When Wizarding World of Harry Potter first opened back in 2010, Sara was in Australia. And we spent a rather terrifying amount of time wishing that we could go and generally moping about the fact that we lived far away from Florida. Somewhere along the way, we started joking that we should meet there in between our 30th birthdays because AWESOME. And then with me going on the study tour in January, we were able to actually make it happen. And OH MY GOD, IT WAS FREAKING SPECTACULAR.
So Wednesday ended with us having dinner with Alice and Emily. Thursday started with Lor's arrival, which led to much squealing and flailing and hugging. Once we'd finished bouncing around like lunatics, we all piled into the car and drove to Universal's Islands of Adventure and promptly recommenced bouncing around like lunatics.
|Pretty much like this.|
We headed straight to Wizarding World of Harry Potter, because OBVIOUSLY, and when we walked through the gate and into Hogsmeade I literally started bouncing up and down and squealing with excitement. Because it's freaking PERFECT, you guys. See?
We wandered around for a few minutes, just taking everything in, and noting that the Dragon Challenge was closed. To be honest, I was a little relieved, because Kirsti + upside down rollercoasters = NOPE. We then realised that the wait for The Forbidden Journey was only 40 minutes, so we immediately jumped in the queue. And let me just say, it was the most fun I've EVER had in a queue. Because the queue takes you through Hogwarts, and there are all kinds of props from the movie and interactions with the characters and it's just generally really freaking brilliant, okay?
|Dumbeldore's study, complete with Dumbledore|
|Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, complete with Golden Trio|
|The entrance to the Gryffindor common room|
|The Sorting Hat|
The ride itself? Was kind of amazing. I'm an ENORMOUS wimp when it comes to roller coasters. But this? Is equal parts roller coaster and simulator. So while I was nervous when it first started, I was grinning like an idiot by the end (although I will admit, I may have uttered a small scream when Aragog spat at me...). If I remember correctly, we got straight back on and rode it again. Although given that it was almost three months ago now, I might just be making stuff up...
Once we'd had our fill of Filch's Emporium (I MAY have purchased a Hogwarts crest Christmas decoration...), we headed over to the Flight of the Hippogriff. The wait time on that one was over an hour, and wasn't NEARLY as interesting as the queue through Hogwarts. Especially when the ride itself lasted about a minute... (In contrast, the Forbidden Journey is 5 minutes) So that was a little disappointing, but still fun.
After that, we were all starving, so headed over to the Three Broomsticks for a spot of lunch. I ordered the Cornish pastie, and was confusingly presented with three beef empanadas. Nice try, America. But NO. Lor, Emmy and I also had butterbeer, which was insanely sweet but also incredibly delicious. Sara had pumpkin juice, which mostly just tasted of cinnamon and nutmeg.
|Stolen shamelessly from Emmy's FB page.|
After lunch, we headed out to explore the rest of the park. Somehow, this turned into "Let's go to Marvel Superhero Island". We all rode the Spiderman ride a couple of times (it's pretty great), and Sara and Julia rode the Hulk rollercoaster while Emmy, Lor and I waved from the ground.
Then we wandered through the other islands, without partaking in any of the rides. It was too cold for the water ones, which was a shame because you guys know how I loves me some velociraptors. We briefly considered the rides in Toon Lagoon and Seuss Landing before deciding that it was better to spend our time back in Hogsmeade. We hit the Forbidden Journey again before going through all the shops. I think my favourite was Honeydukes, where I bought the rather obligatory chocolate frog (I have yet to eat it because IT'S SO PRETTY I DON'T WANT TO OPEN IT) and a box of peppermint toads. We didn't get to go through Ollivander's, because there was a massive queue to get in the door, but we DID go through Zonko's and Dervish and Banges, both of which were pretty freaking awesome.
And then we headed back towards the car, with a little stop off at a shop in Seuss Landing where Lor and I bought cookies. Mine was raspberry and white chocolate, and was AMAZING.
And thus ended our day at Universal. It was quite possibly the best pre-30th birthday present EVER.