Friday, 25 September 2015

Florida: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Aside from Disney the other part of our Florida holiday that I was super excited for was the Harry Potter world which is split across the two Universal Resort parks. In Islands of Adventure there is Hogsmeade and the Hogwarts Castle and in Universal there's Diagon Alley and Kings Cross Station. 
I knew it was going to be good but it went above and beyond what I expected, the whole place has been done amazingly well and there's soooo much to look at. There are only 4 rides and the Hogwarts express train ride between parks but even the rides are so different to anything I've ever been on.


Inside Hogwarts Castle is the Forbidden Journey ride. Even the queue is pretty good as there's so much to look at as you're walking through the castle. The ride itself is so unusual, you hang above various scenes from Harry Potter and pivot and rotate to get the sensation of flying on a broom. You don't go upside down but you are dangling in the air and it lays you right back at certain points so it's definitely a ride where you shouldn't have anything in your pockets and wear secure shoes. 
There are two other rides in Hogmeade, Flight of the Hippogriff and Dragon Challenge. We didn't go on Dragon Challenge as I'm not a fan of big rollercoasters but we did go on Flight of the Hippogriff which is actually a kids rollercoaster but it was mainly adults going on it!
























Whilst in Hogsmeade you can also visit many of the shops mentioned in the books/films such as Honeydukes and Dervish and Banges and eat at the Three Broomsticks. From here you can also go to Hogsmeade station and catch the Hogwarts Express to Kings Cross Station over in Universal. The train ride itself is an amazing experience and the journey is different each way though we only rode one way (Hogsmeade to Kings Cross). The windows have animations to make you feel like your really traveling to your destination and there's even things going on at the other side of your carriage door.
 Across in Diagon Alley you can again visit many of the shops that are found in the books such as Ollivanders and Weasley's Wizard Wheezes and eat at the Leaky Cauldron. You can also take a trip down Knockturn Alley and visit Borgin and Burkes. It's much more shaded over in this part so I'd recommend visiting here in the afternoon for a break from the sun. At both parks you can also buy Butterbeer which comes in three varieties, normal, frozen and hot. Now considering temperatures were easily above 40 degrees when we were there I didn't try the hot one but I did try the other two. Frozen was my personal favourite but they're both really good!

There's only one ride over in Diagon Alley which is Escape from Gringotts. Again this is a really unusual ride. It's a 3D rollercoaster that takes you through detailed sets and special effects. I loved both of the main attraction rides at Harry Potter but this one was probably my favourite.

We set a day aside to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter which I would recommend doing if you go in peak season like we did and if your a big Harry Potter fan because there's a lot to look at, the queues for the rides can get pretty long and the shops get really busy so you'll want to set time aside to make sure you don't miss anything.


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