Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 4 in Disney, uh, Universal! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

As you may have read in my earlier blog post (Cheating on Disney) I had been struggling with the decision of whether or not to go to Universal Studios. However thanks to my brother's wonderful girlfriend, we were able to get in for free! And as much as I love Disney, I had to see the world of Harry Potter for myself.

Monday we departed Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge for Universal's Islands of Adventure. We were a little concerned with the weather because the forecast called for rain after 3pm. However, we decided that as long as we get in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter we would be happy.

Were we happy? Oh yes. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a beautifully themed land with great detail. Any fan of the books or movies would be thrilled with the result. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, the marquee attraction is truly an amazing new attraction. Hogwarts castle itself was unbelievable. The line for Forbidden Journey goes through the castle and you see things like the Mirror of Erised, the pensive, the portraits speaking to each other, etc. The line for Forbidden Journey is an attraction in itself. As for the ride, it is unlike anything I've ever seen before! One small criticism, several of us got a little disoriented afterward and the ride vehicle isn't kind to those "Pooh-sized."

In addition to Forbidden Journey, there were two other attractions at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  The first was The Flight of the Hippogriff, a kiddie coaster. We went on because the line goes by Hagrid's hut. It was fun! The second attraction was a re-themed coaster. The former "Dueling Dragons" is now "The Dragon Challenge." The Dragon Challenge line has a lot of cool/nerdy Harry Potter things, like the banners from the Triwizard Tournament. The ride is an insane coaster and we had a ton of fun.

After all of the attractions, we spent hours (no exaggeration) walking around the shops and storefronts. Even the bathroom was well-themed! Moaning Myrtle chats with you while you are doing your "business." We had lunch at 3 Broomsticks. The atmosphere was great, the food not so much, but we had a lot of laughs. Adjacent to 3 Broomsticks is the Hog's Head, where we had our butterbeer. Although we heard great things about the frozen version, I thoroughly enjoyed the version on tap.

As the clouds rolled in, we decided that we did want to do too much more in the park. We did a quick ride on Spiderman (a terrific ride, from someone who gives Universal little to no credit) and an insane ride on the Hulk. We grabbed a taxi back to the Animal Kingdom Lodge as the rain poured down.

There are some things that are better in Disney, and one thing that is magnificent is an afternoon nap. Without many options because of the rain, we took a glorious nap! When we woke up, the sun had almost set. And as I glanced out of the window, there were no fewer than three giraffes standing outside my window. It never, ever gets old!

On a rainy, misty night, we decided to spend our evening in Downtown Disney. We did some shopping and ate at Paradiso 37, a new South American restaurant. It was decent but a little loud. Overall, we had a nice night, topped with a Ghiradelli sundae!


DGreh said...

Disney girl takes on Hogwarts!

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