I, like many of my generation, am a huge Harry Potter fan. So for my 25th birthday I thought it would be a great present to myself to take a trip to Orlando to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! If you’re looking to plan a trip there I would suggest spending two days, one day for Island of Adventure and the other for Universal Studios. The Island of Adventure houses Hogsmeade and Universal Studios is the home of Diagon Alley. We were lucky enough to go during a time of year and week where there weren’t much for lines. We went in the middle of the week, Wednesday and Thursday, during early May. While there weren’t many people we did have to deal with end-of-the-year school trips.
The first thing that every muggle must get once they arrive at either Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley is their wand. Now it is possible to just go into the shop and get a wand and be on your way, but it is even better if you go see Olivander! I suggest getting the interactive wand so you can cast some spells throughout both parks.
The best rides at Hogsmeade were the Dragon Challenge, which is technically two different rollercoasters, and the Forbidden Journey. For the forbidden journey you get to take a little tour of Hogwarts to get to the ride. One of the best parts about the rides is that since you weren’t allowed to bring your bags, you were allowed to get a locker for free while you were on the ride. I thought that was a wonderful feature for the park! For the Dragon Challenge you have two options, the Chinese Fireball and the Hungarian Horntail. The Chinese Fireball is a little faster and the Hungarian Horntail has more twists and turns. The entrance of this ride truly makes you feel like Tri-Wizard champion. If you have the opportunity I highly suggest being in the front row for at least one of these rides.
The best food we had at the park was the Three Broomsticks. It’s a little pricey but it’s what you would expect from a theme park. Another thing you MUST try, and I’m sure you’ve heard it from everyone, is the Butter Beer. I suggest the frozen one, its not as sweet as you would think either. It’s similar to cream soda but more… Magical!
One of the great things about having the park-to-park pass is you have the ability to take the Hogwarts express from Hogsmeade to Diagon Alley!
We spent our second day at Orlando at Diagon Alley. The best ride is Escape from Gringotts! It’s a lot of fun and you get to see the goblins as they work.
There are plenty of unique shops including Weasleys Wizarding Wheezes! For lunch we ate at the Leaky Culdron. Food was still good, but we thought the Three Broomsticks was better.
Some fun things you get to see right outside of Diagon Alley is the Knight Bus and 12 Grimmauld Place. Chat with the conductor of the Knight Bus and the shrunken head. As for number 12 Grimmauld Place, look closely at the windows, you may see Kreacher peak his head out. No matter how you spend your day, your time will be truly magical!
Remember, just because it is happening inside your head, “why on Earth should that mean that it is not real?”