The Immersion Experience

Now that it’s officially summer, the word worm that has infiltrated every sound byte is “Vacation!” Even on Google’s home page today their logo has been decked out in beach togs. Frankly, that image is more than enough to leave me frothing with envy.

A couple weeks in a rented cottage on the beach, la yes, that is my ideal vacation. Perhaps because not once in my life have I experienced it.

Actually, it’s been a horrifyingly long time since we’ve experienced anything resembling a vacation at all. When I was pregnant with Aidan, we spent a weekend in New Hampshire. One weekend two summers ago. Oy, it doesn’t bear thinking about.

My beach dreams aside, for as long as I can remember, the ultimate family vacation spot has been Disney World. For my (imaginary) money, though, the new Harry Potter theme park is IT.

[The remainder of this post will be composed with a laughably fake but earnestly-meant British accent.]

I’m not a rides-person. The ferris wheel, the swings — anything that cools a hot body without attendant mortal fears — brilliant. Roller coasters, or rides that involve great heights and precipitous drops therefrom, not so much. And the waiting in hour-long lines for a 4 minute ride is inane. Just not my thing.

I read the Harry Potter books after patron upon patron at the bookstore raved about them: “You must read this!” And I tore through them. Each new book became the perfect birthday gift for my mum, who shares a birthday with Harry — in fact, most every single member of my large family fell in thrall with the series along with me.

I love the movies, too. We’ve picked up a couple on DVD at local yard sales, and so I’ve seen them many times; still I love them. Even when Ron’s acting like a jealous prat, or Hermione’s a touch too smug, or Harry’s simply clueless.

For any fan, is there anything better, more longed for than the opportunity to be a part of that world yourself? As the New York Times puts it, “Wizarding World isn’t really an attraction that you do, it’s one that you absorb.”

I love that rides aren’t the point of this park, but immersion into the world of Harry Potter itself. Hogsmeade, Hogwarts Express. That so much attention was spent on the details, getting it right. In fact, so much of the films are made via special effects, I bet this park is a revelation for the actors, too!

Vincent, who speaks the name “Harry Potter” with a high-pitched Cockney accent of his own devising, would love it. And isn’t that what vacations are about? — transport, fantasy, magic.

Vacations of any sort are as elusive as the Questing Beast; still, judging by Wizarding World’s huge success, it’s not only me who feels this way.

And even though the idea of “tourism,” essential though it is to many local economies, leaves me cold and discomfited, well, this, this, is awesome. We are going.

Er. Someday.

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