Our first stop on our magical tour was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Islands of Adventure park. My niece Sydni has wanted to go here ever since she first found out there was a theme park for muggles and all things devoted to Harry Porter.
Seeing her face when she first saw the sign saying you were entering Hogsmeade was worth the trip itself. She nearly took off running towards Hogwarts when she caught a glimpse of it. The folks at Universal have done an amazing job with the entire park.
We arrived at exactly 8 am when the park opened (great tip from one of my Twitter friends) and had already bought our tickets online so off we went to the will call kiosk and printed our tickets. There was no wait and the lines were short to get in. Everyone had the same idea though and the entire crowd went towards Hogwarts.
Along the way we passed Dr. Seuss's place and Poseidon's Fury but we didn't have time to stop as we knew the day would be devoted to the Wizarding World. We were on a mission.
To say it was hot that day would be an understatement. It was a brutal day but so worth it. We bypassed the long line for Olivanders in order to get in line for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Being there that early, they were not as long as I had read they could be. My sister Diane got on the ride with my niece and nephews and they absolutely loved it. So much so that they went on twice. The boys went on the Flight of the Hippogriff and enjoyed it.
We then went to get some Butterbeer at Three Broomsticks. If you ever have the opportunity to go and have some Butterbeer, Do It! It was so delicious. Very sweet but it hit the right spot on a hot day. It wasn't until later that night back at the hotel that I got a taste of another unique drink from the park, Pumpkin Juice, and I honestly don't know which one I loved more! This juice tasted just like a pumpkin pie/pumpkin muffin rolled into a drink -- delicious!
Next it was off to stand in the line for Olivander's. The wait was over an hour ad about halfway through the kids had enough of the heat and just wanted to go home. So I took the kids into Dervish and Banges to do a little shopping while my mom and sister continued to stand in line. There was so much to buy and everything you can think of was for sale. So, neither the kids or I got to see the actual show at Olivander's but boy did we get a lot of souvenirs.
On our way out of the Wizarding World we stopped at Honeydukes and stocked up on Bertie Botts Every-Flavour Beans and chocolate frogs as well as some toys at Zonko's. There are so many little things to see so we took our time walking around.
I am so glad that we were able to spend a few hours at the park but next time we will definitely plan our trip in a cooler month and plan to spend a few days at Universal to really enjoy this park.
1) Plan to arrive as soon as the doors open
2) If you stay at a hotel on site, you can get in an hour early to the park
3) Even if you don't want to ride the Forbidden Journey, you can still stand in line to see Dumbledore's office, etc and skip the actual ride
4) The lines for Butterbeer are long - you can get it at Three Broomsticks with lunch and skip the lines
5) Valet park. That is all.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter 2011, a set on Flickr.