My bucket list is pretty long. More or less, I want to go everywhere. (With a few exceptions. Like Antarctica. It’s a little too cold.) Some spots do take precedence over others, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios definitely fell in the top five. Fortune smiled on me, and an opportunity presented itself. On New Year’s Eve, no less. My excitement, as I’m sure you can imagine, skyrocketed off the charts.

Here is a sneak peek at the magic of Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.

Arrival at Universal Studios… The warm weather deceived me. It took a minute for the holiday decorations to make sense.

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We headed straight for Diagon Alley, but there was a lot to see on the way. I was going to include those pictures here but opted to put them in a separate post because there are just so many!

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Getting closer…

I couldn’t even put my excitement into words when I caught sight of Grimmauld Place and King’s Cross, which were right near the entrance to Diagon Alley.

The feelings overwhelmed me. It was like seeing the world of Harry Potter come to life before my eyes. The mermaid fountain had an interactive feature that could be activated with a special wand.

The first wand shop we came upon was Gregorovitch’s, but they didn’t have the wand I was looking for. So, it was off to Ollivander’s Wand Shop, which was right around the corner. Walking into that place was a dream come true! Apparently, I was so excited that I forget to get a shot of Ollivander’s from the outside, but here are some pictures of the iconic stacks of wand boxes inside the shop.

Gringott’s was amazing. The dragon shoots fire very ten minutes, and you can feel the heat from the ground.

We also went on the ride. I could only take pictures with my phone (and its camera is lousy), but it was so realistic. Those chandeliers took my breath away, and the ride was a blast. I highly recommend it.

One of my goals was to get ice cream from Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor. Well worth the cost. I got the Earl Grey and Lavender. The flavor was amazing,  but after the first couple bites, it vanished into a more vanilla taste. I managed to snatch a spoonful of the Butterbeer, which I wish I would have gotten, and the Strawberries and Cream. Overall, the ice cream is incredible and shouldn’t be missed.

A quick jaunt down Knockturn Alley. Loved it, but it was harder to get pictures because of the lighting.

We took the Hogwarts Express from Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade. It was a long (long) wait, but I wouldn’t have missed it for all the Butterbeer ice cream in the world.

My time in Hogsmeade was limited by circumstances beyond my control, but I managed to get some pictures, of course.

I’m already planning to go back. There is so much to see and so, and I missed several things I wanted to check out or try. More pictures will be added on a second post along with shots from other parts of Universal. This post is pretty picture heavy as it is. So, if you want to see more, you can check out the additional gallery that’s coming soon.

 

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