My experience at Harry Potter World was surprising to me. I had been inspired by the books and movies for nearly a decade, and knew that if I had the chance to go I would definitely jump on it. But as that dream became a possibility on my road trip, interesting feelings came up. Feelings like, maybe that’s childish, maybe it’s irresponsible, Maybe it’s silly to go by myself… and maybe that’s kind of expensive just for an imaginary story. But I was so wrong, and that’s the other surprising part.
From the time I walked through the gates and made my way through Universal Studios to Harry Potter World, I couldn’t stop smiling. I felt this giddiness that’s almost felt foolish.
I should probably explain that having grown up in a strict controlling environment, I didn’t experience going to classes, or having classmates, or having best friends (other than my dear siblings), or going to parties, or generally being able to behave in ways that felt like me. So it was amazing to live vicariously through Harry, Ron, and Hermione, to see them become best friends, to experience life’s ups and downs together, to choose to break the rules when conscience dictated that was the right thing, to compete in a school team sport, and take dangerous and daring risks.
I’ve grown to love these characters and the powerfully inspiring as well as brilliant messages in the series. So to walk in and see Harry Potter’s world come to life was so thrilling. I was seriously overwhelmed by my own awe and joy, appreciating the detail that was put into each area, and wanting to give every worker there a hug of gratitude for the beautiful experience they were creating. I especially enjoyed the Gringotts and Hogwarts virtual tours. They felt like Harry, Ron, and Hermione were personally engaging with me, and that feeling is irreplaceable.
As I wandered around, marvelling at all the detail of that Fairyland, I began to think about the intangible but irreplaceable extravagance of delight. It’s easy to get caught up in what seems most important, the things that are more practical or responsible. But the world is full of such extravagant delights if we look at it. Think of all the extravagantly delightful things that are not absolutely necessary. The color of leaves, the brilliance of sunrises and sunsets, the innumerable varieties of flowers, the pleasure of texture, the array of flavors, the thrill of human touch, the exhilarating emotions of music. These are things that make life amazing, beautiful, and worth living.
I never want to get to the place where I am too practical for extravagant delight. When I get to the end of this life, those are the memories I will be reveling in. And there will be almost too many to remember, I am certain.
So thank you, J.K. Rolling, Universal Studios, and all the people who work to bring stories to life! ❤