Harry Potter mad? Me too! An fan would love the oportinity to visit this magical place in America! I feel so truely lucky to have been able to experience this adventure myself after waiting so long to see it in person! Nothing can prepare you for how this place makes you feel inside, It really makes you feel like you are walking around Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley!
The last time in which I found myself in Orlando was a few years ago, havng visited America every year since we never seem to stop in Orlando, just stay on the West coast on the beach, however my parents both thought that it would be such a good idea if we finally got the see this amazing fictional world for real, after waiting eagerly for years, and so we booked to go!
My parents flew out a few weeks before me and my sister and went straight from the beach location where we usually vacate, to Orlando to pick us up from the airport, but made a pit stop at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! So when my sister and I arrived they had already been to the attraction and wouldn’t stop talking about how amazing it is! That made me even more excited to see it, I felt like such a child!
Whenever we go to Orlando we always stay at an onsite hotel at Universal Studios, usually the Lowes Royal Pacific Resort and when you stay in these you get special entry to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter area of the park before it opens to the public! So as soon as we arrived at the hotel we went straight to the dock to get the boat to the park where we walked through the empty streets until we saw it…
We could see it in the distance getting closer and closer, something we had only seen in the films and read about in the books.. the Hogwarts castle. We got closer and closer to it and ended up having to walk through Hogsmeade to get to it. I really didn’t seem bothered about Hogsmeade at that point in time, I was too excited about seeing the castle, I was mainly focused on seeing that magical structure that has given me so much joy watching what goes on in it in the films, so my first real impressions of Hogsmeade are a little blurry! It’s so difficult to explain just how realistic it is to what you see in the actual films, even the insides are decorated just like it is described in the books and portrayed in the films. The whole of the castle is the set of a rollercoaster ride and the queue to get to it takes you through all of the stairways and classrooms you can imagine, even the big fat lady makes an appearence! The whole experience in the castle is made even more lifelike by the way it has holograms of the characters talking to you and walking around the castle with you! It really is hard to believe that the castle isnt the actual one which is shown in the films, the likeness is uncanny!
As well as the castle being a main focus point of the attraction there is a load more things which are in such a small area of this park! One of which being Hogsmeade, the local wizarding village to Hogwarts! As I have already said.. my first impressions of this are a little blurred by my excitement of seeing the castle! None the less, the first reaction that I remember was.. “Why are the buildings snowcapped when it’s 40C out here?!” The sheer detail gone into each and every building that you walk by is unreal! Hogsmeade is full of small places which you can get Harry Potter themed and also British food too which is always good, such as the Leaky Cauldron! Although I didn’t dive into the pleasure of eating this food, I couldn’t leave without trying a butter beer! Admitedly, it was actually rather tasty, and at a price of 15$ I should hope it was worth the money too!It tasted a lot like a Coke float!
One of the main features at Hogsmeade in Univeral Studios is the Hogwarts Express, which you can ride on! This train ride is like no other, you cannot see out of the window to the outside, instead they take you on a simulated journey from Hogsmeade, to Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross station, London! When my family and I rode on the train across the park we got placed in a train booth with an American family who had no idea that Kings Cross station was actually real! So when they got off and saw just how amazing it was, they couldn’t imagine that it was based on a real building! Even the people who are working there as operaters speak with an English accent! As you exit through the station exit there are buskers singing and playing instruments, just like you see at King’s Cross in London! To add to the awesomeness that is already here! At this attraction there is also a live departure and arrivals board for trains which are actually leaving King’s Cross, in London! I even managed to see my home town come up on the board arriving when I was there! There is a video of the whole train journey here, as I am not very good at explaining what it is really like!! It is a magical ride which all students take when they go to and from Hogwarts, you even encounter Death Eaters!
But wait.. there’s more! I know what you’re thinking, “How can there be more?!“. I thought this too! The adventure was never ending! I couldn’t believe just how much there was to see! The next part of the journey through the Potterland was quite possibly the best bit in my opinion.. Diagon Alley! After having ridden on the train to “London” You are then able to go through and have a gander down Diagon Alley, as well as Knockturn Alley. The resembelence of this attraction to the films is just unbelievable! The shops that you can go in such as Olivanders to buy a wand, Weasleys Wizard Wheezes for all your obscure items and you are even able to exchange your dollars at Gringots to use wizard money for the duration of your time there! The Gringotts building initially is a rollercoaster, however the precision and design which has gone into the interior of the building is something to be admired. See the picture below? Yep, that is actually build inside the building, to me it is just facinating how much time went into designing all of these buildings, I find it hard to think about!
Not only does Gringotts have an amazing intreior, but the exterior is something to be admired too. Remember the dragon which helped protect the vaults at Gringotts? The one Harry, Ron and Hermione escaped on? They have a statue of that dragon sat on top of the building, and every now and then it blows fire out! See a video of that in action here! Looking back, I really do think I am easily pleased!!
Okay, so there’s even more than I thought the second time, we could be here all day while I yabber on about the things in which I have seen in this place, I can’t believe I stayed there only for a couple of days! There’s much much more where all of this came from such as the Knight Bus, the Ministry’s muggle fountain, Grimmauld Place (where an animatronic Kreaure peeks out the curtains every now and then), The Flight of the Hippogriff and also interactive wand spots where you yourself can make magic happen!
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is much more than an attraction at a theme park, it really is where dreams become a reality; In the short time which I was there, I saw people of all ages running round in and out of the shops trying to get their full Hogwarts robes, ties, socks, wands.. you name it, they wore it! Children as young as around 4 dressed up in their house colours!
I feel so blessed and thankful to be able to go and see this first hand, and I can’t thank my parents enough for taking us all there together, even though they did tease me a lot when they had seen it! I seriously would recommend this theme park to anybody, not even just Harry Potter fans, there is so so much more to explore at Universal Studios and I just feel so lucky and honored to have finally seen these amazing Harry Potter themed attractions!
Thanks and see you soon!!