Will Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows be Nominated for an Academy Award?

There is a great deal of talk about whether or not Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 will receive any Academy Award nominations in 2012.  Surely the Academy cannot ignore the Harry Potter movies any longer and will take this final opportunity to honor  this amazing series with a Best Picture nomination for Deathly Hallows Part 2.

In spite of being the most successful movie franchise of all time with box office now at some $7.6 billion worldwide The Academy has largely ignored Harry Potter.  All of the previous seven movies have only been nominated for 9 awards in total. And they have never won. Perhaps that is understandable for the earlier movies but Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2 cannot be seen as just successes in popularity.  The technical and artistic contribution to the world of movies deserves recognition.  Deathly Hallows Part 1 received just 2 nominations – for Visual Effect and Art Direction.

It would seem strange to a huge audience of Potter fans if the movies are once again overlooked by The Academy.  Whilst the decision making process should not be based on the popularity of a movie it is difficult to argue that the production, acting and technical team involved in making these movies for the last decade should be ignored once more.

It was announced yesterday that Deathly Hallows Part 2 has reached the semi finalist stage for visual effects. It faces tough competition but if The Academy would look at the evolution of the whole field of visual effects and the part that the Harry Potter movies have played in it’s amazing advancement then this must be a front runner.

Will Alan Rickman be nominated for Best Supporting Actor?  Daniel Radcliffe certainly thinks that he should win. He says in an interview given to Entertainment Weekly

“I don’t think there is going to be another performance from an actor in a supporting role that is so powerful where the actor had the challenge of realizing a scene that’s been realized millions of times the world over in the imaginations of readers.

That scene – those revelations about Snape’s past – represented maybe the most anticipated part of (one of) the most anticipated movies of the past 10 years, and I think Alan does amazing, amazing work,” he added.

Daniel Radcliffe is so right. When audiences went to see the movie those who knew the books looked forward so much to seeing how Alan Rickman would portray those scenes.  And he did it brilliantly. But as things stand today he is not a front runner for the nomination. Amazing that one of the most brilliant actors of our time may be overlooked. But of course that is hardly without precedence in the acting world.

Deathly Hallows Part 2 will most likely not even be nominated for Best Picture. My prediction is that it will win Best Visual Effects, and Best Art Direction. For any other category I think it is going to continue to be overlooked. As Harry Potter fans we will have to simply stand by our devotion to the movies – and not let it matter that The Academy does not regard them as we do.

What do you think? Leave me a comment below

Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Expand in Orlando

The rumors are true.  What every Harry Potter fan has been hoping for is going to come true.  The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando is going to expand.  The announcement was made yesterday by Warner Bros. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Barry Meyer who said:

“The announcement of our partnership with Universal to bring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Hollywood and expand what already exists in Orlando is probably the best holiday gift we could give to the legions of Harry Potter fans worldwide.”

Now of course the speculation will be about what will be included in the expanded Harry Potter theme park. No specifics have been announced but it seems likely that Wizarding World will expand out into The Lost Continent area. This has always been a slightly awkward area of Islands of Adventure with no major attractions. Since Wizarding World opened it has just seemed like The Lost Continent is in area that guests walk through and almost completely ignore whilst hurrying to get to Hogwarts. It is often like a ghost town.

If they do use this area to expand Wizarding World this would of course mean construction in the area.  This would probably have little impact since most of the area to the right as you approach Wizarding World could be boarded off.  The interesting question is what would they do with the successful restaurant Mythos.  This is considered one of the best full service restaurants in any Orlando theme park so is Universal going to sacrifice this for Harry Potter? If they replaced it with a full service Harry Potter restaurant then surely this would be even more of an attraction for guests?

Another area where they could expand is into the Jurassic Park themed area and perhaps demolish the Jurassic Park Discovery Center.  This is one of the least popular attractions in the park and it does take up quite a large area.  But the position of this doesn’t seem to make quite so much sense as The Lost Continent.

Perhaps though we are limited our expansion rumors to the wrong park.  Perhaps Wizarding World will extend to the Universal Studios park as well as the Islands of Adventure location.

