Archive | 10:57 AM

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Hogsmeade

25 Feb

As many of you know, I spent last week in Orlando, Florida going to the Universal and Disney parks. As much as I’d love to talk about my trips and show you pictures of me and Buzz Lightyear (see my Instagram), I wanted to talk about some things more relevant to books, specifically my experiences in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter sections of the park.

 My husband and I spent our first full day at the Islands of Adventure Park (to the left when you walk in). We did not do a park-hopper so I didn’t ride the Hogwarts Express so that will be out of this discussion. I wanted to talk about the rides and experiences and share my pictures. If you had a different experience, please share it in the comments.

We got to the park just after it opened and raced back to Hogsmeade. The line for Dragon Challenge was short so we jumped in… to be immediately kicked out and told to put our backpack and belongings in one of the free lockers. It’s worth noting that Dragon Challenge is one of two rides we encountered in the park (along with Rockit Rollercoaster) where you couldn’t have your backpack or anything in your pockets. That means no cell phone and no pictures! Once we got through the metal detector (yep, no joke), we zipped through the line. There were a lot of cool things to see in the line including the Goblet of Fire and the Triwizard Cup but again, no pictures of those. The ride itself was well designed and a good high-level thrill ride that I recommend.

Right after that, we jumped in the hour-long line for Flight of the Hippogriff. The line was really slow and we realized it was because there was only one car running and that was because the ride was so short they couldn’t put a second one on. I was a little disappointed by how short the ride was and that there wasn’t much to see while waiting in line. There was a replica of Hagrid’s hut, but that was it. You could see the Buckbeak animatronic a bit, but it was meant to be viewed from the ride. Overall, not my favorite.

 We took a break to have some Butterbeer and see the rest of the park. The line for the Butterbeer cart was long but it moved fast. It was $6 for a standard cup ($7 for frozen) and honestly, I didn’t like it very much. It tasted like cream soda with whipped cream on it. My lactose intolerance was instantly on high alert! It was good, but we didn’t purchase it again. It was nice to see the Wizard and Frog choir perform while we waited in line, though!




For lunch, we stopped in The Three Broomsticks. I had fun with the employee regulating the line. I told him I wasn’t a Muggle, I was a Half-Blood. He scoffed and said he wasn’t a Slytherin so he didn’t care about my blood status. It was great.

The food was well priced and pretty good. It was some standard pub fare and I enjoyed the Rotisserie Smoked Chicken platter. The most memorable for me was the Pumpkin Juice. It was really good and I recommend it over butterbeer. Imagine a pumpkin spice latte met with some apple juice. It was really good. We stopped in the Hogs Head and we had the Hogs Head Brew, which I really liked!

The rest of the day was spent in other parts of the park. One thing I noticed is that it was hard to walk through Hogsmeade when going to different ‘lands.’ It was really crowded all the time and the bridge to get around it wasn’t on the map (though we found it later). I read that it’s better to go in the morning and I believe it.

 Our last stop of the day was Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey inside Hogwarts castle. It was AMAZING! This was everything I wanted from my WWHP experience. We had to lock our backpack up but we could have kept our phones! I didn’t know this so I don’t have any pictures of it and it’s the only thing I regret from the experience. You first wind through the greenhouses and see little mandrakes there. Then you go through Dumbledore’s office, DADA classroom, and corridors until you get into the car. The ride is great and I can’t recommend it enough. The best part is that I didn’t have to wear 3D glasses!

I ended up buying a Slytherin scarf in the gift shop. In Michigan, a scarf is a necessity in the winter and I’ll wear mine a lot. Plus, it’s the same colors as my husband’s alma mater so I’ll wear it when we go to tail gates and pretend it doesn’t have a snake on it.

I’ll be back next week with some tips about Diagon Ally at Universal Studios. Until next time, write on.

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