Three years ago, when we heard that Universal Studios Orlando was building a Hogwarts addition to their theme park, my family decided that we would rendezvous in Florida to experience it together. This post about our adventure is for those of you on the other side of the ocean who may never be able to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter firsthand, and for any other Harry Potter fans out there.
Whenever we travel we always, and I do mean always, get up bright and early. Of course, an early start in any of the Disney theme parks will shorten the inevitable wait in line substantially. Those queues are long!
As you can see, we were not the only early birds in the park that morning and EVERYONE was heading to the main attraction, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
We dashed straight through the town of Hogsmeade glancing every which way at surrounding shops identical to the ones described in the Harry Potter books.
Our first destination was to ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. It was located in Hogwarts Castle. However, this was one line I would not have minded waiting a long time in! The interior of Hogwarts as amazing! wait in as we snaked our way through recreated rooms found in Hogwarts and listened to paintings on the walls talking to each other! We really wanted to linger! I’m sure we resembled first year students arriving at Hogwarts for the very first time.
The ride was absolutely amazing an as expected, we flew through the air following Harry on his broomstick and experienced what it was like to do the same including, being a Quidditch match participant. Much to my daughter’s horror, we felt what it was like being in Aragorn’s spider den and learned that spiders spit(ewe!). And much to my horror, we edged alongside Basilisk remains in the darkest depths of Howarts and were attacked by a Whomping Willow tree. It was an unforgettably thrilling adventure and we went back for a repeat performance which was a good thing because my eyes were closed through much of the first ride!
After our ride, we checked in with some elves at the Three Broomsticks where we had breakfast reservations.
The atmosphere felt like we had been plopped right down into the world of Harry Potter.
Elves were busy at work in the kitchen and the dining area. I was the only one opting for a non-traditional American breakfast although my son-in-law did enjoy some pumpkin juice along with me. Yum!
My silly kids!
The Three Broomsticks adjoins Hog’s Head Pub so after breakfast we lingered in the pub a few minutes admiring the stuffed hog’s head with his evil eye.
My family then went off to participate in the Dragon Challenge, a roller coaster that I most happily declined seeing it more fitting to be the keeper of the backpacks and purses. Instead, I waited for them at the Hogsmeade Train Station. Of course, I had knitting stashed in one of those backpacks so I was a quite content sipping my frozen Butterbeer, knitting and watching the excited crowds of HP fans.
For those of you who are roller coaster enthusiasts, my family gave this one a big thumb’s up. They said they climbed aboard one of two ferocious dragons that twisted, looped and nearly collided in a high-speed, intertwining chase across the side……….sooooooo glad I decided to knit!
We then stood in line to go into Ollivander’s Wand Shoppe to see a wand selection take place which was similar to what Harry went through when his wand selected him. The line was long but we didn’t mind since it gave us some long awaited family time.
As we worked our way through the line we passed a book store that hosted stacks and stacks of Gilderoy Lockhart’s books. My son-in-law does an excellent imitation of Gilderoy or, at least, I thought so.
I enjoyed watching my daughter and son-in-law select their own wands almost as much as I enjoyed being in shoppe. Being engineers, they had a systematic way they went about selecting their wands which was amusing in and of itself to watch. Let’s just say it was a ‘thorough’ selection process and both were well pleased with their decisions. Jennifer selected Ginny Weasley’s wand with Celtic vines on it and Bob selected Sirius Black’s wand with cravings on it. Both were made of maple with a heartstring core.
I would be remiss if I did not mention Honeydukes, the infamous candy shop that the Harry Potter characters often frequented.
Honeydukes was well-stocked with every candy mentioned in the books. The decision was a tough one but I settled on Dumbledore’s Lemon-Sherbert drops.
I also succumbed to all the peer pressure around me and purchased a Chocolate Frog which was, by far, the most popular shop item. The trading card that was in my box was Ravena Ravenclaw but I later traded with my Ravenclaw daughter to get Godric Gryffindor.
It was a great day for our family leaving us enthusiastic about the upcoming Harry Potter move, the Finale Part 1.