Remember when I was considering banning Harry Potter? The character has seeped into every crack in our lives. We hear magic games being played upstairs behind locked doors. Who said you could lock that door?? We have the books on-hand and open at any possible reading moment. And one of our twins has started saying "quite" every possible moment. Like, "I'm quite sure".
Well, I didn't ban Harry - not really, but we are "taking a break" for now which is fine because...
The girls got to experience HARRY POTTER IN PERSON!
While we were in Florida recently we were guests of NBC Universal and received a day of passes to Universal Orlando. With two huge Harry Potter fans our first stop, of course, was The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!!
No really, Em started tearing up at the park gate when she realized exactly where we were headed!
She has dreamed about this day, every day for months now.
I felt my heart grow huge watching the girls with their jaws dropped, their eyes sparkling.
I also felt an enormous amount of gratitude to the folks at Universal for putting together this incredible moment. For making it happen. And I can't wait to go back for more!
I can tell you, IF you have a Harry Potter fan in your house, the Wizarding World and Universal Studios is a MUST.
Look at this place!
You first enter through Diagon Alley (or is it Hogsmead?) where there is everything from the Hogwarts Express and Honeydukes
(with real Bertie Botts Every Flavoured Beans including vomit, earwax, and dirt!)
to the 3 Broomsticks and Butterbeer.
There is a hefty wait at Ollivanders for wands.
And of course there was a line for...
The BEST RIDE EVER: The Forbidden Journey
The Forbidden Journey is one part ride, one part visual experience (like IMAX), and one part animatronics coming at you.
It's incredible and better than any roller coaster I've ever been on!
I don't have photos from on the ride because you really need to check all your goods into a locker. No really, check it. You'll be happier not worrying about it and enjoy the ride much more. And you want your full attention to enjoy this ride!
Now, even though there is a line, you will thoroughly enjoy the cue where you wind around the castle visiting with the portraits that come to life
visiting with Dumbledore in his office
and finally catching up with Harry, Ron and Hermione before the mission
All in all it was a great build-up to a an amazing ride!
Tips for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Look for the small fountain in the center area for rinsing out your mug of Butterbeer or bottle of Pumpkin Juice.
Chocolate Frogs at Honeydukes make great teacher gifts and buy a few packages of Bertie Botts because I can't find them anywhere now!
Head straight there when you first get into the part because they issue tickets just to get into the Wizarding World area! Or, you can try waiting and going later in the day around 4 or 5.
If you have an Express Pass for the parks it won't work yet for the Harry Potter rides. Check and see when that will change.
Magical Memories with Harry
Harry Potter taps into so many things that excite a child: magic, secrets, and the fight between good and evil. Universal Orlando has really brought Harry Potter to life and made it something our whole family could enjoy. And now every kid in the 2nd grade class at our elementary school is asking their parents to take them to the place that has vomit flavored jelly beans. No joke!
Sticking with the chocolate frog,
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Disclosure: I received free park passes and express passes for our family as a guest of Universal Orlando. We also received a gift bag filled with things to keep our memories alive. All opinions expressed here are my own and we were truly awed by the park and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This post was neither reviewed nor approved prior to being published. My kids have not stopped talking about Universal Orlando since we got home.