Wednesday, September 26, 2012

{ French Toast Cupcakes }


Honestly, I wasn't even planning to blog this.

Do you all know what See You At the Pole is?

Well, it took place this morning, and as one of our church youth leaders, I was there to support the kids.

And by support, being me, it meant "bring cupcakes!". 

However, it took place at 7 a.m. So, I decided to make one of my favorites: Cinnamon Roll cupcakes by Darla, at Bakingdom. When I opened her site though, I remembered her French Toast Cupcakes.

Hmmm... French Toast, eh?

Ok.



Now, like I said, I wasn't planning to blog this, but after the response I got, I had to.

I have to say myself, I took one bite last night and said "Holy crap, that's amazing!". It was good to know I was not alone in this assessment.

The only thing I did differently was in the icing. I didn't have any pure maple syrup, so I added a teaspoon of maple extract. I also added 1/2 cup of brown sugar and cut back a little on the powdered sugar.

Basically though, what I want you to realize is that these cupcakes are amazering!!!!

My friend, Darla? Genius.

You should go make them. Now.


photo property of Bakingdom


You'll thank me, but really, you should thank Darla, since they are, ya  know, kinda her recipe!


Tina

Saturday, September 22, 2012

{ Nightmare Before Christmas Cupcakes }




I'm going to tell you something that may shock you.


As a general rule, I think Tim Burton is kinda creepy.

While I love all things magic, wizardy, and fantasy, I'm really not into the macabre.

My nieces, on the other hand, are quite my opposite when it comes to this. Both of my nieces had "Spooky Sixteens" instead of sweet ones. See my post here about my youngest niece's party. 

It's actually been nearly a year since that post I just linked. My niece has just had another birthday. (Her party was later last year due to the Halloween theme). Her party is tonight.

A couple days ago, her older sister posted this link from Disney's website on my Facebook begging me to make Oogie Boogie cupcakes. The birthday girl agreed, and so... Oogie Boogie Birthday Cupcakes it was!

I baked up a batch of chocolate cupcakes (I did 1/2 large cupcakes & 1/2 mini's, the mini's were for Oogie) using this recipe (yum yum!!) by Bakingdom. Since I had some heavy cream sitting in my fridge, I decided to use her Buttercream recipe too. It's the first time I've used a buttercream other than my own, and holy wow. I think I've just found "MY" new recipe!

Then I tinted it green, Oogie Boogie style.

The Disney recipe says to use a marshmallow on top for the base of Oogie's head. I just used icing. All buttercream... all the time!

Using Wilton tip #608 (yes, it's huge), I piped on a daub of icing.


Then, using tip #12, I piped a smaller one with the curved tip.

Then, I smoothed it with the back of a spoon. Using tip #1, I added slashes for his eyes and mouth.

If you use a standard sized cupcake you could easily get more details onto his face.



Then, I decided to not use the large tip, and just pipe with #12. That works fine too. You can smooth ... or not. I didn't here. I kinda like them better, but I'm not sure how Oogie Boogie they look.

Angry Oogies!

Soooo.... I couldn't make Oogie Boogie without making Jack.

Jack was pretty easy, just white buttercream with his face piped on with tip #1.

I picked the white, frilly wrappers because they reminded me of his tux.

*note: to keep the wrappers nice, I didn't bake in them, I placed the baked, frosted- but not decorated cupcakes in the wrappers.

I'm sure he'd look mass better with fondant, but as I said earlier... all buttercream....all the time.



So, there you have it. Easy, peasy.  You definitely don't have to be good at decorating to make these.


I'll thank Tim Burton for not making complicated looking characters at least.


And someday... perhaps soon even, I will watch this movie. It. will. happen.

Someday.

**Edit: I just found out tonight, after taking the cupcakes to the party, what Oogie Boogie actually is.

I have yet to recover.

Tina




Thursday, September 20, 2012

{ Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cake & Firefly }


 If I asked you what a Browncoat was, would you know?

