Let’s start with this. I love Harry Potter. I am a proud Hufflepuff potterhead who can talk your ear off about all different categories of Harry Potter. I am sure I will have more posts about overrated characters, *cough cough* Snape, and underrated characters, *cough cough* Lupin. That is not what this happens to be about though, this is about the wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida!
My sister surprised me with an all expense paid vacation to Disney for my 25th birthday, and by extension, Universal Studios, which of course means Harry Potter World. Side note, I’m a huge Disney fan as well. I don’t know how my sister managed it, she’s amazing, that’s pretty much the extent of it. Since it opened in 2010, I have been wanting to make a trip to Universal Studios specifically for Harry Potter. My sister and I went to a park a day and saw, rode, and took pictures with every thing and character we could imagine. I’m sure we missed an insane amount but we had a blast! We woke up incredibly early every morning and ended up back in the hotel very late every night. The Disney fan in me was squealing with delight but nothing like the Harry Potter fan that showed her face the morning of Universal Studios.
I was ecstatic! Finally, we were going to Harry Potter World. We were warned specifically by the very kind man at the ticket counter that there were a lot of other things at Universal we could also see that didn’t include Harry Potter. We smiled and nodded and agreed, we still spent pretty much our whole day there. We got to the area where Number 12 Grimmauld Place is and both of our faces lit up. Oh my gosh, Kreachers in the window, oh my gosh, Stan is by the Knight Bus, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, Diagon Alley! My mind was a whirlwind. Diagon Alley was amazing, my sister and I spent so much time gawking at all the different things you can look at. Honestly, the attention to detail is amazing, the store front windows, the outside of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, Ollivanders, the decorations, everything is so well done! We started at Ollivanders where you can get interactive wands, personally not sure if they are worth it because I couldn’t get anything to work. Kids all over the place were showing me up. I’m all for getting a wand, I now have two, but interactive only works in the park anyways. We got butterbeer ice cream at Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour and tried pumpkin juice and firewhiskey at the Leaky Cauldron. “D’you hear that Ern? Leaky Cauldron that’s in London.” We also got to ride the Escape from Gringotts ride, total blast! We may have taken a wrong turn and ended up down Knockturn Alley as well. Once we exceeded all we could handle in Diagon Alley, we were able to board the Hogwarts Express! You “disappear” through the platform and get an interactive story on the way to the other half of the park, time for Hogsmeade! Again, the attention to detail in all of these store fronts are just amazing! We spent the rest of the day exploring all the shops and riding two of the three rides. The hippogriff ride was closed, there was a lot of rain that day. We filled up with sweets at Honeydukes, Ron would have been proud, and popped in to Zonko’s to see what mischief we could get up to, I do share a birthday with the Weasley twins. We ended up at the Three Broomsticks for a late lunch. Eventually, we ended up back on the Hogwarts Express, different experience on each ride, and headed back to our hotel. I have never had such an amazing birthday experience ever!