Tag Archives: Universal

My Favorite Place in the World

Last week my family spent the day at Universal in Orlando. We have been dying to visit the new Harry Potter World, and this was the only time we would get to go while my sister was home from school. It was seriously one of my favorite days ever, so get ready for a kind of long post with a lot of pictures! We are huge Harry Potter fans over here. I grew up on the books and secretly hoped a letter from Hogwarts would arrive on my 11th birthday. As expected, no letter arrived, and my heart broke a little.IMG_0263We stayed in the new hotel on Universal property so we could get into the park an hour before everyone else. We have never done that before, but it was completely worth it! We stayed at Cabana Bay and it was really cool. I wish we had more time to just hang out at the hotel. There was a huge pool and a couple restaurants that looked pretty good. We have been to the parks before over Christmas break, and it is always terribly crowded. However, having that extra hour was so fantastic. We could really take our time to look around without tons of people crowding around.

We actually got into the park about 15 minutes earlier than expected, and booked it straight to the new Gringotts ride. It was incredible. I felt like I was actually in Diagon Alley and Gringotts was so cool to walk through. All of the Goblins were moving and looking at us as we walked past them. I really don’t love roller coasters, so the ride was not my favorite, but it was really neat to look at everything.IMG_0139IMG_0133IMG_0132After Gringotts we went to pick out a new wand. We settled on the Elder Wand and got an¬†interactive one. There are spots all around Diagon Alley, and the older Hogsmeade, that are interactive. You wave your wand, and sometimes say a spell, and a door will unlock or a fountain will turn on. It must be so cool for J.K. Rowling to see hundreds of people walking around in a world she created, carrying wands and casting spells.OlivandersWe spent a couple of hours just looking around. We went into all the shops and looked in all of the windows. We also got a few butter beers. The frozen ones are the best!IMG_0235IMG_0365IMG_0183IMG_0234IMG_0229IMG_0220IMG_0223IMG_0216Weasley'sIMG_0203IMG_0190We all agreed that our favorite part was Knockturn Alley. First thing in the morning we were literally the only ones there. It was really dark, so it was hard to take pictures, but it was awesome. There was a big shop in there, where I got a Deathly Hallows mug, and was full of Death Eater masks and also housed the Vanishing Cabinet.IMG_0171IMG_0172IMG_0170Another one of my favorite parts was the Hogwarts Express. It connected Universal and Islands of Adventure and was so cool. The inside of the train looked right out of the movies!¬†Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure was way more crowded than Diagon Alley. We went straight to ride the Hogwarts Castle ride. Again, I don’t like the actual ride, but I love walking through the castle and looking at everything in the ride. It is all so detailed that I see new things every time I ride it.IMG_0260IMG_0267IMG_0270After the castle ride, we had lunch at the Leaky Cauldron and walked through some of the shops.

We spent a little more time in Islands of Adventure before heading back to Universal. We really love the Seuss area. There is a little bakery in Seuss Landing that has the best sweets. I usually get a brownie that is always delicious. It is our little tradition to stop there and get a snack.

We went back to Universal to see Diagon Alley one more time before we left. It was getting crowded and harder to see things when we went back.

We rode a couple more rides before we left. We rode Transformers and my sisters rode Rip Ride Rocket. We decided to leave the park for dinner and ate at Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. It was a really great way to end the night.IMG_0283 IMG_0290I was so impressed with Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure the first time we went, but Diagon Alley was really incredible. I can’t believe how realistic it is and how much detail is everywhere. It is amazing. If you are any kind of Harry Potter fan, I highly recommend taking a trip to Harry Potter World!