Every year around this time I feel ready for a vacation; a weekend getaway; a break from the monotony of work and stress. My husband and I love to travel and have many destinations on our “places to go before we die” lists. Remember my recent post on bucket lists and what was on mine? Well I can now check off something on my list having recently vacationed at Universal Orlando. Visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was pretty high up there on my bucket list (haven’t I told you I am a huge nerd??) and we got to experience it in all its glory last Thursday.
Having never been to Disney or Universal, it was a new experience for me. The largest amusement park I’ve been to is probably Dollywood (which is amazing, by the way! HUGE Dolly fan!) so Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. We had early access to the Harry Potter exhibit for one day, and we headed there first thing on Thursday morning. When I say first thing, I mean we were in line at 6:45 am before the park doors opened – and we weren’t alone! We kept up with the crowd and arrived at the entrance to a replica of Hogsmeade, complete with snow-capped roofs and window displays in every store front, exactly like the books and movies. We visited Honeydukes Candy Shop, Zonko’s Joke Shop and Olivander’s Wand Shop. Then it was off to the castle where we toured Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. To say it was amazing just doesn’t do it justice. When we rounded the corner and it stood before me in all its majesty I was speechless. It looked like a real castle!
We walked through the gates and in to the castle and immediately got in line for the ride, Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey, which was beyond fantastic. There were dragons, dementors, spiders, a whomping willow, and quidditch! You got the sensation you were flying on a broomstick, being chased by a dragon and almost getting a demontor’s kiss before Harry swoops in and saves you with a patronus. To get to the ride you have to walk through the castle a bit, along the way visiting the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, the Gryffindor Common Room and Dumbledore’s office. After the ride you can tour the castle again, taking your time walking through and viewing each room (which we did).
After the castle we were ready for breakfast (since it was only 8:00 in the morning by this time!) so we headed to The Three Broomsticks for a bite to eat. We had American breakfasts (they had English breakfasts but we didn’t think we were brave enough to stomach “black pudding”) with pumpkin juice and it was SO yummy. We also had a frozen Butterbeer but the pumpkin juice was much better, in my opinion.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was definitely the highlight of our trip, but we also really enjoyed the Marvel Super Heroes Island and Jurassic Park exhibits. At the end of the day, we finished our trip back in Hogsmeade with a drink at the Hog’s Head Pub.
What’s on your bucket list and have you completed anything on it yet?
- Guide to Harry Potter’s World (foxnews.com)
- Wizarding World Of Harry Potter Expanding To Japan In 2014 (moviesblog.mtv.com)