Or would you simply stammer, "Uh... a coat..that is brown?".

If you know the correct answer to this question, I'll scootch over on the couch, cause we are about to become good friends.

"Browncoat" is a nickname for the Independence fighters in Joss Whedon's much loved, but tragically short lived series, Firefly.

Quick aside. I freaking love Joss Whedon.
I mean, Firefly, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, The Avengers. And.. Hello people, he wrote the screenplay for Toy Story. TOY STORY. Do you hear me??? *I love you Joss* (Don't tell my husband).

As I said, Firefly was short lived, short as in one season. 14 episodes. 14 episodes, however, of goodness.

There is also a movie, Serenity, made some 3 years after the end of the show, but that's another story
(story is, I haven't watched it yet! gasp!).

This is Malcolm (Mal) Reynolds, the captain of the Serenity. 

I have no idea where this photo is actually from, but I assume all copyright belongs to Fox or Joss Whedon
mmmm... Nathan Fillion




Ok, a little background here, and this will sound SO weird, but... This show takes place in what seems to be the old west... in outer space.

Confused? Yeah, ok, but 'saucesome. Believe me.

What does any of this have to do with baked goods? Well, my friend Darla of Bakingdom, who is also a rabid fan, asked me if I'd like to team up with her to do a Firefly post. Um. OK!

So, here we are. Today marks the 10th anniversary of the premiere of the show.

Now, 10 years ago I did not watch it. If you were a fan back then, you can blame me as one of the non-watchers and therefore, I am, in part, responsible for the show's demise. Don't rub it in too much though, I blame myself as well. Bad Tina! Bad! BAD!

 I'd like to thank Netflix for allowing me to stream this wonder into my house now though! 

Firefly takes place in 2517 and our planet is now referred to as "Earth That Was".  Food is not easy to come by up there in outer space and they mostly live on artificial proteins and flavorings. Very, very basic.

The cake I decided to make is rustic & quite basic. Now, they would have a hard time coming across the sugars in this cake, and possibly the flour. In episode eight (
Out of Gas), when Kaylee makes the Doctor a birthday cake, she mentions that she couldn't find enough flour & that it was mostly made of the same proteins they'd just eaten for dinner.

I don't think I could make ANYTHING delicious from their stores!

Basically, as River once said: "My food is problematic." 

So this is what I've ended up with.

This recipe, like my last, Striped Delight, comes from the Family Cookbook I mentioned.

It's an Oatmeal Cake.

When I told my hubs I was making an Oatmeal Cake, he objected. 

When it was done, he no longer objected. The Bean didn't either. In fact, the Bean went back for seconds.

This is my Mother In Law's recipe, but tweaked a bit.

You'll  need:

Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cake

Cake:

1 1/4 Cups Boiling Water
1 Cup uncooked Quick Oats
1/2 Cup (1 stick) Butter, softened
2 eggs
1 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
1 Cup White Sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 1/3 Cups Flour
dash of Nutmeg

 For Icing:


1/2 stick butter
1 Cup brown sugar
1/4 Cup evaporated milk
Powdered Sugar


Preheat oven to 350 F.

 Measure your oats into a large, heat proof bowl. 

Boil up your water.
Pour over your oats & allow to soak for 15 minutes.

Measure out your cake ingredients and beat together.
After the 15 minutes, your oats will be super thick & sticky, like this.

Add them to your cake mix & beat a couple minutes.


Pour into a greased 9x13 pan & bake for 30 minutes.

While baking, prep your icing.

This is where mother in law and I parted ways. Her icing contains nuts (which I don't like) and coconut (which the hubs and Bean do not like). 

Internet, save me!

And so it did. I found an extremely similar recipe by My Wooden Spoon, yet her icing was much more appealing to us. From her recipe, I also got the idea to add the cinnamon & dash of nutmeg (her's calls for 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, but I just wanted a hint).

So, I made her caramely icing.


 Heat the brown sugar, butter, and evaporated milk in a pan. When melted nicely, remove from heat.


