Welcome to part two! You can find part one of day 2 here. Again I warn you for fangirling and all caps. Be prepared.
After our lunch at the Leaky Cauldron, it was time for shopping! At the end of this blog series I’ll write a post about the stuff I bought, but for now pretty pictures of pretty shops!
I didn’t buy anything at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, but it was sure fun to look around! In my next collage there’s this great Umbridge toy; I laughed when I saw it. In the second picture, if you look close enough (damn the reflection), you can see the Monster Book of Monsters.
Madam Malkin’s shop is also really pretty, with so many clothes and accessories to buy! They also have this great mirror that complimented me when I walked by: ‘Merlin’s beard! You look amazing!’ Of course my mom wanted a compliment as well, but it took a while haha.
Am I the only one that kind of wants to buy one of Lockhart’s books? Or at least flip through it haha.
LOOK AT THAT UMBRIDGE TOY. Isn’t it genius?! It’s so like the twins to make something like that (and let’s face it, it would sell so well under the Hogwarts students).
Oh and look! A FIREBOLT!
The Magical Menagerie was also a lot of fun to look around in, with lots of different creatures! I have to say I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t find any Pigmy Puff earmuffs, but I suppose they only sell those in Japan?
I couldn’t take pictures everywhere, as it was either too crowded or too dark (like Knockturn Alley. I have no pictures from that one sadly. It was just too dark!)
After some walking around, taking pictures and shopping, we were really craving some ice cream. So where else to go than Florean’s!
You can get regular ice cream flavours, but of course I had to try Butterbeer ice cream. My mom decided to try it as well, though unlike me she didn’t finish it. I found it really, really delicious, but it was a bit too sweet for my mom haha. Tip: go to Gringotts first, because you might get nauseous or just really full, and you really don’t want to go on a ride like that afterwards!
After we had finished our ice cream it was time to go Shutterbuttons! Now, you may ask, what is Shutterbuttons?
At Shutterbuttons you can make your own ‘moving portrait’ a.k.a. a film. It is a bit expensive, but it’s worth it, a nice memento and a lot of fun! Besides, you can decide afterwards if you want to buy it! How nice is that?
So you go into this room with a big screen, where you get robes (you can choose the House yourself). Obviously I went with Hufflepuff, my mom chose Gryffindor.
The person helping you tells you exactly where to stand and what to do, so don’t worry about a thing! You might find it awkward at first (I know I did), but the people working at Universal are all so friendly and welcoming, they just make you feel at home!
I can’t find a way to put the video in here, so if you want to see ours, you can click here. If you have any questions about this, feel free to ask!
At this point we had pretty much been everywhere in Diagon Alley, so it was time to go to King’s Cross and take the train (which sounds really weird haha).
Do keep in mind that in order to board the train, you need a Park-to-Park ticket. I have no idea what you need to do if you only have a ticket to one of the parks. You can probably buy a ticket to the other park at King’s Cross/Hogsmeade Station, but I’m not sure.
I WALKED THROUGH THE WALL. It’s really cool ’cause once you get there, there is nothing. The things they can do these days.
Inside the train, you get your own coupé (well, with some other people probably, depending with how many you are) and once you start driving the film in the window starts playing, which looked so real! Also pay attention to the doors as the Golden Trio appears there. The ride is really well-done (again haha) and so much fun! The ride to Hogwarts and the ride back to Diagon Alley are different, so don’t forget to go again!
Once at Hogsmeade we made our way to the castle, to take the ride there. I did take pictures, but they didn’t come out that well sadly. If you have never been on there, here is one important tip:
DO NOT WEAR FLIP FLOPS. Or keep them in your hand. Seriously, you could lose them.
The line in this one is really, really long, but it’s a fun line once you get inside the castle, because it’s basically a tour of Hogwarts and you forget that you’re spending a lot of time in line.
Once again I won’t tell you about the ride, because where’s the fun in that?
So once we got out of the ride, we wanted to go on the Flight of the Hippogriff, but the line was really long and after having stand in line for a long time for both The Forbidden Journey (the ride at the castle) and the train, we really couldn’t handle another line haha. Thus we decided to come back later (which we didn’t, as we got quite the storm and it didn’t ride. Thankfully we had another day!) and walked around a bit at Hogsmeade. Once we had seen and done everything, we walked around the rest of the park.
At some point we ended up at a restaurant in the cartoon area, where we decided to sit down and drink something. I really recommend you to do this if you’re going in the summer time as well, as both the heat, the standing in lines and walking around can really exhaust you!
While there I decided to take a picture of us, with the selfie stick we had bought before the trip. I’m not good with selfie sticks guys.
If you didn’t know yet, there’s an app for Universal at which you can find the waiting times. Sadly I don’t remember it’s name, but I used it to see if the line for the Hippogriff was shorter then (it was), but as you know we never got to go on it that day.
We did make our way towards it, but we noticed that the weather was changing and when we got back to Hogsmeade, started to rain. It didn’t last that long, but it was still very cloudy, thus the ride was closed.
So we decided to take the train back to Diagon Alley (as I of course wanted to see both films). When we got in line they already told us that they were having some problems, but we thought it wouldn’t take that long. Boy, were we wrong. At some point they told us they had no idea how long it was going to take, and that if we wanted to get out we could. Thus we did. We had no desire to stand in a line for that long when there was so much else to do! Besides it was really, really hot.
You know that rain that caused the Hippogriff to close down? That was just a preview. Thankfully we had rain capes (Mickey and Minnie ones!) but our shoes were soaked (Universal doesn’t have a good drainage, there were pools and pools of water), so when we got back to the hotel my mom had to dry them with the hair dryer haha.
Ah, I almost forgot! See at Universal and Disney you have this great thing called ‘package pick-up’: you can get your purchases delivered to the front of the park and three hours after your purchase you can pick it up. That way you don’t have to walk around with all those bags (and it’s not very practical when you go on rides). So we still had to pick those up. Not just at Islands of Adventure, where we were at the time the storm started, but also at Universal Studios… Woops (can’t believe I forgot about that. Or maybe I made myself forget?). Oh well, I mainly wanted to tell you guys about this awesome service! They do usually ask you if you want it, but it’s good to know beforehand as some employees might forget to ask!
And that concludes day 2! Now tell me: have you tried Butterbeer ice cream? What do you think of it? And have you made your own Shutterbuttons video? Share it with me! If you want of course haha. Oh and how are you with selfie sticks?
– The Writing Hufflepuff