I literally grew up with Harry Potter. I was 7 when the first movie was released and 16 years old as I watched the climactic Battle of Hogwarts. I read the books when I was about 13 and cried when Fred died. When it was announced they were making a Harry Potter World at Universal me and my sister couldn’t stop talking about how and when we would go. I got the opportunity to go thought whilst I was in the states in Summer 2014.
I was travelling down the East Coast with Camp America Treks and the trip included one day at a theme park in Orlando. There was no doubt in my mind I was going to Universal. I then upgraded my ticket to cover both parks for 2 days.
It was insane as I walked through the park and suddenly found myself in a London street outside Leicester Square tube station (at least that’s what I made my family believe after sending them a photo). We then went through the the archway and were transported into Diagon Alley! I was feaking out I was so excited!
We browsed the shops and tried on Hogwarts robes. We waited around 2 hours to ride Escape from Gringotts, though if you ask me it was so worth it. This was the only long queue though as it was fairly quiet but this ride was still relatively new and therefore popular. Oh and FYI the dragon on top of Gringotts breathes fire!!!
The next day we rode the Hogwarts Express over to the Island of Adventure. There’s an insanely clever set up of mirrors that makes it look as if everyone is walking through the archway to get onto the platform. It really was magical! We then rode the train at 10:45am on 1st September (the day Hogwarts students head to school), this was purely by chance though there were a bunch of people all dressed up waiting for 11am. I guess I’m not a true hardcore fan like those lot.
The journey on the Hogwarts express was better then I could have expected and not a regular boring train ride. We then arrived in Hogsmeade where we got to check out Honeydukes before going on Dragon Challenge where two dragons “race” for the Triwizard tournament with numerous loops and corkscrews. We then went for lunch at The Three Broomsticks and I got a classic English meal (Shepard’s Pie) for the first time in the 2 and a half months I had been in America.
We then went to the Hogwarts Castle, yes I started to freak out again, and we went on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey which was awesome! At the end of the day, after more fun on other rides around Universal, we headed back to Diagon Alley and had dinner at The Leaky Cauldron where I had Bangers and Mash and a frozen butterbeer before finishing the day by having another ride on Escape from Gringotts.
If you are any kind of Harry Potter fan I would highly recommend saving up for Harry Potter World. It’s a splurge but I had such a blast. I found 2 days for both parks good as I managed to fit in all the rides I wanted without rug around like a headless chicken.