Monday, February 9, 2015

Abbie Rides the Hogwarts Express: Going to Hogwarts and Hogsmeade Village

[Photographs by Sara]

December 2014 - I have very fond childhood memories of King's Cross Station, London, and I have taken a couple of trains to different cities from there when I vacationed in London. Universal has recreated King's Cross at Universal Studios and the detail is brilliant. It feels like you are in London for real! The street outside, the pale yellow bricks walls, and the cobblestone walkways are London all the way. King's Cross, like in the Harry Potter books, has the secret entrance to Platform Nine and Three Quarters from where the Hogwarts Express leaves for Hogwarts. 

For Potter fanatics like my Bestie and me, King's Cross is such a tease. There is no way that one can get a glimpse of the red Hogwarts Express from anywhere except when you get right to the departures. So, we waited patiently. Practically speaking, the Hogwarts Express takes passengers from Universal Studios to Islands of Adventure. Artistically; and imaginatively, it is a transport from Platform Nine and Three Quarters to Hogsmeade Station at the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter. 

Hull Trains run from King's Cross for real and I remember that! The departures boards were absolutely real from London and listed destinations from the UK. We got our park-to-park ticket checked in and proceeded through the tunnel walkways to the boarding queues. Even the trash bins along the way had London printed on them. The walls had travel ads promoting London tourism. 

These wizard trunks, ready for Hogwarts, were laid out along the passenger waiting lines. It is s treat to just look at them while we waited. There are also announcements that keep happening at the station announcing train delays and the like. The Hogwarts Express is still nowhere to be seen.

And then suddenly, one of the ushers guided us forward and told us we can split up and one person can take a photo while the other goes forward and then come back and swap. I had no clue what that meant until I saw THE MAGIC WALL! Hogwarts Express passengers rush through an enchanted wall at King's Cross and magically appear on the other side at Platform Nine and Three Quarters. Once Bestie and I were done gasping, jumping, gawking, and drooling over the wall and people disappearing through it, we took turns to record our experience! Bestie went in and disappeared while I recorded! Then she came back! Next, I went in and she recorded! 

Giggling and checking out replays of our magical wall videos, we walked down a narrow corridor to come out on the other side at Platform Nine and Three Quarters!!! Just like in the books, right out of the movie, there it was ... the pride of Hogwarts! The red gleaming engine of the Hogwarts Express. The departure hall was exactly King's Cross! We felt like we would see Molly Weasley and everybody else any minute in the hundreds of faces waiting in line. 

Our wait time in line was pretty big, like about 45 minutes at least from entering King's Cross. But once we got to the Hogwarts Express we lost track of the wait time because we were under a spell! The majestic train departed with a loud CHOOOO!!!, smoke shooing out! It was insane to watch this scene unfold before our very eyes! 

Watch Out For The Hogwarts Express Experience Video Coming Soon ...

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