There was another very important announcement from Universal Orlando last week that the Jaws ride will be closing in January. Is this in some way linked to the expansion of Wizarding World.  There are some rumors that plans include a representation of Harry Potter’s London and even Platform 9 3/4 itself.  This would then be linked to the Islands of Adventure part of the park with guests being able to take a ride on the Howarts Express. Looking at the layout of the parks this is very possible.

The linking of the parks would make a lot of sense.  The Universal Studios park has suffered as a result of the huge popularity of Wizarding World.  The park seems so dated in comparison.  It had started to seem strange to go from one park to the other – one has so much advanced technology and the other is stuck in the 90s. Attractions like Jaws, E.T and Terminator just aren’t that relevant any more. To have a Wizarding attraction in this part of the park would breathe new life into it. And of course bring huge amounts of visitors all of whom would need a 2 park ticket to visit both parts of the attraction.  Great for more revenue.

What might the new attractions be in the expanded Wizarding World?  The smart money seems to be on a Gringotts bank attraction. Certainly the scenes from the final Harry Potter movie make this seem like a perfect fit.  The rumor is that the Poseidon’s Fury attraction would be converted to Gringotts.

Certainly there will be more shops in the expanded Wizarding World.  Merchandise sales have been a huge success and of course are a big part of the financial success of the park so we can expect to have many more chances to part with our money  with some Harry Potter themed shopping.

The possibilities are so exciting for the expansion of the park.  Wizarding World is an amazing place already.  It’s only limitation is it’s size and now we can look forward to even more exciting attractions.   We will just have to wait and see what the Warner Brothers and Universal have in store for us.

What would you like to see in the expanded Wizarding World?  Leave me a Comment below.


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Flight of the Hippogriff




The Three Broomsticks Breakfast Menu

The Three Broomsticks in Wizarding World does serve breakfast but you must make sure that you have a reservation which can be made if you have booked a Harry Potter Vacation Package to stay in a Universal Resort Hotel. Included in your Harry Potter package is a voucher for one breakfast per person in The Three Broomsticks.

It is very difficult but not impossible to get a walk in to The Three Broomsticks for breakfast. If the Wizzarding World is not busy and you are there at breakfast time then you can always try asking one of the Wizards at the door as some people have reported success at getting a table. But really you must assume that unless you have booked you are not going to get a table for breakfast.

I have never eaten breakfast there but on the whole the reviews which I have read have been that whilst the venue is amazing the food is most definitely not. The menu serves a traditional English breakfast which many of the theme park’s non British guests will probably not be familiar with. There are other options which are perhaps better suited to guests who have never tried the Traditional English breakfast before – it really can taste a lot better than this!

The Three Broomsticks Breakfast Menu

Traditional English Breakfast

Farm Fresh Eggs, Sausage Links, Black Pudding, Baked Beans, Grilled Tomato, Sauteed Mushrooms and Breakfast Potatoes.

Porridge Breakfast

Old Fashioned Steamed Oats with Fresh Fruit and a Butter Croissant.

Continental Breakfast

A colorful array of Fresh Fruit served with Croissants, accompanied by Assorted Jams.

American Breakfast

Fresh Scrambled Eggs, Breakfast Potatoes, Crisp Bacon and Link Sausage with Butter Croissant.

Pancake Breakfast

Three Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes, Crisp Bacon and Link Sausage served with Butter Croissant.

Smoked Salmon Breakfast

Fresh Scrambled Eggs, Smoked Scottish Salmon, Butter Croissant, Served with Cream Cheese.

All meals are the same price at $14.99 for adults and $11.99 for children. Beverages are also available including Coffee, Hot Tea, Pumpkin Juice, Milk, Apple Juice and Orange Juice.

In view of the mostly negative reviews for The Three Broomsticks breakfast you may well prefer to visit for lunch and dinner. Also if you are in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at breakfast time you really are likely using very valuable time when the rides are not as busy as they most certainly will be later in the day.

The Three Broomsticks


No visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter would be complete without going inside The Three Broomsticks. The attention to detail is breathtaking – you really do feel as though you have stepped right in to the pub in Hogsmead when you walk through the door.

The Three Broomsticks is the only sit down eatery in Wizarding World. It is counter service style which means that you stand in line and order your food at the check out and then collect it from the food servers.

The decor is amazing. As soon as you enter you will start to notice the attention to detail. It looks like a movie set (and so it should as there was a huge amount of input from the designers and production crew who worked on the movies). When you walk through the door you are greeted by a Wizard who will direct you to turn left and enter the line.


