Monday, May 13, 2013

Islands of Adventure {Universal Studios}

Wizarding World of Harry Potter by Mom'sGonnaSnap
Get ready for LOTS and LOTS of pictures! 

There was no way we could go to Orlando without going to Universal’s Islands of Adventure.  We were SO excited to check out The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  After spending Monday at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, and Tuesday at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we enjoyed the change and LOVED everything Harry Potter.

We arrived before the scheduled opening and were very surprised to find that the park was ALREADY OPEN! What?!?  Our goal was to get in with the initial crowd.  We quickly made it through the gate and went straight to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.  The line was already pretty long but we braved it.  Sorta.  After about 20 minutes, we had to quickly separate.  Mitch took our backpack and my purse to lock in a locker and was supposed to re-join with us after locking up our things.  The backpack wouldn’t fit, so he didn’t make it in…  Meanwhile, Anthony and I continued to work our way through the line.  The line initially wrapped around the side of Hogwarts and then led us through the greenhouse, through the halls of Hogwarts, past the Potions classroom, in to Dumbledore’s office, etc. Anthony was pretty nervous, he kept reading the warning signs and he was worried that the ride would be too scary.  We continued on though and after they measured him twice, to be sure he was tall enough, it was finally our turn.  What an incredible ride!  This is a simulation ride that really plays with your senses.  At times you feel like you are on a broomstick zooming through the air following Harry, then you are in the castle, there’s a fire-breathing dragon, the whomping willow tree, a huge spider, etc. We were both a bit dizzy after the ride and Anthony needed a break from rides for awhile… I still feel guilty that hubby missed out. Like most rides, you have to walk through the gift shop on your way out.  This was not just any gift shop though, it was Filch's Emporium of Confiscated Goods.

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Walking around Hogsmeade was really neat.  Everywhere we looked, the details were incredible! 

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We went to HoneyDuke’s for some treats…

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Yes, we bought some Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans!  The boys liked them, but I thought they were disgusting!  We also bought a Chocolate Frog, which came with a collector card too.

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Zonko’s Joke Shop was connected to HoneyDuke’s and was full of all of the fun jokes and tricks from the books.  It was so fun to see all of the “jokes” that you could purchase!

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Extendable Ears!

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We even had some Butter Beer.  And by some, I mean 3 glasses!  I highly recommend the frozen Butter Beer (which I have heard is caffeine free, unlike the regular Butter Beer).  I’m hoping to try and re-create Butter Beer at home this summer!

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We had lunch at the Three Broomsticks.  The food was okay but the decor was fun.  I had fish and chips and hubby had Shepard's Pie.  I’m pretty sure Anthony had a fish kids meal.  It was fun to watch the open walkways on the 2nd floor.  Sometimes you would see a shadow from a house elf!

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We couldn’t go to Hogsmeade without stopping at Olivander’s to find the perfect wand! Anthony had saved up lots money for our trip to Florida, and buying a wand was at the top of his list.  After finding the perfect wand, he asked the sales clerk if it was a real wand and would shoot sparks.  She told him that it would, if he’s a wizard.  Ha!

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Boxes and boxes of wands...

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Anthony couldn’t wait to get out his new wand to cast a spell on Mitch.  There were LOTS of kids casting spells throughout the park.  The roller coaster track on the right is Flight of the Hippogriff.  Anthony LOVED this ride.  I think he rode it 4 times!!

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No trip to Hogsmeade would be completing without the Hogwarts Express!  What a fun addition to the Wizarding World.

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There is definitely more than the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to see at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, however this truly is where we spent the majority of our day.  Stayed tuned for another post (coming soon!) about how we spent the rest of our day at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

Want to read more about our trip to Florida?

Countdown to Disney
Downtown Disney
Magic Kingdom
Animal Kingdom

More posts yet to come:
     Hollywood Studios
     Universal Studios 
     Universal’s Islands of Adventure {Part 2}

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