Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Day Four: Ditch the kiddies, we're going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Since the adults in our group are ...ahem... big nerds, we HAD to take a day requiem from the Disney Complex to check out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  (Kids stayed at Sweet Escape with Grams and Gramps). Because there were 7 of us, it actually made sense to crowd check into a Universal Studios hotel following the fireworks, catch a few hours of sleep and wake EXTREMELY early for our exciting Wizarding day.  We got to use Early Park Admission with our hotel room keys, and the entire process could not have gone smoother!
 We got to the park about a half hour before Early Park Admission, and were right in the front of the 'walk only' line that brought us back to Diagon Alley!  What a rush!  We were numbers 3-10 into the queu for the brand new Escape from Gringott's ride......but wait...... we missed a turn (they didn't have the lines blocked off, and we ended up somewhere in the back 30, trying to figure out how to get into the ride!)  Eventually we figured where we should have zigged instead of zagged and got back into the line.  All in all, we only lost about 20 spaces in line.  Unfortunately, it took them a while to get Gringott's up and running-- we were already at the loading area, so we figured it made the most sense to just stay put and wait.  After about 20 minutes, we were green-lighted for the ride of our lives.  It was seriously AMAZING and we all had the biggest smiles on our faces as we exited!
We stopped at Ollivander's Wand shop and then had some warm butterbeer (mmmm....) before exiting Diagon Alley and hitting all of the rest of Universal Studios rides.  Man.  They were a RUSH!  What fantastic high-speed thrill rollercoasters :-)

We had the Universal equivalent to FastPass for EVERY RIDE (except a few of the HP ones) and made great use of them.  I don't think we stood in line more than 10 minutes for anything all day long!  After exhausting the Universal park rides, we hopped on Hogwarts Express and headed to Hogsmeade!

 Lunch at the Three Broomsticks.  I had a great shepherd's pie and Dave enjoyed the fish and chips.
 Branding.  It's everything.  Of course, I will pay through the nose for the bottled 'gilly water'....thank you for the opportunity!

After experiencing Hogsmeade and the Forbidden Journey ride (which I personally found pretty scary!), we ventured out to explore the rest of the Islands of Adventure park.  Our favorite stop?  Springfield, USA- home of the Simpsons!  Bet you can't guess where we took an afternoon siesta?

We stormed these two parks-- with the help of Touring Plans, it was an extremely busy and successful day! 

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