I am a huge Harry Potter fan, how about you?!!! We have a bookshelf at home full of the Potter books and other fun collectibles. September was the first time we got to see Hogsmeade up close at Universal Studios in Orlando. It was so amazing that we felt like we were really there standing in front of Hogwarts. The level of detail in every store, restaurant, ride, even in the bathrooms, where you can hear moaning Myrtle, is just truly unbelievable. So let’s pretend you only have one day to visit Universal Studios and Mr. Potter, in reality you need at least three days, but here is my list of “must dos” in case time only permits a single day.
Let’s start over at Islands of Adventure where you can find the Hogsmeade Village and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Hagrid’s is a roller coaster, which is the most amazing and coolest roller coaster I have ever ridden on. There are twists and turns that I have never seen on any roller coaster before. (Note: Being a roller coaster junkie, I have ridden a lot of roller coasters in my life.) Hagrid’s is so popular that waiting times are never less than an hour, except when the park first opens. I highly suggest you make this your first stop when entering the Park, it’s that good a ride. The height requirement is 48”.
Forbidden Journey is a dark ride through Hogwarts castle, but it is nothing like a normal dark ride. Thanks to Hermione Granger, you can fly around the castle and grounds in an enchanted bench. Up, down, right, and left; the bench gently moves you around dragons, giant spiders, and Dementors. This is truly an amazing ride that should not be missed either. Height requirement is again 48”.
Flight of the Hippogriff
Who wouldn’t want a chance to hop on a Hippogriff and take off for a quick aerial of Hogsmeade . Flight of the Hippogriff is a cute kiddie roller coaster and a super quick ride. From the highest view point of the ride, you can see all of Hogsmeade. Height requirement: 36”
So you’ve been riding rides all morning and now you are ready for a snack. Head on over to Honeydukes and get yourself something sweet. Caramel webs, chocolate wands, fudge flies, jelly slugs, or chocolate frogs, complete with Wizard Trading Cards, should hit the spot. Do yourself a favor and take a minute to walk through the store. It’s really a neat experience. Don’t forget you must sample the butterbeer and pumpkin juice from the stand located right outside Honeydukes door.
Every witch and wizard needs a wand. Ollivanders has been selling wands since 382 BC. At the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Ollivanders has two locations. That gives you two chances to pick out the perfect wand or let the perfect wand pick you out. There are two varieties of wands, plain and battery operated. The battery operated wand interfaces with store fronts, light fixtures, and other items that come to life before you. At each of these “magical locations” you must perform the correct spell, moving the wand in the right sequence and magic occurs. You can find Ollivanders either at Hogsmeade (Islands of Adventure) or Diagon Alley (Universal Studios).
The Three Broomsticks has welcomed students from Hogwarts for centuries and now it’s welcoming you. After a busy day of sightseeing in Hogsmeade, you can’t miss out on the traditional English meals served at the Three Broomsticks. You will love their fish and chips, shepard pies, and turkey legs, quenching your thirst with a nice cold butterbeer. Universal Studios meal plans are accepted at this restaurant.
The Hogwarts Express is a great way to travel in between Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, but you have to ride it more than once. The experience is different depending on where you are headed. Yes, it’s a great way to put your feet up and relax but don’t get too comfortable. There is excitement and danger around every corner.
Escape from Gringotts
There is no safer place to keep your gold and treasures than Gringotts. Goblins and wizards don’t always get along but everyone knows that Goblins are some of the smartest magical creatures. Gringotts fast paced indoor roller coaster ride which requires 3-D glasses. It goes through a maze, which is filled with twists and turns. You will love this wild adventure with Harry Potter and the gang. Height requirement: 42”
Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes
Fred and George Weasley left Hogwarts to open their own joke shop, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, located in Diagon Alley. Fred and George have everything you need to pull off the perfect prank. Here is a short list of just a few of their best sellers: Puking Pastilles. Bombtastic Bombs, Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder, Decoy Detonators, or Extendable Ears. Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes has it all.
Every wizard knows that if you want really yummy English food with a twist, you have to head over to the Leaky Cauldron. Menu items include Bangers and Mash, Fisherman's Pie, Toad in the Hole, and a Ploughman's Platter. This restaurant will make you feel like you’re back home in London getting ready to head off to Hogwarts as a first year. Universal Studios meal plans are accepted at this restaurant.
So there you have it, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in a nutshell. If you would like more information on a Universal vacation or Harry Potter vacation packages, contact your Vacation Wizard today.
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