This was perhaps what I was most looking forward to seeing. And while it was every bit as magical and amazing as I had expected, I have to admit that I was somewhat disappointed as well. I think that the disappointment came from two different things: first, I didn’t get to spend as much time in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as I would have liked, and my traveling companion didn’t enjoy Harry Potter as much as I did.
My Birthday & the VIP Tour of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
My birthday and our VIP tour flew by. Even as I sit here and write this, I cannot believe that the trip is over. I had anticipated spending a significant amount of time in Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley on my birthday, but we spent very little time there at all. This is something that I should have spoken up a bit more about. I did say that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was my biggest priority, but I’m not sure it was clear. After that, we didn’t spend large portions of time in the park, so it was hard to spend time in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Overall Opinion & Escape from Gringotts
Now that I’ve finished complaining about how little time I had in the wizarding world, now onto what I thought about it when I was actually there.
Quite simply, I loved it. Obviously, considering that I wish I could have spent more time there. The rides were great, especially when riding them at night. When I rode Escape from Gringotts the first time, the ride was rather slow, with a lot of stops and starts. But when I was able to make it back on Thanksgiving night, our last night in Florida, it went much faster. I enjoyed it a lot more.
Hagrid’s Motor Bike Adventure
I rode Hagrid’s Motor Bike Adventure a total of three times. The first time was on my birthday during the VIP tour, and the two remaining times Thanksgiving night. Then I rode the first two times on the motorbike and the final time in the side car. While the motorbike was slightly more enjoyable, they were both fantastic. I really wish that Universal Studios Hollywood had this ride (and Gringotts and Diagon Alley as well), but sadly, it does not.
Forbidden Journey & Flight of the Hippogriff
I had previously ridden Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff because they are in Universal Studios Hollywood. In case you haven’t picked up on it–I’ve been to Universal Studios Hollywood several times prior to this trip. For this trip, I rode Forbidden Journey once and Flight of the Hippogriff twice. Forbidden Journey is my favorite of the two. Flight of the Hippogriff is short and more for children, so less enjoyable.
Hogwarts Express between the Wizarding worlds
Lastly, for the rides, we have the Hogwarts Express. This we do not have at Universal Studios Hollywood (though I wish we did). The storyline for the trips are different, depending on which direction you are traveling. And the train takes you from one park to the other. While the storyline is cute, just being able to ride the train from Diagon Alley to Hogwarts and back was a huge deal. I shared the video of my friend and I walking through Platform 9 3/4 on my post about the VIP Tour.
Breakfast at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Included in our package was also a breakfast at Three Broomsticks, a breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron, and a photo shoot at Shutterbutton’s. While I had been at Three Broomsticks before in Hollywood, I enjoyed the ambiance of being there. This was the first time on our trip that we were really able to slow down and see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
I enjoyed Diagon Alley even more.
This is probably unsurprising because we don’t have Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Hollywood. They have the brick walls peeling away to allow us into Diagon Alley. And the Leaky Cauldron, although very similar to The Three Broomsticks, was more magical for me simply because it was new.
I tried butterbeer for the first time at these breakfasts. While I am not supposed to have dairy, I made an exception these two days, so I could try it. I had the hot butterbeer at Three Broomsticks, and a cold butterbeer at the Leaky Cauldron. My favorite was the cold butterbeer.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal Wands
I also bought a wand for the first time ever. Now, I have wands–several that are homemade, and one that I had ordered online in a sort of mystery grab-box where you get a random wand. (I got Harry’s, and my friend got Tonks’), but this was my first interactive wand. I chose Hermione’s for this. This meant that I was able to cast spells within the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
I wasn’t able to do all the spells, but I am hoping that it will work at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Hollywood. I heard somewhere that they do work in both Orlando and in Hollywood, but I guess we’ll find out when I go later this month. Yes, I’m going back to Universal Studios Hollywood later this month. I purchased a season pass after I got back).
Disappointments & Closing
All in all, my biggest disappointment was that I didn’t have more time to spend there. Just behind my photo ops with Wolverine and Captain America and Cyclops and Rogue, was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.