As annoying/stressful as my job gets, I fully admit that it has some amazing points. Like, the perks.
About a month ago, I received a package in the mail....
I was hoping for some sort of sneak peak of the expansion of Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but never in my wildest dreams would I have thought up the lengths they went to for their invitation and party.
Friday was the big day! Usually, myself and my coworker D get invited to these things (I'm promotions and he is sales, associated with the account). D's wife couldn't come, so he said I could invite another person! Score!!
My cousin Heidi and my coworker/friend M got to make a Girls' Night of it!!
We were directed to Hogsmeade (the original world in Islands of Adventure) where we were to ride the Hogwart's Express to King's Cross. As soon as we got to the new train station, I was like a 5 year old on Christmas morning.....
The roughly 3 minute train ride was magical! You actually do go into a cabin like they have in the films.....
According to the itinerary, we were to have a cocktail party in London from 7:30p until roughly 8:30p. What we didn't expect were servers as soon as we exited King's Cross Station holding appetizers and various drinks to enjoy. Um, hello, open bar!!
The London exterior is phenomenal. Just so cool to look at!!!
Around 8:45pm, they introduced the President of Universal Entertainment (can't remember his name) who spoke to us a little about "the project" as well as thanking us for the support of the years. He then introduced three actors from the films.... Domhnall Gleeson (Bill Weasley), Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), and Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid). We were on the other side of the podium, so we could only see their heads, but it was still super exciting.
Finally, we were let into Diagon Alley. Other than a few pictures below, it was too dark to get good shots, but it is just phenomenal. After a while, you forget the world outside and think you are actually walking through the films.
They had the menu from The Leaky Cauldron set up in stations around the courtyard. My personal favorites were the salmon and the bacon-wrapped scallops.
They had actors walking around, interacting with everyone! Those people did not break character, at all.
Of course they had a dessert buffet that featured the restaurant selections, as well as pastries from the ice cream shop. We decided it was our duty to sample them all.........
For the record, the Sticky Toffee Pudding and the Guinness Cake won, by a landslide.
We enjoyed some more free drinks. Again, open bar. Walked around and stopped in the ice cream shop. The have Butterbeer Ice Cream.... I wasn't a fan and much prefer the frozen Butterbeer. The 'Earl Grey and Lavendar' ice cream? Do it!!!!
Our last stop was Gringott's Bank for the ride! First of all, it is surreal when you walk into the bank lobby. I almost expected the dragon to come up out of the floor. The ride was a ton of fun! I still think the ride in Hogwart's Castle is my favorite, but this was pretty great.
Eventually, the evening was over and we headed home. I *know* I'll visit again once the land officially opens up (and the crowds die down). Somehow, though, I doubt anything will live up to my first experience in Diagon Alley.