Anna’s Blog: Majestic trip on the Hogwarts Express

The Saffron Walden Young Carers group in America

The Saffron Walden Young Carers group in America - Credit: Archant

Youngsters from the Saffron Walden Young Carers Group are currently on the trip of a lifetime in the USA after raising the money themselves to get there.

In total, £24,000 was raised through car washes, quizzes and other fundraising events to take 11 members of the group to Florida.

The carers group, which is based at Fairycroft House, is made up of young people in Saffron Walden who look after members of their family on a regular basis.

Among the 11 to make the trip to America is aspiring journalist Anna Percival, 16, who is writing an online blog for the Reporter about her experiences.

Here is her third entry...

We may not have been used to everything we saw while driving around (which was evident from the lost car incident), and it was even more difficult getting used to seeing signs for Disney and Universal Studios let alone actually going to those places.

Doing these sort of things makes me feel like I’m living someone else’s life at the moment because these aren’t things I’d normally do and they definitely aren’t things I thought I’d ever do in my life.

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Arriving at Universal Studios had me buzzing (mainly because of the Harry Potter part because I’m a major Harry Potter geek) as it did everyone else seeing as there’s pretty much something there for everyone.

What hit me first about the place was how much there was to see. There was an incredible amount of detail put into everything, it was kind of astonishing how realistic it all was. Walking through it was like walking through loads of different films. One of the coolest parts was walking down the street and seeing the Blues Brothers performing, which was something totally unexpected.

The best bit about seeing them was when they encouraged the audience to join a conga line and the same unnamed person who got the van stuck in the sand decided it would be a good idea to push the member of our group, who was in a wheelchair I might add, to join the conga line.

She seemed less than impressed as she couldn’t escape but the look on her face was priceless. After the Blues Brothers, we went on our first ride which was The Revenge of the Mummy.

This wasn’t the first rollercoaster I’d ever been on but previous rollercoasters I’ve been on paled in comparison to this. It was insane. The few members of the group that chose not to go on it seriously missed out. The special effects were so well done - there was fire, robots and holograms which made it pretty scary, but I’d definitely go on it again.

After the ride, we made our way to the Harry Potter part of the park. This was most definitely my all-time favourite bit of the entire trip (if you’ve never read or watched Harry Potter then a lot of this probably won’t make sense). When you first enter that part of the park you walk into Diagon Alley and it was so realistic it felt like my childhood dreams had come true and what I’d always wished for was actually happening.

It made me feel quite emotional as the Harry Potter series has been such a big part of my life growing up and even now.

Every single part of it was so intricately and thoroughly designed that I can’t even begin to imagine how long it must have taken to make. Each shop was fully stocked and you could buy wands, robes or special food and drinks like butterbeer and pumpkin pasties. Diagon Alley was only the beginning though. Although it seemed impossible, it only got better. You were able to ride the Hogwarts Express, the actual Hogwarts Express, to another part of the park where they had Hogsmeade which was made just as well. However the icing on the cake really was Hogwarts itself, which I can only really describe as majestic.

While some of the group went on a ride, I chose to go into a shop and ended up spending quite a bit of money on Harry Potter merchandise, but it was worth it.

Even after we finished with all the Harry Potter stuff the day, well evening by this point, stayed awesome as we got to have dinner at Hard Rock Café which, in my opinion, is the best restaurant in the world.

There’s definitely nothing like it in Walden and if I had the chance I’d go back there without giving it a second thought.

Despite all the amazing things from that day the most special moment came towards the end of that night.

One particular member of the group achieved something that day that he’d been working so hard to do for such a long time.

So to acknowledge this, a celebratory ice cream sundae was brought out with a little candle and one of the members of staff got everyone in the restaurant’s attention in order to say congratulations.

After all the time and effort he’s put in he really deserved it and so much more.