visiting hogwarts

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend! We had a whirlwind few days of eating, visiting family and friends, eating, opening presents… did I mention eating?!? Thought I’d share a little family pic we took before heading over to my cousin’s on Christmas Eve…



Now to FINALLY get started on my Florida trip report! YAY.

I’m going to start with our visit to Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure. Where we visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter on Thurs, 12/1. !!!

WARNING: PIC HEAVY ENTRY! (Feel free to click each pic for bigger).

Walking up to the entrance…



I PRETTY MUCH STOPPED IN MY TRACKS.



The Hogwarts Express! SQUEE!



Then Hogsmeade. It’s so detailed! STUNNING.

And finally…



HOGWARTS. As we were walking up to the castle, I suddenly felt so overwhelmed. Everything looked absolutely perfect and I couldn’t believe we were actually there!

We went on all 3 rides in the Wizarding World, the best of which was Forbidden Journey. It’s not a roller coaster but it’s definitely a thrill ride — the ride spins, twists, and drops you every which way as you soar through Hogwarts with the trio. It’s AH-MAY-ZING. Probably in my Top 3 rides EVER.

It even features a fan-freaking-tastic queue where you see…



The Mirror of Erised…



Professor Sprout’s greenhouse…



the House Points…



the Sorting Hat…



Dumbledore’s office…



And finally the Defense of the Dark Arts classroom with the trio!

After the rides, we explored Hogsmeade and came across…



Ollivander’s (there’s a “show” where you can see a muggle select a wand but because of the store’s looooow capacity, the line is ridiculously long)…



Dervish and Banges…



Zonko’s…



Honeydukes! All the stores are themed impeccably but they’re not designed to hold many people at all (I believe this was something that J.K. Rowling insisted on to be realistic to her vision). We visited during an off-peak time and it was STILL crowded inside the stores (the rides were all walk-ons, though). I don’t even want to imagine what it would be like in the summer.



For lunch, we ate at the Three Broomsticks so we could try butterbeer! YUM. I got frozen and Rob got regular… I made the better choice. Hehe. The frozen butterbeer is FAR better. But it’s VERY sweet so I couldn’t finish it. This is the best picture I have of the butterbeer (frozen is in front in the souvenir cup)…



Eventually we made our way around the park to visit the other “islands” — Seuss Landing, Jurassic Park, Marvel Super Hero Island (The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man is a MUST-DO ride), etc.



Islands of Adventure is such a picturesque park.



I can’t wait until the Wizarding World makes its way to Hollywood! I LOVED it. There were so many times where I’d stop, look around and find myself absolutely stunned and speechless. The Harry Potter series means a lot to me and it was incredible to have such an immersive experience. I can’t explain it. If you’re a fan, I highly recommend a visit. It won’t be one you’ll soon forget.

Ride count (for my reference):
Forbidden Journey (WWoHP) – 2
Dragon Challenge (WWoHP)- 1
Flight of the Hippogriff (WWoHP) – 1
The Cat in the Hat (Seuss Landing) – 1
The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley (Seuss Landing) – 1
The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man (Marvel) – 1

For more pics from Islands of Adventure & WWoHP, check our Flickr here.