Visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (254/366)

254HarryPotterWorldTop“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Arthur C. Clarke

Although this coast-to-coast trip has been super fun so far, we’ve gotten to the point I was MOST looking forward to.  Today, at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, we got to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Now, although I already said yesterday that Universal Orlando was a great surprise in just how cool it was and actually different than the original Universal Studios in Hollywood, I really have to give credit – a LOT of credit – to Universal for being able to recreate the world of Harry Potter with such detail and such a magical feel!  I was excited to come see what they had created from these beloved books and films, and I was expecting to see some cool stuff, but I do have to say that they really did a wonderful job with this one.

The gateway to magic … so exciting!!!  “Please respect the Spell Limits.”
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There’s the Hogwarts Express!

We’re at Hogsmeade Station!!!

The schedule and fares.
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And in the middle of the sweltering Florida summer heat, Hogsmeade is dusted with snow.  Magic.

Speaking of magic … Butterbeer.  YES.

But there’s so much more to explore before that!  Okay, I’m lying.  We totally got a Butterbeer first thing.  Onward!


Hilarious treats.
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No, these bon bons don’t *really* explode … but the Chocolate Frogs are definitely magical.  They’re also $10, but we had to get one.  It couldn’t be helped.
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Honeydukes is also connected to Zonko’s.  Tricks AND treats together, as they should be!

Stuff like “Muggle Magic” juggling balls and other neat things line the shelves.
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And “Zonkos Inflatable Tongues” aren’t the only body parts that can be found here.  Ha ha ha – Fred and George’s ingenious “Extendable Ears” are listening from above.  So cool!
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Such fun stuff!  But we’ve got to get down to business – off to Hogwarts!  The castle is glorious.  Can’t wait to get inside!

Ah, the hallowed halls of Hogwarts … and in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the pictures really do move.
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And talk – and sing!
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We even got to go through the greenhouse where Herbology classes are taught!

Just outside is Hagrid’s hut, and inside again – the Hogwarts griffin statue.  Awesome.
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Professor Dumbledore is in the loft of his study – and oh man, so cool – the Pensieve!
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Sorting Hat!!!

Going through Hogwarts is the spectacular *wait in line* for the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride.  How awesome is that?  And the ride itself was just as fun.  The ride was just as fun as the LINE.  Seriously.  Hahaha – so great.

And next, here’s where Universal got a little “green” and repurposed one of its old rides – I don’t remember exactly how the ride was marketed before, but there are two different coasters that take different tracks – and I believe they were dragons the whole time … but now, they’re the Triwizard Tournament DRAGON CHALLENGE.  And the surrounding area is decked out appropriately, of course.  This is so neat.
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Hey!  There’s the Weasleys’ car!  When you get inside the castle, you get to choose which dragon you’d like to ride – and each is awesome.  We rode both several times.  This coaster is a total winner.
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The Triwizard Cup!  YES.

Alright, time for a stop at Olivanders.  There’s a line to get in, but you get to watch a young wizard being paired with his or her wand when you finally enter, so they need some time and space to take care of that for each group.  Then you’re set free to let your own wand find you!

So many wands!
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Wands everywhere – and owls in the next room, too!
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The owls are part of the adjoining Owl Post office – there are lots more storefronts (not all of them actual shops to go into, but very cool, nonetheless).  There’s Scrivenshaft’s Quill Shop …
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Gladrags Wizardwear, and Dogweed and Deathcap …
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The Spintwitches sporting needs shop, where one would buy all their Quidditch supplies, naturally.
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If you wanted to pick up the latest Gilderoy Lockhart fabrication, the Tomes & Scrolls specialist bookshop is just next door …
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… and of course, there’s the absolutely necessary Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, and Potages Cauldrons shop.  With cauldrons stacked to the sky!

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Now, as I said, unfortunately for the most part, these shops were “closed” (just storefronts for decoration) but I think Universal could actually make *real* souvenir shops from those places and sell a bunch of stuff.  And in the occupied shops, there was very cool magic to be found!  In Dervish and Banges, there are a few hovering brooms on the second level, eager to take off – and even the Monster Book of Monsters is on display.  Safely caged, of course …
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All this excitement (ha, and the EXTREME heat) was making us hungry and thirsty, so we took refuge at the Three Broomsticks Inn.  SO.  AWESOME.  Despite the (yes, fully moving, raging) “Have You Seen This Wizard?” wanted poster of Sirius Black outside.  Leave him alone!  He’s a good guy!
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The inside of the Three Broomsticks looks just like in the movie.  It’s the coolest thing ever.
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The bar.  I just can’t get enough of this place.  Magical kegs of Butterbeer and Hog’s Head Brew.  One of each, please!
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Seriously, the Butterbeer IS magical.  Look at that foam!  Delicious.

We had SUCH a fun time exploring the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  I was beyond excited to see this place, and it did not disappoint at all.  The level of detail involved here truly makes for a magical experience.  If you are planning a trip to Florida, you MUST come see for yourself.  And get many, many Butterbeers.  Cheers!

Related Links:
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

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