Despite the fact that we were in the Greatest City in the World, we wanted to go see a world we will never truly be able to visit—The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Universal Studios has given ‘muggles’ a chance to enjoy the wonder of J.K. Rowling’s magical world at their Islands of Adventure them park.
The island includes the high street of Hogsmeade (the village that 3rd year students of Hogwarts and older get to visit) and is host to all the shops and pubs that are mentioned in the books. The most famous being Zonko’s joke shop, Honeydukes, The Three Broomsticks, The Hogs Head, and Olivander’s wand shop. I really splurged at Honeydukes, purchasing rock and cauldron cakes, and my very own chocolate frog. I washed these down with pumpkin juice, and kept my sugar high going all day with the parks famous Butterbeer.
We ran around like first years buying supplies and tried on robes, were chosen by wands, and got into house rivalries along the way. The Hogwarts express is there to greet you in along with a conductor sweating in the Orlando heat while in a jumpsuit.
As for rides on the island there is a hippogryph ride for kids, a set of dueling dragon coasters for adults, and a 3D ride that takes you all over the grounds of Hogwarts on levitating benches that Hermione has been nice enough to charm for the curious. The main attraction is definitely the ride through Hogwarts, even the waiting line is enchanted with foreign plants in the green house, paintings that move and fight amongst themselves, the vials of crystals showing the house points, and our grouchy friend the sorting hat even makes an appearance. I have to be honest that the final ride did not blow my mind and felt I would have rather just been able to explore the castle on my own. However the park will make any Harry Potter die hard weep for joy, and be something that anyone will find magical.
Although Harry stole the show, the other islands of the park are still a lot of fun, my favorite being the marvel island with a cool 3D Spiderman ride, and the monster-speed Hulk Coaster. This has always been one of my favorite theme parks and Harry has iced the cake.