Most of you have probably already heard of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park at Universal Orlando. The park features three exciting rides--Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Flight of the Hippogriff, and Dragon Challenge--plus a surprisingly detailed reproduction of the Hogwarts and Hogsmeade settings of the Harry Potter movies. It would have been nice if the theme park were a bit closer to the actual geographical setting of the series, but I suppose Orlando, Florida is kind of theme park central, so it makes sense. Even if Hogsmeade is decked out in snow, something Orlando never sees.
Anyway, I totally want to go! I want to walk around Hogsmeade and drink butterbeer. I want to buy a magic wand from Ollivander's (and as I've mentioned before, I dream about having a magic wand--literally). I want to walk through the halls of Hogwarts. Oh my gosh, I just can't express how much I want to go. Reading reviews of the park and seeing galleries of the souvenirs available there just make me squeeee! I know I could order a wand online, but it's really not the same. Unless an owl delivers it, it would be infinitely better to buy it in Ollivander's wand shop.
It's a small enough park that it's probably only good for a day trip. If only I had a friend who lived near there, I could visit her and then stop by the park for a day. Or if I went to a conference there--the Ocean Sciences conference was there in 2008 (three years too early, darn). My mom, who is also a huge Harry Potter fan (everyone in my family is, but especially her), proposed semi-seriously that we do a family vacation there, and maybe spend a few days in Disney World to make the trip more worthwhile. But, um, I'm kind of past going to theme parks with my parents at the moment. I may need a little more time away from them before I'm ready to walk around Disney World with my mom again. I reeeeaaally want to go to the Harry Potter theme park...but just how desperate am I?
Speaking of Harry Potter magic wands, I came across something AMAZING on ThinkGeek: the Magic Wand - Programmable TV Remote. It is even more awesome than it sounds. Yes, it's a Harry Potter-style wand that you can use as a TV remote, but it doesn't even use buttons. It recognizes 13 different wand motions that you program, using your normal remote, to do different things. And then BOOM, you can control the TV with a flick of your wand (or a series of flicks). Watch the demonstration video on the website. I wish it gave a little more demonstration of the wand actually in use, but you get the idea. I don't even own a TV at the moment, but I WANT THIS SO MUCH. Using it to control my TV would be just pure geek fun satisfaction.
Of course, if I end up getting a Kinect, I guess I'd be able to control the TV--at least for tasks that the Kinect is connected to--with my hands (a la Minority Report). But...it's a wand! And, as we all know, I have a thing for magic wands.