Monday, December 5, 2016


"Harry had never even imagined such a strange and splendid place. It was lit by thousands and thousands of candles that were floating in midair over four long tables, where the rest of the students were sitting. These tables were laid with glittering golden plates and goblets... Dotted here and there among the students, the ghosts shone misty silver. Mainly to avoid all the staring eyes, Harry looked upward and saw a velvety black ceiling dotted with stars. He heard Hermione whisper, 'It's bewitched to look like the sky outside. I read about it in Hogwarts, A History.' It was hard to believe there was a ceiling there at all, and that the Great Hall didn't simply open on to the heavens...The Gryffindor first years followed Percy through the chattering crowds, out of the Great Hall, and up the marble staircase. Harry's legs were like lead again, but only because he was so tired and full of food. He was too sleepy even to be surprised that the people in the portraits along the corridors whispered and pointed as they passed, or that twice Percy led them through doorways hidden behind sliding panels and hanging tapestries... At the very end of the corridor hung a portrait of a very fat woman in a pink silk dress. 'Password?' she said. 'Caput Draconis,' said Percy, and the portrait swung forward to reveal a round hole in the wall. They all scrambled through it -- Neville needed a leg up -- and found themselves in the Gryffindor common room, a cozy, round room full of squashy armchairs." ~ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J. K. Rowling

I've always found that the problem with really good books is that the movies which follow can never quite live up to the images you have formed in your own head while reading them. Which is why I was so very pleasantly surprised when the first Harry Potter film finally came out, and everything was exactly as I had imagined it. Our first visit to Hogsmeade and Hogwarts Castle, at Universal Studio's Wizarding World of Harry Potter, was yet another such pleasant surprise.

Careful, this book snarls and snaps its teeth if you get too close!
The castle tour involves first standing in a regular outdoor line -- a quick-moving one with shade and fans, thankfully -- then the line takes you through the castle itself, where the people in the portraits actually do speak to you and move from one frame to another, and where you can see many of the important settings and features from all the different books. Last of all is the ride, one of those 3D/4D rides I believe, which involve both motion and virtual reality. No babies or bags or backpacks are allowed on those rides. The neat thing, however, is that they allow you to do a baby-swap, where you all go through the line together. Part of you go on the ride while the others wait with baby and his bags (everyone else has to stow their bags in lockers before getting in line), then you trade off and the others get to ride. However, we never quite made it that far.

You see, the only thing we weren't allowed to bring with us was the "pram", which had to be parked outside. So I was carrying our hefty Little Goober all through the line (the reason I took no pictures inside the castle) and just as we were about to get to the indoors part, I noticed that my tummy felt very warm all of a sudden. I held Goober out in front of me and looked down. Yep, both he and I were covered in pee. Coulda' been a lot worse, right? The thing is, there was no where to set him down for a diaper change, and we had to keep moving with the line. Our only choice was to do a mid-air change, with one guy each holding head and feet, one gal whipping out the drippy diaper and the other trying to place a new one on our very squirmy baby. And we did it too, without holding up the line! I'm surprised the people around us didn't burst into applause afterwards.

So, we did get to enjoy the inside of the castle/school, though there are no pictures to share with you, but by the time we reached the ride part our baby was getting pretty fussy, and we were all happy to skip the ride. Especially me, since I am prone to motions sickness, and some of those 3D/4D things can really do a number on you!

Goober, Gramps and I then rested in the shade with a cool beverage and enjoyed some excellent people-watching, while Lex and Nate took a whirl on the Double Dragon roller coaster, in the background above.

Best of all, I think Goober now has his first official family story -- of the sort which will surely come up at every family get-together.  For the rest. of. his. life! "Remember that time Goobs peed all over Mima at Hogwarts?"

Maybe now we can retire a couple of mine!

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