There are about a million blogs and people better qualified to tell you about Harry Potter world than me. But I figured I’d share what I learned and what we did based on what we read and were told.
We did pay for the express pass in addition to the 2 park pass. The Hogsmeade Village & Diagon Alley are in separate parks at Universal Orlando. All in, it was really expensive. Our rationale? We grew up with Harry Potter, it is one of those once in a lifetime things. I don’t see myself going back, but so glad we went!
Suggestions: get to the park as soon as it opens and head to Diagon Alley first. You can enter through the Universal Studios Park. You walk through a brick wall and what looks like an exact replica of what you’ve seen in the movies.
The next suggestion was to go to Olivander’s Wand shop. They bring in 15-20 people at a time, and they choose one person to do a wand ceremony too. They picked me! It was just like in the books which was really fun.
Initially, I was worried that maybe I should have suggested a kid get to do the wand ceremony, but we decided that maybe the park chooses adults because you can then choose to go buy the wand, and maybe a kid would be devastated if their parent couldn’t pay for the wand in addition to the already pricey ticket.
I will say, I was not planning on buying a wand, but they clearly picked the biggest HP sucker in the room, so once I got picked, I bought the wand they “picked me.”
We got a late breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron. We had pumpkin juice with ours and OMG it was bad. Way too sweet for me. I have a big sweet tooth, but I also don’t love pumpkin.
We also tried butterbeer, which was still WAY too sweet for us. We joked – sort of – that this was for a $5 instagram photo. And finished off my doing the ride “Escape from Gringott’s.” I’m not a ride person, but this one didn’t go upside down, so I did it. John may regain feeling in his arm someday – there was a lot of spinning, so I just hung onto him LOL. I am glad I went though – the ride was pretty well done and really fun to see. I was particularly impressed with how well they did the goblins from Gringott’s.
Spoiler alert. Scroll past if you don’t want to hear about the train ride.
Next we took the train over to Hogsmeade. Honestly, it was the only part of the experience I found disappointing. I’d read online about a “dementor attack” happening on the train. It was just shadows and lights and recordings. And the train was pretty lame overall. I know they can’t make everything “magic”, but still.
End spoiler alert.
Hogsmeade was just as charming as it sounds in the books. The cute snow effect was somewhat dampened by the 90 degree and 85% humidity day, but that’s ok.
I bought and devoured all the things in Honeyduke’s. I love candy and loved trying all the sweets I’ve been reading about since I was a kid.
Next we did the ride the “Forbidden Flight.” This was a lot of virtual reality and we didn’t quite go upside down, but we got close. It was still neat, but did make me feel a little weird.
I ended up buying a wand, and a bunch of sweets. Pretty much everything else in the park you can buy online.
Overall it was a blast and I’m so glad we went.