Yes, dear readers it is true, yours truly has been to Hogwarts. I also took a wander through Hogsmeade, ate dinner at the Three Broomsticks and purchased a purple pygmy puff at Zonko's.
And no, it did not take place in my imagination but in the marvellous world of Universal Studios, Orlando where I happen to be holidaying. As I lingered outside Olivanders (and the ENORMOUS queue of desperate wannabe wizards waiting for a wand) I wondered how it must feel for J.K Rowling to have her imagination realised to such a degree.
To go from bestselling books, to a succesful film and merchandise francise is beyond the dreams of most authors and yet J.K has surpassed even those lofty heights by having her very own world at Universal Studios. A world of stunning accuracy and filled to bursting every day by gazillions of fans spending a fortune on wands, costumes, broomsticks, sweets and toys.
I have to say it was a very enjoyable day, the attention to detail is superb, the rides are huge fun and you can even buy pumpkin juice and butterbeer along the way. The forbidden journey ride gives you the chance to wander through Hogwarts (albeit while in a very long and winding queue) and the simulator allows you to join Harry, Ron and Hermione on a flying adventure meeting Dementors, giant spiders and dragons along the way.
The only drawback to the whole thing is that you have to share the experience with millions of others which does rather detract from the fun and lead to some colossal wait times. (My advice if you fancy going is to turn up either very early or very late to try and avoid the queues.) Also Hogsmede has been designed to be realistic and not to cope with the numbers of people who are there which means that many of the shops are jam packed and almost imposssible to enjoy as you might like to.
All in all though I would recommend it to any fans of the books, it is an amazing experience to be able to be a part of a story I so loved, my only wish is that I could have it all to myself for a morning and truly enjoy all the detail and wonder of this very special world.