 Then add enough powdered sugar to thicken, but still be able to pour. Just throw in a little at a time until you get to a nice consistency. As you can probably see in the photo above, I poked holes into the cake so that the icing would seep into the cake.

YUS.

Pour over hot cake.

Serve warm or cold.


Amazing both ways.

If my picky boys like it, I'm pretty darn sure Mal and the Serenity crew would approve!

Now, go visit Darla and see her AMAZING Mudder's Milk cupcakes!! Chocolate amazingness folks! 

Go see!

photo by Darla of Bakingdom.com
 Bakingdom


Happy Firefly Day!

also not my photo. It's Fox's. Or Joss'. Or someone else's!


Tina






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Somewhat Simple

Sunday, September 16, 2012

{ Striped Delight Dessert }






Years and years and.. uh.. years ago, when I was first married, I had the brilliant idea of putting together a Family Cookbook. Both sides of my family submitted recipes, which we then typed together, printed, copied, and then bound put into inexpensive folders & handed out. My mother in law and mom did most of the typing. I didn't have a computer then or even a typewriter! GASP. I can't find the date anywhere in my book, (it's since been put in a nicer binder)  but I believe it was 1994 or 1995. Holy moley.. time, it flies.

This book, while time consuming, really has come in handy over the years. I've often gone to it for family favorites, like, Grammy's Pancakes, Aunt Diana's Corn Casserole, Mom's Homemade Noodles,
Grammy's Strawberry Pie, and much more. The recipe I'm sharing today, and my next, also came from this book.

So, if you are looking for a unique and inexpensive Christmas gift, think of doing something like this. It'd be much easier with today's technology. I wish we'd had the ability to have them printed up in actual hardbound books like they sell at Winkflash, Snapfish, Shutterfly, etc. That'd be an AWESOME gift.

This recipe is from my Sister in Law, Dorothy. She always called it Striped Delight. I've heard it called several things like "Better Than Robert Redford", Eclair Dessert", but most prominent on the internet is the name "Better Than S#x". Yes, I'm a grown up. Yes, I just bleeped out that word. I do not want to show up in any questionable web-searches. LOL. For that reason, I'm sticking with Dorothy's name for it... Striped Delight.

I've never found her EXACT recipe though, but ones very close.

Now, let me tell you a little story. I made this to have tonight when my mother-in-law & grandmother-in-law came over for a little weenie roast (it's somethin' we country folk do, ya know). We'd just gotten everything down to our fire pit, when Luna, our 4 year old Jack Russell decided to go on the lam. 

We searched, yelled, posted to neighbors on Facebook, drove around, yelled, searched more. For over an hour. We'd finally given up and decided if she was going to come back, she'd come back, but there was no way we could find her in the acres and acres and acres of 8 foot tall corn that surround us.

And then, just when we'd given up.. there she was. 

Guess who's never allowed outside the fence again? Yeah, this girl:


So, sorry if the finished dessert photos aren't quite up to par. This little mutt had us all in a tizzy!

Back to the dessert, eh?

Here's what you'll need:

Striped Delight Dessert

Crust:

1 sleeve of Graham Crackers
1/3 Cup Butter, melted
1/4 Cup Sugar

2nd Layer:

1- 8oz Block of Cream Cheese (1/3 less fat & fat free will work, but will result in a softer set)
1 Cup Cool Whip (thawed)
1/4 Cup Sugar
2 Tablespoons Milk

3rd Layer:

2 Small Boxes (4 serving size) Chocolate Pudding, Instant
3 Cups Milk (2% or Vitamin D)

4th Layer:

Remaining Cool Whip



Finely crush graham crackers



Add sugar


Then add melted butter. Mix throughly, and press into a 9x13 dish.
 Chill the crust for 15 minutes.



Prep the 2nd layer by adding cream cheese 1/4 cup sugar & 2 Tablespoons milk to the mixer. Beat until well mixed. Then fold in 1 cup of thawed Cool Whip.



