We aren't generally the kind of people who say, "Hey, let's fly to Florida!"
Our vacations tend to run more along the lines of, "Now tell me again which side of the family we're visiting? And it takes how long to drive there?"
Not that visiting family isn't great. It is. Fantastic, wonderful stuff. But our family is not -- no offense, family -- a thrill ride.
I'm not speaking metaphorically.
It's absolutely true that not one, single extended family member is capable of waving a wand and sending us soaring through the air, skimming the turrets and towers of Hogwarts, zooming just behind Harry on his broomstick, past the Whomping Willow as we dodge dementors in the Quidditch pitch and do our Muggly best to avoid giant, spitting spiders (I'm actually quite glad that our usual vacations don't involve the last couple of things I mentioned.)
So, yeah. Our family is not, strictly speaking, a thrill ride, however ... it is thanks to the incredible generosity of my parents (and their Hey-You-Guys-Homeschooled-Through-High-School! gift) that Atticus, the girls and I did experience the thrill ride that is Harry Potter's Forbidden Journey. This video gives you a pretty good idea of the fun (the lighting isn't perfect, but it gives you a taste):
The first time we rode, I -- Karen-Who-Gets-Carsick -- closed my eyes for the entire ride. No, strike that. Correction: I opened my eyes when I needed to lean forward and yell at the seat next to me in order to reassure Ramona that she would not:
a.) fall off the ride
b.) lose her flip-flops
c.) get sick
d.) have her soul sucked out of her body by a dementor
e.) have actual spider spit on her
f.) fall off the ride
It wasn't Ramona's favorite thing that we encountered in Florida. I wasn't sure what I thought of it because, well, I had my eyes closed for the entire ride.
So, the next morning, Anne, Betsy and I went on the ride again. I kept my eyes open.
Ride the ride.
Soar, zoom, dodge.
(Ramona says, "Don't forget 'scream' and 'panic.'")
Send your nine-year-old to Ollivander's with her daddy if that's what she prefers.
Thank your parents for a very cool gift.
(Update: Here's a link with a detailed article about the opening of the ride/Wizarding World.)