Miles Driven (back and forth to parks): 146
Today is the day to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando. I first began reading the Harry Potter collection when I was in fourth grade and in a way, I grew up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. They were my friends and I joined them on their adventures. When the movies can out, that was even better! Harry’s world came to life! Two years ago, when mom and I were in London, we visited the Warner Brother’s studios and their preserved collection of sets and costumes.
And now, NOW, we get to see the theme park inspired by the world J. K. Rowling created. I’m so EXCITED!
I was a little disappointed when I heard that the new section of Harry Potter world, Diagon Alley, would not be opening until July 8th, but that’s ok. I’ll just have to come again some day.
We waited in line for our entrance tickets and requested one park passes. The ticket agent whispered to us, “Are you here for Harry Potter?” “Um, yes. Yes we are.” “I heard they might be opening Diagon Alley around 2pm today for an early run. You should get a park hopper so you can ride the train too.” – What! Really?! We can see the new part early? Yes please!
With tickets in hand, we set off for Hogwarts (the school Harry goes to). We ventured through Jurassic Park and had lunch before crossing the bridge into Hogsmeade Village. The Hogwarts castle loomed above us. I felt like I was in a little snow-covered village in England, only it was 95F. All of the employees were in character and enthusiastic. First shop was Ollivander’s Wand Emporium where we watched two sisters receive their wands (they had to buy them of course).
There was so much to look at. Each shop window was detailed with items and props from the books and movies. All around the village were interactive windows where someone with a wand can practice a charm and cause something to happen in the window. It was very fun to see what magic would occur at each window.
I rode the ride inside the castle, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. It was like Disney’s Sorin’ on speed. A combination of video and built scenes, we were chased by a dragon, played quidditch, and fought off dementors.
My favorite part was riding the Hogwarts Express to London. We sat in real train cars and watched the English countryside zoom past while Hogwarts students pressed their nose against the glass of our compartment. Everything felt so real!
The train dropped us off at King’s Cross Station and we exited onto platform 9¾. We could even see people disappear through the wall between platforms 9 and 10 (magic or illusion?) and walked through the London underground onto Piccadilly Circus. We could see no. 12 Grimmauld Place (Kreature the house elf would look out the window) and the Night Bus. Ernie the conductor was a hoot! We passed through the secret passage into Diagon Alley. Everything was there from Weasleys’ Wizard Weezes joke shop to Gringotts bank complete with fire-breathing dragon and live goblin. Knockturn Alley was just as spooky as described!
We spent the day just looking at everything and inspecting all of the details. I was so impressed!
At 6:30 we met up with our friends, Brandon and Korie, from church who had recently moved to Florida. Brandon got a job at Disney and just loves working there. We had dinner at the Universal City Walk and talked about everything Harry Potter and Disney (we received some insider information!) A great end to an excellent day!
Total Miles: 4,442