So day two of our American adventure saw us fully immersing ourselves in all things fanatical…. We dedicated the day to Harry Potter and spent a full day between the two HP themed attractions in Orlando.
Our day began in Hogsmeade; as soon as you walk in you are utterly transported to a winter wonderland. Snow topped roofs and The Hogwarts Express greet you upon entry. It didnt talk long for us to get into the spirit, within 10 minutes we’d watched The frog choir and had a butterbeer in hand and were perusing round Honeydukes sweet shop… As you stroll down Hogsmeade main street there are wizarding shops on either side and with many of the guests (both young and old I might add) adding to the illusion by dressing up in cloaks and Hogwarts school Uniforms.
As you approach the amazing Hogwarts Castle we joined our first queue of the day for the (absolutely brilliant) ‘Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey’, this is a brilliant and very clever hybrid of a rollercoaster and simulation ride. In the queue you work your way through the castle visiting famous classrooms and Dumbledores office… The ride itself sees you on a broom stick flying round a Quidditch pitch and the Hogwarts Castle escaping from a dragon. We all enjoyed this ride so much and the pictures are proof of that! haha
After that we went on the ‘Flight of the Hippogriff’, a cute little rickidy rollercoaster, then the braver of our party went on to do the Dragon Challenge, a huge twisty turny, makes you feel a little bit dizzy kind of ride…. We squealed our way round and left went swept and chuckling our heads off…
Then it was time to board the Hogwarts Express Train and head to Kings Cross Station… The Trains were brilliant, once inside and the carriage doors shut shadows walked down the aisles and peered through the doors where you could hear their conversations. If you looked out the window the rolling countryside transported you from the magical world of Hogsmeade towards the City of London.
When you got off the train at Kings Cross the attention to detail was brilliant, you actually felt like you were in a London Underground… I had to eat my words of “it just needs to be a bit smellier and have a few buskers” when we exited and were serenaded by a saxophone wielding busker! Brilliant!
Once we left the station The Knight Bus was parked up in front and 12 Grimald Place was just to the right… If you hung round long enough, or knocked loudly, you may even spot Creature poking his head out of an upstairs room!
It was then time to check out the brilliant Diagon Alley all the shops from the films were there and pulled you further into the magicalness of it all… Olivanders was brilliant, Jasper got called upon to be fitted for a wand and Freya brought herself an interactive wand. These were really cute and meant across the park young wizards could be seen practising spells and wand flicks in front of shops to make magical things happen in the window displays! This was so cute to watch and see their faces when they finally made a feather levitate or a skeleton dance by the magic of their wand!
After exchanging some muggle money for some Gringotts bank notes we entered the Gringotts Bank and enjoyed another multi dimensional ride which saw us trying to escape from the vaults beneath the goblin ran bank (dragon and voldemort included).
Again this was incredible and so so clever!! After that we took a night time meander back through Knockturn Alley (all a bit dark and spooky I might add) and headed back on the Hogwarts Express, through the wall at Platform 9 3/4 of course. It wasn’t the safest trip back, encountering a dementor and all but we survived luckily!
We all enjoyed this day so much, and whilst it might not have made any sense to those amongst you whom arent into all things Harry Potter, those in the know will share my glee at this brilliant attraction!!
Once we left the wizarding world and rejoined Universal Studios we had a chilled evening in City Walk. A drink in Margaritaville followed by dinner at BubbaGumps… Just a tad American Cliche for you! Ha!