2.12.2014

Wizarding World Of Harry Potter!

universal studios disney world

One thing you might not know about me: true Harry Potter fan since the very beginning. No shame here.

I remember the time I read the first book. My dad had actually bought it for me before our trip to Hawaii because he insisted I needed something to read for the long flight. Being the bratty teenager that I was at the time, I'm sure I rolled my eyes and gave him a dirty look like, "I won't be needing that." Wrong.

As it turned out, he was right and it didn't take long for me to become hooked on the book series. Ever since, I've read the books multiple times and watched the movies more often than I honestly care to admit. Those ABC Family marathons? They suck me in to this day. A proud moment for me was when I finally got Billy to admit he enjoyed the movies. It was one of those things where I could tell he liked them, but he didn't want me to know that for a long time. You can't fool me, Billy...

Moving on-we both knew being in Sarasota was the perfect time to make the drive to Orlando to go see the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter at Universal. We were SO excited to go and made sure we got there right after the doors opened at 9am! We had a beautiful day for it too...upper 70's/low 80's (can't remember exactly), but it couldn't have been better. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a themed area spanning two theme parks in the Universal's Islands of Adventure.

Other areas inside Islands of Adventure include: Jurassic Park, Spiderman, Incredible Hulk, Toon Lagoon and Suess Landing (both great if you have kids), Poseidon's Fury (not worth going to), and more. 

universal studios islands of adventure

We made Harry Potter our first stop in the Islands of Adventure to make sure we beat the crowds, and actually the entire day we were there it wasn't crowded at all. My first impression when we got there was holy.cow. It was pretty huge and the buildings were awesome! They did a great job making sure you really felt like you were apart of everything. Take a look...

wizarding world of harry potter disney world universal studios
hogwarts express universal studios harry potter
 

Looks pretty cool, doesn't it?

We got really lucky because we were able to pretty much walk right on the main ride: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. *tip: If you are visiting, make this ride the first place you go to avoid the lines and crowd!

This is what Universal's website says about the ride: "Enter through the towering castle gates and make your way down the familiar passageways and corridors of Hogwarts™ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You'll visit iconic locations such as Dumbledore's office, the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, the Gryffindor™ common room, the Room of Requirement and more. Then get ready to soar above the castle grounds as you join Harry Potter™ and his friends on an unforgettably thrilling adventure, coming face-to-face with an array of magical creatures! This amazing attraction uses groundbreaking, state-of-the-art technology (and a little magic) to create a one-of-a-kind ride experience."

universal studios wizarding world of harry potter

The ride was exactly what I imagined it to be...flying through the air with Harry, Hermoine, and Ron and all throughout Hogwarts. It was really neat, but if you know me then you'd know I get really bad motion sickness. I was nervous about going on this ride at first, but figured I would be OK because I wasn't going upside down or anything crazy. I did fine for the most part, but I definitely had to close my eyes for a small portion of this ride because I got so dizzy. This girl would NEVER make the Quidditch team in a million years... ;)

If you're a Harry Potter fan, you've probably heard about the famous Butterbeer! Oh man, this stuff is SO delicious...you have to get it if you go! It's a mix of shortbread cookies and butterscotch, and it's not real beer like many think it is. We had multiple glasses of Butterbeer, but I would say the best is the frozen kind. Yum. 


We decided to have lunch in Hogsmeade (ha) at the Three Broomsticks, which has authentic British food in a rustic tavern type setting. LOVED it here! They even had their own Hogs brew that was surprisingly really good. Beer, corn on the cob, chicken (for Billy), and roasted potatoes...can you go wrong?

I don't want to spoil too much about this area since I'm sure some of you plan on visiting, but they had a really cool wizard and wand show that I highly recommend checking out. It was our favorite part to see! And of course, they had shops you could go in but I didn't really find anything worth bringing home.


We really, really enjoyed our day here! I will say this...if you think you will spend all day in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, that's not the case. You could spend a couple hours max, but that's it. Afterwards, we explored all the other parts of the Islands of Adventures and called it a day around 5pm.

I think it's worth spending the money on and seeing if you really like Harry Potter. They are actually expanding the area more this summer, so there will be even more to see then as well. We did say that we wished they had more shows/presentations you could see, but I'm thinking they might add some in the future. Overall, it was one of the most fun days we've had in months. Just make sure you go early if you plan to go!