When you reach the front of the line you will be directed by another Wizard as to which check out to go to. Usually this works well but it can still take some time to actually get to order. Guests often take a while deciding just how much butterbeer they want or how many souvenir cups to get.

Once you have ordered you are directed to the food pick up. Again another wait but it works pretty efficiently.


The Three Broomsticks has a great system for finding a table as there are plenty of Wizards to find one for you. This has a great advantage that you are not wandering around the restaurant with a full tray trying to find a place to sit. What this also means though is that there is no reserving tables ahead of time. You know that annoyed feeling you get when you have stood in line for ages, have your food, and you just look around to see tables for 6 with 1 person guarding it with their life? Glad to say that this just doesn’t happen at The Three Broomsticks. If you try and reserve a table you will be politely asked by one of the Wizards to move on.

There is indoor and outdoor seating. Personally I much prefer the indoor seating. Not only is it usually a change to get out of the heat into a nice air conditioned space, but also because you can sit and enjoy the music and the decor inside. There are lots of very solid wood tables, chairs and benches. One of the best spots is just by the fireplace to the left of the room. Or try and sit in the middle of the room as you get a great view of the effects on the walls. Always remember to take some time to look around you and upwards as there are some surprises. Is that Dobby you can see? An owl?

The Three Broomsticks is not just a great place to eat because of the atmosphere and decor. It also has pretty good food. For a counter service theme park venue it is positively excellent – certainly one of my favorites. The menu has a lot of British type dishes. Traditional Shepherd’s Pie, Fish and Chips and Baked Potatoes.

If you are vegetarian (my children and I are, but not my husband) then when you first look at the menu you may think you have little choice. But the side dishes of baked potatoes and corn are really good. They cook the baked potatoes with just the right amount of salt, and have the sour cream and butter on the side so you can add as little or as much as you like.

The Shepherd’s Pie and the Fish and Chips are also great options for the none vegetarians.

Now of course most of the visitors to The Three Broomsticks will want to try the butterbeer. Most guests seem to prefer the frozen butterbeer. You can also buy butterbeer in a souvenir cup which is a great thing to take home with you. What does butterbeer taste like. It is very like cream soda with a very frothy and tasty top. Of course the ingredients of butterbeer are a very closely guarded secret.

If you are just looking to buy butterbeer it is better to get one from the stand outside The Three Broomsticks or the Hogshead Pub which is right next door. The lines are generally a lot shorter. As with all theme park restaurants if you want to avoid the lines then eat earlier than 11.30 or after 2pm.

The music is the finishing touch in creating the amazing atmosphere inside The Three Broomsticks.

So what is on the menu at The Three Broomsticks?


The Three Broomsticks Menu

Platter for Four

This platter is good value if you have a party of at least 4 guests. It includes fresh Garden Salad tossed with a special Signature Vinaigrette Dressing as an appetizer. The entree includes a combination of Rotisserie Smoked Chicken and Chargrilled Ribs, Roasted Corn on the Cob and Roasted Potatoes.

$49.99 for four $12.99 for each additional serving


Shepherd’s Pie with Garden Salad

A traditional British favorite. Ground Beef and Vegetables with a Mashed Potato Topping. $9.99

Fish and Chips

Another very traditional British dish. Fresh North Atlantic Cod served with Chips (french fries) and Tartar Sauce. $11.99

Cornish Pasties with Garden Salad

Flaky Pastry Pies filled with Ground Beef, Vegetables and Potatoes. It is served with a Side Salad and a Choice of Dressing. $7.99

Rotisserie Smoked Chicken Platter

This Rotisserie Chicken is served with Roasted Corn and Roasted Potatoes. $9.99

Chargrilled Rib Platter

Served with Roasted Corn and Mashed Potatoes. $13.49

Chicken and Ribs Platter

A combination of Chicken and Ribs served with Roasted Corn and Roasted Potatoes. $13.49

Smoked Turkey Leg

A Smoked Turkey Leg served with Wedge Fries. $11.99


Soup and Salad Combo

You can choose from Potato and Leek or Split Pea and Ham Soup. Served with a Side Salad with a Choice of Dressing. $6.99