When this is done, it will be thick and delicious. Seriously, try not to eat it ALL.


Spread over chilled crust. Be careful, because your crust may want to peel up a bit.

You'll see crumbs in my layer.



 The third layer is 2 small boxes of instant chocolate pudding & 3 cups of 2% or vitamin D milk.

Beat together until thick (should be a bit thicker than regular 'quick set' method puddings due to using less milk), then spread over the cream cheese layer.



 Just before serving, add the rest of the cool whip to the top. Sprinkle with chocolate chips, toffee bits, drizzled caramel topping, coconut flakes, grated chocolate... the sky is the limit! My guys are kinda boring, so I just did chocolate chips.


Some people can do perfect lovely layers... I am not one of those. Here are my messy  layers


Messy, but delicious.
Did I mention delicious?




Great dessert for a crowd, so perfect for get togethers, pot lucks (do y'all call them pot lucks or carry in dinners?), Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, picnics, etc!


Easy, quick, cheap. Yay.

Enjoy!

Tina



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Friday, September 14, 2012

{ Our Holiday to Hogsmeade }


See all my Harry Potter posts here.

Check back in Sept 2014 for my Diagon Alley post!



If you are interested in my vacation, read on! If not, you'll want to skip this post! 

This is a very long, photo heavy, and detailed post about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I've done one one on The Magic Kingdom too. I realize this is a food blog, but when I was planning my vacation, personal blog posts, a site called Orlando Informer, & friends who had already attended the park, were the most helpful to me, so I'm doing my part and giving back! No worries, they'll be more foods soon! So, if you ARE interested, strap in, this post has taken 3 days to type & it'll take a while to read!

As I mentioned in my last post (Herb Roasted Chicken), we've just returned from our vacation to Florida.

It was just 2 close friends, the Bean, and me.

We had such a great time, doing all things geeky!

We went to The Magic Kingdom, Medieval Times Dinner Theater, squeezed in a little beach time, but most importantly, we finally made it to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

It. was. amazing.

So, sit back & let me tell you a little about my first trip (but definitely not my last) to Florida, Universal, & Disney.

Of course, regular readers know, that I'm into all things Potter. So, I've been following the progress of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Islands of Adventure in Orlando since it was announced several years ago. For the last 2 years I've wanted to go oh so badly! We had preliminary plans that fell through early this year and, needless to say, we were pretty disappointed. However, in June, my friend Stephanie suggested we check into going together... and so we did! We held our breath waiting for something to go wrong. It never seemed like we were really going to be there. Not even when we were in the car on the way! It wasn't until we walked through these gates that we truly accepted that we were there!

What can I say about Hogsmeade? Well, it's beautiful. So detailed and amazing. I wish all the shops were open, but most are just store fronts. The shops that ARE open are teeny and have 6,000,000 people in them.. but.. I DID NOT CARE. 

Alright, so they don't have 6,000,000 people in them, but they are crowded and a little hard to navigate. We were there in September, which is, by the way, the slow season, so keep that in mind.

Let me just show you a few photos from Hogsmeade. I was obsessed with the rooftops. They were just so cool. They just had a tumbledown elegance. I wanted to take them all home and plant them in my backyard.

The first thing you'll see is the entry to the town and the gleaming scarlet engine, The Hogwarts Express.






In the bathrooms, be sure to listen for poor, sad, moping, Moaning Myrtle!









Look for Lockhart & his books!


Well, have you?







 Hogsmeade as a whole is just as you'd imagine. Looks like you are walking the movie set. Hogwarts dominates the landscape. It is impressive and beautiful.







I found the best place in the park to get a gorgeous shot of the castle is on queue for The Dragon Challenge. The last three photos where taken from that vantage.


