So yesterday I took you on a tour of Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida. After we visited Diagon Alley we spent the rest of the day in Universal Studios Florida until it closed at 5:00pm. We were heading to Downtown Disney to shop and have dinner so we wanted to have time to change and rest a little…after all this was vacation!
The following day we slept in a little longer. We didn’t wake up until 7:00am. Our plan was to go to Universal Studios Florida at 8:00am (when the park opened to the public) and take the Hogwarts Express train over to Islands of Adventure and Hogsmeade. Unfortunately when we got to the King’s Cross station they told us the train didn’t start running until 9:00am.
So in the meantime we headed back into Diagon Alley. There were a few places I hadn’t really had time to check out the day before. One being the tavern. We stopped in for some frozen butterbeer for breakfast.
I loved the huge tankards on the wall with all the drinks. If it had been later in the day I definitely would have gotten a beer, but the butterbeer was tasty.
At 8:30am we decided to head out and see if there was a line for the train. The day before when it was really crowded I didn’t see the sign above the entrance to Diagon Alley. Wayfaring Wizards Welcomed!
The line for the train was all the way out into the street when we got there, but it moved pretty fast. You have to go through the main turnstile at the front of the station. This is where they check your tickets. You have to have a park hopper ticket to ride the train to the other park. After that there were cute little tidbits all over the station. I especially liked the Magic billboard like they had in the movie. There were a lot of suitcases and trunks all over as well.
Because the line outside takes longer with them checking tickets the inside line was moving really fast. I felt like I was on a ride. People were whipping around the turnstiles. It was actually pretty hysterical to be a part of. We finally came to a stop near the end where the stairs are. Once you get upstairs you come around a corner and see people disappearing between platforms 9 and 10!
I was obsessed with this. If the lines weren’t so crazy I would have loved to have Cheryl take a picture of me disappearing!
After that we were on Platform 9 3/4!
Hedwig and all of Harry’s things were waiting for the train as well. An employee broke us up into groups of 8 for each train car. We actually only had 5 people. As we were getting into our station area the train pulled up and we were ushered on.
The cars are only on one side of the train, with a hallway connecting 3 cabins per car. I of course got a seat right next to the window!
I was so excited I was seriously like a little kid. I even bought a chocolate frog for my first train ride! FYI those things are GIANT chocolate frogs and delicious.
Soon the train started to move the the window screen started taking us through London and towards Hogwarts. The screen was really cool. It showed a lot of different scenes, but it was hard to take pictures of. We left London and then saw Hagrid flying his motorcycle through the countryside and then we were going past the Forbidden Forest and into the station.
Also when the train starts the doors to the cabin close. On the outside it shows students walking in the halls (again Hermione’s voice was so bad) and also dementors! Good thing I had my chocolate frog! (Nerd alert)
The train ride was great, but pretty short. It had to have maybe been 2-3 minutes and I am pretty sure the train moves SUPER slow. There are hydraulics in the seat that make them bounce up and down so it seems like it is going fast.
Once we got off we had to take a picture!
Now we were in Hogsmeade! I had previously been to Hogsmeade, so I didn’t need to do too much looking around.
The one noticeable thing about this trip to Hogsmeade was it being a lot less crowded. I think because Diagon Alley is so new people want to get there first thing to ride the new ride. I was totally fine with that because the castle ride (the forbidden journey) is my favorite.
As we walked up it said it was only a 30 minute wait! We got in line and I noticed a few differences. They now had lockers for you to put your bags in before getting in line AND they had a single rides line which was definitely not there the first time. The line was so much shorter!
We made our easy through the castle grounds and then the castle itself. Honestly the 30 minute wait was mainly due to people stopping to take pictures in line. The ride was once again fabulous. I must say I still like it better than the new ride. I love feeling like I am flying!
After the castle ride Cheryl and I jumped in the 5 minute line for the Flight of the Hippogriffs. It is one of only 3 actual roller coasters at Universal. Last time we rode red so this time we went blue and it was a rush. After though I realized all I had eaten was half a chocolate frog and frozen butterbeer and my stomach was a little mad at me. We grabbed some croissants and headed into Islands of Adventure to check out the other rides.
It only took a few hours for us to do all the other rides in Islands of Adventure. Around noon we were hungry so we figured why not eat at the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade.
I got the fish and chips (again) because they are just so delicious! I also got a beer because I mean vacation.
After lunch we walked around to a few of the shops in Hogsmeade. I must say when they first built Hogsmeade it was understandable to have an Ollivander’s there since they wanted a place for people to buy wands. Now though it seems silly since there is also one in Diagon Alley (where it belongs). They also made this park interactive like they did with Diagon Alley so it was cool to see some of the stuff move when kids waved their wands at it.
After looking around Cheryl and I decided we wanted to go on the castle ride one more time. This time we did single rider and my mom waited for us outside. The girls in the car with us (yes we got to go together) were super annoying though. They had their hands and feet sticking straight out the whole ride. Hello! Other people are on this ride too!
Anyway after that ride we figured why not take the Hogwarts Express back. I had heard that the experience is different in each direction.
This time we left Hogwarts and had Fred and George follow us with fireworks. Then heading back to London we saw the Knight Bus driving crazy through the streets.
After we got back to Diagon Alley my mom decided to head back to the hotel. Cheryl and I decided to go on the Escape from Gringotts ride one last time. The line was a lot shorter, but we randomly had to stop because of the ride breaking down again. It was around 3:00pm at this point and I guess the later it is in the day they don’t do ride photos anymore because that part was empty. It was still fun!
I am a big Harry Potter fan, but really that’s the only reason I go to Universal. I mean the Marvel section was cool and the Hulk roller coaster was awesome, but it’s not enough. I mean can someone build a Doctor Who park for me?
I don’t foresee myself going back to Universal any time soon unless they extend the Harry Potter section some more. It really seems like it is their biggest money maker in the park and I can see why! It’s so fun going and feeling like a kid, but being around a lot of other adults that share the same love for this awesome book/movie series.