In February 2015, two friends and I embarked on a trip to Disneyworld. We were so busy living in theme parks while there that we didn’t have the time (or energy) to blog, but we did take some great notes. We all want to have a record of our adventures so we are blogging it now, exactly a year later. Today I am writing about day 5 of our theme park adventures in Florida! I previously wrote about our second day, but you can check out the rest over on Justine and Kris’s travel blog – don’t worry, I’ve provided links to all of the articles at the bottom of this post.
Since you probably hopped right on over to read the last few posts, you’ll already know that we spent the previous couple days taking in the magic of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – which can really be described no other way than as a completely and truly magical experience. Today we were returning to Universal Studios Orlando to experience our favourite parts again, and say goodbye to Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.
As you also should already know, we are Disneybounding each day of our trip. If you don’t know what this means, you definitely didn’t read our previous posts, but I’ll still be nice and let you now that you can pop over to our geek blog, My Fangirl Life, for an explanation in We’re Disney Bound in Disneybound: Princess Edition. Today we’re dressed in Marvel-inspired outfits (Kris as Hawkeye, Justine as Loki, and me as Iron Man), but I do have to say that these were probably my least favourite of any day of this trip.
We started our morning at the hotel as per usual, with beverages in our travel mugs and pastries in the cafeteria area. We then flagged down a taxi (like we had the last few mornings) and made our way to Universal Studios. By this time, we were familiar with how far away it was and where to go on arrival, so everything was pretty easy.
Walking into the park entrance, we quickly spied Scooby & Shaggy taking photos with guests by the Mystery Machine in Beverly Hills. The line wasn’t long so we decided to head on over for the photo op. These two were pretty legit, but nowhere near as impressive with their one-liners and attention to detail as Disney Park characters tend to be (I once wrote a whole post on how enjoyable this activity is at MFL on Quest: The Best Thing To Do At Disney World). Either way, meeting Scooby & Shaggy was very fortuitous for us particularly, as we had just cast Kris & Justine as Daphne & Velma in an upcoming murder mystery party we were planning. So this was a great opportunity to take some photos to use there!
Next we decided to check out the Minion ride. The line was long, but we knew it was one of the final rides we wanted to get onto. After weaving through the very cute and well-done line area for a very long time, we did eventually get onto the ride itself. It was crazy adorable and I can imagine that kids would absolutely love it, which definitely explains the wait time.
After we emerged from the Minion ride, we headed on over to Diagon Alley to say our final goodbyes. This place was utterly magical and I loved it, but I won’t go into too much detail on that since you can check out the previous post on it for more.
We spent some time just wandering around Diagon Alley, trying to soak up everything we could of that place. Next we decided to ride the Harry Potter & the Escape from Gringott’s ride again, and we hopped into the single rider line. We were told all 3 of us would get split up, but ended up more or less walking right on, and we got to ride together! This actually happened to us several times – before long we figured out that the single rider line was almost always worth it. That being said, on the Harry Potter rides specifically, I definitely recommend doing the full line at least the first time because the area you wind through just brings you right into the story. You just might miss out on some cool things if you hit the single rider line all the way!
We decided to grab lunch at the Leaky Cauldron again – we were all happy to eat the food there as many times as possible, and chose it over the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade.
Next it was time to do the final Harry Potter theme park ride. We had been saving it for this, our last day at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, just so we would still have something new to experience. We headed toward Platform 9 3/4 to ride the train over to Hogsmeade.
The Harry Potter sections of Universal Studios were amazingly well-done, and this was no exception. I felt like we were heading into a typical underground train station as we ventured into King’s Cross, but as we got closer, it had those magical elements you expect, including an optical illusion showing you going through the platform wall. Once you actually made it down to the train, the loading area was full of piles of suitcases and even some owl cages!
We were ushered onto the train and into a compartment with a few other riders. As soon as the train started to move, a cool show commenced, mostly consisting of a video screen and shadow movements outside the door of the compartment. We had multiple Prefects (aka children visiting the park in wizard’s robes, one complete with an actual Prefects badge) in our compartment so we had to behave!
