This is probably the most excited I have EVER been for a blog post. You guys know how completely obsessed I am with anything/everything Harry Potter. I mean.. I even have a TATTOO of the Deathly Hallows on my ankle.. I’m committed to this shit.
I can’t pin-point the exact moment Harry Potter became a “thing” for me. I remember being maybe 10 years old.. and the very FIRST book came out. It fucking CHANGED my life. I have always semi-enjoyed reading.. but it was nothing compared to how I felt once I got my hands on this book. It was 1997, and everyone was talking about this “Harry Potter” book. It was SO good, so original, so magical, and so utterly gripping.. I was/and still am 100% hooked. I will forever think of this series, as the book that got me into “reading”. This book was the first taste of the literary world for me, and it stuck.
I don’t even need to go into details about how much I LOVED the movies, you guys know I did. I will never get over the passing of Alan Rickman this year. Snape was, and will always be.. my most highly regarded fictional character. I love him so much, it’s weird. In fact, I just bought his wand at Universal Studios.. keep reading xo 😉
So it all began a few months ago…. My birthday was looming, and I was trying to decide what the hell to do. I was just randomly scrolling through Facebook, and I saw that one of my best friends Julia, had just taken her family to Disneyland for her Birthday.. and I was immediately like…. “I’m GOING to Harry Potter World”. Convincing Ryan was the more difficult part, but he surprised me and was 100% into it. We booked a hotel across the street from Disneyland, and I started searching for the perfect Harry Potter Outfit.
I found this sweater on Amazon, that was perfect! It was supposed to arrive on October 1st.. and we were supposed to fly to LAX on October 6th. Basically it didn’t arrive, and I was actually embarrassingly upset haha. However… like FATE, the next day my Mom dropped off an early Birthday gift for me.. and it was a HARRY POTTER OWL BACKPACK, and the actual official Hogwarts Uniform Cardigan… I almost died!!! Fate was looking out for me, and I was so beyond thrilled with my little costume for the next week. I put it right into the suitcase, and I’ve never been more excited to wear anything.
We went to Universal Studio’s on our last day in California. The shuttle bus picked us up at 7 AM from our hotel, which was actually quite a rough morning for us. We had been at Disneyland until 1 am the night before, and after literally roaming ALL of Anaheim for food at 2 am.. we were working on 4 hours of sleep. Also side note… I am 99% sure I strained/pulled/destroyed my vocal cord on the first day, definitely on California Screaming. I’m such a freak I know.. I know.
I wasn’t going to let ANYTHING fuck up this day for me. The entire point of this trip was to get to Harry Potter World…. I will NOT stand down for no sleep & not being able to swallow anything haha. Honestly though, my throat hurt so badly I was actually in tears on the bus ride to the park 😦 Every time I swallowed it was like KNIVES tearing at my throat… and it pissed me off SO much. I did everything I could to ignore it. My outfit looked cute, and nothing was going to fuck this day up for me.
On a positive side, our shuttle bus got us there with 25 minutes until the park even opened! As soon as walked into the gates of “Universal Studios” I was like a psychopath scanning and scanning the grounds.. for the CASTLE. I saw it, and grabbed Ryan.. and made a huge veer to the right. The GATES OF HOGSMEADE opened to me, and I saw not only the castle/Hogsmeade/ but the sign that said “Please Respect the Spell Limits”. I’m not that proud of my reaction.
I had a similar feeling that I had the first time I saw the Spice Girls in concert. Utter disbelief, shock, and the most extreme happiness.. that it makes you look fucking crazy. I actually walked in, felt sick, and had to walk back out. Ryan was like “what the fuck! where are you going?!”. The truth was that it was honestly SO overwhelming, that I felt like just casually walking into the park.. I had missed too many things.. and I needed to walk BACK in, and really soak it all in. Ryan probably was so terrified by my complete lack of “cool”, but whatever. I needed to SOAK that shit in.
At my re-entry, this “Hogwarts Express Actor” caught my eye, and there was no line yet. I posed with him, and got TONS of cute photos of me and this Train Conductor actor! The funniest thing is that our families thought it was RYAN in the photo… in costume! That is so hilarious to me. This dude was SUPER in character too, and it actually became kind of weird because he kept saying “Oh HI you are a STUDENT right? Is your boyfriend a MUGGLE? I think he’s a muggle because of his BEARD”. So weird for us both.. but Ryan is a champ and took like 100 amazing photos. I loved this dude though, commitment to the act is everything. I felt very immersed in this word, literally at the GATE!
After the initial shock wore off, we went into the TAVERN “The Three Broomsticks”. Ryan had a few beers, and there was amazing breakfast. I couldn’t get over the INCREDIBLE architecture that created this place, and it honestly made me SO overwhelmed. I was IN the movie at this part.. I got weird from here on out.
After this, we went and shopped around the shops. Ryan took me to Ollivander’s Wand Shop, and I was presented with HUNDREDS of wands to choose from. I chose Snape’s wand, because he’s my favorite.
After this, we took a bunch of photos, and then got in line for “Harry Potter: And The Forbidden Journey”, which is the INCREDIBLE ride, within the CASTLE. This was the BEST ride we did the entire week, hands DOWN. I swear I’m not being biased. It was terrifying. The wait was like 40 minutes obviously, but it was so so cool. We got to actually ENTER the castle, and look around everything. The ride was super intense, and everyone had to lock up ALL their stuff in these fingerprints-activated lockers, which I was kind of worried about at first. I had ALL my professional camera stuff with me, and I don’t want to leave it anywhere EVER, but these lockers were intense… like fingerprint reading secure! Anyways, after we were all locked up, Ryan I got back into line. We lined up as “Single Riders”, because it was 100% fucking faster, and you get to stand together in line the entire time, until the very end. I don’t ever spend my ride time talking to who I’m with… so riding single rider is so genius. It probably saved us 1.5 hours!
The ride was HORRIFYING. SO amazing! An incredible blend of a stomach dropping roller coaster, crazy physical ride.. and also some outstanding 4X visuals. SO amazing. I honestly thought I was going to die, and the iPhone I had shoved in between my boobs, literally was a split second from hitting the ground at one point. My tights caught the iPhone case at the last second. So worth it though. I was SHAKING for almost an hour after this ride.
The other ride within the Harry Potter area of Universal Studios, is the “Flight of the Hippogriff”. This was a very cute ride, and we loved it. It was very kid-friendly, and honestly not scary at ALL. This is a kids ride… but it is worth it for the cool line-up views. You get a front row seat to Hagrid’s Hut & A Hippogriff Nest!
Anyways, after all this Harry Potter obsessing.. we headed into the bulk of Universal Studio’s. Ryan has never been before!! I’ve been a few times, and one of the most stand-out things I remembered was the “Universal Studios Tram Tour”. We did it, and it was FASCINATING. They take groups of 40+ on a bus, and show you all the Studio Back-lots… how to make a Hurricane, how to film a movie… with also showing you how they filmed “Jurassic Park”, “King Kong”, and “Fast and the Furious”. So much fun!
After that… we entered Simpson’s World & Jurassic Park. Also saw a CRAZY live action Waterworld show.
Still dreaming about all of this. Ryan was blown away, and so was I.
Best Day of my Life.
(All Images @Carly Ingram Photography 2017)
“Whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”
― J.K. Rowling