My kids were just the right age when the Harry Potter series hit book stores. We read every installment together as a family and then reread them in order every time a new book was released. Both of my kids are big readers, and I give J.K. Rowling a lot of the credit for that.
A whole new generation is learning to love the stories from seeing them on the big (and small) screen. Now all of us Potter fans can experience the wonders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for ourselves at the newest attraction at the Universal Orlando Resort amusement park in Florida. The highly anticipated Wizarding World of Harry Potter is slated to open to the public on June 18.
Visitors will soar over Hogwarts castle, meet Harry, Ron and Hermione, travel by Floo powder, narrowly escape a dragon attack, have a close encounter with the Whomping Willow and be drawn into a Quidditch match.
Sounds cool, but could be pretty scary for younger kids, so you might want to consider your child's fear factor before heading to the park. Universal, in general, is best for kids who are slightly older or more mature. The park offers intense virtual reality rides that can feel heart-stoppingly real to a sensitive child.
If you do go, consider staying "on property" in one of the Universal Resort hotels (the elegant Lowes Portofino Bay Hotel, the family-friendly Loews Royal Pacific Resort, or my favorite, the Hard Rock Hotel). Staying on property entitles visitors to several perks, including early park admission and the right to bypass lines at Universal simply by showing your room key card. Check the Web for special deals.
Cindy Richards is the mom of two who gets her muse from traveling the world, usually with kids in tow. She also writes for TravelingMom.com, where she also serves as editor.
See more of Cindy's stories here.