Around sophomore year, my friend Erika brought up going to the Magical World of Harry Potter in Orlando, FL. Two years later, I am here to present an account of our adventures! But first: Introductions. Everyone, Erika. Erika, everyone. Erika is a senior English major (lit concentration), which means she is awesome.
On Friday of MLK weekend, Erika and I set out. Now, some might think an 8-9 hour drive is a bit excessive for a three day weekend. But I consider that to be a relaxing drive time! (This from the person who was on 13 hour road trips pretty consistently as a kid.) Besides, it was a road trip--and road trips need real driving time! At one point Erika tossed her jacket in the back and declared, “I have carelessly thrown my hoodie on the back seat. It is officially a road trip!”
Our first morning down, we went to Universal. We headed straight to the Harry Potter section of the park, which was super epic. The details were awesome, especially on Hogwarts. We went on the Hogwarts ride first. I was really blown away by the quality of the technology throughout, and the ride itself was a pleasant mixture of horror and fan!joy. Erika got off barely able to walk between her shock, excitement and laughter.
We hopped in and out of shops, then settled on Three Broomsticks for lunch. They had pretty good fish and chips. I also had a butterbeer slushie. I knew from past experience with some home made recipes that I find the regular sort to be almost unbearably sweet. The slushie watered it down enough to be really enjoyable, but was still so sweet I sadly couldn’t get through the whole thing. But I got a cool cup out of it!
We also took a turn on the Hippogriff (kiddie rollercoaster) ride. Part of the coolness was that Hogwarts was almost always in sight, which gave the impression that you were flying outside the castle. I made Erika go on the Hulk ride (I was too much of a wuss). We also rode the Spiderman ride and played around in the Jurassic Park section. While in the latter, we played a computer game to see what we would look like if we were dinosaurs. We weren’t sure what to expect as I did the “personality test” and “DNA test,” so when a very poorly photoshopped picture of my face stretched over a dinosaur’s appeared on the screen Erika about fell over.
Finally, quite tired and content, we left to find dinner. I’d looked up a local NYC pizza place on my phone that was around the corner and had good reviews. When we pulled up outside it, Erika stared at the dark windows and pealing paint and said, “I trust you.” Luckily her trust turned out to be rewarding! We both got calzones which were absolutely amazing (and cheap!). Totally worth it. The moral of this story is that sketchy pizza places are the best. (Note: Berry does not endorse students seeking out sketchy pizza joints.)
The next day, we set out for Flea World, America’s largest flea market. Neither of us had been to a legit flea market before, so we weren’t quite sure what to expect. It reminded me a little of a run down, redneck covered market (like the ones I visited in England and Barcelona). It was a bizarre mixture of Asian stuff (I got a wooden katana for $5), regular household goods, weird clothing, swords, puppies, and ice cream. I had a pretty good root beer float. Erika had a milkshake she claims was the second best in her entire life–and only for $2.
Thoroughly perplexed, we left Flea World for Downtown Disney. We spent our time looking in the shops for weird stuff and laughing at the prices. I also had flashbacks from a childhood memory when I saw the lego dragon! I reenacted my childhood self to celebrate (pictured above). From there, we went to see The Hobbit (second time for me, third for Erika) in a Regal theater. Needless to say: Stellar.
We drove back to Berry the next day, with an obligatory stop at Cracker Barrel (“I don’t think it’s a real road trip if we don’t go to Cracker Barrel”). We arrived at Berry in one piece and quite content. So don't forget to take a road trip your senior year! Berry's in easy reach from a lot of cool places, including Hogwarts.