I’m sure you have been wondering where I have been the past few days since I haven’t done any real posting since last Friday. Well, Ka-Ka, The Flash and Irish Kat took a trip down to Orlando for a little break from reality. We partook in a few different events, but today I am going to share a bit about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios and Universal Islands of Adventure.
Now, for those of you who have yet to check out this amazing new addition to the Universal Theme Parks, let me give you a quick run down. Universal has two theme parks: Studios and Islands of Adventure (aka IOA). The original wizarding themed area was an interpretation of Hoagsmeade, the town where Horwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is located. Earlier this year, Universal opened a second Harry Potter themed area in the Studio Park which was an interpretation of Diagon Alley, located in ‘Muggle’ London. These two areas are connected by the “Hogwarts Express Train Ride” which transports witches and wizards from King’s Cross Station in London, to Hogsmeade (or vice versa… the two trips are unique experiences) if you have a Park to Park ticket. This is the ONLY WAY to ride the Hogwarts Express ride, so make sure you buy the correct ticket.
We entered from the Studio side and took the Hogwarts Express from King’s Cross to Hogsmeade. The attention to detail on the station is amazing. You even get to see “students” walk through the wall to platform 9 3/4. Everyone gets on their train car and in to their compartment and head off to Hogsmeade. I do not want to give away to many details of the ride, but it is pretty cool!
Upon disembarking in Hogsmeade, Ka-Ka, Flash, Irish Kat and I headed over to Olivander’s Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC, because all ‘first years’ need wands. This was probably the most exciting part of the day because Ka-Ka and I were both chosen by wands in Olivander’s! Who knew two muggle borns like us were destined for greatness!?! We practiced some magic with our wands, drank frozen butter beer (which we found to be much tastier than the regular version) and went on to ride The Forbidden Journey (the ride with in the Hogwarts building) and both sides of the Dragon Challenge.
We rode the Hogwart’s Express back to King’s Crossing and explored Diagon Alley. Diagon Alley has more of a city feel, which is fitting since it is located in London (well at least the Universal Studio’s version of London). Diagon Alley is home to lots of well-known shops like Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, Magical Menagerie, The Leaky Cauldron and of course Knockturn Alley’s Borgin and Burkes. The big attraction in Diagon Alley of course is Gringott’s Bank, the location for the newest ride, Escape from Gringotts and home to a fire-breathing dragon.
Overall, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is an impressive feat by the creative team at Universal Theme Parks. Their attention to deal has made both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley a feast for the senses. If you are a fan and have the means to visit, take a trip. You will not be disappointed.