I read my first Harry Potter book in 4th grade, and I immersed myself in an entirely new world. It was an exciting world, a world where witches, trolls, and werewolves roamed, where magic was real and the impossible was possible. Somehow, without ever stepping foot in Hogwarts, that world defined me. The story took residence in my soul and I lived it over and over again. Dumbledore’s wisdom got me through middle and high school and somehow my love of all things magical never wavered.
Sometime in middle school, the movies started coming out and I was able to see the world I had spent years envisioning. Instead of satisfying my desire to live in the world of Harry Potter, it only strengthened my yearning to be a part of it.
When I discovered there would be a Harry Potter theme park, it was an immediate bucket list item. Despite being in my 20’s, I experienced the same rush as when I was 9 and pouring over Rowling’s words for the first time. I could finally live out the dream I had harbored for 20 years. I never actually received my acceptance letter but I would, at some point, be going to Hogwarts.
It took longer than I thought before I was able to make the trip, but my husband and I finally made it last year. I’ve tried to describe my experience there, but I can only come up with one word: Magical. Everything about that experience was everything I wanted it to be, with the exception of it ending at the end of day.
We spent too many galleons on wands, hippogriffs, and fizzing whizbees and I don’t regret it. We rode on the Hogwarts express and after years of imagining what it would taste like, I was finally able to try butterbeer. On a hot and humid July day in Florida, it was well worth the decades long wait. We traveled to 12 Grimmauld Place and spent hours exploring the shops in Hogsmeade.
I was amazed by the amount of detail that went into creating this world. I wouldn’t have been surprised if I saw someone break out their wand and perform a spell, and as a matter of fact, it did happen. The interactive wands within the park were such a nice touch and made the world even more believable.
Unfortunately, at the end of the day, our trip to the world I’ve lived in for almost 20 years was over, but I know I will be going back someday. I can’t wait to introduce our future kids to this world and let them believe in magic for as long as they desire.
In the meantime, I will have to settle for rereading the series over these butterbeer cupcakes. See the recipe here: