Every Potterhead Should Apparate To Universal Studios Orlando

Every Potterhead Should Apparate To Universal Studios Orlando

It's no Hogwarts, but it is a close second.


It's no secret that the "Harry Potter" franchise has a large fan base that has spawned movies, video games, multiple lines of merchandise, and even a theater play in author J.K. Rowling's universe. Universal Studios Orlando decided to give Potterheads close to the real experience of Hogwarts when they announced a Harry Potter-themed park back in 2007. The Islands of Adventure park is home to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade and as of June 2014, a replica of the esteemed Hogwarts express was built that provides transport to visitors in the Universal Studios Florida park which has The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley. Best of both worlds.

There are no words that express how a young (or older) witch or wizard feels when they first enter either of the parks. The only word that I would use that could accurately describe how I felt was magical. There was such intricate detail where ever your eyes landed on and one felt like they were actually walking through a wizard village. The train ride on the Hogwarts Express encompasses the Dementor attack from Harry's third year.

In both parks, there are sensors in certain areas that react with different interactive wands that can be purchased. You have the ability to create magic within yourself with a little swish and flick. You don't have to say the incantation out loud because of the sensors, but who wouldn't? I received my interactive wand has a gift the Christmas before I went and it came with a map with all of the areas to cast spells. While not interactive, the theme parks have replicas of wands used by an array of different characters in the movies. The theme park of Diagon Alley is home to Ollivander's Wand Shop (it is also in Hogsmeade, but supposed to be in Diagon Alley in canon) where Harry Potter received his first wand and wands can choose their witch or wizard.

Fans can try butterbeer and pumpkin juice! I can say that I have tried both and ended up not liking either of them (which made me super upset), I am still happy to brag that I had the experience. For witches and wizard above legal age, there is also themed alcoholic drinks at The Hog's Head. There is also the candy shop Honeydukes which sells sweets relative to the books and movies (Cauldron Cakes, sugar skulls, Acid Pops, and Bernie Bott's Every Flavour Beans) for those with a sweet tooth. Has I am not much of sweets person, there is The Leaky Cauldron located in the Diagon Alley park and The Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade. As The Leaky Cauldron is also designated as an inn, when you sit down to enjoy your meal, you can hear footsteps and luggage on the floor above your head. There are "potions" sold by vendors that are actually flavors to put into your Gillywater which is just bottled water.

A variety of shops adorn both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade with "Harry Potter" toys, souvenirs, and collectibles. Most of the stuff is expensive like it would be at any theme park so spend your money wisely. A collection of "Harry Potter" Christmas is popular, with House Pride stockings and ornaments. No matter if you are a Gryffindor or Hufflepuff, you can find it. However, I wore cheaper "Harry Potter" merch from Hot Topic and Target so I could still represent and not make a huge dent in my pockets.

The rides are to die for. With a total of four rides between both of the theme parks, my favorite would have to be Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The line queue is entertaining for guests (like must rides at Universal Studios) with Harry, Hermione, and Ron heading the adventures. I went on it more times than I should've because I had early access to the parks and there was no line. I did close my eyes when the Dementors came up the second time though because they scared the crap out of me the first time. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts has the Ukrainian Ironbelly on the exterior of the ride that shoots fire (safely) on a timer into Diagon Alley. The ride is an actual roller coaster although it is hard to see the track because of the size of the seating and the special effects. If you get motion sick, I recommend taking medicine beforehand as I almost hurled when I got off.

Even if you're not a fan of "Harry Potter," I guarantee the experience will be magical. If we can't attend Hogwarts, at least Potterheads have the creativeness of Universal Studios. There was so much thought and detail put into both parks that I am glad I had the experience to go and hope I can go again sometime in the future.

Cara Campanelli

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.

Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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Women's Rights And Music: A Great Hypocrisy

"Turn the objectifying and sexist music down, I need to shout something about how women are equal and powerful!"


As with any divisive piece of writing, one must always remember two things: First, this is my opinion. Second, I am not the most knowledgeable source on this subject; I am purely writing my own thoughts and logic down. There could be plenty of problems with my stance, and I am more than open to listen and try to understand.

Also it should be noted that there is some strong language in this article. I'm not one to cuss or use such language, and the only reason it is included here is to make a point; I would never use this language in normal conversation.

But one thing that has always bothered me is how down-right awful some music can be in regards to women and who they are/what they represent.

I've always been a proponent of women and what they can accomplish. I believe God created us equally, yet with distinctive traits, characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses.

Gender Roles are not popular nowadays, but they exist, and they always will. Not because that is what we should only be doing as male or female. A women should have the freedom to have a job as a mechanic just like a man should be able to write poetry, etc. But these roles are ingrained in us for good reason. If I asked you which gender was more than likely to help plan and decorate for a wedding shower, who would you pick? That's not being sexist; that's being smart! You don't want any man planning a wedding shower.

That being said, we have this push for women's rights nowadays (which is great), but I feel like we are lacking in our push to respect and treat women right. A lot of people have been against this type of respect because it lowers women or makes them feel like they are the "weaker" sex, etc. But respecting women isn't something we should do because they are helpless.

We should do it because it's the right thing to do.

Our sons need to be taught to open doors, hold hands, talk sweetly and gently, don't cuss around them, etc.

Not because a woman can't open her own door or because women are some angelic creatures who don't ever curse, cause I've hear some women drop 'em better than sailors!

But simply because it's what they deserve.

We can all agree on rights and stuff... until it comes to our music. Then we throw it all out the window.

We fight for women, but are okay with them being called hoes and bitches.

We says women are equals, but talks about their titties and asses like they are personal property or a means to an end.

We say they are smart and powerful, but make songs about their pussies instead.

Does this make sense? Where is the respect? Instead of creating a generation of respect, we are creating one of misogyny.

Of course, this music doesn't give sexual predators, rapists, or down right disrespectful people a pass. What they do is their own decision; the music didn't make them do it.

But maybe the music helped plant an idea.

To me, it's all about what you are surrounded by.

Spend time listening to music that talks about romance and treating women right and calling them beautiful, well then you want to pick her flowers and take her out and treat her right.

Spend time listening to music that talks about screwing like dogs because she's so tight, well then, you get the picture.

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