and walked around the shops again. I finally got me my frozen Butterbeer (it was as amazing as I remember), I also picked up some Butterbeer fudge and just a small bite of the corner could put you into a sugar coma.. it was amazing. We also watched both of the stage shows (Hogwarts Choir and The Beauxbatons Dancers & Durmstrang Performers) and just hung out in the Owlery taking it all in.

Amy left around 4pm while Chrissy hooked up with some other friends and went off with them. I jumped in line for The Flight of the Hippogriff ride and when I got off that one I headed out around 5:30pm as I had to head out to Pasadena to see a play with my buddy Adam at Cal Tech called Boldly Go!

It was an AMAZING day at Hogsmeade, so much so that I am going to cancel my plans for tomorrow and come back again.. I can't wait!!

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