“Hey Nina where are you headed after Euro-“
“I’M GOING TO HARRY POTTER WORLD!!”
“Oh that sounds cool where is tha-“
“HARRY POTTTERRRRRR WORLLLLLDDDDD!!!!”
-nearly every conversation I had with people in the month preceding my trip to Orlando, Florida
Have you ever experienced something that made you so happy, it actually started to make you feel sad because you would realise it had to end at some point? Well, that’s how I feel every time I read Harry Potter. So you can imagine the unadulterated excitement I felt when my trip to Universal Studios and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was coming up.
Universal Studios in Orlando is one of the biggest theme parks in the world. It consists of two massive theme parks that you can either walk between like some kind of heathen, of purchase the park-to-park pass (total gimmick but also totally worth it, vair confusing I know) so you can RIDE THE HOGWARTS EXPRESS between the Harry Potter worlds in each park.
The Express will take you from ‘London-King’s Cross’ to Hogsmeade Station, and while it is a ride in itself with antimations on the windows to portray the journey, it physically gets you from one location to the other.
Handy Tip– if you do go from ‘London’, keep an eye out for the optical illusion that makes it look like passengers ahead of you are actually passing through platform 9¾. When I was there the lines were pretty short, so we didn’t have to wait and a lot of people missed the illusion. Luckily I am a massive nerd and read about it in blogs so was able to stand at the right spot and point it out to people who could not care less. That’s just the kind of person I am.
Once I stepped off the Hogwarts Express into each world, I had to keep reminding myself it wasn’t real and no, I could not live there forever. But come on- Butterbeer. Diagon Alley. Hogsmeade. An actual fire-breathing dragon. Cauldron cakes. Need I say more? Diagon Alley came complete with performing singers and super creepy Knockturn Alley, while Hogsmeade had a full selection at Honeydukes and an actual wand selection show in Ollivanders. The attention to detail meant that you could actually feel absorbed in the world. This actually happened to me a few times, where I was so entranced by the show they have for the wait for a ride, that I held everyone else up who was waiting to move on (the castle ride had huge castle halls with talking portraits and a mini-show with hologram characters and fake snow. So yeah, can you blame me?). But rather than me blithering on about every aspet of my delirious joy in HP, I thought a photo tour might be less excruciating. So here we go.
Universal Studios is so much more than HP world, and even though I was there for that, I really enjoyed the other parts.
My favourites were Simpons Land-
-and Seussville, were I may or may not have purchased a ‘Thing 1’ fleece onesie (thank to my Bro), which will go up there on the hall of fame for ‘most impractical travel purchases’ next to the glass teapot I bought in Spain and the tagine I schlepped back from Morocco (worth it).
If you are going I definitely recommend going in the shoulder season from August-Novemeber. Your afternoon will be mildly interrupted by rain, but only for an hour or so when you can go grab a butterbeer and head back out once it stops. It will means the longest you wait is 30 minutes as opposed to stanrd 1-2 hour wait during peak season.
Have you been to the Wizarding World of harry Potter? What was your favourite part?