The second to our last day in Florida, we visited Universal Studios. I was so excited to visit part of Harry Potter's world.
This is on our way into the park. Syd had to stop and get her picture taken a few times as we made our way to the very back.
WARNING: Universal Studios is very expensive, more than Disney World; especially considering we had to fork out extra dough to get their "hopper pass" to see all of Harry Potter.
Recognize the Hogwarts Express?
We visited Hogsmeade first. Eric made a bee line for the butterbeer. He absolutely loved it.
It was such a magical place. I felt transported to Hogsmeade. Everything looked completely authentic, including snow on the roofs. The store windows were spectacular.
The book behind Syd and Eric is the "Monster Book of Monsters." Of course it was behind a cage as it snapped at passersby.
Ollivander's Shop had shelves upon shelves of wands. On a regular basis a small group of people was brought into a special room and one person was chosen to select a wand. There was a small performance about the "wand choosing the wizard." Suze was selected for one of these groups and received an interactive wand.
Eric bought an interactive wand. He and Suze stood in front of store windows performing incantations. If you did the incantation correctly, objects in the window front moved. They loved it! I loved it!
My favorite part in the park was the Hogwarts Express. It took you from Islands of Adventure to Universal Studios. Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley were in two different parks. The only way to see both was riding on the Hogswart, compliments of your hopper pass. The train was incredible. We sat in our own compartment. The door was shut. We could see Hermione, Ron and Harry's silhouettes outside in the train hall. They were talking about the possible first years in our compartment.
As the train moved, we were treated to the beautiful countryside of England outside our window. We saw Hogwarts and Hagried. I could have happily stayed on that train all day.
Telephone booth, much like the one Harry and Mr. Weasley used to enter the Minstry of Magic.
The Knight Bus
Diagon Alley was bustling with all kinds of activity. We even were able to walk through a magic brick wall to reach our destination.
We had lunch at the Leaky Cauldron. It was authentic English food. Michael and I loved it. My fish and chips were scrumptious. The kids endured their meals. They had "hot dogs," only they weren't really hot dogs. The cashier assured us that they would never know they were really sausage dogs. She would make sure they were prepared like hot dogs. Uhh...really! My seven-year-old knew immediately that this was no hot dog. Daddy ate two lunches. Suze and Eric were good at eating theirs...and we bought Syd more food after lunch. It was outrageously expensive. We paid over $70.00 for lunch. You definitely pay for the ambiance!
The fire breathing dragon at Gringotts Bank. Don't stand to close when he spews. Hot!
Hagrid's Flying Motorcycle
Suze performing a spell!
Unfortunately for me, more and more rides are 3D interactive. They make me sick. This was the case in Hogwarts Castle. I went on it! It was intense and spectacular...riding a broom stick...I was whooping and hollering about how fantastic it was....until halfway through I suddenly felt sick. I closed my eyes and took deep breaths until the ride was done. Stupid motion sickness!
I had to opt out of the Gringotts Bank ride. Mike told me it was fantastic; the robotics and special effects were out of this world.
I am definitely going back, even if I sit on the side lines the entire day and soak it all in. That is how much I adored this place.
P.S. We saw very little of the rest of Universal Studios. Definitely take two days!