Fab Finds: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

"Expecto Patronum!"  

If you've seen Harry Potter, then I'm sure you know what I'm talking about!  That's one of my favorite spells to yell out while binging Harry Potter movies!

Last week, I had the opportunity to fly solo and go to Universal Studios to check out the newly opened "Wizarding World of Harry Potter!"  You guys, this place is truly magical.  It felt like a real movie set!  With children and teenagers running around wearing black wizard cloaks while carrying their shiny new wands, it really made the experience super authentic and fun!  


First of all, have you ever been to an amusement park solo??  It's quite the experience!  It was a first for me, and I have to say, it wasn't half bad!  I arrived to the park just after 1pm and slowly made my way to Harry Potter World...

Once I entered the park, I really had no idea where I was going... I kept looking for Hogwarts thinking it was going to be right in front of my face, but it wasn't!  So, I looked around, found people in black cloaks and started following them!  When all else fails, follow the cloaks... probably not a good motto to live by, but in this case, it worked!

I made it!!  I've been wanting to do this for SO long and I finally made it here!!  I felt like I was completely transported to London, (Hogsmeade to be exact) and put inside the Harry Potter story.  Besides the hot sun beating down on my shoulders while gazing up at faux snow, it was unbelievably authentic and true to the film set.  Like, HOW did they do it!  Oh right, millions of dollars, but STILL, it was beautiful, gorgeous and so much fun to be there!

After wandering for a bit, I found a sign that said "Hogwarts" and headed that direction.  I saw two lines... One for a rollercoaster (kind of kiddie like) on the right, and a REEEEALLY long line next to Hogwarts Castle on my left, and from my research (always prepared!) I knew there was a ride there that was sort of like a simulator type ride, so I was game for that!  I popped in line, and waited solo!  When I got up to the front, they had a "single riders" split in the line and it was EMPTY!  I was so excited, finally a perk of being alone! Haha  

As I was waiting in line...like the MIDDLE of the line, I finally ask these two people in front of me "Hi, do you know if this is the simulator ride?  I just jumped in a random line and I'm here alone!"  Like...oooookkkk weirdo.  They were very nice and told me they thought so, but not to trust them because it was their first time there too!  The "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" ride is finally available for the first time in the U.S. in 3-D and takes you on a complete tour of Hogwarts, through the classrooms and corridors and high above the castle grounds while on an adventure with Harry Potter and his friends.  There were parts of this ride that were legit scary, like how were children riding this!!?  When I got off, and started walking down the stairs, there was LITERALLY a 3 year old in front of me.  I was slightly embarrassed of my reaction to the ride! haha  Overall, such a fun experience and totally worth the wait!

After the ride, I decided to head back to Hogsmeade and wander around the shops for a bit.  The next stop for me was "Olivanders" wand shop.  This place was so cool!!  Stacked with boxes upon boxes from floor to ceiling full of each wizard's special wand.  I circled the room multiple times, picking up various wands, so indecisive on which one I wanted to take home with me.  First I picked up Harry Potter's, then I thought, nope, too cliché for my first visit.  Then Hermoine, then Professor Snape, then back to Hermoine, I just couldn't decide.  So I put them all back and went over to the wall of wands where they had special types of woods and what exactly everything meant.  Each wand had explanations of what each specific wood meant and how it tied them to that type of person.  I finally decided on "Oak" because this wand really seemed like it described my personality.

Sidenote: Do you guys here what I'm saying?!?!  "This wand really seemed like is described my personality."  WHAT!!?!!?  Clearly I had too many butterbeers, because I was talking about a wooden stick. 

Moving right along, I popped into the "Owl Post" and looked around for a bit! 

Finally, it was time to grub!!  Hogsmeade has one restaurant, "Three Broomsticks" where they're serving traditional English pub food that's not only tasty, but super true to its culture!

I waited in line for a little while, and finally got called up to the register.  The girl there was surprised to see me alone, but by that point, I was already used to it!  I already knew what I wanted because I intensively studied the menu while in line for 25 minutes.   I make the most RIDICULOUS order for one person, like HOLY COW, literally, coming through.  Here's how it went down: 

Hi, I’ll have the fish and chips, the ale and cheese soup, the sticky toffee bread pudding and a butterbeer in a souvenir cup! K thxxxxx

...and then she goes on to tell me that'll basically be $500.  I just wanted to make sure I tried everything I wanted and this was my one opportunity to do so, so SUE me people!!  The best part is, after you wait for your name to be called they have your tray all ready to go, well in my case, it was TWO trays.  So I told the girl to PLEASE consolidate my tray, let's not make it look like I've ordered the entire menu (which I did).  Suffice it to say, I spilled my butterbeer on my fish and chips...no bigs, just a little sweeter than they probably would've normally been!

Overall, the food was delicious!!  I really genuinely enjoyed my meal (besides the people staring and gawking at me! haha)  The fish and chips were cooked perfectly and dipped in that tartar sauce were so yummy!  The ale and cheese soup tasted super authentic, straight from London, so I could appreciate that.  Oh man, the sticky toffee bread pudding was unreal.  I had to make myself stop eating it because it was addicting!!  Lastly, the butterbeer.  In case you're unfamiliar, butterbeer is non-alcoholic and bascially a butterscotch cream soda.  It's frothy heaven.  I don't know how they make it, but it was SO good!

Next up on the agenda was "Honeydukes" the infamous candy shop!  This place was so much fun to explore!  They had everything from fudge flies to lemon drops!  

After THAT sugar coma, I wandered down the street a bit more before it was finally time for me to say goodbye...

What a magical visit... I can barely even WAIT until the next time I go back!!  I think I want to go back at night to experience all the lights in the evening.  I think that would be something absolutely stunning to see!!


After I walked out of Harry Potter World, I decided to venture out into Universal Studios for just a bit and see what was new.  I stumbled upon the newly opened "Walking Dead" attraction and was SO tempted to go inside, but KNEW I wouldn't last one second by myself!  I'll definitely have to come back and do that some other time!

Just to the left of this, I spotted one of my favs...BEETLEJUICE!!  He was out taking pics, so obviously I had to step in and grab one!  The funny thing is, is I had no one to take a picture with my camera, so I actually had to use the park photographer.  When he was finished with his picture, he looked around for my friends, aaaaand once, again, I had to tell everyone I was there solo!!  Whatever, Beetlejuice was loving it!! haha


So there you have it, my full adventure at Harry Potter World!  If you follow me on Snapchat (@hyeper17) then I'm sure you got the full rundown, so make sure to follow for all my upcoming adventures!

Also, if you've seen even ONE Harry Potter movie, you need to go!  It will blow your mind.  If you're at Universal Studios, just stop in, grab a quick butterbeer and peace out, that alone is worth it!