Orlando Day 3: A Fish Headbutts Me

Previous posts: Orlando Day 1, Orlando Day 2 part 1 and Orlando Day 2 part 2.

It’s time for day 3 and thus day 2 of Universal! You’re probably all wondering what the title was about (A FISH ATTACKED YOU?!), but patience young grasshoppers.

We started our day at Islands of Adventure this time, where our first stop was the Spiderman ride, another one of our favourites. If you’re not familiar with this ride: you step inside a cart with 3D-glasses on with the mission of taking a picture of Spiderman, but of course this means you get in the middle of his fights with some of his enemies. It’s a fun stimulator ride which I really recommend.

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Some pictures of the entire day (though there might be pictures from the previous day too).   Look I became a dog for a bit and I practiced for Quidditch. You can also see the infamous fish from my title. After a little show from Spongebob, his friends and some random fish you could take pictures with them (I wanted a picture with Octo but the line was long and it was hot) so I took a picture with that fish. After the photo was taken he either headbutted me or tried to kiss me on the head. I’m not sure which one I’d prefer.

But let’s take a step back in time! When we got off the Spiderman ride and my mom convinced me I didn’t need a very cute Spiderman plush (it’s a good thing really, as we hadn’t been to Disney yet and oh my god guys I don’t think it would have fit in my suitcase or my moms for that matter haha) we bought some fruit and made our way to Hogwarts. We still needed to fly a Hippogriff after all!

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Of course selfies needed to be taken and butterbeer had to be drunk

After a few quick selfies (the Butterbeer came after the ride) we immediately made our way to the Hippogriff before it got too busy and got in line.

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I wanted to take a selfie without my mom, but was photobombed by not one, but TWO people (the other person got cut off the photo in the collage). At least no one photobombed my selfie with Buckbeak (I swear I was more enthusiastic than my face looks haha). Also quick on-ride selfies. The first one is on our way up haha. I know my mom looks a bit scared but it’s really not that high! It’s a fun kiddie rollercoaster. Though if you sit in the front you don’t have a net, so you might want to hold on to your bag (which I did the entire ride).

After the ride I got a Butterbeer and did some shopping before we set off to Hogsmeade station. Thankfully the train did ride today, so we got in line which wasn’t that long as it was the beginning of the day. This time my mom made some photos during the train ride (well she made quite a lot of photos but a lot of them are blurry so I won’t share those) and I filmed the train arriving.

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Like I said in my previous post, the film on the way from Hogwarts to Diagon Alley and the other way around are different, so make sure to take the train both ways! For more info on the train, visit my previous post.

Once we were back at Diagon Alley we made our way to Gringotts right away, as we really wanted to go again haha. The line was longer this time, but that meant I noticed more details (and like I said in my previous posts it was this day that we saw the Golden Trio and Griphook). This time we were all taken from the line one by one to get your picture taken as a nice memorial (I especially like the map and border of the photo. I don’t even really like the photo itself haha).

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Again, if you want to know more about this ride, visit my previous post.

By now we were really hungry, so we decided to find a restaurant (fish and chips was the only thing I liked on the menu of the Leaky Cauldron and I wanted something else that day) so we left Diagon Alley and started our search for a restaurant. First we had to stop at the Men in Black store though (I’m not a fan of the ride. Two years ago I shot at all the aliens but I barely got any points. So either I didn’t understand it or I just suck haha) because PUGS.

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You may or may not know that I’m a bit obsessed with pugs (which is ironic really as I’ve been afraid of dogs most my life. Still am, just not of all dogs and definitely not of pugs! But I’m allergic haha). So naturally I had to get this pillow and shirt. I also got a pin and button, but at different shops.

After shopping we continued our search for a place to eat, and in the end we ended up at the Monster Cafe.

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Inside they had all these old movie posters from monster films and they were airing Dracula (except on one tv they aired this old animated movie about a mouse. I can’t remember the name sadly! But I thought it was funny and odd that they were airing it at a monster cafe haha), which added to the atmosphere. The food was normal human food, not monster food. No blood pints and limbs or anything.

After our lunch it was time for Revenge of the Mummy again, as it’s really close to the Monster Cafe and like I said in my previous post we love that ride! When we got off we caught the Blues Brothers performing so we watched them for a bit and then went to get ice cream. I was very delighted to find out they sold Ben and Jerry’s.

