We had Miss Q at Hogwarts. She could have begun and ended her vacation right then and there at Universal Studios Harry Potter World. There was the Hogwarts Express, butterbeer, and Hogwarts itself perched high on a hill.
The details were all too real, too amazing for even this 39-year-old to describe; but I’ll try!
From the magic zipping around Zonkos, ringing bells, moving curtains, to the ornate carvings on the sides of the buildings, we had truly entered J.K. Rowling’s imagination and it was all so very, very good.
When Miss S saw the pygmy puffs in Zonkos she knew she had to have one. I tried to talk her out of yet another stuffy, but she insisted, after all, her favourite character, Ginny, has one. (Purple, his name is Arnold.)
She picked out a purple pygmy puff and brought it to the ornate counter. One sales-wizard placed a large bell in front of the sales-wizard who was serving us.
Our sales-wizard asked Miss S her name.
Miss S told her.
Our sales-wizard asked what the pygmy puff’s name was.
Miss S said she didn’t have one picked yet.
The sales-wizard told Miss S that pygmy puffs spent their nights cleaning boogers and earwax from their owner’s ears.
The sales-wizard then rang the over-sized bell three times and called for everyone in the crowded store’s attention.
The store went silent. Even the magic stopped whizzing around.
The sales-wizard cleared her throat and said, “Can I have your attention in the store please. Can I have your attention? This is (Miss S) and she is adopting this pygmy puff, which will be named at a later date. (Miss S) promises to look after her, feed her, and give her water every day. Can I get a round of applause for (Miss S)?” The whole store broke out into cheers for Miss S, whose chest puffed out about a mile.
It was my turn to be a puddle of verklempt at all the kindness being bestowed upon my beautiful beaming daughter and her new pet.
Apparently Harry Potter World had one goal and that was to fill my mum heart until it was about to burst.
The peak of Miss Q’s vacation was when, out of a crowd of twenty, she was chosen by the Ollivander in his wand shop to have a wand choose her.
I was waiting for her to shy away, but she strode through the dimly lit shop to the desk and answered all his questions with a giant grin and zero hesitation. She was in heaven.
Ollivander pulled the first wand out of its box, described in great detail its features, and handed it to Miss Q, asking her to hold it up to the ceiling.
No sooner had she held up the wand, then the room erupted in thunder and lighting. Ollivander quickly took the wand away from her, saying it was much too powerful. Miss Q nodded in agreement and looked a little relieved to hand the wand back.
Finding another wand and describing its inner craftsmanship, Ollivander asked Miss Q to pick it up.
This time he had her perform a spell.
She did and all the bells in the room rang.
Laughing they put the wand back in the box, agreeing it wasn’t her wand, and Ollivander searched his shop high and low for the wand that wanted to be Miss Q’s.
He found one on a high up shelf, blew off the dust, and presented it to Miss Q, saying at this wand’s core was ivy; a wand for nature lovers.
Miss Q was asked to take it from the box and hold it up in the air.
As soon as she took the wand a white spotlight shone down on her, wind blew up from below her and a choir sang.
I kept waiting for the director to yell, “CUT.” It was so Hollywood.
Miss Q’s smile couldn’t get any bigger as the dear wand maker fussed over her and the wand that had chosen her.
Everyone clapped for Miss Q. Ollivander asked Miss Q’s family to stay behind as the rest of the crowd was ushered out of the room.
It is then that I began to wonder how much this wand was, but oh no, Ollivander just wanted to meet Miss Q and her family. He told her how special the wand was and then left us in his assistant’s capable hands.
The assistant, I thought. He will be the one to lower the price boom.
But no, the assistant examined the wand and gushed over the fact Miss Q was very special to have been picked and this wand was powerful.
We were then handed off to another assistant as we walked out of Ollivander’s shop and into the gift shop. Ah, this was the rub!
The THIRD employee we were passed along to gushed over the wand that had chosen Miss Q. She pulled it out of the box, examined it from all angles as Ollivander and his assistant had, then put it back in it’s case. She then smoothly turned the case around and said, “Now, this wand is $47 (and some change).”
My husband and I looked at each other. Miss Q was already flying through the air on her broomstick with her wand… It had chosen her, after all.
Oh, we’d been chosen.
But if your child is Harry Potter’s number one fan, AND has just been chosen; had three characters, including the one and only Ollivander gush over the fact she’d been chosen. Have I mentioned she was chosen?! You’ll pay anything to hold onto the moment.
Precisely $47US – this is why I work, my friends. This is why I work.
But can I also add a cynical: seriously, Universal Studios?? You couldn’t have a cheaper wand or, hey, since three adults have now gushed to this young Potterhead, a free wand? You could do that, right?
Okay, snark over, I will say that in spite of my feelings for the marketing tactics of Universal, watching your daughter realize her dreams was another one of those verklempt moments. I was overcome with joy for my beautiful, deserving child.
The wand that chose Miss Q actually performed magical feats throughout Harry Potter’s World. So it was useful.
There were spots throughout the area that if she stood on a brass cap in the cobblestone, and followed the movement etched in the metal caps, along with saying the magic words, whatever she was pointing at would either flip on/off or stop/start moving.
Miss Q was impressed with how well she and her wand worked together. She’d watch other kids struggle with their magic lessons, then step up to the plate and knock the spell out of the park. “My wand’s more powerful than I thought.” She’d beam.
Back in the hotel room, my computer cord fell onto the floor after Miss Q had uttered a spell and pointed at it. I swore she saw me coil it back up, but she whispered another spell, saw the cord had re-coiled and was so proud her gift continued outside of the park.
Harry Potter World was definitely the saviour of our Universal Studio’s trip. And though I got an epic brain freeze, the butterbeer was absolutely delish.
Mum Notes From The Road:
- Southern California bus tours was the way to go. Had a tour through LA on the way to Universal.
- Lesson learned, Universal Studios was definitely an adult theme park. Miss C was too young with Miss S coming in a close second.
- Universal has A.C. Slater live and in person. Hubba hubba. There was a rumour Skreech was there too. Not so hubba hubba.
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