Joe actually went there back in November while he was in Orlando for a convention & snuck over to the park to see it. He does the reconnaissance to see what it's all like & reports back to us--which we of course love & want to see.
So we made plans to go the day after Marissa's birthday. We take a cab over & it's nothing like Disney, where each park has a landmark as a hub of the park & you can travel around it all. Universal is straight. You have to walk through the whole park & then backtrack to make your way out. So to get to the Harry Potter area you have to travel through other areas first & you definately have to hit the Harry Potter area first since the lines are CrAZy long!
As you reach the area the 1st thing you see is this. The entrance to "Hogsmeade" the fictional town outside of "Hogwarts School". The sign says "Please respect the Spell limits.", just as if you're a visiting witch or wizard.
Right as you pass under the arch, you see the "Hogwarts Express". It's not a ride & doesn't move.
This is a basic view of the area with the school all the way towards the left side at the back. Which is where everyone is rushing to since that's where the ride is, inside of Hogwarts.
As you get closer you see the school. They really did a fantastic job on the school. It's beautiful!
The ride is considered a "robo-coaster" & how I managed to go on still amazes me. I did it to myself actually. I was trying to get pics of Marissa for her birthday & told her if she let me take decent pics I would go on a ride with her during our trip. I should have said this privately, because Joe heard me & suggested THIS ride & Marissa held me to it. Damn it.
As you're on line to ride you actually go through parts of the castle & you see the "House Points", "Dumbledore's Office", the "Marauder's Map", etc. It's really cool. I had to lock my bag in a locker so I didn't get to take good pics but I used Joe's iphone to take some pics of these areas.
The ride was very smooth & not jerky which would definately have been bad for me. It was neat to see all the effects & it really does feel like you're flying around. I made sure to buy the picture that they take of you during the ride, as proof that I really went on, because I highly doubt I'll be doing it again. ;) Don't go judging me in this pic, either. I look bored, but honestly I'm trying not to think too much about it all so I don't toss my cookies. And I'm squeezing my feet together to make sure my flip flops don't fall off, causing my legs to look chunky. Great memories. ;)
There are a few other rides, but since we were only visiting the park for 1 day we wanted to see as much as we could. Besides I was over it & a bit queasy so we went around to some of the other shops.
Had to visit Honeydukes, which is a candy store & has all of the sweet mentioned in the movie. Very cute place.This Snow-witch & owl were so cute.
The "Three Broomsticks", just like in the movie....
Inside of "Zonko's"....the store is super tiny & crowded, but cute.
When we left the Harry Potter area we went to this attraction called "Poseidon's Fury". It's not a ride but you walk through & there's a "tour guide" that leads you through an "expedition". It was really good.
We went through the Dr. Seuss area. This ride is just like the Dumbo ride at Disney BUT you get wet. Perfect for the hot day it was.
As we're leaving "Island's of Adventure" & heading into "Universal" itself.
While we were there we went on a few more rides (after I grilled the people working there on what the rides are like before going on.) like Men in Black, which was really fun! It's similar to The Toy Story Ride at Hollywood Studios. We rode the E.T. ride & we saw the Terminator show. It was all good. The best ride was a rapid river sort of ride, "Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges" & when I say we got wet I really mean we got SOAKED to the SKIN! Of course like good marketing right outside the ride there are 2 stalls that will blow hot air at you to help dry off for $5 for 5-ish mins. We paid the 5 bucks--we were that drenched.
After a long day at the 2 parks we went to eat at "Pastamore"an Italian restuarant on City Walk which is like an outdoor mall, full of shops & restaurants.
All in all, we didn't see everything or ride everything like "The Hulk"--which will NEVER happen in my lifetime & despite Gianna's wanting to ride it, she won't be riding it while I'm around. That sort of thing just shouldn't exist in my opinion. And there was no doubt that I wasn't going on the "JAWS" ride--I'm insansely terrified of sharks BECAUSE of that movie. **shudder**
So would I go back? Yep, but I'd make sure to bring sunscreen--we were toasty by the end of the long day!