Rotisserie Smoked Chicken Salad

Rotisserie Chicken served with Fresh Greens and a Choice of Dressing. $8.99


Garlic Roasted Potatoes $2.89

Baked Potato

Served with Butter and Sour Cream in sachets. $2.89

Corn on the Cob $2.89

Served with a Butter sachet

Seasoned Wedge Fries $2.99

Fresh Garden Salad

Served with a choice of dressing. $3.49

Fruit Cup $2.99


Ice Cream Cup

Choice of Strawberry and Peanut Butter, Chocolate or Vanilla. $3.99

Chocolate Trifle

A traditional British dessert of Layered Chocolate Cake with Fresh Berries and Cream. $3.49

Fresh Baked Apple Pie $3.49

Children’s Menu

This is for children aged 9 and under. All meals served with grapes and applesauce.

Fish and Chips $4.99

Chicken Fingers $4.99

Chicken Legs $4.99

Mac N Cheese $4.99


Butterbeer $2.99

Frozen Butterbeer $3.99

Butterbeer in Souvenir Cup $10.99

You can use the souvenir cup for $0.89 refills in the park, but not in Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Butterbeer refills are $2.99 so no cost savings here.

Pumpkin Juice $2.99

Pumpkin Fizz $2.99

Lemonade $2.49

Sparkling Water $2.50

Natural Spring Water $2.75

Cider (non- alcoholic)

Apple or Pear $2.49

Iced Tea

Available Sweet, Unsweetened or Raspberry Flavor $2.49

Lemonade and Iced Tea Mix $2.49

Draught Beers

Hogs Head Brew $6.50

Domestic Beer $6.00


The Three Broomsticks is definitely a must see in Wizarding World. Even if you are not hungry if you arrive and the line isn’t long then think about going in and just having a butterbeer and relaxing for a while. It is truly a very magical place and for those of us who are devoted fans of Harry Potter this is a place where you can actually feel that you are very much a part of the Wizarding World.

Flight of the Hippogriff

The Flight of the Hippogriff is a family friendly roller coaster ride in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This popular ride does have a height requirement of 36″ but it suitable for guests of all ages. The Flight of the Hippogriff is of course beautifully themed for the Wizarding World.

Photo by jyoshiki

The theme of the ride is that Hagrid is teaching all you wizards out there how to properly ride a Hippogriff. We don’t want to have the same encounter that Dracoy Malfoy did in The Prisoner of Azkaban! Every Harry Potter fan knows that to approach a Hippogriff and win it’s trust that you have to first bow when you meet it. You will hear Hagrid’s voice in the line instructing you as to the proper way just in case you didn’t know!

Photo by batgeek

As with every area in Wizarding World The Flight of the Hippogriff is amazingly themed. The line takes you through the grounds of Hogwards, past Hagrid’s Hut and through the forest to the training ground for the Care of Magical Creatures class. The idea of the roller coaster is that you are taking a training flight on a Hippogriff over Hagrid’s Hut, The Pumpkin Patch where Buckbeak lives and the surrounding forest. This is your chance to meet Buckbeak face to face.

The ride itself is a family friendly roller coaster ride. Nothing too scary on this 1 minute 6 second ride. The maximum speed is 28.5 mph so most guests, even those who don’t like the large coasters, will love it. Particularly the younger members of the group who are not tall enough (or brave enough) to ride on The Forbidden Journey attraction.

The ride slowly climbs up the track and you get a great over view of the Wizarding World. Then you are in for a thrilling ride with twists and turns over the forest, pumpkin patch and past Hagrid’s Hut.

The Flight of the Hippogriff was not built for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter but was re themed from the existing Flying Unicorn Ride which opened in Islands of Adventure in June 2000. Of course it was prefect for a Harry Potter make over and the theme of the Hippogriff works very well.

Photo by peroshenka

There is of course one down side to The Flight of The Hippogriff ride. The lines. It is slow loading and the line can get very long at times. The wait times are posted outside the ride. It does have an Express Pass so if you are prepared to pay the (sometimes very high) extra price then you will get into the express line and cut down the wait time considerably.

The Flight of the Hippogriff is definitely worth seeing if you have young children in your party. It is my 5 year boy’s favorite ride. For that age group is is the only ride they can experience in Wizarding World. If your group is adults and teens you can give this one a miss. This attraction is fun but not likely to appeal to the teens in the group.

