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Universal Studios Orlando has many amazing attractions, none more so than the newest offerings located in Diagon Alley! When we visited, my kids and I were in awe of the details and the complete immersion into the familiar haunts from the Harry Potter series. According to my kids ages 14 and 10, here are what I will call our “Fab 5” experiences:
- The Butterbeer
My kids would absolutely insist on Butterbeer being number one. Created in the book series as the beverage of choice at Hogwarts, Butterbeer is best described as a sweet concoction of shortbread and butterscotch. JK Rowling imagined it to taste “a little bit like less sickly butterscotch.” My kids are such fans of Butterbeer, we found numerous recipes online to make it at home! (The actual recipe is classified, but many have speculated and arrived at their ideas of what ingredients make the perfect Butterbeer.) You can enjoy a Butterbeer cold or frozen at the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley.
- Interactive wands from Ollivanders and interactive spots
Even though my son already owns a wand, I knew he would want to get one from Ollivanders. What I didn’t know was that they have special interactive wands that can make unique spells come to life in both parks! Say what?! Complete with a map showing the locations of these interactive locations, the wand owners eagerly set out to complete all the spells. Even the bystanders get enjoyment out of watching wizards and muggles alike trying their hands at magic.
- “Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts” attraction
I’m accustomed to using FastPasses at Walt Disney World on the more popular attractions, so it’s a BIG deal when I wait in a line for an hour. And let me tell you: this attraction is well worth the wait! Once the queue moves indoors, you feel as though you’ve been transported to the actual Gringotts Wizarding Bank, complete with goblins. This attraction is both 3-D and also a motion based steel roller coaster ride! The combination of these 3 makes it unlike its counterpart, “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” and all the more breathtaking!
- The fire-breathing dragon at Gringotts
You won’t be able to miss this one, but you also won’t be able to predict when it will happen. That’s on account of the Ukranian Ironbell dragon that towers over the entrance. You hear gasps and lots of oohs and aahs when the dragon decides to make his presence
- King’s Cross Station and Platform 9 ¾ to catch the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade
If you are fortunate enough to have tickets to both parks, I highly recommend you forgo walking and choose to take the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade. Finding Platform 9 ¾ is easy; how you will pass through is another matter indeed! The optical illusion of passing right through the brick wall is AMAZING. Or is it magic?
I limited this review to just Diagon Alley, but there is so much fun to be had at both parks! So grab your broomstick and take off for Universal Studios Florida for an out-of-this-world experience at Diagon Alley!