Universal Orlando marked the anniversary of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter with a confetti-streamers-butterbeer moment at 9:23 a.m. on Saturday -- one year after it officially opened last spring at Islands of Adventure theme park. Universal is continuing its celebration in a virtual way via its Facebook page. (When I checked in this morning, there was some "Twilight" trash talk. Good times.)
I wanted to share a few outtakes from the story. They either got cut for space or they were slightly off topic, but they gave me pleasure in one way or another.
+ Chris Bell, the guy who says he's been on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey more than 600 times, told me that the longest he ever waited for the attraction was 3 hours, and that was on grand-opening day. But mostly, he goes through the single-rider line. He has a Deathly Hallows tattoo.
+ Although Karen Martin said there was nothing left for her to buy at Wizarding World, she "only" owns two of the wands, and she hasn't purchased an official robe, which, let's face it, is not designed for Florida summers. "That's a little crazy," she said. "I'm a fan, but there's a limit."
+ Robert Thompson, the pop-culture prof from Syracuse, said those robes would raise eyebrows in most places, they serve a purpose at Wizarding world. "Here is a place, in geographical space, where you can exist as these characters and expect to have not only people not mocking you or pointing you out or making fun of you, but you actually add to the whole experience," he said.
+ Hilary Klein is an enthusiastic fan, and she's happy that houses beyond Gryffindor are represented at Wizarding World. (She's very Ravenclaw). But she does have some storyline issues with Forbidden Journey. "It's cool because you get to go through all the scenes from the book, but it's not a new story," she said. "But the technology in that is awesome and I love it." She was hoping for original content from J.K. Rowling.
+ Tim Hinton, the guy who loves him some butterbeer, is a music composer. With his job he can live anywhere, he said, and he chose to move to Orlando in 2000 because of the theme parks.
"If everybody got a coaster once a week, the world would probably end most of its wars," he said.
I had many more superfan volunteers, including several that made contact after the story had been written. I'm holding on to your info because I'll probably need experts for future stories as well. Thanks for writing and reading.