Can a middle-age mom and her millennial daughter explore a Harry Potter Theme Park together without driving each other crazy?
My wife Debbie has read all seven Harry Potter books not once, not twice—but three times each. Excessive? I think so. But Debbie sees herself as bookworm Hermoine Granger, and she loves J.K. Rowling’s eloquent writing and bold insights about human nature. Or perhaps re-reading the books is her uinque way of telling me, “Not tonight, I have a headache.”
Our daughter Julia, a millennial who grew up with the Harry Potter books, has also read all seven volumes— just once. But like her mother, Julia has demonstrated her fervor for everything Hogwarts by camping out at the front of the line at our local movie theater for the midnight release of each Harry Potter movie. For each premiere, she dressed in the appropriate Gryffindor scarf and wire-frame glasses, a lightning bolt etched on her forehead in black eyeliner—joined by her mother, who loved experiencing the frenzy and passion of the teenage crowd, much to Julia’s teenage embarrassment.
But now that Julia is a college freshman in Boston, Debbie decides to invite Julia to spend Spring Break on a mother/daughter trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida.
Will Julia willingly sacrifice a week of beer pong and wet T-shirt contests on Ft. Lauderdale beach to stand on two-hour lines in the Florida humidity with her overzealous mother to experience a ride simulating a game of Quidditch? My guess? A resounding “Eat slugs!”
But when Debbie facetimes with Julia to invite her on this magical quest, Julia’s response shocks me. “Gulping gargoyles!” she exclaims. “Yes!”
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is actually composed of two separate lands located at two separate theme parks, requiring two separate admission tickets.
The first land, located in Universal Studios Florida theme park, is Diagon Alley, the London home of Harry Potter and his friends, where a dragon sits perched atop Gringotts Wizarding Bank, which contains, Debbie tells me without the slightest hint of sarcasm, “an awesome ride through the bank.”