The Land: At Islands of Adventure, the different themes are sectioned off, of course. So, the 'island' of The Wizarding World itself is small. Hogsmeade shops, the train (for photo ops only, of course, but watch for the conducter, he'll be glad to pose with you!), the castle, & 2 roller coasters (Dragon Challenge & Flight of the Hippogriff), but it is SO well done you won't care. I was warned it was small, and yes, I WANTED more, but I didn't NEED it, if you know what I mean. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm over the moon excited that they are expanding and cannot wait to see that, but, I was satisfied.

The Shops: Open shops are Honeydukes, Zonkos, Dervish & Banges, and the Owl Post (where you buy wands). In Hogwarts you'll exit the ride, The Forbidden Journey, through Filtch's Emporium of Confiscated Goods. Ollivanders is open, but is a show, not a shop.

Honeydukes:

Honeydukes had everything from the books that you could imagine. Ton Tongue Toffee, Fizzing Whizzbees, Sherbet Lemons, Chocolate Frogs, Fudge Flies, Cauldron Cakes, Rock Cakes, etc, etc, etc. It looked so much like the movie. So much fun. I wanted to buy ALL THE THINGS, but I limited my self to the awesome glass jar  of Sherbert Lemons with the Honeydukes logo, a Chocolate Frog,  & a Cauldron Cake.

Let's talk about those, eh?

The Cauldron Cake ($3.95) was quite yummy.  Chocolate cake with a chocolate handle, with a chocolate mousse type filling.

The Sherbert Lemons, are simply, Lemon Drops, which are just about my favorite candy ever. They (and a few other varieties) come in an awesome Honeydukes logo-ed glass jar ($12.95).

The Chocolate Frog is MASSIVE. It's also $10, but it's over 5 ounces of solid chocolate. Comes in the cool box & with a Famous Witch or Wizard Card (we got Godric Gryffindor).
















Zonkos: 


 Zonko's is a joke shop in the movies & books. In the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter it's more or less a toys & novelty store. It was fun to wander around, but nothing struck our personal fancies. Where Zonko's & Honeydukes combines, look up, and you'll see sneaky Fred & George's Extendable Ears.






  Please note my sweet son in front of the window display.

My favorite thing in the store were adorable little Pygmy Puffs (plushies) for $14.95.
The Bean bought one for his girlfriend. Her name is Mildred. The pygmypuff's name. NOT his girlfriend's name. They are little puffs of fluff that come in pink or purple.


I love that it has the Wizarding World logo on the tag, and I especially love it's lil feets!


Owl Post:

This is where you go to buy wands. You do not have to stand in line for the Ollivander's show if you only want to purchase a wand. There is also a wand cart outside of the castle, however, the one outside the castle sells character wands only.

In here you can buy postcards & US postage stamps (along with other assorted items). The stamps are very expensive, $15/for 10, but they have either the Ministry of Magic Logo, Owl Post Logo, or a Hogwarts crest. They will postmark all of your cards upon request with "Hogsmeade". You can also take letters/cards into the park and they will postmark those as well! Very cool!








Here is one of the post cards we bought.

The postmark


and the stamp (yes, I paid it)!



 Dervish & Banges:

Dervish & Banges is connected to the Owl Post. In it you'll find assorted souvenirs. There are things like (seriously expensive) robes, quaffles, drinking glasses, keychains, the Triwizard Cup, and just about anything else you can think of. The Monster Book of Monsters is in here & if you watch it a while, it will snap at you.










Filtch's Emporium of Confiscated Goods:

As I mentioned, you exit The Forbidden Journey ride through this shop. Lots of Hogwarts/House branded items. Stuffed animals, glasses, cups, and for the first time in the park, I found copies of the books for sale! It's VERY dark in here, as it is in the castle itself. It's got cool decor though, including a Marauder's Map with moving footprints, Death Eater masks, and lots of items Filtch has gathered over the years. If you look hard enough you will even see Hogwarts student's files.









Shows:

Unfortunately, we missed the Triwizard Show. I was very sad about this.

The Frog Choir:

We heard them  preform "Hedwig's Theme", "Double, Double, Toil, and Trouble" &  the Weird Sister's song "This Is The Night". They were very good.




