For Christmas my father gifted us Annual Passes to Universal Studios. We had gone before when we were little. And I have taken my husband once on a date. But this year we were more thrilled about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. In case you don't know my family and I are big Harry Potter fans. I tried to do my research on Pinterest and other travel sites and couldn't find much. I wanted to give you my two cents on options you have in the park. First and for most we went on a rainy day and that had no impact on the crazy crowds. The best advice to any theme park is always arrive . before they open. Before we even arrived to the park we registered our annual passes and made sure everything was ready to. Solin was able to get in free because we are still banking on her 2 years 11 month age limit. I must tell you that walking into the park the first thing we did was make a beeline to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. There is not extra charge at the Hollywood location. However, I heard in Orlando you must by another ticket to visit Diagon Alley and ride the Hogwarts Express. Once you walk through the Hogsmeade Arch you enter the land of Harry Potter and it consumes you. I'm the king of person who gets chills walking through fantasy land in Disneyland. And this I tell you is just as euphoric. Just look at the realistic snow and alleyways of Hogsmeade:
My dad and Solin walking through the alleys of Hogsmeade:
On the ride Flight of the Hippogriff is the only place that you can see Hagrid's Home. This ride also gives you a great view of the Hogwarts Castle. The only problem is the ride is literally less than two minutes. So if you wait in line over 20 minutes you might be a little disappointed. We always went on the ride when the wait time was 5 minutes.
Buckbeak at the beginning of the ride and a glorious view of Hagrid's house:
I also took this photo while we were on the ride:
When we walked up the ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey the wait time was 35 minutes. A cast member said it takes about ten minutes to actually walk through the entire castle and waiting the 35 minutes will be worth it. That is so true! There are interactive pictures and potion rooms that speak to you. Little ones are not allowed on the ride but they have a convenient ride share room that plays Harry Potter movies 24/7. Going on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey made me look like a sissy. I screamed way to much. I was not expecting actual Dementors to come at you. They look terrifying.
The one thing that is required when you visit Hogsmeade is to have a butterbeer. My dad insisted and gave us the option of a frozen, cold or hot. I chose just a plain cold butterbeer and shared it with Solin. It was extremely sweet but hit the spot. It tasted similar to a root beer float but with butterscotch.
Once you walk around the corner of Hogsemeade you immediately wonder into Springfield and are engrossed with the Simpsons. We made a small detour and found Milhouse:
We were celebrating my sister Katie's birthday and she chose to eat at the Three Broomsticks. Most of the food is overpriced which is expected. Our family decided to get the Great Feast which served our entire family:
Sleeping Solin. We had left for Universal at 4 am that morning. This nap was required for all of us!
Going down to the lower lot you must use four levels of escalators to get there. We had our Bugaboo Stroller which was not recommended to be on the escalator. The other option was to use the handicap elevator and then wait for a tram to take you even lower. Another option is to use the stairs and get some killer steps on your Fitbit!
The Jurassic Park: The Ride is thrilling. My favorite scene is the abandoned boat with a Mickey Mouse hat floating near by:
With the rain and the big splash at the end of the ride we were soaked:
We waited in line for the Raptor Encounter. This is where you get to interact with a man dressed up in Raptor costume. He was a little intimidating. We took our pictures and were on our way:
Before we left for the day I walked passed Beetlejuice and said his name three times. He decided to dance and thrust around me. He was very crude. This actor played the part very well.