Debbie chooses an interactive wand from Gryffindor.
“Hold your hippogriffs!” yells Julia. “Everyone knows the best house is Ravenclaw. Mom, you can’t walk around with a Hermoine Granger wand!”
Every time Debbie stands on a gold marker in front of a shop window, she waves her Gryffindor wand and casts a spell, causing a suit of armor to assemble itself, a skeleton to dance, or a jewelry box to pop open, revealing a frog. Delighted, Debbie giggles with glee, entertaining a bunch of six-year-olds standing nearby. Julia cringes, ducks into the nearest gift shop, and pretends she doesn’t know her own mother. “I won‘t go near her with a ten-foot broomstick!” she says.
If her mother identifies with Gryffindor, Julia decides to ally herself with Ravenclaw. In the gift shop, Julia buys the same Ravenclaw lion’s hat worn by Luna Lovegood in the books and movies. She gives her mother a gag gift: a “Prefect” lapel pin to let the world know her mother is a bossy know-it-all, just like Hermoine Granger. Debbie defiantly wears the pin as a badge of honor.
Excited that they can buy actual butterbeer, Debbie and Julia drink ice-cold slushy butterbeers, which, like Slurpees at 7-Eleven, give them both brain freeze. Despite their icy headaches, they hop aboard the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride, soaring above Hogwarts Castle. They get incredibly nauseous and nearly loose their butterbeers in the middle of the ride, creating their own Hogwarts Spring Break tradition. The close call forges a deep bond between them.
Will they ride a Hungarian Horntail dragon or a Chinese Fireball dragon (two glorified rollercoaster rides whose twisting loops interweave)?
“Both,” says Julie.
“But maybe not right after lunch,” suggests Debbie.
So, how does a visit to The Wizard World of Harry Potter compare to a visit to the real-life sets? When I ask that question upon their return home, Julia smiles widely. So does Debbie.
“The park captures the magic of the Harry Potter experience,” says Julia. Debbie nods in agreement. They high-five each other.
I smile too. After all, if the Wizarding World of Harry Potter can bring a mother and her teenage daughter this close together, a trip to that amusement park is magical indeed.