Dear Dad and Sharon,

I am writing this letter from the plane because it is a long trip and I have nothing else to do up here in the air! I can't wait til we land in England. The amusement park we are going to sounds like so much fun. I wish Logan were going with us, but I know this was the only time he could visit Kentucky. See you guys in a couple of weeks!


Mary Anne

I capped the pen I was writing with and looked around at the plane that was filled mostly with students from Stoneybrook Middle School, where I, Mary Anne Spier, am a eight grader at. You see, SMS was offering another school trip for all of its students. It's amazing how many school trips my school can afford when it's not even a private school! Why, in just one year my friends and I have been lucky to travel to a ski lodge in Vermont, Hawaii, Paris, and now we were going to England to visit an amusement park called Hogwarts. Actually, it was suppose to be a lot like Williamsburg, Virginia, you know where people dress up and act like real colonial people from the 1700s? Well, at Hogwarts I guess people dressed up and pretended to be wizards and witches and other such magical people. How dibble is that? (Dibble, by the way, means cool. It's a word my friends and I made up).

"Hey, Mary Anne," my best friend Kristy Thomas spoke up from the seat behind me. "You haven't said one word about this place we're going to. Usually you're a walking tour guide!"

Besides me, sitting by the window, my other best friend and stepsister, Dawn Schafer, laughed in agreement. "I'm surprised we don't know how many square feet the park is or how many people are employed there!"

"Haha, very funny," I replied, but smiled in spite of myself. After all, they were right. I love knowing everything about all the exciting places we get to visit. "I tried to Google Hogwarts Amusement Park, but it didn't recognize the word "Hogwarts."

"Hogwarts. Who would name an amusement park that?" Claudia Kishi, who was sitting next to Kristy, sounded disgusted by the name. However, she was very excited about visiting the theme park and her outfit showed! She was wearing a long black, billowing robe with a silver cape and a tall witch's hat. Her earrings were black cats and she was wearing black shoes with the toe curled up and red and black stockings. For a finishing touch she had glued a fake wart to her nose. She even had a broom, but airport security made her check it with her luggage because of fear she might use it as a weapon.

Claud's best friend, Stacey McGill, who was sitting on the other side of Claudia said, "For what it's worth, I overheard Mr. Kingbridge tell Mr. Wong that this is the first time it's ever been open to the public, whatever that means. So I guess that means we're the guinea pigs. I hope they have cute guys who work there!"

(Stacey is a bit boy crazy in case you couldn't tell).

Mallory Pike, who was sitting on the side of me, and is eleven instead of thirteen like the rest of us said, "Adam, Byron, Jordan, Vanessa, Nicky, Margo, and Claire were so jealous when I told them where I was going. They all think this places sounds so dibbly fresh and they want me to buy souvenirs for all of them."

(Those people that Mal just listed are her younger siblings! Mallory is the oldest of eight children if you can believe it!)

"I know," Kristy replied. "Karen wants to go so badly. She's making me ask everyone if they know Morbidda Destiny, but I had to explain to her that there's no such thing as witches." She sighed. (Karen is Kristy's younger step-sister and Morbidda Destiny aka Mrs. Porter is their next door neighbor who Karen is convinced is a witch).

"This trip is going to be so chilly," Mallory said. "I just wish Jessi was here. It's so stale that her parents didn't allow her to come." She pouted.

Jessi is Mal's black best friend. (Well, Mal only has one best friend, but I figured I should point out that Jessi is black because she is). Jessi's parents didn't allow her to come on the trip because they didn't like the idea of her going to a place with devil worshippers. Or something.

"It would be perfect if Jessi were here," I sighed. "Logan too." I sighed again. Logan is my steady boyfriend, but he was visiting relatives in his home state of Kentucky.

We chatted some more, watched the in-flight movie, chatted, fell asleep, and finally I could feel the plane descending. We were in London!

"Alright," said Ms. Bernhardt once we had acquired our luggage and were outside waiting for the bus to take us to the park. "We're suppose to go to the train station and the train will take us to the theme park…it's actually in Scotland."

Claudia looked confused. "Why didn't we just fly there?"

"Well, this place is a bit hard to get to and you can't actually fly there," Ms. Bernhardt replied.

"No kidding, my arms would get tired flying all the way from London!" Alan Gray joked. I looked at Stacey and we rolled our eyes. Alan Gray is such a goon.

We boarded the plane and Ms. Bernhardt looked down at a piece of paper. "Okay, when we reach King's Cross Station, we're suppose to look for Platform 9 and three quarters."

"Boy, the numbering system sure is weird here in England," Claudia said shaking her head. "I'm glad I live in America where we know how to count normally!"

"Maybe it's part of the gimmick," Stacey said shrugging.

Of course when we reached the train station, we didn't see Platform 9 ¾. We saw Platform 9, of course, and Platform 10, but no 9 ¾. Everyone was looking greatly confused at Mr. Kingbridge, our vice-principal, and one of the three chaperones who was on the trip. "I've been given instructions that we're just suppose to run into the wall."

"WHAT? Are they crazy?" Dawn cried. "Run into a brick wall?"

"I'll do it!" Alan volunteered. WHOOSH. In a flash he was running towards the wall and instead of smacking into it, like I had hoped, he disappeared!

"Yo, Alan, where did you go?" Pete Black yelled.

"Amazing!" Dawn cried. "Astonishing effects! That was one of the best optical illusions I've ever seen and I'm from California where all the big blockbuster movies are filmed!"

This time Pete and Austin Bentley ran towards the wall and disappeared as well. The wall literally seemed to swallow them whole.

"Wow, this place must have paid big bucks for that effect," Kristy mused. She took my hand. "C'mon, let's go next!"

Before I had a chance to protest, Kristy yanked me and I soon myself running towards the wall, fearful for my life. But instead of hitting solid brick, I found myself being sucked into a vortex. Perhaps this was what Sam Beckett felt every time he leapt! Right in front of me was a beautiful, gleaming red steam engine. I was marveling over it and hadn't moved from my spot, so Claudia had run right into me when she came from the other side.

"Oof," I said taking a step forward. I gave Claudia back her hat which had fallen onto me.

"Everyone aboard the Hogwarts Express!" Mr. Wong said clapping his hands. "This will take us to the theme park.

"I thought we were already at the park!" exclaimed Mallory. "Wow, this is so dibbly fresh! They're making sure we get the full magical experience!"

"I think this is one of the rides," I told her.

She nodded. "Duh. Of course."

We boarded the train. We hadn't been in the theme park for more than five minutes, but already this place was more dibble than Disney World and Williamsburg combined!