Why Every Harry Potter Fan Needs to Visit Universal Studios

For spring break this year, I was lucky enough to go to Florida and escape the Minnesota cold. As soon as you hear the words spring break and Florida, you may have assumed that I went on the typical spring break trip with wild parties on the beach, but you guessed wrong. Instead, I had the opportunity to go to Harry Potter World at Universal Studios in Orlando with my dad. Yes, I am 20 years old, and no, I don’t regret anything because it was one of the most magical experiences that any Harry Potter nerd could comprehend. Here’s a look into my experience.

My dad and I started off our wizarding adventure by visiting Diagon Alley. In the books, Diagon Alley is situated in London but is shielded from the eyes of Muggles, and it was set up the same way at Universal. As my dad and I got closer and closer to Diagon, typical London landmarks such as red telephone booths started to pop up to signal that it was just beyond our fingertips. When we entered the alleyway and entered the wizarding world, I could not control my excitement and audibly gasped at the scene before me. Gringotts, Honeydukes, Fred and George’s Joke Shop, Ollivanders, and all of the other shops that I knew and loved appeared before me. I honestly felt like I entered an entirely different dimension. If you would have told me I was at the movie set I would have believed you!

 

The first store that we went to was Honeydukes, and it was beautiful! All of the treats that Harry talks about eating and finding on the Hogwarts Express Trolley were scattered along the shelves and displays. Chocolate frogs, every flavor beans, pumpkin pasties, cauldron cakes, and tons of other pastries and sweets were found. I knew I HAD to snag a chocolate frog to see what wizard trading card I would get, and ended up getting Helga Hufflepuff (I am a Hufflepuff so I was stoked). After exploring the other shops, my dad and I started to break a sweat. I knew the perfect way to cool off would be a nice, tall glass of chilled butterbeer. I didn’t know what to expect when I purchased it, but it was everything I could have wanted. The best way to describe it would be a cream soda fizzy drink with a caramel and butterscotch flavor and foam. It was light and refreshing, and you best believe I got two glasses!

Not only were the shops and food a big part of the world building, but there were also virtual reality rides and rollercoasters to add to the excitement. My favorite ride was definitely Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, a virtual reality ride found at Hogsmeade in the Hogwarts castle. One of the coolest parts of the ride was the line itself; there were talking paintings on the walls just like in the Hogwarts corridors and even a look into Dumbledore’s study! Riding the Hogwarts Express from Hogsmeade to Platform 9 ¾ was also a highlight. The train cars and seats were comfortable and modeled just like the ones in the movie, and train was an exact replica.

Overall, I would HIGHLY recommend any Harry Potter fan to check out HP World in Orlando if they ever get the chance. You will not regret it, even if you do spend a few too many dollars on butterbeer and HP merch. Even if you haven’t read the books or watched the movies, I’m sure that you would find yourself geeking out just like the rest of us wannabe wizards.