After disembarking the train, we went over to drop our bags in a locker and ride the Dragon Challenge roller coaster a couple more times. We hopped onto the single rider line on the way in, and basically walked on, then jetted right over to the other half of the roller coaster to ride the other side, and that happened quickly as well. This coaster is one of the best thrill rides of our trips!
We didn’t really do the photo shoot we typically took part in every other day of this trip, but we did stop again at some of our favourite (or least favourite) Triwizard Champion banners on the way up to Dragon Challenge, and at one point we stopped to get our photos taken with students from all of the participating Triwizard schools.
Next Kris and Justine decided to ride Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey again, which I decided to skip due to my excessive fear of spiders. I rode it the first time, and I’m very happy I did, but I didn’t think I could put myself through that again… it was horrifying! Besides, I had just realized that I had forgotten my wand in the locker when we had picked up our bags after Dragon Challenge, and I needed to find it!
While Kris and Justine headed to the single rider line for the ride, I jetted back to the locker area. Luckily, someone just happened to be opening the locker I had previously put my bag in – excellent timing! – so I asked if I could check for my wand first. Lo and behold, there it was! I couldn’t afford to lose that baby.
I wandered around a few of the shops while I waited for the other two to be done, and in the meantime it had started to rain. Pour, actually. I looked around a little bit to see where we could buy rain ponchos – we had planned to ride water rides in the other areas of the park that afternoon, so they would come in handy regardless. It turned out that the rain wasn’t letting up, and that rain ponchos were $12 USD each, so I decided to wait for the other two to decide what to do.
I found out later that Kris & Justine had another win with the single rider line on Harry Potter & the Forbidden Journey – they got to ride together yet again! Either we’re supremely lucky or this really does happen all the time. Upon meeting up, we decided to get one last Butterbeer and call it a day.
We took the train back to Diagon Alley so that we could make sure we weren’t missing anything important on the other leg of the ride (there wasn’t too much, but just a couple other parts of the same type of story…still worth doing though). We disembarked and made our way out of the train station. Already soaked at this point, we said goodbye to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
As we scurried through the park towards the exit and the taxi stand, we crowded under one small umbrella. We hypothesized that this experience was much like Harry, Ron, and Hermione would feel when they are all trying to cram under the invisibility cloak together.
The line for taxis was long (many people were leaving at the same time as we were), but we huddled together and waited our turn. By the time we got in a cab, we were all exhausted. I was actually falling asleep during this ride, and Kris and Justine later confessed to the same. Luckily, our cab driver seemed to be trustworthy and got us to our destination within a normal amount of time/money. When we arrived and were jarred into waking up, the vehicle was fogged right up from the inside – oops!
We headed up to our hotel room to rest for a bit. Kris wanted to take off all her clothes and go to bed, but instead we each took turns showering and laid down for awhile (in clothes, just to clarify). After a couple hours of downtime, we all rallied to head to Downtown Disney.
The shuttle from our hotel was very handy, as always, and we found our way to the middle of a sprawling area full of shops and restaurants. We wandered around some stores, looking at all the adorable Disney things. There were dresses and trinkets and whatsits galore! We looked around, modelled dresses and headbands, and just had a generally good time soaking up the magical Disney merchandise.
We didn’t buy too much, but perusing through the store was a lot of fun, and Justine came out of it with a Disney Princess Cookbook, which we have put to use since then, especially when we had A Princess Picnic in the Park.
While wandering around Downtown Disney, we also saw some really neat Disney character statues built entirely out of Lego, and some other cool feature displays.
We then found somewhere to stop for dinner at a mexican-style restaurant. Basically Justine and I were on a date and Kris was forever alone, according to how the pictures below look.
By the time we were done dinner and had walked around a little more, we were ready to head home. We caught a shuttle bus, went back to the hotel, and went to bed to rest up for the next day.
Don’t forget to head on over to Wonder & Wanderlust tomorrow for our next installment on our Florida adventure. I’ll post the link here when it’s live.
Love KG (…and Kris & Justine!)
Original adventure took place on February 17, 2015
Want to read about other days from the trip? Click the buttons below!