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IT WAS SO GOOD. But I’m biased because I love Ben and Jerry’s.

After some shopping we picked up our purchases at the package pick-up spot and walked back to Islands of Adventure, as my mom had made an appointment with a shop owner to buy a skirt she wanted but didn’t have enough money to buy it the previous day and we needed to pick up our purchases from Islands of Adventure as well.

It started raining again this time, but now we were prepared! We traded our sneakers for our flip-flops and put on our raincoats and made our way out of the park into the nearest Starbucks as we still had some time left before the shuttle from the hotel came to pick us up.

And that was the end of our Universal adventures! I was very sad that we wouldn’t be returning to the Wizarding World, but it also meant that in two days we’d go to Disney! We originally planned to go the next day, but we needed to rest for a day haha. I’ll skip this rest day as it’s not very exciting, except that we pretty much had a private pool for the entire day (on most days actually!). There were hardly any people at the pool, which was awesome.

How do you guys feel about pugs? AREN’T THEY ADORABLE. And Ben and Jerry’s am I right? If you’ve been to the Wizarding World, did you have as much fun as I did? Let me know in the comments!

– The Writing Hufflepuff

Orlando Day 2: The Wizarding World part 2

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!

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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.

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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?

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More pretty shops!

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!)

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Look my future workplace! If I weren’t a Muggle. WHICH I AM NOT. I REFUSE TO BELIEVE THAT

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BEHOLD. BUTTERBEER ICE CREAM

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!

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The dragon spat fire while we ate. Not on this picture as you can see of course. I wanted to film it but I was too late every time

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).

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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!

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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.

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I don’t even know what’s going on in the first one. I wanted to take a picture of us both drinking, but as you can see, that didn’t exactly go as planned

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Part two… As you can see it took a lot of pictures before we got a good one. At some point my mom wasn’t even in the shot anymore… Oops

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

BewarenBewaren

Orlando Day 2: The Wizarding World Part 1

Note: For some reason WordPress decided to delete quite a bit of text from my post, thus I had put this on private to edit it later. If you’ve already read this post yesterday, you might have missed something! 

Warning: Lot’s of fangirling and caps lock ahead.

This was originally going to be one post, but I quickly noticed that this was getting rather long… SO TWO POSTS IT IS.

I had fallen asleep quickly the previous evening, but woke up a few times during the night and finally got up at five in the morning, after all it was eleven in the morning in Amsterdam and I just couldn’t sleep anymore. So we showered, dressed and went out for breakfast, but that is irrelevant guys. Because after breakfast, we needed to get ready for the shuttle to… UNIVERSAL STUDIOS.

Since Diagon Alley wasn’t open yet when I was there two years ago, we decided to start there and then catch the Hogwarts Express to Islands of Adventure. Today would be dedicated to Harry Potter (though we couldn’t ride the Hippogriff that day and had to wait until the next day, but more on that later).

When we arrived at the park we had to turn in our voucher for our actual tickets, but there was a problem. We needed an ID and my mom hadn’t brought any. That same morning I had asked my mom if she didn’t need to bring any (not even for the tickets, just in general) and she was like ‘nah’. So when the woman behind the desk asked for an ID, naturally we were like ‘OH SHIT’. Thankfully the woman was really sweet and patient, and in the end we showed her an email from Arkefly where we had booked our trip and tickets for Universal and she allowed that (we were so lucky as I doubt there are many people who would have done that. She actually needed something with my mom’s name and picture on it). So after that nerve-wracking ordeal we entered the park and made our way to London (which sounds really weird haha). We did stop at the Revenge of the Mummy ride as that was one of our favourites two years ago and there was only a 10 minute wait. Oh, and of course selfies needed to be taken!

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The picture on the right is in line for the Mummy. We had to quickly take it before people could walk past us and take our spot in line!

After that we really made our way to London, or at least where we thought it would be. A map would’ve been useful, but I could remember where they had been building two years ago, and you can’t really get lost in Universal! (though it would’ve been a lot like us to get lost). We knew we were headed in the right direction when we spotted King’s Cross, but of course we couldn’t take the train yet! No, we had to explore London, needed to take a picture with the Knight Bus and go to Diagon Alley!

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The guy who played Stan was spot on not to mention hilarious: ‘You a Hufflepuff? I think he might be a Hufflepuff’ *nods at Ernie* ”Cause he was BADGERING me this morning’ I know, terrible pun, but I laughed so hard. I love bad puns.