Here are some other pictures of our time at the Islands of Adventure if you are interested in seeing what else there is to do at the park: (Jurassic Park was our next favorite area! We went on the water ride and thought by sitting in the back row we wouldn't get wet and well, we ended up completely soaked head to toe. Also why you don't see any pictures of me and my frizzy wet hair. Fail.) 


And here are some other random pictures from the rest of our trip featuring downtown Sarasota and a macaron shop you MUST visit (at St. Armands Circle) if you ever go there...



Residents of Florida...I'm jealous of you. Come summer it will be a different story, but yep definitely jealous right now. Missing it already.

Have you been to the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter? What were your opinions on it?! 

If you want more information about it, I found this site really helpful. 


Happy hump day!

PS: Only 18 of you saw the $1,000 Gift card giveaway with Suave from Monday which means that you'd be foolish to not go enter! Get on it! #ad

24 comments :

  1. Looks fun! We're going to Disney World and Universal in March. I can't wait!

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  2. I visited WWoHP back in October, and LOVED it. I'm a huge fan of the books/movies, and kept telling my boyfriend "this is amazing! I feel like I'm in the movies!" they did SUCH a good job on the park, I'm really excited to go visit again after the expansion. I also got addicted to frozen butterbeer and have reoccurring dreams about it. We tried to make it at home but it just wasn't the same :(

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  3. I work at one of the onsite hotels for Universal and love reading reviews like this. You came at the perfect time too. We are all slightly afraid for the new Harry Potter opening - when it opened 4 years ago it was a 9 hour wait just to get into the park!! Glad to hear you had fun!

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  4. I went to the Harry Potter addition twice the first year it opened! It was soooo packed out and crazy, but definitely awesome. I'm ridiculously excited for the extension. My sister actually went to the event last month with the Q&A and "insiders info" and all that. I'm pretty sure she's even more obsessed than I am haha

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  5. It's my dream to go there! My brother and I want to go so badly and the rest of my family just wants to go to watch us because every time we talk about it we get so excited.

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  6. I LOVED the Harry Potter part of the park! It was so fun for this HP nut!

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  7. Seriously jealous, mainly because you're back in my home state and man am I in need of some serious FL sunshine! So glad you had a fab time though! If you get a chance swing through Plant City and grab a Strawberry milkshake {preferably at Parksdale farms} and thank me later :)

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  8. EEEEE im so happy you loved it!!!! i love Universal!! :D cant wait to go back when they expand to gringotts bank!
    xoxoox

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  9. We loved the Harry Potter experience! My husband is not as big of a harry potter lover as me though; so when the longest line I made him wait for in was for butterbeer, he was so bummed to discover it wasn't actually alcohol. They were selling real beer though, so we both walked away happy.

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  10. OMG I'm so jealous of your trip to the WWoHP!! Like you, I've read and watched all the movies countless times and love them so much! Thanks for posting all the wonderful pics. Someday, hopefully sooner rather than later, my husband (also a HP convert like Billy) and I can make the trip down and check it out for ourselves!

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  11. Love this! How far of a drive is it from Sarasota to Orlando?? We are Disney snobs, but I keep saying we need to get over to Universal too! :)

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  12. I loved it! Even better is that they are expanding it!! I loved the frozen butter beer and the ride wasn't actually what I anticipated but it was really neat though.

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  13. Oh my gosh! I have been wanting to go there for so long and now I really want to go there! I love Harry!

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  14. My husband and I went about 2 years ago and we LOVED it! We went at the end of April, so we didn't have large crowds to deal with either. It was so fun...your pictures take me right back! Glad you guys enjoyed it :)

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  15. I am a HUGE Harry fan and hope to go in November with my sister and SIL:) Great pictures!

    Cheers,
    Alyson

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  16. Awesome review girl - I'm not even a Harry Potter fan and I loved it! But I agree with you, serious motion sickness - I was dizzy and nausea for a good half hour after the ride… x

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  17. Seeing all those photos makes me miss Harry Potter world.. I so wanna go back soon to visit it all again! I loved it when I went there & I could not get enough of Harry Potter the day I went! I truly wished I lived in Florida so I could go to it any day I wanted :)

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  18. Ahh, I've been trying to convince my husband that we should take a trip to Florida JUST so I can go to Harry Potter world... don't think he's convinced just yet haha looks like a great trip!

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