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Kit’s Guest Blog – A Magical Day at Harry Potter World

I got up at 6am. We were going to Universal Studios that day so I was half jumping on my bed, luckily I didn’t or I would have bumped my head on the ceiling, OUCH! Everyone else was still asleep, which was a bit annoying. My mum had set the alarm clock for 7.30am so I got up and changed it to 7:00am!

Finally it was morning (hallelujah!). I practically jumped out of my bed I was so excited! We all had porridge for breakfast because my auntie Lou-lou said it would fill us up. Speaking of Lou-lou, she brought us a present from Noni – some Gryffindor tops to wear today! Believe me, they were comfy!

We left our campsite at around 9am. The drive was half an hour so we decided to make lunch on the way.

Universal studios
Disclaimer – this blog may not make much sense if you have not read Harry Potter.

A couple of minutes before we got there we spotted Hogwart’s Castle of Witchcraft and Wizardry (a replica of it). By then, Soren and I could have run to it we were so excited but there were two holes in the plan:
1) It was about half a marathon away
2) We had to get through security

When we got there, we hugged our dad goodbye and set of. We got to the entrance queue and found out it was a total free for all! We nudged passed everyone and we were there within five minutes. 

It was $140 per person, which is a lot of money. Auntie Lou-lou spent more on all of our tickets than on her flight to America! It was a Christmas present from everyone for us though, which is why we had the money. It was very nice of them!

When we were in the proper bit of Universal Studios we saw a lot of rides, tours and basically everything a theme park needed. There were roller coasters that went up vertically and went down vertically – scary! There were 4D rides and most of the other types of rides you can think of!

We went to find Diagon Alley. The first time we tried to find it, we went the wrong way and ended up facing the Secret Life of Pets dogs. They kept wanting us to come over and hug them and  were almost as creepy as the roller coasters.

Diagon alley universal studios
It felt awesome to finally be at Diagon Alley, the place we had been waiting for since Christmas.

In the end we found the entrance to Diagon Alley hidden near a British phonebox. It was amazing! The first place we saw was Weasley’s Wizard Weezes joke shop. Inside, there were Pygmy Puffs (fluffy little pink animals – Ginny Weasley got one in book six), jokes, pranks and love potions (that didn’t work of course!). It was awesome! There were jokes like ‘Extendable Ears’, ‘Nose-biting Tea-cups’, quills that do your homework for you (again, it doesn’t work but would be very, very, very, very, very handy if it did!) and many others.

We had interactive wands that actually worked! Well not really, but it looked like they did. There were bronze medallions on the floor showing us what movement to do and what to say. On the first one we did, it said you had to do a sort of rainbow shape with your wand and say “Descendio”. If you moved it just right there was a hovering umbrella that went down as you moved your wand.

Spells in Harry Potter world
At this shop, Soren levitated a feather

We carried on going down Diagon Alley. We saw the Norwegian Ridgeback (the dragon that Harry, Ron and Hermione used to escape from Gringotts to get the Horcrux inside Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault) on top of Gringotts Bank. We  had read that it actually breathed real fire every 2 hours and we really hoped we would see it because that would be AMAZING!   

We popped into Quality Quidditch Supplies. It was cool, but not as cool as Weasley’s Wizard Weezes. It had fake broomsticks; Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw Quidditch robes; fake quaffles, bludgers and snitches and moving pictures of the Hollyhead Harpies, Chudley Cannons and Victor Krum.

Next, we went in to ‘Madam Malkins Robes For All Occasions’. It was pretty cool but it was probably the busiest shop yet. It was filled with all sorts of robes to buy but sadly, all the robes were something like 120 dollars. Our mum was with us and she is so fussy about our budget (don’t tell her that I said that) she would never allow it! There was a mirror that said nice comments and rude comments abot how you looked, luckily mine were nice.

We did Pottermore on the previous day (Pottermore is an app where you have to answer questions and it puts you in one of the four houses: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin). Me and Soren came up as Hufflepuff, our mum Gryffindor and Aunty Lou-lou as Ravenclaw! That’s why we’re all wearing our house robes above.