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Don’t mind me, just checking up on the Order. CAN YOU SPOT KREACHER?! That picture was actually taken the next day. Some people were pointing and that’s when I noticed him. To be fair, he appears and disappears. So if you’re going, now you know to pay attention for our house elf friend! (I love Kreacher. Not as much as Dobby, but I really love him)

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LOOK HOW PRETTY

I swear the people who build everything at Universal are so talented. I was constantly awed by everything.

ANYWAYS. It was time to enter Diagon Alley itself.

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I was so overwhelmed by how big and beautiful and PERFECT everything was (still is, except it’s missing one important thing: ME. Okay, I’ll stop being dramatic as I’m already lucky that I got to go!)

After taking a few photos we immediately made our way to Gringotts, as it would only get busier and busier (in case you didn’t know, that’s the ride in Diagon Alley). We were really lucky, as the wait was only 45 minutes! (I mean, I expected it to be at least an hour!). So after putting our stuff in a locker (it’s required, so IMMEDIATELY head there! And make sure you remember which finger you use for the fingerprint to open your locker) we quickly went inside. Part of the line is outside (with fans HALLELUJAH. As in ventilators. I’m sure I wasn’t the only Potterhead there, but I was praising the ventilators that saved us from dying from the heat) with some amusing posters:

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The line outside was pretty quick as we made our way back inside, where you really enter the bank. Which is really, really gorgeous with goblins everywhere (who move and one of them even talks).

The beauty couldn't be captured in pictures, but I tried

The beauty couldn’t be captured in pictures, but I tried

As you walk further into the bank you pass the goblins’ offices where you also sort of meet up with the Golden Trio and Griphook (you see them in the doors of the offices. We missed this the first time because the line went too quick, so keep an eye out!) as they talk about their break-in.

Then you end up at Bill Weasley’s office where he and another goblin talk about our tour at the bank and Bill decides to join our tour. I filmed their conversation, but it’s a lot more fun to see it for yourself! (If you want to see it, let me know and I’ll upload it on Youtube and send you the link) The holograms they used for Bill and the goblin are amazing- it looks so real!

Heads up: do not get too excited at this part. You’re not there yet! (I made that mistake). You end up in another line where you also get your ‘safety goggles’ aka 3D glasses, but this line is quite short and before you know it you’re already sitting in a cart!

The ride itself was a lot of fun and SO WELL MADE. The second day we were sitting in front of the cart and I actually got scared a bit (Voldy got a little bit TOO close). The actors appearing in it all did a great job and BILL WEASLEY GOT THE SCREEN TIME HE DESERVED. FINALLY. That was the first thing I thought as we neared the end of the ride haha. I just really love Bill guys.

I won’t tell you too much of course, as that takes the surprise away! I wish you guys could’ve seen/heard me. It was a lot of ‘AAAH’ obviously and ‘OH NO’ and ‘OH SHIT’. The only fault I had was that the employees working the ride said ‘have fun Muggles’. Muggles. I AM NOT A MUGGLE.

After we got off and did a bit of shopping (the store was so pretty! But all stores were) we made our way to the Leaky Cauldron as we were starving, especially me. And when I get really hungry I’m not fun to be around haha.

When you get inside you get in a line, but don’t worry! It’s a quick one (though maybe not so quick if you’re hungry…) and once you’re through you’re directed to a register where you order your food and pay, at which you get this really cool candle with a number on it to take to your table with you, where you have to wait for your food. Again, don’t worry: you get your food really fast, but sadly they take the candle away. I just loved holding that candle guys. It was so much fun, which may sound weird, but it was!

I ordered fish and chips, but from the kiddie menu as I knew that I would never be able to finish the adult sized one and I found that a waste of money. Of course I also got a Butterbeer! How could I not?!

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LOOK AT THAT CANDLE. SO. MUCH. FUN. Oh my god it sounds like I’m high on sugar or something worse. Don’t worry, the only thing I’m high on is Harry Potter.

And this is where I leave you! Next time: Shopping at Diagon Alley! More photos! I review Butterbeer ice cream! A video! And more! So stay tuned.

Have you been to Diagon Alley yet? Did you have as much fun as I did? Did you write a post about it? Tell me in the comments!

– The Writing Hufflepuff