Hello, everyone! My name is Caty and I am the writer for The Bee's Knees. Jenna has asked me to post a photo of a treasure I found while traveling and write a little bit about it. The adventure I have chosen to share is my recent trip to Orlando, Florida. The treasure? The opportunity to indulge my imagination and live, if only for a few days, a long-time dream of mine. To convey that gift as best as I can, I'll show you a photo from the park itself...
While growing up, I, along with millions, discovered the Harry Potter book series. I was one of the “handful” of people who actually aged along with the three main characters. When Harry, Ron, and Hermione were eleven years old, so was I. I had always been a big fan of writing and reading, so the connection I made with the books wasn't surprising to anyone. But now, as an adult, I look back on that time with the realization that something special really clicked. Of all the books I have read in my lifetime (a whopping 24 years), some have touched my heart, others have made an impact on my life. But none of them have affected me the way J.K. Rowling's brilliant imagination has. I grew up in the "Bible Belt," so I had a few friends who weren't allowed to read Harry Potter due to the belief that it encouraged witchcraft, sorcery, and harmful teachings. I felt as though they had lost a loved one without knowing it! The seven-novel-long story is anything but negative. It is filled with so many amazing lessons on faith, courage, friendship, family, sacrifice, death, and the battle between good and evil.
My husband, Gabriel, didn’t read the books until after we were married, but he became just as enamored with them. For our late honeymoon, we decided to travel down to Orlando, Florida and visit Universal Studios during Thanksgiving 2010. Last summer, they completed the life-size, all-encompassing Harry Potter world, complete with Hogsmeade shops and the beloved Hogwarts castle.
The creators made an entire Diagon Alley/Hogsmeade collaboration that makes you feel as though you yourself are visiting the world of Harry Potter. With the movies’ soundtracks playing overhead, you can buy delicious butter beer, find a wand of your very own, send an Owl Post back home, or listen to the Hogwarts student choir perform with a toad. You can walk the trails past the Dragon Challenge roller coaster and find the Tri-Wizard Champions' tent, Hagrid's hut, the Womping Willow chowing down on the flying car, and gaze over the entire park with the castle in the background.
I decided to post this particular photo because it was the first time I really saw the castle. I won’t lie, I’m fairly certain I teared up a little at the sight. Have you ever experienced a time when everything felt so “in the moment” and it was next to impossible trying to indulge any sort of worry or negative thought? That is what the park gave to me. I had an extremely hard time leaving. And now, every time Gabriel and I hear the distinct twinkling notes of the Harry Potter suite, we look at each other and simultaneously reminisce on our own days at Hogwarts.
[read about the entire trip and see all the photos here]
Thank you Caty! I literally got goosebumps as I felt your excitement of being transported into the wonderful world that is Harry Potter. No lie, every fall I get the hankering for all things Hogwarts.