As you are probably already aware, I’m a massive Harry Potter fan and the main reason why I was so excited to go to Florida in October, was the fact that I was going to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Ever since it first opened at Universal Studios, I’ve been desperate to visit and I just couldn’t wait to get to Diagon Alley! Kariss and I bought a 14 day pass to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure which cost just under £200 and set aside two days out of our holiday to visit. We decided to travel by Uber which wasn’t too expensive, it ended up costing us around $13 each way which isn’t bad at all considering it was around a 25 minute journey and all of the Uber drivers were really nice. (If you’ve never used Uber before want to save money on your first trip, use my code upb9z when you sign up.)
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is split into two sections across both parks (Diagon Alley in Universal Studios and Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure) but is connected by the Hogwarts Express which you can ride to get between the two parks. On our first day we decided to head straight to Diagon Alley and then after doing the rest of the rides in Universal Studios, get the Hogwarts Express over to Hogsmeade.
I was really excited to see that the Night Bus was just outside of the entrance to Diagon Alley and you could actually have a look inside and see the beds. There was even a conductor (or Stan) and a talking shrunken head! It was exactly the same as the one in the film and luckily we got there early enough that there weren’t a lot of people crowded around so we could get a proper look at it and take some photos.
Diagon Alley was everything I hoped it would be and more. As I walked through the entrance it was like being transported into the books. Everything was so exactly as J K Rowling described it and the place felt so magical. The first thing we did was get in the queue for the Escape from Gringotts ride as we’d heard that the wait could be quite long. Luckily, as it was so early in the morning, we only had to queue for around twenty minutes. Being inside Gringotts was amazing and I wish I could have taken photos but at Universal Studios, you’re required to place all of your belongings in the provided lockers before going onto a ride so I didn’t have my camera or my phone on me. The ride was fantastic, I especially enjoyed all of the special effects which is something that I think the rides at Disneyworld are lacking.
After we had been on the Escape from Gringotts ride, we then had a wander around the rest of Diagon Alley. It was so lovely seeing all of the children with interactive wands who were making magic happen. Everyone seemed to be so excited and the atmosphere was just incredible. Diagon Alley had all of the shops that you would expect to see, my favourite being Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes and Ollivanders.
We then headed over to ‘Kings Cross station’ which looked surprisingly realistic! Even the departures board had cancellations on it, which is very much like the unreliable British railway system. We didn’t have to queue for too long to get on the train, but again there was plenty to look out whilst we were waiting. Once on the train, the windows were in fact tv screens and showed the journey from London to Hogwarts and you could see people moving up and down the train too. The journey didn’t last very long, but was a great experience.
Hogsmeade was just as amazing as Diagon Alley and finally seeing Hogwarts for the first time was breathtaking. I absolutely loved the snow topped buildings which seemed really weird in the 30 degree heat. I had my very first Butterbeer at the Hog’s Head which was delicious. I’d wanted to try Butterbeer since I first read the books aged 10 and it did not disappoint, I adore the taste and I can’t wait to finally go to the Warner Bros Studio Tour next week to get some more! I just wish they sold it in bottles.
We saved the rides in Hogsmeade for the second day of our trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and we started off with the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey which takes place inside Hogwarts. This was probably the best ride I’ve ever been on with all of the special effects, I actually screamed when we came to Aragog’s family and there were dragons that breathed fire just inches away from us. The queue was almost as exciting as the ride itself as you got to wander around Hogwarts and have a sneak peek into Dumbledore’s office. The only other ride that we went on in Hogsmeade was the Dragon Challenge which has two different rollercoasters representing two different dragons. The queues were quite short so we did both of them within a few minutes of each other and they were great fun!
We jumped on the Hogwarts Express for a second time to go back over to Universal Studios, where I had another Butterbeer; this time I went for the frozen version which I enjoyed but I wish I’d got the normal one again, it’s a lot tastier. At the end of the two days, we were both completely exhausted so we sat on some steps and enjoyed our Butterbeer while taking in the atmosphere of Diagon Alley. I honestly loved every minute of it and was so sad to leave, I wish I’d gone there on my birthday instead of spending the day in Magic Kingdom. I’ll definitely be keeping this in mind if I’m ever in Florida for my birthday again!
I highly recommend a trip to Universal Studios and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter if you’re a Harry Potter fan. I’m so glad I got to go, I had such a great time and I’m so grateful that I got to go with Kariss who is as much of a nerd as I am.