The Magical Wizarding World of Harry Potter makes imaginations run rampant as a universe of witches and wizards, Butter Beer and spells all unfold before your eyes. Thousands of visitors venture here each year and today, I invite you to come along with me on a magical journey highlighting all the wonders that await you in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Universal Studios in Orlando is unlike any other theme park in America. It's not what you think; it goes beyond anything you have seen. They didn't build a Harry Potter theme park for kids; instead Universal built a theme park for fans - no matter what their age.
The World of Harry Potter is broken into two separate parts; one in Universal Studios and the other in Universal Islands of Adventure and include most of the iconic scenes you know from the books and movies. If you're planning a trip, here are some of the major highlights.
Diagon Alley, in Universal Studios, is full of quaint shops and narrow side streets to explore. It holds true to the style of the Harry Potter franchise and is truly like stepping inside the books. If you're in the mood for a good joke, then head over to Weasleys Wizarding Wheeze's joke shop for some gag gifts. Want a magical wand that actually delivers magic? Theres no better place than the shop of that mysterious master of wands, Ollivanders. If a thrilling journey is more your speed, then descend into the vaults of Gringotts on an interactive ride to escape Lord Voldemort.
Diagon alley is a stunning, colorful and energy-filled atmosphere. Strolling throughout the alley truly gives the illusion of being transported into the world of Harry Potter. There is plenty to explore, do, and even eat with a great restaurant and a couple of food stalls that sell plenty of Butter Beer.
Hogsmeade and Hogwarts are located in Universal Islands of Adventure, another section of the park. The easiest way to navigate between the two parks is by riding the Hogwarts Express. This interactive train ride takes visitors from Kings Cross Station to Hogsmeade and returns to that special King's Cross Station Platform 9 ¾. It is a simple yet very entertaining ride, and a great way to relax for a few minutes after hours of walking. Plus, who doesn't love trains?!
Hogsmeade is just as you'd think it would be, seemingly plucked out of the movies and books and reproduced in front of your eyes. The stone buildings, snow covered roofs and even crooked chimneys are all a delight for Harry Potter fans of all ages.
Here you can indulge your sweet tooth at HoneyDukes, a candy shop full of everything from chocolate frogs to fizzling Wizzbee's. People fancying some food can also get a meal at the famous Three Broom Sticks restaurant, along with another serving of Butter Beer of course.
More than just the ambiance though, Hogsmeade is all about the Harry Potter themed rides. There are two roller coasters in Hogsmeade, plus an interactive ride, The Forbidden Journey, which takes riders on a heart-pounding adventure around Hogwarts Castle and even into a game of Quidditch.
One thing that separates the wizarding worlds of Harry Potter from the other theme parks is that even waiting in line is fun. For example, the line for the Forbidden Journey winds through Hogwarts Castle, providing plenty to see along the way. As you explore your way through the castle, the pictures on the walls begin to talk, snow comes down from the roof and Harry, Ron and Hermione greet you. Standing in line is never boring. In fact, at times you will find yourself wishing the line would slow down so you could enjoy it more.
Ever wish you could work a wand as well as Harry? Well, here you can. At certain places in both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade, the magical wands can be used by simple pointing them in the right direction. Throughout the parks, little gold emblems sparkle on the paths giving directions on where to wave the wand - watch as an explosion of magic happens! Spells include lighting up a whole room, making it rain and shooting water out of a fountain.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is exciting and entertaining for fans of all ages. Universal Studios went all out and it shows. The details and atmosphere is mystical, magical and perfect. If you are a Harry Potter fan, a visit to this park is a must.
Have you been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? What was your favorite experience there?
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Stephen Schreck is a world traveler, nomad, and adventure backpacker. Knowing a life of aimlessly wandering the globe in search of adventures was the only life for him he set out to make his dream his reality. Currently he is trying to conquer his fears and tackle his bucket list. Follow Stephen's adventures at A Backpacker's Tale or on social media on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
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