Oh, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Land of wands, robes, and butterbeer.
It takes about an hour and forty-five minutes on a shuttle to get from Anaheim to Universal Studios. Luckily, they had a pick-up location just across the street from my hotel so I was able to walk out of my room seven minutes before the pick-up time and still be there five minutes early.
Here’s something to know about the shuttle, they commentate the whole drive to Universal. Basically it’s the driver pointing out famous buildings and filming locations. It can be interesting, but I’ve ridden this shuttle and heard this information before, so I made sure I had my earbuds and a good podcast to listen to on the drive. Totally worth it!
First stop was Flight of the Hippogriff! This fun little roller coaster never had more than a five minute wait all day, probably due to the fact that the ride itself is about two minutes long, so the line moves pretty quick. The line takes you past Hagrid’s hut, and from the ride you also get great views of the castle!
Okay, so confession time. I don’t normally get sick on rides but Harry Potter and Forbidden Journey makes me really nauseous. It something about switching back and forth from 3D scenes to reals scenes all while be swung around on a mechanical arm. My brain and stomach just don’t like it. So I skipped the ride and opted for the castle walkthrough, which is great! Basically, you walk through line and get to see the castle without actually going on the ride. It takes you through the greenhouses, the hall of portraits, Dumbledore’s office, the Defense Against the Dark Arts Classroom and so much more. If its your first time visiting, do go on the ride. Just be prepared.
Then it was time for my first butterbeer of the day. Oh man, it is so good! Its like cream soda, but better, and butterscotchy. Anyone who has had it will tell you that it’s the best! It’s kinda worth the trip all on its own. And the frozen butterbeer is even better than the regular butterbeer. I did see that they also sell hot butterbeer, I haven’t try it… yet.
I took my butterbeer with me and headed down the escalators to the lower lot. I stopped to enjoy the view half way down that overlooks the actual working back lots. And then it was all the way down and onto The Revenge of the Mummy. I had no idea what this ride was, and it surprised me in the best way! It’s a dark thrill ride, that’s a bit like Indiana Jones meets Space Mountain. Another thing about me, I don’t tend to scream on thrill rides, I laugh. And this one had me busting a gut!
After that I walked right onto the Transformer’s ride, which is a 3D ride; I gotta say, Universal LOVES its 3D rides! The cars for this ride are three rows with four people in each row. The first row of my car was filled with the fellas from a Japanese family, and the second row had me. That was it, just the five us on this ride together. Oh man, I totally crashed their guys day! It probably felt like I was just there… watching them. Golly!
Unfortunately, the Jurassic ride was closed, so I didn’t get to go on that one. Instead I headed back up to the upper lot and right into Krustyland. Ah, another 3D ride! The whole Springfield section of the park is so fun! It looks just like the Simpsons show, they even play “Do the Bartman” at Disco Stu’s, and have giant pink, sprinkle donuts you can buy at Lard Lad. You can even get a Duff beer or a Buzz cola at Moe’s if you want to.
It was about time for lunch, so I headed back to Hogsmeade. There is nothing better than sitting down for a nice meal at the Three Broomsticks! I actually ended up sitting on the Hogs Head side of the room, I didn’t realize that the hog’s head that hangs above the bar comes to life every now and again and snorts, loudly snorts. Quite a little surprise there!
After that I went to the bathroom. And I know you’re thinking that I’m giving you way too much detail here. And in any other circumstance that might be true, but when you’re in Hogsmeade even the toilets are themed. And what makes it better is that Moaning Myrtle has apparently relocated from the first-floor girls’ lavatory to the “Public Conveniences” in Hogsmeade. You know, I guess that’s a pretty good way for her to make sure that she always has someone to talk to…. Good thinking, Myrtle!
I spent a little time exploring more of that park; at this point my ankle was hurting pretty bad so I was really happy to find quite little square tucked away from the hubbub. It was a perfect little get away!
So, it only makes sense that when I left that serenity of that square I headed straight into the Walking Dead walk through. Nothing better than zombies trying to eat your flesh to get ya going! To top that off, I watched the Waterworld stunt show. More than anything it made me want to ride a water ski. I mean, I’d like to ride it for fun and leisure, not to defeat and evil, smoking land pirate, but I’d still like to ride one.
One more visit to Hogsmeade! I visited Zonko’s and Honeydukes, finally got to go to Ollivander’s, and picked up Molly Weasley’s wand. I got another butterbeer and hung out on a bench by the train station enjoying the afternoon.
My final ride of the day was Despicable Me, and you guessed it! It was another 3D ride. I grabbed a quick dinner, texted with some loved ones, and then loaded up on the shuttle for the ride back. They don’t do commentary on the way back, but instead show a movie. Tonight’s selection was the “funny, little classic” Mrs. Doubtfire.
It was a fun day, and I did so much! Although, I do kind of wish I had a butterbeer to enjoy in my hotel room tonight…