To continue my “Visiting Florida” Series, I’m writing about Universal Studios, Orlando
Originally I was going to post Day 1 of Universal Studios and Day 2 together, but there is just so many memories from those two days that I decided to split them up.
So as you guys know from my previous post, we’ve arrived in Orlando and are ready for our trip to Universal Studios!!! 😀
It is December 25, 2016 – Christmas Day!!
I’ve always been more of a Disney fan than Universal, but ever since they created Harry Potter world, it’s pretty much evenly split. This vacation was perfect for me, for the total Potterhead. Right before I went on the trip, Katie gave me a Slytherin headband as an early Christmas gift, which of course I styled throughout the park.
So fun facts about Harry Potter World, there are actually two parks within Universal, on two opposite sides of the park, and in order to go from park to park, you can ride the Hogwarts Express! One of the parks is Diagon Alley, and the second one is Hogsmeade! However, to ride the Hogwarts Express you have to buy an additional ticket – as cool as being on the Hogwarts Express would have been, we nixed the ticket and instead posed in front of the train for the same effect! Thereby allowing us to fully dedicate a day to each of the parks.
Day 1: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley
The Diagon Alley Park is the newer of the two parks to open and opened in 2014.
Walking into Diagon Alley with the Harry Potter soundtrack blaring on the PA system was an experience like no other. Luckily my entire family is as obsessed with Harry Potter as I am! When you enter the park, you may not notice the brick wall on the right. Be sure to go through the brick wall the same way Harry did, to enter Diagon Alley. You will see rows of shops on both sides and Gringotts Bank, accompanied by a fire-breathing dragon, at the end of the alley. Fun Fact, the fire blasting out of the dragon’s mouth reaches temperatures of 3,560 degrees Fahrenheit.
One of the most attractive features in Diagon Alley is the “Escape from Gringotts,” ride. Although the wait was over 75 minutes, we passed the time in the line by playing Heads Up. Once you enter Gringotts, it is an almost exact replica of the bank in the movies. The four chandeliers that are hanging inside the lobby of the bank have 62,000 crystals combined. All of the desks, stationed with realistic goblins, make you want to go up and exchange some money for Galleons. The wait for the line inside is almost as incredible as the ride itself. Although the ride was a group roller coaster, it was still like nothing I’ve ever experienced. The combination of the thrills and the special effects made you actually feel like you were trying to escape from Gringotts.
After the ride, we of course, got the iconic Butterbeer. To be honest, it was pretty similar to the Starbucks Butterbeer secret menu Frappuccino… mhmm, the taste of magic and happiness.
Although there are some wizarding places to eat within the park, we ate at Richters Burgers Co, and even though that line was incredibly long as well, it was definitely worth the wait. Their fries, were stellar.
After eating, we headed back to the park and took pictures at the photo op locations, the red phone booth, the knight bus, and sat by the water. After entering Diagon Alley again, we entered the stores that we didn’t get a chance to before lunch. Although buying a wand from Ollivanders, a mask from Borgin and Burkes, Robes from Madam Malkin’s, supplies from Quality Quidditch Supplies, and Pygmy Puffs from Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes would have been the cherry on top of a perfect sundae, I knew that once I started buying one thing, I would buy them all. My brother and I did finally decide to get Ravenclaw jackets from Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment however. Although my inner Slytherin scowled at the idea, she was okay with the fact that I’m pretty much half-and-half.
Before we knew it, it was dark, and Diagon Alley lit up at night is definitely worth seeing. We don’t know how we ended up spending the whole day in the park, but there is so many things to see and do that I’m not surprised. Before exiting Diagon Alley, we went to Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour and each of us ordered an ice cream.
We were extremely lucky to go during the Winter Holidays because in addition to the park being lit up with winter lights, we also got to watch the Christmas Parade! At the end of the night, we ate at the Universal City Walk and went home to get a good night sleep before we went back the next day for Part 2!
Thank you to everyone who took the time to read this blog post, I know it was a long one
Additional Harry Potter Information here:
Tune in tomorrow for Universal Studio Day 2!
I also want to give a big big big shoutout to my best friend Katie! I can’t believe you’re 23! I hope you have an amazing day, and I can’t wait to celebrate it with you! This was the perfect post to give you a shoutout because I know you are as big of a Harry Potter fan as I am!
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Until next time my fellow Harry Potter lovers!