Yesterday I wrote about the first half of my day at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter last week at Universal Studios Orlando and I mentioned that I had so many pictures that I wanted to share that I had to split the post in two. So I’m back today with Part 2! Forgive me in advance if I write any sentences that don’t make sense. I’m writing this ahead of time (Tuesday night) and I came home from work today with a high fever. I’m taking a sick day tomorrow since my temperature isn’t back to normal yet and I have burst of energy right now – enough to write this post anyway – but I may be a little delirious.
So I left off yesterday talking about riding the Hogwarts Express to get from Islands of Adventure over to Universal Studios where the other half of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is. This section is newer than the Hogsmeade section in Islands of Adventure. Hogsmeade was pretty magical and looked like a winter wonderland with the snow covered roofs, garland everywhere, and chimneys. Diagon Alley was just as magical and full of wonder but in a more whimsical way. When you get off the Hogwarts Express in Universal Studios, you come out of King’s Cross Station and see the Knight Bus.
What was really cool, is that they made Diagon Alley like in the movies – meaning they created a whole London facade that faces onto the “street” where people are walking to get to other parts of the park like to the Men in Black ride or Revenge of the Mummy. But in a passage way in the London facade (consisting of places like Leicester Square Station, a fancy building, and Grimmauld Place) leads you to the secret, magical world of Diagon Alley!
Once through the opening, you’re behind “London” buildings and in Diagon Alley. Pretty cool that they created this whole facade right?
All the shops from the books and movies can be found here like Ollivander’s and Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. It’s so fun and you see kids everywhere running around with their newly purchased wands waving them around. Especially, if they bought the interactive wands which let them “cast spells” which do cool things like make water shoot out of the mermaid statue or make things move in the store windows.
My little cousin got a wand from Ollivander’s, which looks like the movies with floor to ceiling shelves of boxes of wands. I didn’t go inside Gregoravitch’s but I wonder what kind of wands they sold there. They sell every wand imaginable in Ollivander’s from Harry’s, of course, to even Death Eaters and Bellatrix Lestrange .
We ate lunch at The Leaky Cauldron, which I will write about in my food post coming up tomorrow, but similar to breakfast at The Three Broomsticks, you order at the counter. At Three Broomsticks, you get your tray of food and then you’re seated. At The Leaky Cauldron, you get a number and they deliver your food to you.
In one of the candy shops, I had to pick up some chocolate frogs! I haven’t eaten them yet, but I will for sure let you know what I thought of them when I do!
Above Gringotts, is the dragon from Deathly Hallows and every 10 minutes or so it breathes out fire which is really cool! It’s enough fire that you can definitely feel the heat from down the street. Everyone waits for it to see it and capture a photo or video. You know it’s coming when you hear rumbling. I was lucky enough to capture it during the day and at night, plus a video which I’ll share at the bottom of this post.
Of course I had to wear my Platform 9 3/4 shirt! (Kohl’s).
Okay, get ready for a story!
Around 5pm, we decided to get on line for the ride, Escape from Gringotts, the newer ride in Wizarding World of HP. The wait was 155 minutes, but the time wasn’t going down and we decided to just wait it out. The line was so long and at times didn’t move at all. After days of being at Disney and an early start at Universal, we were all on our last legs and running on fumes. We discussed picking a cut-off time to get off the line if we weren’t making progress, especially since we had multiple announcements about delays usually followed a few minutes later saying the issues was resolved. But nonetheless. We were in the rows and rows of line outside the ride and we still had to go inside the building. We decided that if by 7pm we weren’t at the part of the line that was about to go inside, we’d leave. At 7pm we were just 2 or 3 rows from being able to go inside so we decided we’d stay because we’d made it that far. The only thing we worried about is that there was a long line inside. So, we made it in to the building where half our party was redirected to put our bags in the complimentary lockers and my cousin and I stood in line amongst the goblins waiting. The goblins really moved, writing on their papers, and talked!
Okay, so we moved out of this room and then were brought to another room to walk through and get our pictures taken. Then, we got brought to another room to stand in lines and get our 3D glasses and I could see big doors that said “automatic doors” so we were thinking the ride was just on the other side, finally! Wrong. I made a joke that behind that door was another line and while it wasn’t another line, it was a really large elevator. We had to wait for the “elevator” to open and let us in. Then, we figured the ride was right outside the other elevator doors after we “went down”. But the doors didn’t close and I actually said “Why aren’t the doors closing?” and my cousin’s husband said it would be horrible if we heard the announcement again about a delay. Then, the worker who operates the elevator told us there was an issue and she didn’t know how long it would be so if we wanted to sit down we had to come out of the elevator. Feeling defeated and unsure of whether we’d be able to get back up off the floor, we waited about 5-10 minutes before being told the good news that we could get back on the elevator.
So the elevator does its thing and we think when the doors open we can get on the ride! Nope. We walk out and immediately we were like “you’ve got to be kidding me”. It was 2 spiral staircases filled with a line of people!!!! Luckily the line/climb up stairs went by fairly quickly. The ride was pretty good but I would not wait 155 minutes for it in the future. I think the most I would wait is an hour.
After coming out, it was dark so we got a few more photos before heading out to get dinner and head home after a long, tiring day. I had wanted to see Hogwarts lit up at night, but at this point none of us, myself included, wanted to walk back over. We were tired and our feet were killing us. Next time for sure! I hope you enjoyed my recap (both parts 1 and 2!) and my photos. Trust me, there were a lot more! Below are a video of the dragon and walking around Diagon Alley. Enjoy!