**Several weeks ago, my family visited Walt Disney World and Universal Studio’s Islands of Adventure. I started blogging the trip, but after a few days of a less than stellar internet connection, I put the posts on hold. Now that we’re home, I’m alternating them with regular blog posts.
At Universal Studio’s Islands of Adventure, better known as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we gawked at a snow-covered Hogsmead, glowing in the 90° Florida sun. The replication of the movie set was nothing short of amazing. Well, except for Ollivander’s Wand Shop. Every Potterphile knows Ollivander’s is in London’s Diagon Alley. A cast member informed us that Ollivander had a branch store in the Hogwarts outpost. You know. In case a student lost a wand or needed to repair a unicorn hair core. The girls nodded politely. Cherry, a walking Wikipedia of Potter-lore, bit her tongue and got in the queue. We weren’t sure what we were in line for, but after two days at Disney World, we’d learned not to evaluate. It’s better to charge ahead than to spend all day debating the ride.
When it was our turn, a cast member took forty of us into a dark room and shut the door. Minutes later, we were greeted by Ollivander.
Dirty, old, and according to Coco, “A little creepy.” Ollivander was a real man wearing a latex facial appendage and lit in a dim theatrical style, not a robotic Jack Sparrow like in the Magic Kingdom’s Pirates of the Caribbean.
We all know the scene. Heck. I can do it word-for-word. Harry’s experience in the wand shop. Ollivander looked over his audience before he walked up to Coco and asked her age.
“Twelve,” she said.
I couldn’t believe my ears.
“Perfect,” he said.
The first wand was made of oak with a phoenix feather core. Coco waved it and killed a potted plant.
The second was willow. Flexibly beautiful and oh-so-appropriate. Every audience member sighed. With a wave of Coco’s hand, the wind blew and thunder crashed.
“Put it down. Carefully.”
Then, came the famous line.
“I wonder . . .”
The winner was made of ash. The core, dragonheart string.
“Point the wand, and repeat after me. Lumos.”
A gentle light halo-ed all around.
Ollivander predicted Coco would be a great healer of the wizarding world. Then she was ushered through a door by the old geezer’s assistant, a little scary for Mom and Dad. We were reunited in the gift shop a few minutes later where we were informed we could buy the wand for $32.50.
Bacon forked over the cash, and more for a wand for Cherry–also made of ash, but with a phoenix feather core. Like Harry’s. What can I say? They had us at the door. The wand chooses the wizard.