Tuesday, November 2, 2010

potter watch: part IV.

here we are, at the end of our little journey into the world of harry potter (part I, part II, part III)!  for those of you who know nothing about the books or movies, i hope i didn't bore you TOO much.  it really is a magical place, and i, one more time, encourage all of you with an interest in harry to take a trip to the wizarding world!

for my final edition of "potter watch," i'm taking you inside the three broomsticks restaurant and the hog's head pub.  as many of you know, in the books and movies these are 2 separate establishments in hogsmeade village, but here they are connected inside.  the three broomsticks is a full restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, while the hog's head is a bar only.

the three broomsticks

visiting tip: part of our package included breakfast at the three broomsticks, so we had a reservation (always a good thing!).  naturally, it gets extremely busy, especially around lunchtime.  the best piece of advice i can give on this is to eat at off hours.  grab snacks from other areas of the park, then eat lunch at - say - 3 p.m.  you'll be able to enjoy your time in there much more that way.  even during the crowded hours, however, they have a pretty good system in place to get you through as quickly as possible.  the restaurant is cafeteria-style; once you have your food, the wait staff leads you to a table.  it all moves fairly quickly.

the food is pretty decent too!  our breakfast was on day one, so we ate a late lunch there on day two to get the full experience.

the hog's head

we spent a nice chunk of both of our days here, definitely some of the best moments of the trip - and not just because of the hog's head brew, a microbrew made just for the wizarding world!

it was just so easy, when you were in here, to get lost in this magical place and feel you were really a part of it.  

there's a combined back patio to the restaurant and pub, and that's where we spent the last couple of hours of each of the days, drinking it all in (literally and figuratively!), watching the light fade over the village and Hogwarts Castle, the latter of which looks so pretty from that patio.

{i told him not to try anything!}
 {admiring our absurd amount of purchases}
{back patio}

we stayed in the village both days until they kicked us out.  if it's possible, the village looks even more amazing all lit up at night (these pictures don't do it justice!).

final thoughts:
  • you can do the entire islands of adventure theme park in one day.  in fact, we did.  by going for 2 days, however, you allow yourself to not only do it all again the next day, but it gives you the freedom to stop and smell the roses, if you will.  we never felt rushed, we could double-back (and even triple-back!) to experience what we enjoyed again, and, most importantly, we could spend a couple of hours sitting on the hog's head back patio, enjoying a drink and feeling like we were really a part of this world.  there's no substitute for those lovely moments!  
  • one more time: early admission is totally worth it.
  • the express pass does not work on the harry potter and the forbidding journey ride, but it does on flight of the hippogriff and dragon challenge, as well as on the rest of the islands of adventure rides.  we purchased it ahead of time for day 2, but we really did not need it because of the time of year.  it might be a better idea to wait and see what the crowd is like that day.  you can buy it on site at any point.
  • if you can, stay until close to not only see the village lit up, but to enjoy it sans the huge crowds.
  • be flexible.  take advantage of unexpected short lines even if that hadn't been your plan.  going with the flow is a big part of fully enjoying yourself.  
  • be prepared to spend some money.  the prices are not out of control, but they still add up.
  • keep your eyes open ("constant vigilance, potter!").  there are little touches all around the park and you don't want to miss them!
  • similarly, slow down, take it all in, and takes lots of pictures!
if you have a specific question leave me a comment or email me at aspotofwhimsy{at}gmail{dot}com!

xo. di.

*images from my personal collection
*again, i received NO compensation or other benefit for my four-part review.  this was all because i want to share it with you all!


  1. This looks like WAY TOO MUCH fun! ;)


  2. Ah bliss. Only 11 months until next October.

  3. you have convinced me to go next October for my birthday! now, i have to convince my fiance to take me :) these posts will surely help me make my case! thanks, Diane!

  4. Oh my gosh! This is really cool! I went to Islands of Adventure once...you went to the one in Florida right? They didnt have all the Harry Potter stuff when I was there though;(


  5. yes, the one in florida! the harry potter "island" just opened in june of this year :)


thanks so much for the note! i love reading your comments. xo. di.

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