Muggles In A Wizardly World

by - July 3, 2010

Storybook clouds fill perfect summer skies, entertaining us through three hours and two extra large double doubles of travel, finding dinaswores, dwagons and piwit sips.

There were giggles over the GPS thinking we were in a field because it didn't know the 410 had been extended.  There was the emergency search for a potty because we drank too much coffee.  There was the eating of egg salad sandwiches while Liam - bless his sweet little heart - howled from the back seat, "Ewwww - who farted??"  There was the last light before we pulled into the Comfort Inn parking lot when Zander said, "Can't you hurry it up?"
 "No," we said, "we have to wait for the light."
"I need a cup!"
So we hand back an empty Tim Horton's cup and his puke goes almost to the brim.  "Guess I shouldn'ta played my DSi for so long," he says.  You think?
We check in.  Lug suitcases up one flight of stairs.  Get Zander a clean shirt and a toothbrush because the Tic-Tac in the car didn't do the job.  Everybody pees.  "Yes, Liam, you have to and no we aren't leaving until you do."
But he does it while I call to make our reservation, confusing the guy on the other end because we bought our tickets with our hotel deal and I just needed to book a time - not buy a ticket.
It takes forty minutes to make a fifteen minute drive.  Zander is having a hard time being patient.  Clouds don't occupy anymore.
We arrive.  $8 for parking.  Zander dons his Gryffindor cape and Potter glasses.  He looks adorable.  "Where's my gwasses?" Liam whines.
I give him the 3D glasses (with lenses removed) from our Toy Story 3 experience last week.
"Thanks!" He looks like an adorable nerd.
People stare and smile and point at our enthusiastic boys as we enter the Science Centre.  I am secretly hoping for a number one fan discount but none is offered.  We get our tickets, oooo and ahhhhh over Mr. Weasley's flying car that is suspended in the foyer, and find our way to the level 6 special exhibit area.

We are allowed entry with a small group where we gather around a stage decorated with a stool, a hat and a british sounding woman in full Hogwarts costume.  Zander is practically bouncing.  Two children go before him, both hoping to be placed in Gryffindor house.  Both get their wish.  Zander goes next.  He sits on the stool, terror in his face.  The woman holds the hat, "And to which house do you wish to be placed, young man?"
"Gryffindor," he says quietly.  Hopefully.
"Hmmmm," she says, "Three Gryffindor's in a row is quite unlikely.  Let's see what the hat says." And she places it on his head.
The hat hums and haws.  Zander is shaking and his fingers are crossed so tightly his knuckles are white. "Ahhhh," says the hat, "Kind of heart and brave in spirit is this one.  I say.......GRYF-FIN-DOR!!!!!"
Zander's shoulders sag in relief and he breathes out the breath he was holding.  He wears a shaky smile and his cape billows behind him as he jumps off the stool.
The woman wields a wand and turns our attention to the double wooden doors behind us.  "Alohomora!" she cries, with exaggerated accent.
The doors open outward in response to her spell.
"Whoa!" Zander says, amazed and fully believing in the magic he just witnessed.
We enter a dark chamber where we watch an intense montage through which Liam hides his face in my shoulder in fear that He Who Must Not Be Named would assault his dreams that night.
The wall beside us seems to dissolve and we find ourselves on platform 9 3/4 staring into the blinding light of the Hogwarts Express.  Fog billows around it's wheels.  A man with a lantern appears through the fog giving a hearty, "All aboard!" though we're not actually allowed on the train.  (Wizards only, you know.)  We see Hedwigs cage and Harry's luggage waiting on the platform.
We enter Hogwarts through a hallway of moving portraits.  The fat lady stops us, demanding the password but we don't remember it and sneak past her causing her to hit such a high operatic note that she shatters the glass in her hand.
But we're in.  And it's magic.  Everywhere we look is something more amazing.  Costumes.  Wands.  Hippogriffs and house elves, dragons and potions, snitches and quaffles, Hogsmead candy and the Mauraders Map.  It's incredible.  Zander's darting from one thing to the next, cape undulating, glasses slipping down his nose, saying, "Look at this!  Have you seen that?  I can't believe they have Harry's real wand and broomstick!  Wow, Hagrid's so big!  Can we buy some Berty Bot's Every Flavor Beans?"  Candles hang from the enchanted ceiling.  Death Eaters threaten from a shadowy corner.  Hagrid's Hut is cozy and huge and looks exactly as it should.  The detail everywhere is incredible.  We're amazed over the size of the wings on the tiny Golden Snitch.  We discuss the weight of the Quaffle Ball, surprised at how squishy it feels and how hard it is to throw through one of the three Quidditch circles.  We wonder if we should actually pull the Mandrakes because we don't have earmuffs and Professor Spout had warned that the mandrakes cry was fatal if heard.  We decide to risk it.  The cry is strangled and as ugly as the mandrakes themselves.  We giggle over their misshapen scowls and replant them to stop their wail.

We ended in Diagon Alley, shopping among the very shops that Harry visits, perusing wands and chocolates and "isn't it too bad that we couldn't go to Gringott's Bank and get some wizard gold?"
Zander is satisfied.  He is on Harry over-load and wants to dig into the books even harder.  "Two chapters a night, Mommy?" he asks, puppy-dog eyes through Potter lenses.

And how could I say no?

If you love Harry Potter like we do put this on your Things To Do This Summer List.  It's amazing!

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