Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald

I loved this movie! I know there have been some sketchy reviews, and I think I know why, but this movie was brilliant.

The panel of judges in my group include:

•Myself, an avid reader and lover of all things HP, Gryffindor through and through

•My husband, has seen all the movies and is happy to discuss, devious Slytherin

•My brother, also has read the books and seen the movies, proud Gryffindor

•My son, 11, who loves the Fantastic Beast world more than the original movies, a sweet Hufflepuff

•My daughter, 8, likes the movies ok, and is a proud Slytherin

Spoiler Free: The movie begins with Grindlewald breaking free during transport to London. We see Thestrals, a Chupacabra, and a light show of wand attacks.

We learn very early in the movie that Creedence survived his assault in New York, and the Ministry wants Newt to help track and capture him. Newt’s brother shows up, and I can’t help but question how he’s related to the oh-so-sweet Newt!

Jacob and Queenie show up in London, Jacob acting strangely, even for him. The reason why is a bit odd, and extreme, but it plays in to a choice made at the end of the movie.

********* SPOILERS*********

Queenie had an enchantment on Jacob so he would marry her. Why would he need an enchantment when he’s so gone over her? He won’t marry her because she could be locked up for marrying a No-Mag and he won’t let that happen.

When Queenie leaves abruptly, they follow her to France, to Tina. Grindlewald is also in France, seeking Creedence. There are several other players involved, so pay close attention!

*********END SPOILERS*********

I felt Jude Law did a brilliant job playing a young Albus Dumbledoor. The right mix of silly, and insightful, you can completely believe he grows in to a batty but powerful wizard. The LGBT community should be happy too, as there is a scene that makes his sexuality more apparent. Don’t worry though, completely family friendly, and probably to subtle for kids to get. Mine didn’t.

Dumbledore family history is brought up, alongside the Lestrange family tree. I feel there will be many more answers in the last movie, as I still have questions.

Phoenixes, nifflers, kelpies, zouwu, and many more, there are also enough creatures in this movie to make everyone happy. The only thing I’m upset about now is that the chupacabra got a Pop! figure and the zouwu didn’t! Its adorable and I want one!

I hope you love this movie as much as I did. I love Eddie Redmayns in his roll as Newt Scamander and am looking forward to the conclusion of this trilogy!

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 

Amazing! Loved it! Exciting!

No one should be surprised, but this movie was all of those things! J.K.Rowling has once again told a phenomenal story about the world of magic that is hidden from our own. 

This story is about Newt Scamander, author of the book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which is mentioned in the Harry Potter books. Newt comes to America and is almost immediately pulled into trouble by one of his magical beasts. The Niffler, a greedy little opossum type beast leads to trouble in a bank. They end up involving Jacob Kowalski, a nomag (no magic pushed together), the American term for muggle.

This gets Newt in trouble with the Magical Congress, think Ministry of Magic. Through a slightly expected mixup, the nomag ends up with Newt’s creature filled magic case. More trouble ensues as some of the creatures escape. 

Colin Farrel was an interesting addition as an American wizard. His character is trying to track down a magical beast wreaking havoc in New York. 

From tracking down Newt’s missing creatures, an unknown creature on the loose, a witch-hunter (a twist I wasn’t expecting) to an unexpected cameo for the villain, this movie is a wild ride. 

We enjoyed the 3D version. It was very intense at parts, Chiara actually took off her glasses because she was a little scared, but I loved it. Arthur and Tony definitely agreed that it was worth watching the 3D.

If you liked the Harry Potter movies, you’re sure to love this look into the world of American magic. There are enough names or hints dropped to keep the Potterheads, like myself, happy. I kept whispering little asides to Tony throughout the movie, but he’s used to me by now!

Go see this! Let me know what you think!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Who has been to Universal Studios in Florida? It’s an amazing vacation choice no matter what. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, this is Mecca! The first year we went, I spent half a day, to Tony’s dismay, in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

image

As you approach, Hogwarts is all you can see. It seems larger than life, even though it’s obviously not a full size castle. The tips site I’m referncing says to make sure you take lots of pictures. You want to make sure you get at least one with the castle. I have probably 200 pictures taken in this one part of the park, and they’re all beautiful. Hogwarts is amazing, no matter the angle! Personal tip: best place for a picture with the castle is on the bridge heading towards Jurassic Park.

