We hadn't been to Universal Studios in Orlando since 1994. We make a yearly trek to Walt Disney World, but have not had the desire to go to Universal again, until now. Now The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is part of the Islands of Adventure park. It is the only thing I can think of that would have gotten me back into Universal. Unless they come up with a Lord of the Rings section, but I digress.
When you walk through the entrance below, you are greeted by the scene above. The Hogwarts Express on you right, with all the hissing and steam you need, and the street of Hogsmeade before you. If you've read the books and watched the movies, it will take your breath away. Joanne had to keep grabbing me, because I was walking around like a dazed kid. She was afraid that I would walk into someone or a wall.
The engine of the Hogwarts Express is lovely in deatail. I was going to take a picture of Joanne in front of the engine, but she kept motioning for me to get in the picture, too. I said, "I can't, I'm taking the picture." She said, in her aggravated voice, "Not you, Him!" I looked to my side and there was the Conductor of the Hogwarts Express, looking very sheepish and questioningly asking, "Me?" Joanne nodded with a grin and he hustled over to get in the shot.
Looking down the street towards Hogwarts Castle.
At the Owl Post you can mail letters or postcards and get them postmarked from Hogsmeade. Honeydukes is the store with all the candies; chocolate frogs and cauldrons, sweets and sours, and every flavored beans.
Looking down the street from the castle.
Zonko's is the gag and gift shop.
This is the back of Hogsmeade, its not just a bunch of store fronts, the whole thing is done right.
The Hogwarts Castle is an incredible sight. It appears massive and is so accurate to the movie.
Joanne and I took the walking tour through the castle. We walked through scenes from the movie. When we finished the tour, Joanne went back outside and waited for me while I did the Forbidden Journey ride.
The stairwell of talking portraits
Defense Against the Dark Arts Classroom
Hog's Head pub
The hog's head actually grunts and snorts.
Unfortunately, the shrunken heads don't talk. I think their stitches are too tight.
Joanne and I slipped up to the bar for a butterbeer. We think its a mix of cream soda, butterscotch, and whipped cream. Its a tad sweet, but we wanted to be able to say we had one.
Hagrid's Hut, unfortunately you can't go inside.
"He's a Hippogriff, isn't he beautiful."
Hippogriff, the ride.
The Three Broomsticks restaurant where we had lunch. Nothing particularly fancy about it, but it was a nice place to take a sit down. We sat at a table with a couple from Great Britain and had a great conversation.
We were invited to be guest singers with the Hogwarts' Choir. Joanne was readily accepted into the choir. Unfortunately, I was relegated to "Toad Status".