Finally it was time to hit up Universal Studios and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter aka my home. The whole reason we planned the trip for January is because after checking out some tourism sites they predicted this time to be the LEAST busy time of the entire year and holy crap it was so quiet and for someone who doesn’t love to be around people it was really freakin nice. We got there and Volcano Bay was closed(not that we planned to go) due to “weather”. I use that term loosely because I’ve really never laughed so hard in my entire life. People looked at us just bewildered that we were in shorts and it was 35 degrees out(just for an hour or so and then it was in the 60s/70s). We had literally just come from -70 degree weather in North Dakota, yes you read that right NEGATIVE 70, so the 100 degree difference felt AMAZING.
We head into the Islands of Adventure park and walk through the Suess Landing area. If you haven’t been on the One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish ride in there it is the most underrated ride in the entire park and you need to check it out. At this temp the water spouts weren’t running but when they are it is an absolute blast. Seriously if you don’t mind getting splashed a bit it is fun for all ages even though my husband thinks I’m a little crazy that I love it so much.
Jurassic Park is another favorite area of the park for me. I have always loved dinosaurs and the Jurassic Park series so getting to see all the dinos is a great time. The River Adventure ride is always amazing and since it’s another water ride be prepared to get wet at that big drop at the end. They featured this ride in an episode of Impractical Jokers as well where Q says “one more ride and it’s night night forever”. Don’t say that on the ride though because people look at you funny…haha. It was so quiet at the park(and people thought it was cold lol) that we just went on the ride back to back, sometimes being the only one on the entire raft. Thunder Falls Terrace is a great place to get food in this area of the park as well if you get hungry before heading to the Harry Potter area PLUS there are wall outlets if you need to charge your phone(win!).
Happy Potter time!! Seriously I may be a little dramatic but if you are a real Harry Potter fan you will totally relate to the fact that I almost cry every single time I walk into this area. It literally feels like a childhood dream coming to life and I love it. This would be a good time to pull up the Prologue to the first Harry Potter movie so you can just feel the joy while looking at the pictures. Yes I’m serious. Here I’ll just give you the Spotify link for it: https://open.spotify.com/track/6CeCOC2zx1qS8mQNYHe6IM?si=Q6dktZ7TRLuT_rBoL0RKsQ
Right as you walk in there is usually a Hogwarts Express train conductor that you can get a picture with. Like I said it was super quite at the park when we went(mid/end of January but before Harry Potter weekend of course) so there was like 2 people in line and we got the picture done right away. By the way if you do go during this time of year don’t waste your money on an express pass, no line in the entire park was over 30 minutes the entire time we were there.
Seriously, Hogsmeade is so freakin beautiful I just want to take all the pictures with my phone.
We headed to Three Broomsticks to get some fish and chips(one of the best items on the menu, seriously we had like 6 orders of it in 5 days) and HOT Butterbeer.
Hot Butterbeer is hands down the best of the 3 Butterbeers offered in the parks(hot, regular, frozen) but it can be tricky to get because it is seasonal. They offer it around the holidays but never really say when it stops after that, it’s just kind of based on weather. When we went in 2016 end of March-beginning of April we had it 1-2 days and then it was never around again and I was devastated. So again earlier trip meant constant hot Butterbeer, there was never a shortage while we were there during January and as you can I see I would order 2 with pretty much every meal. It is mostly only offered inside the Three Broomsticks though, even the Harry Potter section in the other park doesn’t carry it(normally) so Three Broomsticks is where you NEED to get it. There can be a huge line during busy season but I don’t think we ever waited for longer than 30 minutes to get our order in.
I should mention that none of the Butterbeer options are alcoholic, everyone I knew back home thought I was just getting completely hammered and then going on rides. As fun as that sounds they don’t have an alcohol option for Butterbeer anywhere so these are all family friendly. And yes I would just walk around the park double fisting hot Butterbeers like pictured below because it was worth it.
If you are headed to Universal Orlando you HAVE TO get the park to park pass. It is the only way to ride the Hogwarts Express which is an amazing experience. Also, we made the mistake in 2016 of only riding it one way and never going back. We found out once we were home each way has a different view on the train so if you go one way make sure to take the time for the ride back as well.
After a long day of rides and getting 15 miles of walking in we finally called it quits and headed home to our furbaby. Stay tuned for another blog on Universal Orlando!