Ollivander's:

The "show" itself lasts about 5-10 mins at the most. The Ollivander we had was great. He had a great accent, presence, & was just an all around good actor. They allow like 12 people in at a time, so the queue can be LONG. We waited about 20 mins and it was a SLOW day. I've heard it can sometimes be 2 hours long. From every group they pick one person- my 15 year old got picked, so the wait was totally worth it for us. He tried 2 wands with varying effects of bad, until he found the right one and the lights lit up, just like in the movie. It was so much fun! If you didn't get picked though, it wouldn't be nearly as exciting. If you DO get picked, you are gonna wanna shell out the $30 for the wand. Clever marketing! If you want a wand, they are next door, as I said, at the Owl Post. You don't have to wait in the Ollivander's line to buy one. 






 

 The Three Broomsticks:

Lunching in The Three Broomsticks is great. The food is OK, the atmosphere is amazing. I read that they drew up the plans for the one at the park, then used those to make the movie set, so to say it's authentic looking is an understatement. Watch for house elf shadows in the 'upstairs' part of the building.








Food:

For my food, I got the Shepherd's Pie & Salad. I figured... when in Britain, you know. It was good. Not knock my socks off delicious, but good. Everyone else got the chicken or chicken & ribs (which is served with roasted corn and roasted potatoes). They liked their lunches as well. It is theme park food, and therefore, a bit expensive. The price for my Shepherd's Pie was $9.99 & the Chicken/Ribs platter was $13.49.They serve other items as well:  Fish & Chips for $11.99, Cornish Pasties with Garden Salad for $7.99, Smoked Turkey Leg (with wedge fries) for $11.99, a Rotisserie Smoked Chicken Platter (with roasted corn and roasted potatoes) for $9.99, Chargrilled Rib Platter (again with the corn & potatoes) for $13.49. There's a kid's menu for ages 9 & under featuring Fish & Chips, Mac & Cheese, Chicken Fingers, or Chicken Legs for $4.99/each. There are various sides, drinks, and desserts you can purchase as well.

You can also get the 'Great Feast' (a platter for four) for $49.99. It consists of salad, chicken, ribs, potatoes, and corn.


Butterbeer:

Butterbeer comes in 2 varieties: On Tap & Frozen. In this photo you'll see one of each. These are also in the awesome souvenir mugs. They run $9.99 for a mug of on tap Butterbeer & $10.99 for the mug of frozen. You can get the Butterbeer in disposable cups for $3.25 for on tap or $4.25 for frozen.

I loved the on tap version. I thought it tasted like liquid cake batter- and really- you can't say no to that. The kid liked the frozen much better.

While I have a Butterbeer recipe here on my blog, I recommend my friend Darla's (of Bakingdom) as being much closer to the park's. She made hers AFTER tasting the park's. I made mine prior. Mine is sweeter and more butterscotchy. Darla's, like the park's, is more buttery & fizzy.

In addition to The Three Broomsticks, you can also get Butterbeer in The Hog's Head Pub & there are a couple Butterbeer carts in the streets of Hogsmeade.

Darla told me if you drink the on tap version slowly, that the foam (best part!) seems to regenerate... and you know what?? She's right!






Pumpkin Juice: 

 is only ok. I like the recipe I make better (see it here). The container IS all kinds of cute. It'll run you an unfortunate $5.99 though!




 The Hog's Head: 

The Hog's Head is attached to The Three Broomsticks. You can buy beer in there, if you drink.  Loved the look of that too. It's less crowded than The Three Broomsticks & if you just want a Butterbeer while you get out of the Florida sun. I wanted a Hog's Head Mug, but I don't drink, so I asked if I could still buy one. Sure, but the price was the same ($11) with or without beer. They wouldn't fill it with Butterbeer either. So... I did what any good Potter nut would do. I shelled out the $11 without batting an eye.

Here is the mug, I took this here at home, it's like, my favorite mug in the history of the evers. I like it more than the Butterbeer mugs, it's fatter.

