Cloud 9. That’s where I’m at right now. Well technically I was at Harry Potter World, but the places are synonymous in my mind. If you haven’t figured it out by now I am a HUGE Harry Potter
nerd fan. I spent the last four days in Orlando on my first official business trip with Houzz. I had so much fun because the conference I attended was only two days long so there was plenty of time to explore Orlando.
But let’s focus on the main attraction here because I know that’s what you came to read about. I posted the pictures in the order I went through the park. My “Harry Potter moment” happened as soon as I entered Diagon Alley. My co-worker Amanda and I were pacing all around King’s Cross Station trying to find the entrance to Diagon Alley. It was unmarked, no signs to lead the way. Eventually we realized everyone was walking behind this brick wall and we figured we should follow. It was literally just like the first movie. Once I passed the brick wall it opened up into Diagon Alley I stopped in my tracks, it was packed with people and the theme music was playing! Not going to lie I definitely had goosebumps.
There are so many things to look at and do my brain was spinning. The streets are lined with the exact shops from the books and movies and you can see Gringotts Bank with the dragon on the roof! Also they have performers dressed in costume singing and they are very good at staying in character while you’re in Harry Potter World. Gringotts is actually a ride and it takes you through the bank in a roller coaster attraction type of ride. My favorite part about Diagon Alley was drinking a butterbeer as the sun was setting and the lights were flickering on, it felt so authentic all I could do was smile. (If you stay until night the dragon breathes fires and it is very cool!)
We had a park hopper so we were able to take the Hogwarts Express over to Hogsmeade. The wait was a little long, but definitely worth it because there are a lot of picture opportunities and things to look at. Once you cross the Platform 9 3/4 barrier you actually disappear, or at least that’s what it seems like to everyone else behind you. The train is a ride in itself because of the animation. Your mind instantly takes you to Harry’s first time on the train because that’s what they show you!
Once we arrived in Hogsmeade we headed straight for the castle. The Hogwarts ride is amazing, although we did get a little motion sickness you absolutely can’t go to Harry Potter World without going to Hogwarts. The wait time may be a little long, but as you’re waiting it takes you through the greenhouse, staircase with the talking portraits, and Professor Lupin’s Classroom from the third book/movie.
Hogsmeade had many of the same shops as Diagon Alley, but the one I had my eyes on was Honeydukes. The candy store had everything you could imagine including chocolate frogs! With my chocolate obsession it was hard not to go a little crazy in there. There is one big roller coaster in all of Harry Potter World and it is a rough ride. I went by myself and it was super fun, but I felt like I had taken a couple punches to the head after getting off. (I waited to get butterbeer until after this ride because I didn’t want it to make any reappearances.) There are butterbeer carts everywhere and I recommend getting the frozen version, it tastes like a cream soda float.
Enough of my ranting though, while I have some great pictures to document our trip no pictures can do it justice you just have to go for yourself and experience your own Harry Potter moment. I’m anxiously awaiting to visit the Harry Potter World that is currently under construction at Universal Studios Hollywood, I bet you all the coins in Gringotts that I’ll be there on the day it opens!