Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Magical Weekend {Orlando, FL}

We spent one fabulous day immersed in all things Harry Potter at both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Our first stop was Diagon Alley (in Universal Studios). I loved how the entrance is a little hidden, but the wall opens up just like in the books! We made our way straight down the middle of the alley where we immediately jumped onto the "Escape from Gringotts" Ride. It was a 3D ride on a mini coaster and it was a blast.

After, we went to get a (frozen) butterbeer and we explored all of the shops like Ollivander's, Magical Menagerie, Quality Quidditch Supplies and more! My favorite part was Knockturn Alley though. In a lot of the shop windows and situated throughout the park, they have these great interactive spots to "cast spells" to make ran fall from the sky, spray water at you from the fountains, etc. It totally had me wanting a wand, but I resisted - those things were expensive!

Of course, I had to take a picture next to Sirius' house - Number 12 Grimmauld Place. We wandered over to Kings Cross station and jumped on the Hogwarts Express. Something to note: this is actually a ride and has a different theme based on which direction you are going. Just a fun surprise (and an easy way to move between the parks).

We arrived in Hogsmeade and made our way to the Three Broomsticks for some grub and a brew. They have some traditional British food here, which I loved! After, we walked up to Hogwarts castle. There is a "Forbidden Journey" ride here which I liked, but Jason didn't - it was kind of spinny! 

There are some great shops here as well, but our favorite was Honeyduke's! We were able to watch a performance of the Durmstrang and Beauxbaton kids afterwards. After we were done exploring, we made our way back to Universal Studios (via the Hogwarts Express) to hit some favorite rides from when we went years (and years) ago. I would like to point out that we played the super awesome Men In Black laser game and I somehow beat Jason. Ha. There's a first time for everything! 

I know I've said this before, but it really is the little details that made this so special. Even when you are waiting in line, there is something cool to look at or explore. They really nailed the whole experience! We had a wonderful little weekend in Orlando and when we got home, all we wanted to do was to have a Harry Potter movie marathon.

Next up for us - we'll be heading to ITALY in a week!

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