We went into lots more shops, including ‘Eallops Owl Emporium’, ‘Dervish and Bangs’, ‘Flourish and Blotts’, ‘Dogweed and Deathcap’, ‘Ollivanders’, ‘Zonko’s’ and finally Hercules’ Herbology Components and Potions Ingredient’s for Young Witches and Wizards . There was also a few more spells that we found, including Levicorpus, Tarantacula, Aguamenti, Reparo, Silencio and Specialis Revelio!  

This is Ollivander’s wand shop which can be found in Diagon Alley

After that we went into Knockturn Alley. To get there, you had to go through a tight passage next to the ‘Leaky Cauldron’ pub. It was quite dark considering it was a sunny day. When we got there, it really looked like how it did in the movie.

First we went to Noggin and Bonce. There was another spell on it, Alohamora. The spell unlocks doors. Soren tried it first and it took him three tries. Next I tried it. Surprisingly, I got it first time! The door lock made a clicking sound so, unlike Soren, I tried to turn the handle. It blew loads of air into my face!  I got a couple of people’s attention, so I guess they didn’t try to turn the handle either!

After that, we went to Borgin and Burkes. It wasn’t what I thought it would be like – it was not as scary. It had skull teddy’s, dark mark tattoos and non-scary stuff like that. There was also the vanishing cabinet Draco Malfoy used to smuggle some Death Eaters into the school.

Outside Borgin and Burkes, there was a mystery spell – a hex that you had to decode from your map. I can’t remember what you had to do with your wand but I remember it made a bunch of talking heads say something. Each time was different. When I tried, they sang a long song about ghosts which was quite funny.

We went back to Diagon Alley and we noticed a stage had been put up. On the stage, Celestina Warbeck was singing a really high song, whilst her crew did a really weird dance. I bet she got paid a lot because that must be the most embarrassing job on earth!

Gringotts dragon
Waiting for the dragon to breathe fire

After that, we noticed quite a lot of people were gathering around the dragon perched upon Gringotts. They were all pointing their cameras at the dragon. We got ours out too because we thought that some staff member had told someone that the dragon was about to breathe fire. The man at Ollivanders said it is completely random when it breathes fire though. Nothing happened. It was probably someone just taking a normal picture because they wanted to show their kids what it looked like! So, after I moaned with disappointment, we decided we were going to go to Hogsmeade.

Me and Soren were really excited about going on the Hogwarts Express to get to Hogsmeade. First we got out of Diagon Alley and entered Kings Cross station. It was a long but quick queue. When we got to the front of the queue, the staff member told us to sit in compartment F.

Hogwarts express
The Hogwarts Express looked really realistic

When we got close to Platform Nine and Three-Quarters, Lou-lou spotted that they had made a hologram so it  looked like the people just go through a solid wall!

When everyone was safely on board, the doors to each compartment door closed. Some music from the Harry Potter movies started and we started moving. The window projected us moving through London; we saw the the London eye, Big Ben and other London things. We also saw the car Harry and Ron used to get to Hogwarts. We saw Hagrid on his flying motorbike and some Centaurs in the Forbidden Forest (this was all moving too).

We arrived at Hogsmeade Station ten minutes later. It was an amazing ride and maybe the best bit about Universal Studios so far.

This is the replica of Hogwarts

The first thing we saw at Hogsmeade was Hogwarts. It looked amazing! We had read that there was a light display at night all around Hogwarts with fireworks that took shape as Gryffindor’s lion, Hufflepuff’s badger, Slytherin’s serpent and Ravenclaw’s eagle. Sadly it wasn’t even lunchtime yet so we would have to wait for that.

The first shop we went to was Honeydukes sweet shop. It was packed with all sorts of candy including ‘Fizzing Whizbee’s’, ‘Exploding Bon-bon’s’, ‘Chocolate Frogs’, ‘Berty Botts Every Flavoured Beans’, liquorice wands, pumpkin pasties, blood-flavour and rainbow lollipops, ‘Canary Creams’, ‘Chocolate Cauldrons’ and lots more. We ended up buying two rainbow lollipops a Chocolate Frog and some Berty Botts Beans.

