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The Wonderful Wizarding World Of Harry Potter…
If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen most of the pictures in this post. But for those of you that don’t sit back and enjoy the photos of our trip to Orlando, FL to Universal Studios.
Universal Studios Orlando is split into two parks; Universal Studios and Universal Islands Adventure. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (the happiest place on Earth, sorry Disney!) is broken into two parts; Hogwarts (Universal Studios) and Hogsmeade (Islands Adventure). You can buy a park-to-park ticket and ride the Hogwarts Express (so cool!) between the parks.
My favorite area was Hogsmeade because there were more things to see and do, which included Knockturn Alley and Diagon Alley.
Things To See At Hogwarts
- HoneyDukes Sweets Shop
- Chocolate Frogs
- Fizzing Whizzbees
- Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans (saw a kid try one and heard him say it tasted like dog poo, and it was dog poo flavored. LOL)
- Candy counter with fudge, candied apples and more
- Three Broomsticks
- restaurant (we didn’t go inside)
- Dragon Challenge
- rollercoaster (we didn’t ride)
- Flight of the Hippogriff
- rollercoaster (we didn’t ride)
- Ollivander’s / Owl post
- Wand shop – you can stand in line to see the “show”. They pick one kid from the group once you’re inside and do the whole stick about the wand choosing the wizard. It was fun and lasted about 10 minutes and then you were let into the shop where you can buy wands and other merchandise. If you enter the Owl post you go straight into the shop but if you are a big fan you should see the little “show”.
- They have two different sets of wands. The interactive ones ($50) that comes with a map of the park labeling areas that you can use your wand. It’s cool but they only work in the park. So if you’re not into interacting with them then you can save some money by getting the non-interactive wands for ($40). We bought two interactive wands the 1st day, Professor Snape (mine) and Hermione (son/hubby’s). The 2nd day we bought a non-interactive wand, Luna Lovegood (mine 2nd choice and son’s as well). My son wanted to collect them all (ok I did too) and by the time our visit was over he could look at about 80% of the wands on display and tell you who they belonged to which impressed my hubby since he didn’t know that many and he’s read the books over and over. LOL
- Dervish and Banges
- Another gift shop – it was net to walk in and see The Monster Book of Monsters from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It was motion sensored and in a cage.
- You get to walk through some halls of Hogwarts and see the moving and talking paintings on the wall, Dumbledore’s office and Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom. It was all very well done with some nicely placed screens showing Dumbledore and Harry, Ron and Hermoine talking as you make your way to the interactive ride…
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – this ride doesn’t move fast like a rollercoaster but when they warn you about motion sickness… BELIEVE them. I had to close my eyes under a minute of the ride. The motion of the ride paired with the all around you screen was just too much for me. Which was a real shame. My husband went back on it the 2nd day without me and our son (we both get motion sickness).
Let’s Ride The Hogwarts Express To See What Hogsmeade Had To Offer.
- The Leaky Cauldron – Restaurant, nothing really especial about the OVER priced food but it looked cool on the inside.
- Escape from Gringotts – I didn’t ride this one because of my motion sickness but my husband did and he loved it.
- Knockturn Alley – Dark alley that included Borgin and Burkes , where I got my Sirus Black mug (it’s were you could get all your “bad guy” merchandise). There were also some pretty neat places to use your interactive wands. And it was a great place to get out of the sun and cool off for a bit.
- Diagon Alley –
- Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes – gift shop
- Madam Malkin’s – clothing shop
- Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment – gift shop also where you exit from the Escape from Gringotts ride
- Gringotts Wizarding Bank – you can exchange your muggle money for Harry Potter money that can be used anywhere in the park.
- Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor – yummy ice cream treats, they had butterbeer ice cream but I didn’t try it.
My Favorite Areas Was The Hogwarts Express And Knockturn Alley.
Tips For Visiting Universal Studios:
- Sunscreen! If you burn easily you might even want to bring a hat to wear.
- Water! They allow outside drinks and food in the part. We carried a backpack with frozen waters to help keep us hydrated and to cut down on the cost of buying bottled water in the park.
- Comfortable walking shoes I know it’s summer and you want to look cute with your sandals or flip flops but really sneakers are the way to go since you’re be walking a lot. Especially if you are going to see the Harry Potter parts since they are in the BACK of the theme parks.
- Order your tickets online if possible. You’ll save a little money vs paying at the gate and you can straight to the gate. As long if you want to see both sides of the park and ride the Hogwarts Express you’ll need to get the Park to Park ticket. We got the 2 day pass with the 3rd day free. We didn’t use the 3rd day but it was nice to have the option if we choice to go back a 3rd time.
- Get there early! The park opens at 9am but people show up earlier than that and you have to walk from parking through the City Walk (restaurants and shops) to get to the gate for the actual park.
- Shopping If you stop at the shops in City Walk before going into the park keep in mind that you can buy stuff from them on your way out to keep from carry a ton of stuff while in the park. They have tons of Harry Potter stuff in one of the shops including wands. So if you don’t want to wait in line at the other areas in the HP parts then you can find things when you leave. They even had a few things in the shop outside the park that they didn’t have in the actual HP parts.
- Brings lots of money! First you’ll pay for parking, then tickets (if you didn’t pay online) Even if you bring in outside drinks and snacks be prepared to spend some money in the park. And no you don’t need cash.
- Butterbeer – Get it frozen! It’s basically cream soda with a butterscotch flavored foam and the foam is the best part. LOL (I hate cream soda). I tried some for my hubby’s class and was not impressed with it but on our second trip to the park I got my own and got it frozen and loved it. It’s like a margarita, on the rocks vs frozen. I prefer frozen for both.
I’ve always been a fan of the Harry Potter movies and I read books 1-3 but after visiting the park I want to read the whole series with my son.
Oh and we did a few other things on our long weekend in Orlando like visit the Kennedy Space Center.