Since MegaCon started on a Friday a few weeks ago, we decided to go down to Orlando a day early and head to the two Universal parks so that we could enjoy the new Diagon Alley area and see some of our old favorites. My husband and I went to Islands of Adventure to see Hogsmeade one year for our anniversary, but the last time we had been in the Universal Studios park was our honeymoon (almost 9 years ago)!
Since my Dad works for Disney, he was able to get us a small discount on Universal tickets. His silver cast member pass to the Disney parks was on blackout for all the parks except EPCOT, and that was the one Debbie and I did at MegaCon last year, so if we were gonna spend some money anyway, we figured it might as well be time to see the Harry Potter stuff.
After picking up Dad at the airport, we headed to the parks for the day. Wound up there from about 11 until about 7. Then we ate dinner at a pizza place at CityWalk and went back to the hotel. During our time at the parks, we did about 7 rides.
1. The Mummy
3. Hogwarts Express from Studios to Islands
4. Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barge – boy, did we get soaked, but it was so hot that afternoon that it was refreshing.
5. Hogwarts – While enjoyed both “big” Harry Potter rides, I think I preferred this one over Gringotts.
6. Hogwarts Express from Islands to Studios
We also ate lunch at the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley. There was a line for the restaurant too, maybe 20-30 min. I got a “Ploughman’s” which is pretty much a cheese plate with salads and bread. It can serve 1-4, but I just ordered a single version.
And we tried frozen butterbeer this time since the last time we went Jesse and I tried the non-frozen kind. Both are good, but once the frozen one melts, it’s less entertaining. I think I prefer the non-frozen.
The longest line we stood in all day was the Transformers line for about an hour. That was a neat ride though. We wanted to try the minion ride, but everyone was exhausted from walking and that line had been ridiculous since we arrived (yay Spring Break…).
My biggest takeaway from this was that doing both Universal Parks in a single day is really tough, at least during the more crowded seasons. I’d probably rather buy two single park tickets for two different days, but then you can’t ride the Hogwarts Express … so I’m glad we did it once. And Universal’s version of fast pass you have to pay for … and it’s pricey. $120 per person for a two-park one (in addition to the ticket price). O.o So needless to say we did not spring for that … it may have made a difference in how much stuff we were able to see, though.
It was a fun way to start off the weekend, though maybe a bit tiring, haha! We wished we had time for more stuff, but it would have definitely required another day. Have you been to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter? What are your favorite things from the park?