Florida Vacation Part 2: Universal Studios
The minute I stepped into Universal I heard the theme for Harry Potter playing. Despite being a 24 year old woman with my 31 year old sister, we both giggled in delight. I grew up reading the Harry Potter novels, I remember getting each book the day it came out. I vividly remember lugging around each novel (Well over 200 pages) everywhere I went until I finished its contents. The books grew up, along with its readers. Each year Harry grew, and the story became more serious and handled a lot of adult situations. I grew so invested in the characters and the plot it was hard to believe that I would never get my own Hogwarts letter one day… says the obvious fan girl. Whether you have read the books, seen the movies or have only heard about the series through others-there’s no denial about the devoted fan base.
In case others aren’t aware, Universal actually has two islands/parks. We went to the Islands of Adventure Park so that we could visit the Marvel rides and of course our beloved Harry Potter. I will mention that if you go to Florida in October the entire place is much nicer, less crowded but still infuriatingly hot! I was a little disappointed because we didn’t go to The Walking Dead haunted house (See Ellen DeGeneres’s funny video of it here) because I’m a huge Walking Dead fan. If you’re a huge Walking Dead fan by the way, you really need to read the comics. Also, if you live in Northern Kentucky or Ohio they have every volume at the library. It looked like fun, but I was still excited for The Hulk.
A large difference between my local amusement park, King’s Island, and Universal is the free storage space for purses, cameras and other items. It was annoying at times, since I couldn’t go on a ride without dumping off my items, but of course it was for the best in the end. The Hulk Roller Coaster was my second favorite ride in the park. See the whole ride from a one person’s perspective by clicking here. It was intense and amazing. If you’re scared of roller coasters, you most likely will be terrified of this ride. It was one of very few roller coasters that wasn’t predictable. At one point your shot through a misty tunnel, at another your upside down. I went on Doctor Doom’s Fearfall, while it wasn’t a bad ride I think I am immensely spoiled by a ride called Drop Zone that’s in King’s Island. So I wasn’t as impressed with the ride in comparison. We didn’t hold our excitement much longer, we were on our way to Harry Potter World!
They did such a great job with the castle. I was in total shock of the whole place. They had so many little details to the image of the park that I almost lost my fangirl mind. The entrance had the perfect train master. He was very sweet (and even asked me if I was a Weasley because of my red hair. Please excuse the terrible photo, it was hot and I was dressed for traveling. I laughed and told him that I was, it made my day. My sister and I wondered around the park and peered in every window and went into every shop. My heart was torn between Honeydukes and Ollivanders. Apparently, they are currently in the process of building Diagon Alley, and will be ready around the summer of 2015.
Honeydukes would be a dream for any child. Everywhere you looked there was candy and baked goods. They combined Honeydukes with Zonkos so from one side of the room there were whoopie cushions and the other there were chocolate frogs. I ended up buying a chocolate frog in the end, while it was $10 the packaging was right on and you get a famous wizard card, I got Godric Gryffindor.
The Dragon Challenge was a cute ride, it was fast and fun. They decorated the ride with TriWizard tournament posters and banners on the way to the ride. The best ride of me entire amusement ride career was Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. I have never been on a ride just like it. It was the most amazing ride, everything was interactive and before you even got on the ride you could look at all of the amazing tid bits of the “castle”. Unfortunately, due to the locker situation I didn’t have my cell or camera to take pics. One room was modeled after the herbology green house, a room of moving pictures and a defense against the dark arts room a with the holographic trio (Harry, Ron and Hermoine). The ride was interactive and terrifyingly real. If you don’t like spiders, you might get creeped out people. I loved the ride but I instantly felt motion sickness afterwards, so do make sure to eat an hour so after the ride. I never have motion sickness, but the ride really did make you feel like you were flying on a broom and being chased by a dragon.
We did have the feast at the Three Broomsticks, which was yummy and relatively inexpensive. Not only did I try the Butter beer but I did have A beer at the Three Broomsticks mainly for the mug. I did like the Butter Beer but I always imagined it as more of a beer like consistency, I was slightly disappointed when the drink was more of slushy. Granted, it was good. It tasted both carmely and butterscotchy. It’s definitely was worth tasting though, apparently J.K. Rowling tried it herself before she approved!
Well this is only skimming the surface of what I saw. I’ll be writing a bit more (I promise this time) tomorrow. If you have any questions about my experience at Universal let me know.
Posted on October 24, 2013, in Past Entries and tagged butter-beer, Diagon-Alley, drop-zone, fan girl, florida, Harry Potter, Harry Potter World, Honeydukes, King's-Island, red hair, Universal Studios, vacation, Walking-Dead, Weasley. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.