Over the Christmas break I was given the opportunity to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando! It was amazing. Of course, there were other parts of Universal that I visited (Dr. Suess land, Springfield aka Simpsons land, etc.), but I’ll only be focusing on Harry Potter! 🙂 This will be an extremely photo-heavy photo!!
For those who don’t know, Universal studios is actually two separate parks in Orlando – Islands of Adventure, and Universal Studios. Of course, to capitalize on visitors, the Harry Potter worlds are also split into two halves – the Hogsmeade and Hogwarts half, and the Diagon alley half. The first day I spent at the park was a bit cloudy and chilly, and it drizzled quite a bit the second day. Regardless, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was a dream come true!
Hogsmeade & Hogwarts
The way the park is situation, the Hogsmeade and Hogwarts section is actually at the back of the park. This meant that we had to walk through everything else before finally crossing underneath the Jurassic Park gate, we could see a Hogsmeade sign off in the distance.
Many visitors were dressed up and all the park workers were wearing robes. We caught a performance from the Hogwarts school choir which was a lot of fun – although really, only my sister and I were unbelievably excited. Everyone else was just kind of listening politely, while we were definitely excited and cheering. In addition, we also got to see students from Beauxbaton and Durmstrang perform!
In Hogsmeade there’s an Olivander Wand Shop (although we all know the REAL deal is the one in Diagon Ally). Of course, there’s the shop portion where you can go in and just purchase a wand, but the actual cool part is something you have to line up outside the store for. Once inside, the wand maker chooses someone to ‘buy their wand’. The person (usually a kid), is given 2 different wands to wave around, and shelves buckle and fall, but then the wand maker gives the person a third wand. A spotlight shines down from above, and music plays (the same music as when Harry picked up his Phoenix feather wand!). It’s very fun, and spooky, and I only wish I was chosen to pick a wand! The wand maker was a fantastic actress, and she definitely created an amazing experience.
We also tried some Butterbeer, both hot and cold! The hot Butterbeer tasted a bit like a caramel mocha, while the cold was more like a cream soda.
In order to actually get to Diagon Alley, you have to take the Hogwarts Express of course! We ran into the Knight Bus, had a short chat with the driver the shrunken head before heading into Diagon Alley.
Once the bricks moved out of the way, we finally made it in! Diagon alley was amazing! It was colourful, vibrant, and crazy fun.
Again, there was Olivander’s wand shop, but also Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes, the Leaky Cauldron, the Daily Prophet, Gringott’s Bank, and a million other places to see.
Honestly, this trip was a dream come true, and better than I could ever imagine. Until next time, Diagon Alley!