‘I read about it in Hogwarts, A History’

Have you received your Hogwarts acceptance letter yet? No?! That’s a damn shame. I received mine last year around this time when my family decided to take an impromptu trip on the Hogwarts Express to the land of owls, magic wands and books that bite back. I am of course referencing the Hogwarts in Orlando, Florida within the walls of Universal Studios. Unfortunately, if there is a real wizarding world my acceptance owl has been lost for almost a decade; sad. We decided to take this trip after my stepmom and dad went to Universal Studios the year before and had a blast, they could not stop talking about how amazing it was and we knew we would have to make our way down south just to see what all of the fuss was about. We were completely blown away by Universal Studios and to this day when we get together, this trip comes up at least once and for good reason!

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We spent three days in total at the park, which I would recommend to anyone planning this trip because if you think you will see everything in one day…well you will need a whole lot of magic to complete that task. The Harry Potter experience is divided within the two parks; Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios (I know that they have recently added a third park; Universal’s Volcano Bay, this was not yet open during this trip). Unfortunately, there is a separate entrance fee for all of the parks and you cannot ride the Hogwarts Express without having a park-to-park pass. I know this is an expensive adventure but seriously, save up and take the plunge, words cannot describe the fun we had!

On day one, I think we walked around the parks in awe. I don’t remember really hitting up any rides other than the Hogwarts Castle and the Duelling Dragons roller coaster, since we had so much time we really took our time exploring the shops and restaurants. I think this was a great way to start our trip because the detail in everything can be missed when rushed, it would be a shame to gloss over the minor details like the moving objects in windows, the characters throughout the park or even the random little street shows that were put on during the day. We definitely had butter beer, which can be bought as a smooth liquid or a frozen slush. I think I had a butter beer a day, it is a mix between root beer and cream soda and I definitely preferred it slushy.

On the second day, we slept in a little and went to the park during the early afternoon. I don’t think I would recommend this since the park was popping and everything was a huge wait. We did do some more rides and explored the other parts of the park that were not Harry Potter such as Marvel, Jurassic Park, Hollywood, The Simpsons and New York. The rest of the park is a lot of fun as well, try out The Mummy ride for an indoor roller coaster, The Simpsons ride for a laugh or The Hulk roller coaster for a stomach dropping fast ride on one of the quickest coasters in the world.

The third and final day, was really dedicated for food (on my end) and hitting up any rides we couldn’t on any of the previous days. We started the day bright and early, pretty much some of the first people in the park. We headed to Diagon Ally for the Gringotts ride, since this was one of the most sought after coasters from the day before. I should mention that we downloaded the Universal Studios app and used the ride time predictor quite frequently (this shows you the wait time for all of the rides in the park). Even if you think the wait time is a little long, keep in mind that all of the rides have things to look at during the wait, for example the Gringotts ride was inside the bank complete with the dragon on the roof and the goblin tellers. Afterwards, I finally made it The Leaky Cauldron for some grub, with low cost food and wonderful scenery, I would definitely recommend eating in the park. We spent the rest of the day on the rides, eating churros and living our best lives.

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