We carried on wandering around Hogsmead, popping into a couple more shops.  We decided we’d have a Butterbeer after a couple of rides.

We queued up for the Forbidden Journey, the ride in Hogwarts. It was a pretty long queue but it only lasted an hour and you got to walk all around the inside of Hogwarts. There were talking pictures, cauldrons, the entrance to Dumbledore’s office and, the best thing: holograms of Harry, Ron, Hermione and Dumbledore.

Hogwarts universal
The holograms of Harry, Ron and Hermione

When we got to the ride section we decided someone would go on it before me or Soren did, just in case it was too scary. Lou-lou and mummy did rock, paper, scissors. Mummy ended up winning so we sent a anxious looking Lou-lou onto the ride.

Five minutes later Lou-lou came back to tell us that it was a great ride and that we should definitely go on it. Soren and Mummy went on it next but I wasn’t sure about it and sat with Lou-lou instead.

When we got back outside we went to the Three broomsticks to have a cold Butterbeer. We spent at least twenty minutes in the queue before we got to place our order and it cost thirty dollars all together.

Butterbeer tasted like butterscotch and cream soda put together. It was VERY tasty!!

After that, the adults decided to go and visit the other parts of the park. I wasn’t very keen on that idea because I wanted to stay in the Harry Potter section for as long as possible. Sadly, I was outvoted so we ended up going to the Jurassic Park section.

The Jurrasic Park place was full of Dinosaur statues and kids who were obsessed with dinosaurs. We went on to the Avengers bit instead to try out a ride.

When we got there, Lou-lou looked on her phone to see what was the best ride around this area. It turned out to be the Spider-man 3D ride. Even though I am not into it at all, I was up to have a ride.

When we got to the front of the queue, we got in this sort of hovering, racing car. When we set off, the car started going very, very slowly and then suddenly we did a really sharp corner. That’s when the ride really started.

Loads of life-like projections appeared. We fell down a cliff (Mummy was screaming) and then suddenly a web appeared and we hurtled back up again! After we saw Spider-man and he said to “be careful” because there were bad guys there. Suddenly a sort of water monster appeared and we got sprayed with some water as he made a grab for us.

The rest of the ride was pretty much the same, monsters attacking, Spider-man saving us and 360 degree corners. It was fun until the ride glitched at the very end and made no sense – the pictures didn’t match the way the car was moving . We left the ride and Mummy said that this ride was scarier than the Harry Potter one and Soren said the Harry Potter one was much better. I regretted not going on it and decided I did want to go on it after all. 

As we walked back we decided that first we would do The Escape of the Hippogriff ride, another roller-coaster. The queue lasted about half an hour. When we got in the coaster we went up a big hill and fell straight back down. We reached the bottom, turned a tight corner and then we went sideways, up and down. It was so fast it and was over in minutes, even though the ride looked big.

We went back to the Forbidden Journey ride in Hogwarts. The queue was the same as last time so I don’t need to explain it again. After a long wait, we got on the ride and set off! We were on an enchanted bench following Harry on his broom (remember this is just projections again). We saw Arragog and the Dementors but the best bit was when the broom stick lost control and we flew very fast to the ground. The ride lasted 2 or 3 minutes and then we finished. I wanted to go again but that would have meant another hour in the queue. I regretted that I didn’t have a go in the first place as Soren did get to go twice.

We had such a good day, we were gutted to have to go home

We decided to go back to Diagon Alley to get some ice creams before we left. We queued up for the Hogwarts express again. We were in compartment H this time. On the way back, we saw the knight-bus and Fred and George Weasley on broomsticks escaping Hogwarts. Personally, I liked the way out to Hogsmeade more than the journey back, but all the same it was good.

When we were back in Diagon Alley, we went to Florian Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour. We came out with two Caramel and Apple Crumble ice creams. We waited a little longer for the dragon to breathe fire, but it must have been one of those days when it stays quiet.

We were sad to leave – we all wished we could have stayed longer. We didn’t get to see the fireworks because it was light when they closed the park to day visitors. It was definitely our best day in America though.