The most magical place I’ve ever seen – Universal Studios Orlando

With our tickets in our pockets and a little unsure whether 3 days would be enough to discover everything about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and about what we’d do until the shuttle would be back 10 hours later to pick us up, we made our way to the Universal Studios. Right after our bags had been checked, we walked through what turned out to be Universal City Walk and found ourselves wondering whether we had already entered the park without our tickets being controlled…    Following the crowd, we arrived in front of the Universal Studios, where we took the mandatory selfie.    Once inside the Studios, we decided to have breakfast first, so we entered a cute little place filled with cupcakes and croissants  right at the corner before turning into Hollywood. After breakfast, we made our way through Hollywood, amazed by how nothing seems impossible in this place..
While sucking up every little bit there was to see on our way to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we encountered the first Hogwartsstudents… (needless to say that this is my life goal #1.)    When walking through the Simpsons‘ part of the park, I discovered King’s Cross station on the other side of the lake, from what I inferred that my final destination was right there. Once passed the bridge, you’ll find Number 12, Grimmauld Place on your right, with Kreacher looking out of the window from time to time.      Only some steps further, the Knight bus and its driver are waiting for you to have a little chat with them, while from the back you can have a look inside.     
Unfortunately, that was when my SD card decided it didn’t want to save any more pictures… A little deceived but with my cell phone ready for taking pictures, we made our way through the brick wall to Diagon Alley. Be prepared to see all sorts of people dressed as Hogwarts students, but don’t worry, that’s why you’re there: to buy your school stuff before heading to Hogwarts, isn’t it?! (just be prepared to spend quite some money, as nothing is cheap, if it has something to do with Harry Potter, in the Studios..) Well, you’ll truly find everything you need: From Gringotts, where you can actually really have your money changed, to robes at Madam Malkin’s, a broom at Quality Quidditch Supplies; books, paper, quills at Wiseacres Wizarding Equipment, your magical pet at the Magical Menagerie (,some dark stuff in Knockturn Alley,) and most importantly your wand! You can buy wands either at   Gregorowitsch’s or Ollivander’s or even have a wand choosing you!! Just make sure you buy the interactive version (even if it’s the only thing you’re gonna buy!!!) with which you’ll receive a map of all places in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade where you can perform spells. (you can make a feather fly, a flower blossom and so on and so forth..) Then stop at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes for the fun part of your school supplies.                     

  

If you’re thirsty or hungry you can stop for lunch at the Leaky Cauldron, get an ice cream from Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour or simply get yourself a Butterbeer (which I unfortunately didn’t like.. it was just too sweet for me.)    Once you’re ready, head to King’s Cross to take the Hogwarts Express to Hosmeade (you’ll need a park-to-park ticket for that!!). As you already know (since you’re not a Muggle.. or at least i hope for you, you aren’t..), you need to disappear through the wall in order to get to platform 9 3/4  (and you will!).     

  

   

  

 

 I expected the train just to be a normal means of transport to the other park, but the journey is simply magical! to some people it might seem exaggerated, but Potter-heads like me will love it.  

  

  Once in Hogsmeade, we skipped the shops and went directly to Hogwarts and „Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey“, where we got to see the castle from inside and then went on a, as the name already suggests, forbidden journey.  

        

 By that time the park was already full of people, so we decided to hop back on the train and have lunch at the Leaky Cauldron before leaving Diagon Alley as well and take a walk through the rest of the Universal Studios (where I found a new SD card, yippie!).  

  

 The first 10 hours had passed quite quickly. 🙂

On the second day, after going on the Simpsons‘ ride, we directly headed to Hogsmeade in order to explore all the shops before the arriving of the afternoon crowd (honestly, around noon the Harry Potter park will be full of people, so make sure you use the morning hours to explore that part and the rest of the time you can walk around  the other parts of the two parks, which aren’t filled with people to such an extent.)
In Hogsmeade, you’ll find another Ollivander’s, the Owl Post (you really get Hogsmeade Owl Post stamps on your postcards!!! *.*), the Three Broomsticks and the Hogshead, Dervish and Banges, Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods and Honeydukes. 

  

  

  

  

    

 I did not go on the „Dragon Challenge, but if you do, make sure you take along your phone, as you’ll walk through a path from where you can take better pictures of the castle (without having other people’s heads on the picture), and also see Hagrid’s hut and the flying car. (or simply ask if you can go up there to take a picture, which is what I did.) 

  

  Then, we decided to see the rest of the Islands of Adventures. Make sure you go on the Jurassic Park river adventure, which is great, whereas Poseidon’s fury wasn’t that exciting in my opinion. When back in Diagon Alley, I bought my school robes and lots of other must-haves.  

  

  

 I also wanted to go on the „Harry Potter and the escape from Gringotts“, but it wasn’t working. (sad girl.) So then, even the second day had passed (which was definitely a lot better, since I could take lots of pictures with my camera instead of my phone…)

On the third day, we walked directly to the Islands of Adventure to go on the „Flight of the Hippogriff“ first. The ride took about 2 minutes, which in my opinion weren’t quite worth the 60 min waiting in the hot Florida sun. After leaving Hogsmeade for the last time, we wanted to go again on the Jurassic Park ride, which wasn’t working, and so we went on Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw falls, which was great as well. (just make sure to bring along some slippers as you’ll be completely soaked and won’t want to walk multiple kilometers (15 km, yes, that’s what we walked each and every day) in wet shoes.)  

 Back in Diagon Alley we checked again on „the escape from Gringotts“ but didn’t want to wait 2 hours, so we left the magical Wizarding World of Harry Potter and had lunch at Mel’s Drive-in ( a typical American ’60 place with great food and Jukeboxes on each table). As a last ride, we decided on going on E.T.’s adventure, where you get to ride a bike in the air in order to save E.T. and his whole planet. This ride is perfect for families, very cute and was one of my favorites. (no matter how old you are, at Universal Studios you’ll be a child again!) 

  

  Two rides I would have loved to do, but didn’t have the time, were Transformers and the Minions..

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” 

Which sentence could describe the Universal Studios better? There’s nothing that could possibly remind you that a real world does actually exist outside of the park and for as long as you’re there every little piece of this enormous place will make you feel as if it were real! As if all of a sudden you got your letter and you got accepted at Hogwarts (you won’t even realize that you’re not 11 any more and thus the letter is late). For as long as you’re in there no one will make you feel as if it were happening inside your head. Universal Studios truly seem not to have any limits.

In retrospect I’d say that if you’re only interested in the WWOHP, one day should be enough, but if you want to go on all the rides 2 days might be better. The rest of the park is worth seeing as well (Although I first thought I’d spend 3 days only in  the WWHOP). In each case, 2 days would have been sufficient, the last day, we stayed only some hours to do some last things we hadn’t done yet, but one could go through the park more efficiently, according to his own interests. We hadn’t bought Express Tickets either (in the WWHOP you can only use it on 2 of 4 rides, so I decided it wasn’t worth it.) and I wouldn’t recommend it either since in lots of cases so many people had bought it that they had to wait nevertheless, but if you’re really interested in going on as many rides as possible you might consider buying it. We also weren’t staying at an on-side hotel, which wasn’t a problem either. The only thing that might be improved, is the frequency of the shuttles bringing and picking up people, since our first shuttle to the Studios was at 9am and our first shuttle back at 7pm. Staying at an on-side hotel, on the other side, will permit you to enter one hour before the others, so make sure you consider all the details before booking.

I loved my stay at Universal’s and would go back straight away if I could. So if you have a job during holidays in one of the Harry Potter shops or anything in the WWOHP, don’t hesitate on contacting me Universals!!!!! 😉

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