I have been a Harry Potter fan since I was a little kid. I have read all of the books front to back so many times. I was at every movie theater premier when I was a tween. The magical world that J.K. Rowling created will forever have a special place in my heart.
This has been my favorite world since I was 10 years old, I feel right at home here. The minute I found out that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in Orlando, I nearly had a heart attack. On March 17th, 2017 I had to privilege of visiting this magical place. My heart was filled with so much joy on this day.
Here are 10 of my favorite things I experienced at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios:
#1 Visit Diagon Alley
The moment I walked into Diagon Alley, my jaw was on the floor. My cheeks hurt so much from smiling so hard. The detail and hard work that was put into this park is truly incredible. Every single inch of this park has so much character and detail. You can visit The Leaky Culdron, The Fountain of Fair Fortune, Knockturn Alley , The Three Broomsticks, Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions, Eternelle's Elixir of Refreshment, The Hopping Pot, Sugarplum's Sweetshop, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour , Gringotts Wizarding Bank and so much more. I swear you won’t be disappointed.
#2 Grab a pint of the ButterBeer
Of course I had to try a pint of ButterBeer. It is one of the creamiest and sweetest treats you will ever taste. You can order your ButterBeer traditional, frozen or hot. I tried all three and I have to say I am a huge fan of the hot ButterBeer. There’s nothing a little ButterBeer and fire whiskey can’t fix on a cold theme park night.
#3 Get yourself a wand!
You 100% need to buy a wand. Olivander’s Wand Shop is located smack, dab in the middle of Diagon Alley. You can experience picking your wand first hand. I chose Herminoe’s wand because she will forever be one of my favorite character’s. I was very close to snagging Sirius Black’s wand but, I knew Hermione’s wand was the one for me.
When you enter this magical shop, all you see are hundreds of wand boxes stacked from floor to ceiling. Every hour one lucky witch or wizard gets chosen to be Olivander’s assistant and choose there wand. I highly recommend you choose and interactive wand because you can cast spells and create magical experiences all throughout the park.
#4 Ride Harry Potter and The Escape from Gringotts
Seeing Gringotts Bank in person is simply breath taking. The dragon is so massive and it is the very first thing you see when you walk into Diagon Alley. Every 30 minutes the dragon breathes fire into the sky. When you walk into the ride, your mind is instantly blown. From the animatronic goblins to the gorgeous dazzling chandeliers hanging form the ceiling, this place is everything your could have dreamed of and more. This ride exceeded my expectations and then some. The line moved very quickly and the ride was pure insanity. 10/10 you must take a spin inside this topsy-turvey ride.
#5 Hogwarts Express
You may or may not know this, but Digaon Alley and Hogsmeade are very far apart. Luckily there is this little old train called The Hogwarts Express to get you from place to place. You get to experience what it is like to travel through King’s Cross Station and arrive at Platform 9 ¾ to board the Hogwarts Express. The conductors are so sweet and nice. The lines move very quickly and you get your very own seat in a cabin on the train. So grab your luggage and pop and squat because you are in for a treat!
Pro tip: ride the train both to and from Diagon Alley/Hogsmeade because they are both completely magical and unique. You might see a friendly face or not so friendly face on each ride to and from the parks.
#6 Visit Hogsmeade
I am a little biased to Diagon Alley but Hogsmeade is pretty great too. You have a chnace to visit Hogwarts itself and see the castle in it’s full glory. You can visit Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, eat at Hog's Head, Three Broomsticks, Ollivander’s Wand Shop, Dervish and Banges, Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods, The Dragon Challenge and Honeydukes while your in Hogsmeade.
#7 Ride Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey
My favorite ride at the park is Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey. You get to wait in line inside Hogwarts.. You get to walk through places like Dumbledore's office, the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, the iconic Gryffindor common room, the Room of Requirement, and so many more great spots. This ride will make your inner child scream with glee. This ride is one thrilling adventure, you get to become face to face with some of your favorite characters and magical creatures. I must have rode this ride 3 times in a row. IT is th ebets thing you can experience at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
If you need a sugar fix, then look no further. Honeydukes has every magical treat you have ever dreamt of. I indulged and bought a chocolate frog, Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans and Fizzing Wizbee’s. there are so many amazing treats to choose from.
#9 The Dragon Challenge
This ride is the roller coaster of all roller coasters. You get to choose your dragon, red or blue to ride. There are hidden gems all throughout his ride. The walk to the ride leads you through a hidden forest. There are Goblet of Fire signs posted everywhere. R.I.P. Cedric Diggory. You will also find a misplaced car hidden in the forest if you know where to look. I’m pretty sure that a flying ford anglia has been spotted by more than a few muggels on there way to The Dragon Challenge. You might also find a hidden golden egg or too. This roller coaster surely won’t disappoint.
#10 Grab your souvenirs
You cannot even begin to remember your magical day without your house scarf and your wand. If you don’t already know your house, feel free to take the sort hat quiz on pottermore.com to find out what colors you should be flashing while you frolic around Hogsmeade. I have taken so many quizzes and for some reason I am always a Slytherin or a Gryffindor. I’d like to think I am a perfect mix of the two.
Of course purchased my house scarves. One Slytherin and one Gryffindor. I alternated the two every other day while I was at Universal Studios. I also purchased Hermione’s wand. The Slytherin in me demanded that i buy a death eater tattoo, which I promptly placed on my left arm. Move over Bellatrix, there’s a new Deatheater in town.
One of my favorite things I brought home with me was my deathly hallows pin. It permanently lives on my Levi’s denim jacket. I could not have asked for a better souvenir.