Wizarding World of Harry Potter-A Family Favorite

Or in back-to-school-speak, “How I Spent My Summer Vacation”.  In fine Griswold fashion, the family loaded up and road tripped to Orlando on a quest to see a moose wizard.  On the schedule: Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Sea World.

With the exception of of the 6 year old, the entire family has read the Harry Potter series, and the little one has gleaned enough from his siblings and Wii Lego Harry Potter games to understand the general plot of the books.  And while we wanted to see what all the parks had to offer, I think we were all most excited about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle at Universal Studios IOA
We weren’t disappointed.  The highlight of the Wizarding World is Hogwarts Castle, which houses “The Forbidden Journey”.  While I loved the ride, my Chiari limited me from riding more than once.  It’s intense, and I’m glad we child-swapped the 6 year old since he would have been terrified and crying.  Hogwarts Express at Islands of Adventure Orlando
The entire town of Hogsmeade was one of the most incredibly well-themed areas of any park I have been to.  Universal Studios really paid attention to the details of the castle, and the entire town.  Moaning Myrtle voice talking in the bathrooms, moving parts in the shop windows, and what looked like really hot but elaborate costumes on all the employees.

Harry Potter Owl Post at Islands of Adventure Orlando
The kids bought their official wands at the Owl Post, and I picked up some postcards so I could have some great shots of the castle.  I brought my big camera to Orlando,  but decided it was too hot to lug it around.  Hooray for iPhones!  I made sure to get an official Hogsmeade postmark stamped on the cards (another nifty detail!).

Honeydukes Candy Store at Islands of Adventure Harry PotterWe stopped at Honeydukes for Chocolate Frogs, Fudge Flies, and Every Flavor Beans.

Frozen Butterbeer at Hogshead Tavern Harry Potter OrlandoAnd at the Hogs Head Pub for Butterbeer (Family split 3-2 on frozen vs. non).  Worth every one of the 1000 calories per glass.

The 1 hour early entry to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was great – less crowded, shorter lines, and then on to the next area in front of the crowds.  And we were having so much fun I barely took any other photos, even with the phone.

Lorax storytelling show at Islands of Adventure OrlandoThe Dr. Seuss area was a blast for the little ones, and for the big ones as well.  This storyteller and characters were on a little stage way in the back, but kept us all entertained.  The kids were introduced  to E.T. and now can’t wait to watch the movie.  Me? Well, I can’t wait to watch it again too.

I’ll share some photos of Sea World next week in part 2 of “How I Spent My Summer Vacation”.  It was a surprise hit!

Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time…

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