On day 2 of our trip we split up - Mom, Dad, and Ben went to Disney's Wide World of Sports for the Atlanta Braves spring training game. They had a blast!
Meanwhile, Amie picked me up for a fabulous day at Universal Studios and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! We started out at the original Universal, where our first ride was the Hollywood RipRide Rocket Roller Coaster - it was such a cool coaster! We really enjoyed it, but we had our heart set on meeting up with Harry Potter, so we quickly headed to London and the entry to Diagon Alley. First we saw Kreacher peaking out the window at #12 Grimmauld Place when we knocked on the door. Then we met Ernie and Stan on the Knight Bus.
We finally found the opening to Diagon Alley, and it looked JUST like in the movies! I really felt like I was there. There were wizards and wands and magical shops everywhere you looked, but the thing that caught your attention right off the bat was Gringotts Bank with the giant dragon on top - it breathed fire every once in a while. We rode the Escape from Gringotts ride - it was great! We went to Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes where we saw also sorts of magical jokes, including "U No Poo!" and pygmy puffs. My favorite store was Scribbulus, source of parchment, quills, ink, and other writing supplies - perfect for a Ph.D.! No visit to Diagon Alley is complete without a visit to Ollivander's Wand Shop - I didn't buy a wand, but I thought about it. And of course, we had to get ourselves a tasty frozen butterbeer. Delicious!
Eventually we went through the brick wall to platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross Station, where we saw Hedwig as we waited to find our compartment on the Hogwarts Express for a ride to Hogsmeade (at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure). Amie and I visited Hogsmeade on my last trip to Orlando, but it was fun to see it again. It looks like a small British village (it's the only entirely non-Muggle village in Britain), and at the far end is the super imposing Hogwarts Castle. I really wish I could go to school there! We rode Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in the castle, dueled a dragon on the Dragon's Challenge, and met the conductor of the Hogwarts Express before riding back to Diagon Alley.
After wandering around Universal for a while riding various rides (Shrek, the Minions, ET), we decided to hurry back and see Diagon Alley by night. It's so pretty! We even walked right on to Escape from Gringotts for one last ride before we called it a night.
What a fantastic day in the wizarding world! I really wish I wasn't trapped in the muggle world - I think I would be a great wizard, with wands and spells and time turners and broomsticks and Quiddich. Thanks, Amie, for so much fun!