More Florida posts!@#!! And this time… to Orlando! You know what that means, don’t you? I went to
Harry Potter Land Universal Studios!
Well, we ALMOST didn’t make it. The day that we left it rained… and rained… and rained a lot in the span of a couple of hours! Above is a photo of the street totally flooded. Chris had to drive all the way to the left to avoid the quickly rising water…
You can see here a large truck next to us and how much water was on the road! The freeway entrances were totally flooded and people were stalling out. It was INSANE.
We finally made it to Orlando though after an hour + of driving. It was raining and drizzling all day but it was really warm and humid out. Everyone wore ponchos to protect themselves from the rain. It was sort of a good thing it rained all day since the crowd was not too bad. It was still early May though and still the “off-season” so I was glad we visited on a quieter day. I got SUPER EXCITED seeing the entrance to Hogsmeade!
All of the buildings in Hogsmeade have this quaint village feel and are all “snow capped” with fake snow. Which is weird to see but also kind of charming.
Here is Ollivander’s Wand Shop. There’s a line to the left to visit Ollivander’s for a “show”.
Inside Ollivander’s you see many, many, many boxes of wands just like in the movie. I loved it! What they do here for the show is one person is picked to receive their wand. They do some trial and error with different wands until the “wand chooses the wizard” with some special effects inside the shop. Very cool! Afterwards they deposit you right out into the gift shop and hope you buy one of their wands. I kind of wanted to get one, but what would I do with a wand?
There are three rides in the Harry Potter area and one of them takes places in Hogwarts Castle. How cool is this?! It looks so awesome and detailed.
There’s a long winding path through the outside until you get to the Greenhouse area. The line went pretty fast that day (about a 30 minute wait for us) and we kind of zipped on through the castle.
Here’s the tracker of the House Points.
A map of Hogwarts.
The Phoenix entrance to Dumbledore’s (or the Headmaster’s) Office.
The pensieve in Dumbledore’s office (ugh, sorry for the flash glare – it was super dark inside).
This is Dumbledore’s desk, you can sort of see Dumbledore’s head floating up there and talking.
One of the hallways with all of the paintings (there were a few of these but this was the only one that also had the moving staircases way, way up above). A few of the paintings on the low end talked to each other and they moved around from painting to painting. It was uncanny how REAL it looked – it didn’t look super fake and it looked the same as it did in the movie. SO RAD.
As you wind through the castle grounds, you go through a Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom.
This is the other side of the classroom. Above this area, Harry, Ron and Herimone appear on the balcony there and start talking to you about a plan they have to help you escape because someone’s chasing you (I forgot who).
The Fat Lady painting entrance to Gryffindor. After you pass her you go into the Common Room for Gryffindor where you see the fireplace grate from the movie.
Near the end – the sorting hat!
The ride itself is a 3D simulation ride. You get strapped into this seat and the seats move around with the ride. Your kind of flung around a bit as you race through Hogwarts. A dragon chases you for a bit and you can feel the heat from the dragon’s fire blast as you race through on a broomstick. There’s wind effects and the large 3D screen makes it feel oh so real. A lot of fun!
Sadly no one notified us before going up that there might be a size limit on the seats and Jake wasn’t able to ride it. I felt so bad for him 🙁 It was lame no one really told us that before hand… but oh well.
After the ride we got a little lunch at the Three Broomsticks!
The upper area of the Three Broomsticks.
And naturally… Three Broomsticks. Haha.
[frozen butterbeer and regular butterbeer / $4.99 and $3.99]
I finally got to try real BUTTERBEER!
They had two kinds of butterbeer – on the left is the frozen/slushy kind and on the right is normal butterbeer.
These were both a much better rendition of any other butterbeer I’ve ever tried. The regular butterbeer has almost a cream soda like quality and taste to it – but it is not as sweet as that. There are other flavors mixed in that enhance the flavor and make it almost butterscotch like. My favorite part was that it was NOT overwhelming sweet because I was afraid it really would be. It was subtler than that though and had a creamy, frothy head on it.
The frozen butterbeer gave me chest freeze – which might be kind of nice on a really warm day in Orlando. It had the consistency of a slushee and a similar flavor to the original. Jake preferred the frozen one while I preferred the regular one (no chest freeze for me).
[shepard’s pie plate / $9.99]
Chris ordered the Shepard’s Pie for the three of us to share for lunch. I thought this was TINY. It was okay. You shouldn’t except too much from theme park food after all.
[1/2 roast chicken platter with potatoes and corn / $10.99]
I picked the roast chicken platter. It seemed like a “safe” meal to get here. It was mostly “British” fare and most of it just sounded okay to me. The chicken was fair but not really memorable or outstanding. Really, it was just something to put in my belly.
Jake and I with our empty butterbeer cups! I also got a souvenir butterbeer mug but I don’t seem to have a photo of it.
On the far side of the Three Broomsticks is the “Hog’s Head Bar” where they serve butterbeer. Yeah, this is totally a different place in the books/movies but they combined them into one location here at the theme park.
We also tried Pumpkin Juice! It’s hard to describe the flavor of this one… it’s cider based but with pumpkin-ish flavoring to it. It tasted like it was warming you up even though it was a cold drink from the spices that are swirling around inside of it. I really liked it! Sorry, I don’t remember how much this one cost.
After going into a few of the shops, we stopped in at Honeydukes, the candy/treat/sweet/bakery store from the books. So many treats and recreations of items from the books!
These stairs lead no where.
I ate a grass and a dirt flavored one once. I’m too afraid to try these again for fear of getting “earwax” or “vomit”.
I don’t know who or what this creepy thing is.
Instead of a wood wand, I bought a chocolate wand! I haven’t eaten it yet. I just like to look at it.
Of the treats in the case, I bought a cauldron cake! It had mousse instead but the cake itself was really dry. I didn’t really like it.
Fudge! Lots of fudge.
This conductor guy was super cool. He was British and so friendly!
And for good measure, here’s a photo of Chris and Jake in Dr. Suess land. Harry Potter was the only part I really cared about so that’s all I’m sharing. 😀
They’re opening a NEW section at the park called Diagon Alley – but here’s the catch – it’s in the OTHER park. So you have to get park hopper passes to visit both. But then you’ll be able to ride the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade which is really cool. I can’t wait until they open it here in California – course, it’s not slated to open until 2016… but whatever! I can’t wait for it!