I can still remember how magical it was to share the Harry Potter books with the kids for the first time. I was already a fan of the books, and from the start, it was easy to see that they would be too. We watched all of the movies together as well, and I knew that this was a world they would remember and cherish as they grew up.
When we finally took a trip to Universal Orlando, we were all excited to see that magic come to life. We’d seen pictures and watched videos, so we had an idea of what to expect. At least, we thought we did…
Pictures and videos just can’t do justice to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It doesn’t just feel like you’re in Hogwarts or Diagon Alley…you’re actually there! This isn’t just a theme park, it’s an experience, and one that is sure to please fans of the books and movies. And even if you’re not a fan, the sight of a life size dragon breathing fire overhead is enough to turn you into one.
So if you’re planning a trip, here are a few must-do’s to get the most out of your experience:
Buy an interactive wand at Ollivander’s. You can have fun all over Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade with interactive window displays and statues. Just wave your wand, recite the spell, and watch the displays come to life.
Ride all of the rides! Fly over Hogwarts on your magic broomstick with Harry and his friends in Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Speed through the caverns as you try to dodge Voldemort and Bellatrix in Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Once you’ve made it out safely, head over to Flight of the Hippogriff for a twisting, turning ride past Hagrid’s hut. Any wait will seem to fly by as you take in all of the details that make up the queues inside Hogwarts and Gringotts. From talking bank tellers, animated Daily Prophets, and overheard conversations between Harry, Ron, and Hermione, you will be entertained even before getting to the actual ride.
Head over to Platform 9 ¾ to take a ride on the Hogwart’s Express. Keep in mind that you will need a park-to-park ticket to be able to ride. You can board at Kings Cross Station in Universal Studios or Hogsmeade Station in Islands of Adventure. Sit back and enjoy the interactive train ride between parks.
Exchange your money for Gringotts bank notes at the Gringotts Money Exchange. You can spend your Gringotts notes throughout the park, but never fear, any unused wizard money can be transferred back to U.S. currency at guest services. Make sure to ask the goblin teller a question!
Take time to explore the shops. Stop by Honeydukes for a chocolate frog or some fizzing whizzbees. The jokers and mischief makers will love everything that Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes has to offer. For those looking for something a little darker, take a stroll down Knockturn Alley and check out all of the amazing items in Borgin and Burkes.
So go ahead…check out all the pictures online, and watch all the videos too.
But be prepared…the magic of this trip is more than you can imagine!