image

Under the castle is the entrance to the best ride in this world. The Forbidden Journey of Harry Potter. They have two lines, one for single riders and one for groups. The single rider line may move quick, but the sites are much better along the group line! The group line takes you through Dumbledore’s study, the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom and Harry, Ron and Hermione tell you they’re going to give you a secret tour though the castle.
Once on the ride, you may believe you’re on a broomstick! You see the whole castle, the forbidden forest, compete in a quidditch match and face a dragon! Wow!!
The other rides include The Dragon Challenge, formerly the Dueling Dragons and The Flight of the Hippogriff.

image

Be prepared to spend time browsing the shops too! If you have some time, make sure you visit Ollivander’s wand shop. They select someone from the small crowd and take them through the wand selecting process, just like in the movie. It’s nothing earth shattering, but cute nonetheless.
You can visit the gift shops and buy your own wand or other amazing items.
                          

image

The food is a must! Mainly the candy and most definitely the butterbeer! You can even buy it in a souvenir cup so you can make your own at home! Check out my homemade butterbeer, tried, true and delicious, recipe We did try the lunch at the Three Broomsticks and it was pretty good. A little pricey, but you expect that in a theme park.

image

Something that wasn’t on this particular tip list was the shows! There are two shows they perform throughout the day. One is the Hogwarts choir. It features 4 students and their director, singing with giant frogs, just like in Prisoner of Azkaban!
The second show features the visiting students in Goblet of Fire. You get to see the Durmstrang guys jump around, like in the photo. You also see the beautiful Beauxbaton ladies twirl around. Neither show should be missed!
If you’ve never been, put this on your list because it is so much fun! It doesn’t matter if you’re 9 or 99, while you might not be able to ride the rides, you will love the atmosphere!
If you’ve already been, share your own experiences!
Original pin can be found at http://usa.amateurtraveler.com/tips-for-wizarding-world-of-harry-potter/

Universal Studios Butterbeer

Universal Studios Butterbeer

The recipe exists! I mean, I know it exists, but I’m so excited about the recipe existing where I can have it! I’ve been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter twice and I’m in love with the whole world they have built. The rides, the shops and the food. The Butterbeer is at the top of the food list! The cup in the picture is one of the souvenier mugs that you can get when you order them and of course I have a pair of them!
Directions: Combine 1 cup brown sugar and 2 tbsp water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil and cook, stirring often until the mixture reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer (I just waited till it boiled and taste tested this extremely hot mixture to make sure it tasted yummy). Immediately remove from the heat when it reaches 240 degrees to prevent burnt flavor. Stir in 6 tbsp butter, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar and 1/4 cup heavy cream. Set the mixture aside to cool to room temperature. (I didn’t let it cool enough, still tasted amazing, but I reccomend letting it cool all the way!) Once it’s cooled stir in 1/2 tsp rum extract.
For the foamy head of the drink, combine 2 tbsp of the brown sugar mixture to 1/2 cup heavy cream. Use an electric mixture to beat until just thickened, but not completely whipped, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Divide the brown sugar mixture between 4 glasses (about 1/4 cup per glass) add 1/4 cup cream soda to each glass then stir to combine. Fill each glass with additional cream soda, spoon whipped topping over each glass.
It feels like a lot of work when you are anxious for the taste of Butterbeer, but it is so completely worth it! I would suggest everyone, even non-Harry Potter fans (not that such a person could possibly exist), try this drink because it is amazing!

Original pin found here

Hot Butterbeer Latte

Hot Butterbeer Latte

Can we say yummy?! I have been making this for a long time now! Pretty much since the month I pinned this. It’s super simple to make and a little too easy to keep drinking. It may not taste like the Butterbeer in Hogwarts, Universal Studios, but it is still delicious!
Directions are combine in a saucepan 2 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp brown sugar (for the record, this will make caramel), once they are combined you add 1 mug of milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract and a dash of cinnamon. Heat to a boil then pour in mug and consume.
Like I said, super yummy! I usually do 3 or 4 tbsp of the butter and brown sugar combo so I can make a travel mug full. I’m modeling my latte in my lovely Longaberger travel mug (shameless product plug) which you can purchase at http://www.longaberger.com/stephaniedesantis
These mugs are really cool and won’t spill if they are tipped over and will hardly spill if you turn them completely over.
Back to the Butterbeer latte! I just looked at the original pin and found out there is a cold butterbeer to try as well. I’ll definitely do this one in the summer. The latte is a great cold weather treat!