Universal Studios Orlando

Sunday, February 9, 2020

My Grandpa John bought me the first Harry Potter book back in 1997 before the 2nd book was even out. He is a hard-core bibliophile, heard about this book being a hit in the UK, and thought I would like it as a kid. He was right! Definitely a legit Potterhead right here! One of our favorite memories of our time in Europe was listening to the entire Harry Potter book series on tape as we road-tripped around. All this to say, we knew we'd have to include a day at Universal Studios during our Orlando trip just so we could visit the Harry Potter-themed attractions.
We parked in the nice garage and made our way to the parks. Can you tell they were excited?!
Surf's up, duuuuuude!
Jane loves doughnuts so we had to get a picture of the doughnut queen on the doughnut throne.
It was a beautiful sunny day in the Sunshine State.
Our tickets were purchased online (actually, Lyndsey with Conciears got them for us as part of our whole Disney experience, so be sure to use her to plan your next Orlando vacation - click on her name to automatically open up a new email to contact her!) and we headed to the will call to pick them up.
Chris' dad's favorite saying is: "If you look up and see blue skies and palm trees, life is good."
Chris and I are not at all familiar with the Universal parks so it took us awhile to get our bearings. All we knew was that we wanted to get to the Harry Potter area STAT!
Looks like we had the park to ourselves!
Love the architecture.
It looks a lot like parts of LA!
Fun retro themes.
Greens and flowers - oh how I've missed you! It's nice to know you do exist!
One of the fun things about Universal is the movie memorabilia scattered around. This was one of the Delorean's from the Back to the Future movies.
After winding our way through the entire park to the very back corner, we found the Harry Potter stuff! Well, actually we found London and now we just had to figure out how to get into Diagon Alley :)
Duck through an archway, curve around a few brick walls, and you're in! You can't see any of the "magical world" from the outside.
Fox and Jane in front of Fred and George's joke shop, Weasley's Wizard Wheezes.
Very immersive experience.
Looking back towards Gringott's Bank and the realistic dragon guarding it.
This thing moved, roared, and, Fox's favorite: breathed fire every few minutes.
The bank was actually the entrance and line to the ride "Escape from Gringott's."
If you really want to FEEL like your IN Harry's world, this is the way to do it.
The goblin bankers were all animatronic and moved and went about their work. They looked so real!
The ride was a fun roller coaster with 3-D movie scenes throughout.
Besides the rides, half the fun is just exploring all the shops and aspects of Diagon Alley.
Details details and more details everywhere.
Well of course I needed a picture of the kiddos in this colorful corner!
Throughout the area you can find spots to perform "magic" with the interactive wands we bought. Find the spot, do the correct hand motion with the wand, and viola! Magic would happen like a fountain spurting water or lights turning on. They've got this figured out.
What's a trip to a Harry Potter location without Butterbeer? Deelish!
"And they mean every flavor. George swears he got a bogey flavored one once."
Magical treats galore.
I loved all the colors.
The exit back out to the park - but we weren't quite done yet!
For lunch we stopped at the Leaky Cauldron. The atmosphere was so fun and the food was good too! It was a traditional English menu. Chris got bangers and mash and I got a chicken sandwich.
Off to Knockturn Alley.
So creepy and cool.
Borgin and Burke's shop.
Fox trying out some of the dark arts. He did choose a Deatheater's wand, afterall.
There was the sound of a little bird chirping inside this. They didn't miss a detail!
"Dad, can we buy one of everything in every shop?" - The kids
Fox making magic happen!
When we found this shop we knew Jane would love it. It was full of magical creatures from the Potterverse.
And what little boy doesn't love dragons?
They'll be doing chores for decades to earn their loot ;)
Legitimately feels like you're in London!
We loved the whole experience of Diagon Alley. Good job Universal!
Eventually we decided to check out the rest of the park. The kids hopped on a spinning Simpsons ride.
Then we played around in a Fivel-themed area.
Just around the corner from the play area was an animal show so we filed in and took our seats. It starred a bunch of different types of animals that are trained for movie and tv work.
Lucky Fox was chosen to go up and help out in the show! He did great!
The bird was supposed to land on his arm hahaha.
Booking it back to his seat.
Beautiful day!
The Simpsons area had a "Lard Lad Donut Shop" and we got Jane one of their epic Big Pink donuts. It was massive and delicious!
Jane in snack heaven,
Her face says it all.
I hope these two are always such good friends.
The park was decorated for Mardi Gras.
We wandered around some more, went on more rides, watched more shows, and then decided to head to our Disney World hotel to start the next phase of our trip. 
The Evans Family at Universal Studios Orlando on February 9th, 2020.

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Paige Taylor Evans © // Quinn Creatives DESIGN