universal studios orlando

Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley

 

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A week ago, today, I visited the brand new, Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Studios, Orlando! I’m so fortunate to have the friends I have for making this incredible dream of a day come true. When we woke up Tuesday morning, we greeted the day with news that the super-awesome-all access-pass-card was obtained and available for our use to enter and play in the park! Ron, Nicki and I met up with Brad at Islands of Adventure to obtain this “golden key” a hopped on the Hogwarts Express at Hogsmeade Station. Having explored Hogsmeade multiple times in the past, we were eager to get to Diagon Alley.

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Fancy status: The three of us were granted our own car on the train for our trip to London upon Brad’s polite request after not waiting even a moment in line. Phones and cameras weren’t allowed on the train, but we managed to snap a quick couple before the ride really got going. After a delightful trip into the city, we arrived at Kings Cross Station.

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The station felt real. And I hadn’t even seen the best part of Kings Cross yet… And then we turned a corner. We were in Diagon Alley. I promised myself I wouldn’t but I couldn’t control myself and tears welled up (a couple may or may not have escaped.)

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There are shops everywhere! And all of the details surround you! You are in a completely different world. You’re in the Wizarding World. You’re in Diagon Alley.

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I simply couldn’t contain myself. After some exploring, we ventured into Knockturn Alley. Never have I ever wanted to be Slytherin more than there and then. It was absolutely incredible! I even did some dark mark shopping at Borgin and Burkes.

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DIagon Alley had lots of really amazing shops including Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, Magical Menagerie (pet shop) and a Quiddich Shop. One particularly beautiful store was Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment.

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Being super-duper VIP did have one downfall. Because we don’t wait in lines, I didn’t get to experience the queue for Escape from Gringotts the ride. From what I understand it is completely breathtaking, taking you through the grand bank lobby and into an elevator. I look forward to experiencing that on a future visit. The ride was pretty fun! It could’ve ended a bit more exciting but overall I really enjoyed it.

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Connecting and disguising Diagon Alley from the rest of Universal Studios is [Harry Potter’s] London. The shrunken head on the knightbus hit on me which was awesome and I got to see Kreacher in the window of 12 Grimmauld Place.

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While on the Universal Studios side we also rode the new-ish Transformers ride. It was my first time on that one and we grabbed lunch at Moe’s Tavern in Springfield. We headed back to Kings Cross Station for our trip back to Hogsmeade and this is where I realized just how amazing Kings Cross Station was here. We got to blatantly skip a super crazy packed line and I shouted “silly muggles!” at the on-lookers (rather, hard-starers and stink-face-makers).

Back in Hogsmeade, I did some more shopping and we rode Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. (We skipped Flight of the Hippogriff this time around.)

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I had such an incredible time! I can’t thank Ron and Brad enough for making this trip not only possible but also so special with the VIP treatment. I already can’t wait to go back and when I do, I’m going to eat my way through the Wizarding World.

During the day, I took a lot of random videos. I put a few of them together and as long as you don’t mind shoddy camerawork and up-the-nose shots, enjoy a peek at my very first time visiting Diagon Alley.

Thanks for reading! Love, GK

In honor of my very first trip to Diagon Alley, I wanted to share some throwback shots of my first trip to Hogsmeade. I would’ve had to break out one of my other hard drives to share all my favorite pictures from that day and I simply didn’t feel like it. Instead I threw in some pics from another one of the times I visited the Wizarding World – Hogsmeade/Hogwarts in the past.

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Orlando Shenanigans

A week later, I’m finally getting the time to post about my recent trip to Orlando. One of my friends was visiting home from Chicago, where she currently lives, and we decided to make the short drive north to Orlando where one of my other friends lives with his fella.

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With a rad playlist ready to go, she and I hit the road Monday afternoon. Upon arrival, Nicki, Ron and I jumped headfirst into some liquor and shared the night catching up and then painting for a while. There was also a small, impromptu photo session with Ron’s huge clock.

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When Nicki and I first checked into La Hotel De Ron & Brad, Ron had gifts waiting for us in the guest bedroom. For me: Ron framed prints of a series of paintings he had done that are inspired by Harry Potter and the four house uniforms. So adorable! I can’t wait to hang them!

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Now, speaking of Harry Potter, Ron and Brad were able to arrange for us to explore the new section of The Wizarding World at Universal, Diagon Alley, on Tuesday. That post is set for tomorrow so check back to take a peek at my first time visiting Diagon Alley! -yes, I cried.

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Tuesday night, we all enjoyed some good wine followed by a fun evening at Universal’s City Walk. We had dinner at Jimmy Buffet’s Margarittaville (which was actually quite disappointing) and then drank and sang karaoke with a live band at Rising Star. A fantastic couple of days with a couple of fantastic people.

Thanks for reading!

Love, GK

 

PS – Last night, my sister and I saw Guardians of the Galaxy. I thought it was amazing! I really loved it. (I went into it knowing next to nothing about the comics though.) I didn’t even think Zoe Saldana was as horrible as she usually is compared to Amy-Stupid-Pond’s desperate reach at acting. I didn’t even believe her when she was just standing there. On a sexy note: when did Andy Dwyer get so ripped and dreamy? And, of course, I’d be remiss not to mention Mr. Sexy-face Pie Man as Super Douche.

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