The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
Back in October, M and I explored the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando!
I realize that I'm publishing this now, like 700 years after the fact, but hey, that's what #throwbackthursday is for, am I right?
(OK, so usually #tbt is reserved for social media, but I'll go ahead and slide a post in as well. Why? Because it makes me happy to relive such a fun experience!)
I have no shame in revealing that not only was I excited beyond measure to do this, but that I fully immersed myself in every single last drop of butterbeer, magic wands, Gringotts dragons, and whatever other magical thing I could get my hands on.
Eyes as wide as saucers, we roamed around for two days, drinking it all in and allowing ourselves to be thoroughly delighted.
I've been a Harry Potter fan since a friend of mine won a box set of the books years ago in a raffle, and got me reading them as well. The audio books read by Jim Dale are so entertaining (great for road trips!), and I got them from the library.
OK, so let's explore this theme park!
First of all, can we give Universal a slow clap for getting all of the money? If you haven't been, there are two worlds for Harry Potter, and Universal has the worlds separated.
As in, you need a ticket to Universal Studios in order to go to Diagon Alley, and you need a ticket to Islands of Adventure to go to Hogswarts and Hogsmead. So keep that in mind if you're going. $$$
We went to Diagon Alley first.
(Most of these pics are quick snapshots from my phone; I honestly was having too much fun to remember to take many. Which is how life ought to be!)
Diagon Alley is a magical shopping district in London that is hidden from the muggles (non-magical people). You enter Diagon Alley through the secret brick wall entrance (I liked the fact that you hear the bricks moving as you walk in; adds to the experience!), and then you gain access to a world few muggles have seen before (without having their memories modified, lol).
Where you can buy all of your spellbooks, cauldrons, fizzing whizbees, broomsticks, robes, and anything else you need.
Need a wand? Grab one at Olivander's! They come in all shapes and sizes, with their own unique cores, of course.
If you want to buy your favorite character's wand, you can.
And of course, you can get your gold from Gringotts Wizarding Bank!
But do not cross that dragon, lol.
The rides were quite fun! Escaping from Gringotts was the best.
And roaming around Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes is not to be missed!
There are plenty of places to get a bite to eat, and I made sure to try some butterbeer. Taste like butterscotch!
The next day we went to Hogwarts, where Harry Potter and his friends spend most of the year at school.
You can take the Hogwarts Express to get there, if you wish.
And then you're in the snow-capped village of Hogsmead.
Where I promptly camped out at Honeydukes because #sweettooth.
We went in the Hogwarts castle twice.
The line was super long, but moved fairly quickly, and the ride is pretty fun.
It's interactive, straps you in, and zooms you around in a 4D experience that makes use of IMAX-type visual technology to fly you around the castle, put you inside a Quidditch game, battle Voldemort, and other adventures.
And yes, as you walked through the castle, the portraits moved in their frames! :-)
All in all, our visit was truly great. M got to share in a passion of mine, and we scampered throughout the theme park giggling like a couple of toddlers with ice creams covered in sprinkles. My Fitbit clocked over 26,000 steps each day (#sorefeet!) and it was worth every step.
Though we went almost exclusively to see the Harry Potter worlds, it was my first time at Universal Studios, and the rest of the rides are super fun as well, especially The Mummy, which we rode two or three times.
And that was our trip!
I highly recommend you visit someplace that makes you feel like a kid again. The joy is contagious and intoxicating!