The Universal World of Harry Potter

This was the reason I said “yes” to Florida. Originally, my family was planning a trip to Fiji and I was excited about escaping the cold weather in Beijing. Although Florida is warm as well, I knew we wouldn’t be spending much time at the beach.

I’ve wanted to visit “Harry Potter World” as I called it, since it opened in the summer. The only time I could think of when I could make a trip was during college spring break, when the Park would undoubtedly be packed. It turned out that now was the absolute perfect time to go to Florida. Even though it wasn’t as warm as I’d hoped, there was no one at any of the amusement parks. Well, I’m exaggerating a little bit when I say “no one”, but all the rides had ten or fifteen minute waits at most.

The Universal World of Harry Potter is located on the Universal Island of Adventure, which includes Jurassic Park, Dr. Seuss town, cartoon town, etc. Obviously, I made a beeline (with my family in tow) for Hogsmeade. The first thing I did, apart from take my camera out and snap blurred pictures as I raced towards Hogwarts, was to get in line for the ride in the castle. Since there weren’t many people, we bypassed most of the lines, and they were long. I can imagine how it could easily take an hour or two during packed season. Luckily, there was so much to look at as we queued, like the Sorting Hat, Dumbledore’s Office, and the House Hourglasses. The ride was a bit like a roller coaster, I was a bit apprehensive when they lowered the booster like seat belts- the kind of intense roller coasters. In the end, I only ended up a little nauseous. Because my whole family felt a little sick after the ride, we decided to put the Flight of the Hippogriff ride on hold to explore Hogsmeade. I bought a Butterbeer (I heard the frozen ones are better, but since it was cold, I went with the normal one) and a pumpkin juice. The Butterbeer tasted exactly as I imagined it- like melted butterscotch. The pumpkin juice tasted like pumpkin pie, which is great. I would recommend only getting one of each though, because you can just taste the calories and sugar. I hoped to eat at the Three Broomsticks or the Hogshead, but because we were pressed for time, I had to forgo the opportunity.

I didn’t see any of the shows, such as the Frog Choir or Ollivander’s Wand show, but I did venture into all the shops. I went to Zonkos, the Owlry, and Honeydukes. At Honeydukes, I only bought two chocolate frogs, because everything was extremely overpriced. One little box of jellybeans was $12.00.

My final ride was the Flight of the Hippogriff. This was the longest wait time I had for any ride (including rides at DisneyWorld) during my trip to Florida. I waited around 25 minutes for an extremely short ride that lasted seconds. Although the ride was short, it was probably the scariest rollercoaster I went on my entire vacation. As you can probably tell, I’m not exactly good at riding roller coasters. I can’t do any upside down rides, which eliminates pretty much all of the extreme roller coasters. I do, however, enjoy Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain.

I’ll post pictures as soon as I have time.

-Steph

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