Part of our visit to the two Universal Orlando theme parks was checking out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The Harry Potter-themed park is a section of Universal Orlando, and since there are two Universal Parks, the Harry Potter portion is split into two – Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. I can say that I am a fan of Harry Potter so it was truly magical to see the stuff in the books and movies with my very own eyes. The music playing in the park was really fit for the wizard atmosphere, and a lot of people were dressed in cloaks too!
We went to the first Universal Park, Islands of Advenutre, on May 17. After a few hours of trying the different rides, we went to the Harry Potter section which was ‘Hogsmeade’. There you could find the Hogsmeade Village as well as the Hogwarts Castle which had the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Ride. I rode it by myself, and it was really thrilling and fun! The cart was similar to ziplines, meaning, our feet were dangling in the air. The cart can hold six people, and it can tilt to almost 180 degrees! I truly felt like I as riding on a broom alongside Harry Potter.
Afterwards, I rode the Flight of the Hippogriff, which is a mini outdoor rollercoaster. It was short but fun, and once you are on top, you can overlook the view of Hogwarts Castle. While I was riding, my parents were checking out the different Wizard Shops that could be found. There were booths that sold wands and gift shops that sold Harry Potter related items. I joined them to have snacks and then the rain was pouring really hard!! We were stuck in the restaurant for a few hours. Luckily, we bought some butterbeer and sandwiches.
Remember in my previous post, I mentioned that we bought the Park Hopper tickets? Well, at first, when we were purchasing the tickets, I did not want to buy the ones with a Park Hopper option because there was a slightly huge difference in the price and the only benefit that I saw was that you can ride the Hogwarts Express train. I wanted to ride the train, but it was alright if I didn’t. But then the guy who sold the tickets was really encouraging so we ended up buying the Park Hopper tickets. Thank God we did because the park where we were stranded was about to close and we didn’t want to get wet. We were far far away from the entrance of the park and it was still raining. So when the rain eased up a bit, we ran towards the Hogsmeade Train Station and rode the train going to the other Harry Potter Park: Diagon Alley, which remains open for an additional couple of hours.
The train ride wasn’t ordinary as well. There was a screen on the windows so we weren’t looking at the actual view outside. Instead, we could see graphics of the Harry Potter World, so it looks like we were actually riding the Hogwarts Express. We were also assigned in cabins, and there were graphics on the halls of the train which appeared to be characters from the movie. We saw silhouettes of Harry, Ron, and Hermione during the train ride. Afterwards, we got to the other station, the Hogwarts train station, which had the famous Platform 9 3/4 sign!
The next day, the weather was really good, and this gave us time to explore Diagon Alley which we were not able to do the other day. The entrance was beside King’s Cross Station, and it was like a secret entrance. We didn’t find it at first, but then I saw a tiny path and we went in. When we came out from the other side, it was Diagon Alley! Just like the movies!
Everything in Diagon Alley was like the one in the movies. They had the same establishments – I saw the Owl Emporium, The Leaky Cauldron, Madam Malkin’s, Ollivanders, and Weasley Wizard Wheezes! They also had the Gringotts Wizarding Bank which showcased the other famous ride in the park, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. It was an indoor roller coaster with graphics of the characters. It was really fun and exciting. Overall, I really enjoyed the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It felt like being transported into a completely different world, and it was a very memorable experience. I also loved my entire stay in Orlando, and it is one of the best and happiest places that I have been to.