As with all Wizarding World attractions if you want to beat the lines then arrive early or stay late. Use Express Pass if you have purchased one or are a guest at one of the Universal Orlando resort hotels.


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Ollivanders Wand Shop


Ollivander’s Wand Shop

Ollivander’s Wand Shop is a definite must see when you visit Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Remember the scene from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when Harry goes to Ollivanders to get his first wand? If you are the ‘chosen one’ at Ollivander’s you can have a very similar experience to Harry himself and find out which wand is your perfect match. Harry Potter fans will of course realize that in the books Ollivander’s is located in Diagon Alley not Hogsmead as it is here. But the Ollivander’s in Wizarding World is a branch of the famous store which of course explains the different location.

It is safe to watch this video which was made before the opening of Wizarding World as it just gives an overview of what is inside, rather than giving away rather than the specifics.

The first thing to realize is that isn’t the shop that the line is for. This is the Ollivander’s experience. I have heard many people in the line or looking at the line who are confused as to what Ollivander’s actually is. People tend to ask do you really have to stand in that line to buy a wand? No. As you would expect there are a number of locations where you can buy a wand in Wizarding World and Islands of Adventure. The shop at the back of the Ollivander’s attraction, an outside stall just near the entrance to The Flight of the Hippogriff and the large store near the Point of Entry in Islands of Adventure.

When you finally reach the end of the line (yes it can be a long wait) you will be welcomed into a small room which looks remarkably like the one in the Harry Potter movie. Not many guests are admitted at one time and this is why the line can get so long. How do you avoid time standing in line? The advice is the same as for all of the Wizarding World attractions – arrive early or stay late. The attraction only admits around 25 guests at a time and lasts around 5 minutes. So you can see why the line quickly builds up as it really can’t process that many people in an hour.

Once inside your eyes are drawn upwards to look at all of the amazing detail on the shelves in the room. The room is about 30 feet tall and has, as you would expect, a huge amount of detail. You feel as though you have truly entered a movie set.

Then you will notice Ollivander, usually standing on the stair case or behind his counter. He is looking around the room for a guest who will be the one who has the chance to be chosen by a wand. Usually a child is chosen, although I have seen some 20 somethings chosen. Occasionally 2 guests are chosen (this has happened to my 5 and 9 year old). How do you increase your chances of being the ‘chosen one’ for Ollivanders Wand Shop? Wearing some kind of Harry Potter merchandise definitely seems to increase your chances. A scarf or a robe tends to be a good choice. This is an experience which can really make your young Harry Potter fan’s vacation so if you can increase your chances of being chosen they will probably be ever thankful for it!

Once someone is chosen Ollivander explains that of course the wand chooses the wizard and will select a wand for them and ask if they will try a test spell with it. There are a number of different effects that can happen including a flower wilting, the wand boxes falling and sounds of thunder heard. Then Ollivander will start ask the recipient when there birthday is. There are 13 possible choices of wand and the choice is based upon the Celtic calendar. When finally the correct wand is chosen then an effect which is reminiscent of the movie will be recreated.

Of course the person chosen is invited to purchase the wand but there is no obligation to do so. It is pretty tempting though – you tend to get caught up in the magic of it all! All the guests will then exit the experience and go into the wand store where there are many different types of wand for sale. The 13 wands which are used in the attraction are exclusive to Wizarding World, but the others are also available online as part of the Noble Collection. the exclusive ones are all named after a certain type of wood such as holly, vine and rowan. Each has unique magical properties of course.

There are also numerous character wands available. The display shelves are piled high up to the celling and an example of each wand is displayed. Each individual wand is priced at $29.95 plus tax and is stored in an attractive case.

The shop is small and tends to get extremely crowded. But the crowds do tend to come in waves and then clear out pretty quickly. The attraction empties out into the shop so of course 25 people arrive in a very small space all at once. Many of those clear out within minutes so if you just wait for a short while it is easier to browse before the next batch of guests exit the Ollivander’s attraction.

Ollivander’s Wand Shop really is something that you must experience if you have children with you. Ask the wizard on the door of the wand shop as to what the estimated wait time is to see if you are willing to stand in line for that length of time.

Official Shop of Warner Bros