While I sat in a gum-ridden school desk during my U.S. History class, I vigilantly stared at the clock, watching the long hand slowly tick-tock-ticking. It was June 10th, the last day of junior year, and I was ten minutes away from the best summer of my life. What was I feeling? Excitement of the purist kind; it was uncontrollable and quite child-like. A question poses itself: what could have possibly made my 17 year old self feel this passionate urge to climb onto my desk and jump up and down while waving my arms like a raving lunatic? The knowledge that after two days of driving in a packed and somewhat uncomfortable minivan, I would be standing in front of the place of my dreams. The mythical obsession of my childhood, suddenly and wonderfully brought to life. This magical, exhilarating, and bewildering place that I write of is none other than The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. (http://www.universalorlando.com/harrypotter/)
â–º Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
I went on this vacation with my mother and my best friend, who are Harry Potter fanatics as well. A complete recap of everything the three of us did would fill up about fifteen pages with joyous frivolity, so I have chosen my favorite memories to describe to you. The driving trip went exactly as planned, and everything was going as smoothly as the skin of a peach. After a well rested night, we started once more along the Florida state highway 301, eagerly watching out the windows for the first sight of Hogwarts. When we came upon the first billboard advertising The Wizarding World, my best friend and I screamed in excitement, fumbling for our cameras. The first day was filled with nonstop running to every ride and every store. My favorites were Honeydukes, the candy shop, where I highly recommend the Chocolate Frogs and the Fizzing Whizbees. I was absolutely delighted once I had an authentic taste of Butterbeer from The Three Broomsticks itself, and a foamy mustache from the thick buttery cream. I also enjoyed shopping at Dervish and Banges, where I bought an official Quaffle, a Hogwarts journal, and a cute grungy replica of The Sorting Hat. Out of the three rides inside the park I most enjoyed The Forbidden Journey, which was actually inside Hogwarts. Through amazing technology and an elaborate set, I felt as if I was experiencing Harry’s journey myself. However, the most magical experience I had at the park was inside Ollivanders Wand Shop, where one person out of a group is singled out and the wand truly gets to choose the wizard.
The Harry Potter series constructed by J.K. Rowling has been a faithful friend and constant in my changing and hectic life. When I began reading the first book at age eight, I had no clue as to how it would mold me into the young woman I am today. From her work, Rowling has taught me lessons within the realms of friendship, love, and loyalty, all while making me fall in love with the world she created. My vacation to The Wizarding World seemed to be the final step of this Harry Potter obsession of mine, as well as a goodbye to my youth. It was the peak of the mountain of my childhood, and once I had experienced the magic in a way I never thought possible, I finally had the courage to step onto the other side of the mountain and descend down, leaving behind my childhood memories at the highest and most spectacular they could be.
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