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Why The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was the Best Spring Break Destination

Though I am now a double major in English and Creative Writing, I didn’t always love to read. I didn’t learn to read until I was almost seven, and I never enjoyed a book until my mother starting reading me the Harry Potter series late in elementary school. She would lay with me in my lavender twin sized bed and read me one chapter every night. Gradually, I fell in love with Harry Potter. Like me, my friends were all Potterheads. My memories of middle school are scattered with book releases, midnight movie premieres, and even lunches spent bragging about how many times we had re-read each book.

Time went on and new obsessions developed. My friends and I went through an unfortunate “Twilight” phase and then later found ourselves reading “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent” late into the night. But we never forgot “Harry Potter” and we continued to have Harry Potter movie marathons and even attempted to make our own butterbeer one time.

One of my best friends from those golden years and I have remained close with to this day. When we decided to go on spring break together this year, we looked at dozens of destinations from Chicago to Montreal to the Bahamas to Cancun. Eventually, we decided on a trip to New York City. We had the flight picked out and were finalizing our decision on a hotel when I texted her out of the blue, “Let’s go to Harry Potter World.” Two days later our flights and hotel were booked, and we were set to head to Orlando for spring break.

Upon arriving at Universal, I didn’t know what to expect. I had spent days researching tips and tricks for the park, but I still didn’t feel prepared. I kept asking myself questions like, “Will I like butterbeer?” “Is the park too small to spend three days in?” “Are the rides too scary for me?” But no question haunted me like the one, “Will it live up to my expectations?” Thankfully, it did. The two distinguished rides were 4-D simulation experiences, full of classic Wizarding World adventures, including quidditch matches, Voldemort, fire-breathing dragons, dementors, giant spiders, and basilisk skeletons. We went on the castle ride called “The Forbidden Journey” approximately nine times because it was so incredibly realistic.

Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley, Knockturn Alley, and the Hogwarts Express were completely authentic adaptations that made you feel as if you were actually in the world of Harry, Ron, and Hermione. There were tons of stores identical to the ones in the books, such as Honeydukes, Ollivanders, Weasleys’ Wizards Wheezes, the Magical Menagerie, Borgin and Burkes, and more. The inside of Gringotts was an exact replica from the one in the movies and it even had moving goblins! There were also tons of places to eat like the Leaky Cauldron and the Three Broomsticks, which were made to look exactly as they were described in the books. They also sold incredible butterbeer (we preferred it frozen) and even butterbeer ice cream (we swear, we turned into actual sugar cubes by the time we returned home).

I could spend 1,000 more words describing all of the incredible shops and shows in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but it can more or less be summed up in a few sentences. The most amazing part of this park is that it really makes you believe you’re in the world of Harry Potter, down to the last detail of Moaning Myrtle crying in the Hogsmeade bathroom. Even if you’re not a huge Harry Potter fan, the attention to detail Universal spent perfecting this world makes it something that anyone sick of the muggle world would love to experience. 

Jaclyn Nagel is the Campus Correspondent of Her Campus at the University of Michigan. She is a senior studying English and Creative Writing and earning a certificate in Sales. She enjoys eating copious amounts of Ben & Jerry's ice cream and reading the Harry Potter books over and over again. Follow her on instagram as @manisandmojitos! And make sure to follow our chapter's Twitter and Instagram at @hercampusumich!
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