This past week, my sister and I went on a trip to Orlando, FL and Savannah, GA. The reason? To celebrate her high school graduation and my upcoming 23rd birthday! She and I have been hassling our parents for YEARS about visiting Disney World and Harry Potter World. And a few months ago, they informed us that although they have no interest in visiting either park, they would send us! One of the greatest gifts they have ever given to us.
Tuesday was dedicated to Universal Studios. My top priority was aqcuiring a wand – Ginny Weasley’s wand to be specific. We began in the Islands of Adventures Hogsmeade area. It. Was. Magical. Everything was intricately done and well thought out. Our favorite ride in this section, and the entire park, was Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The nice part about these rides are that they provide lockers for you to store your stuff while you ride… FOR FREE.
Honeydukes was adorable, and you can bet we got a couple of goodies. We were surprised to see that there was an Ollivander’s Wand Shop in this section, but it does make sense for crowd control to have two. The line to wait for Ollivander’s demonstration was kind of long, but I thought it was worth it. A great feature of the Harry Potter sections is that the Hogwart’s Express connects Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios proper. Take it twice – it’s a different experience each way! (You do need a Park-to-Park pass for this.)
The ride lines were not terrible… At least not until we made our way over to Diagon Alley for the Escape From Gringott’s ride. That line was LONG, mainly because there is a section where groups can get their photos taken on the way in. I highly recommend doing that ride first, if only because it pales next to the Forbidden Journey ride. But still fun in it’s own right! Diagon Alley itself is very cool, but a tad more congested than Hogsmeade. I was excited to get ice cream from Florean Fortescue’s Parlor, my sister absolutely loved her fish & chips from The Leaky Cauldron. Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes was everything I could hope it would be and we even caught a performance by Celestina Warbuck!
After wandering through Diagon Alley, we headed back over to Hogsmeade to ride the Forbidden Journey again and to buy some souvenirs. The second time around on the ride, we opted for the solo-rider line, which saved us an hour-long wait! After Harry Potter World, we journeyed to Marvel Super Hero Island, checking out Toon Lagoon along the way. Thankfully we stopped in for a quick bite at a diner on Super Hero Island, because it started pouring rain. So after it let up, we rode the Amazing Adventures of Spider Man, which was fun. By the time the ride was over the rain had almost stopped completely, so of course we ran over to Seuss Landing before leaving for the day.
I did find my wand, as well as some Hogwarts sweatpants because comfort. It was a fantastic day, one I will treasure forever!