Thursday, 18 February 2016

USA (Orlando) Itinerary Day 5 - Universal Studios Orlando, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade, Owl Post

To beat the crowd at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Orlando, we woke up when it was still dark, drove to pick up some breakfast at the large MacDonald's along International Drive (the fries with neon lights were such a classic!), and reached the Universal Studios' car park before the sun even peeked out from the horizon. We were so early that the park was not even opened yet but! There was already a crowd at the gates. When the gates rose, the crowd surged forward and we hustled along with everybody else towards Hogsmeade. 

The Orlando Universal Studios have two separate parks namely, the Islands of Adventure and the Universal Studios Florida. We bought park-to-park tickets which meant we could ride the Hogwarts Express (certainly a must!) between Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida. We allocated two days for Universal Studios (one day for each park) and paid a bit more for the Express Pass on the first day. We figured that we would cover Hogsmeade and all the popular Express Pass attractions on the first day while leaving Diagon Alley and the other attractions for the second day. 

Hogsmeade at dawn.

We took the Forbidden Journey ride the minute we hit Hogsmeade because we heard that the queue get pretty bad by late morning. It was such a wonderful ride, I truly felt like I was flying along on a broom stick with Harry!

Being in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was amazing. It was exactly how I imagined Hogsmeade would be like (ok maybe not really, I always imagined Hogsmeade to be a lot bigger but, you know, space constraints). Everything here felt so real. The moving portraits, the magical "spells", the colourful store displays, the butter beer (which really tasted like root beer with butter foam on top), the moving books. Ah! I felt like a kid all over again. Then again, I strongly believe that we never truly grow up. Inside every adult is a kid at heart, suppressed by the daily grind of work, adult responsibilities, money matters, and "maturity". We never truly mature, you know? We just believe that we do. Some people are just better at hiding that childish side of us away. 

Owl Post. We stumbled upon this discovery accidentally and it was truly such a remarkable joy. We purchased post cards and stamps from the Owl Post, wrote our post cards, and mailed them from the Owl Post complete with the Hogsmeade postmark! I was so thrilled by this discovery that I wrote a bunch of post cards to my friends and myself!

The Hulk roller-coaster. Stef and King went to try it first while Zg and I watched with trepidation. Eventually I mustered enough courage to board the roller coaster and omg! It was such an intense ride but so much fun! I felt like I was zooming around upside down at a crazy speed and before I know it, I was back. So glad I tried it :D

We made a small mistake, took a wet ride sometime in the middle of the day, and left the ride soaked to the bone. Everything was wet - our clothes, shoes, bags, socks, hair. Everything. So we paid a bit to dry ourselves in the drying box and left the rest to the sun. Took a long while before we stopped dripping water everywhere we went. The other rides were good though! We did the Minions, Simpsons, MIB, Spiderman and Transformer. Some of the rides were in the Universal Studios Florida park so we hopped on the Hogswarts Express for a nice relaxing journey from the Islands of Adventure to the Universal Studios Florida. Will share some pictures of the Hogwarts Express in the next post!

As expected, food in Universal Studios was expensive and not the best but I guess nobody was really too bothered about the food because we just wanted to have fun all day under the warm Florida sun!

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