By the way, be sure to HANDWASH the Butterbeer & Hog's Head mugs so the logos won't scratch off!






Please note that these establishments were NOT this empty during the day. I went into the Hog's Head right around 7 (when the park closed) to purchase my mug & then wandered back through The Three Broomsticks. It was quite crowded when we actually ate in there.

Rides:

Flight of the Hippogriff:

The Flight of the Hippogriff is a 'family coaster', meaning it's small & not too scary for little ones. I apologize for the one terrible photo I got of the ride itself, but I was more interested in Buckbeak & Hagrid's Hut. It's a fun little coaster and it gives you an AWESOME view of the park (wish I could have taken photos from up there), but it's short.. and I do mean SHORT. I'd say the ride lasts under a full minute. We walked right on with no wait. I, personally, wouldn't stand in line for it more than 15 minutes. The queue does, as I said, show you Buckbeak  & Hagrid's Hut, however, the better view of the Hut is in the Dragon Challenge queue. Buckbeak is so beautiful! He bows to you, of course. You should probably bow first, you know how Hippogriffs are!




The Dragon Challenge:

My kid is not a coaster fan, I will ride them, but didn't want to alone. The dragons both go upside down. Even if you aren't riding, walk the queue (if it's not a long wait). Outside there are banners for the contestants & the Ford Anglia. It goes into a castle type thing (but not THE castle). You start in the tent at the beginning of the 1st task, then you walk through the castle, you'll see the Goblet of Fire, The Triwizard Cup, The Golden Eggs, and floating candles. It's also got a great view of Hagrid's Hut. It's also got the best view of Hogwarts for photos!

















The Forbidden Journey:

NOW- the Castle & Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride. Gorgeous, amazing. love. Love. LOVE. The queue, again, is a must go. You are routed through the castle. You start in the greenhouse then go past the entry to Dumbledore's office. In the Greenhouse, look for the Mandrakes! You'll see talking portraits, including Founders & The Fat Lady, statues, the Sorting Hat, the Pensieve, you'll see Dumbedore's office where he will speak to you, the DADA room where the Trio will talk to you. Ron made it snow on us, that was SO awesome. Then you'll go to the ride. It's a bench type seat, 4 people to a bench (but individual). You'll start off with Hermione enchanting your bench, then you start to fly. It twists, turns, flips, etc. It's very 4D. People with motion sickness should NOT ride it. You feel like you are flying with Ron and Harry, it's awesome. SO awesome. I was scared it would bother me, but it didn't at ALL. I wanted to ride it 100 times... I only rode it 2 though. Our friend didn't like it though, it made him woozy. Since I'm a huge massive nerd... it made ME cry.
Ridiculous, eh?
But, but, but...it felt like we were there, at HOGWARTS!

You cannot take bags or cameras. My friend, Stephanie, walked the queue, but didn't ride, so I was able to take my camera, then when she had to exit, she took it with her. Lockers are provided. They are free WHILE YOU RIDE, but after that you have to pay. I believe it was $3 a half hour, max of $20. Yowtch! You are ushered straight into the locker area where the workers tell you to check all your bags before proceeding.

The castle is VERY dark, so I didn't get many photos, sadly.











Actual Movie Props:
There are only 3 actual movies props in the park. They are Hermione's Yule Ball dress, Harry's Yule Ball Dress Robes, and Mr. Weasley's car.

Harry's robes, being black, were pretty much impossible to get a decent shot of.




 see me? Hi!



I think I've covered about everything I can. Please hit me up with any questions! I hope that you find this post helpful.

I' m SO excited for the expansion that is currently underway & cannot wait to go back!
I'd go back tomorrow!


These sunset photos were taken just outside Seuss Landing with the castle across the pond.


My only complaint about the time of year we went was that it closes at 7pm. I'd love to see Hogwarts & Hogsmeade lit up at night. 

This place is magic. 
Tina


Prices listed were current Sept 2012

Don't miss my Magic Kingdom post!

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