Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Tea Monologues | The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

*Queue Hedwig's Theme Song*

Hello from Hogwarts!

First of all, if you are a Muggle I apologise for not being able to see the perfection that is the Hogwarts Castle in that photo. You really are missing out.

Welcome, to Hogsmeade! (Completely unintended brilliant Jurassic Park crossover - geddit, Universal Orlando goers?)

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, are the tip-top of the amazingness that is Universal Studios.

Completely shameless confession: I cried the first time I ever saw it back in 2012.

Potterheads, rejoice!

Come, walk through Hogwarts with me.

As an extremely loyal Slytherin I am a tad miffed that Gryffindor are miles ahead on their House Points. 

The walk through Hogwarts just happens to be the best themed queue line I have ever seen in my life.

Without needing a mention, this is the queue to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

You can have a chat with the Fat Lady and enjoy the Sorting Hat before getting on the ride.

Of course, following the clearly excellent bonding in the Triwizard Tournament, both Durmstrang and Beauxbatons schools make an appearance for photo opportunities.  

Now then, Butterbeer. You can get Butterbeer all over the shot at both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.

I first tried it at the Warner Brothers tour in London. Confession, don't kill me, I don't like it. It has a butterscotch flavour that I am just not keen on.

You can now get Butterbeer in both hot and cold drinks, fudge, ice cream, sweets...the list goes on.

Honeydukes has a selection of every wizarding sweet you could imagine. From chocolate frogs to cauldron cakes, and from Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans to licorice wands. 

Hogsmeade has some of the nicest views.

As you can see, it was very busy. Then again, this was August so the new year at Hogwarts was starting. Clearly everyone was filling their trunks for next year.

The Hogwarts Express can take you between Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, providing you have park hopper tickets as they do scan them on entry.

I adored this ride. There aren't words to say how immersive it is.

Pulling up at Kings Cross makes you feel like you really are in London. 

Here you can see 12 Grimmauld Place. Knock on the door and look at the window...someone comes to greet you!

The side of Weasley's Wizard Wheezes has a good spot of advertising.

It would appear that a dragon seems to have escaped. Better get the Goblins on that.

Obviously, you cannot go to Diagon Alley without checking in at Gringotts. 

The whole experience, from the queue line, to the lift, to the ride itself, is fantastic. 

Let's not get any ideas!

Pay a trip to the Daily Prophet if you don't get yours delivered by Owl Post.

The dragon really gets angry when it is stuck up there for so long.

Ollivander's is the only place to get your wand from.

If you are lucky you will be chosen to go through the whole process. Remember, the wand chooses the wizard.

If you take a slight wrong turn, or have a slight mishap in the Floo Network, you might end up in Knockturn Alley. 

Try not to run into any Death Eaters down here, they're only looking for trouble.

Seems Trader Sam has been here. Two of his heads for the price of yours? Sorry, wrong park...

Luckily, I didn't get my eyebrows burned off, nor did I go for a dragon joyride, but I did manage to get this awesome shot.

Back to Gringotts, you need to check in with the Goblins to make sure your account is in check. They will provide you with your chosen amount of wizarding money to last you the day. Or you can just take it home.

In case you get lost, the Knight Bus is there to pick you up. You can go and have a chat with Stan Shunpike. Lovely guy. Not a Death Eater.

This is definitely the alternative to etching "Harry woz ere" on a table. Forever leaving Headwig in the middle of the queue.

Please remember only wizards can go through to Platform 9 3/4. Muggles must be supervised at all times.

You can't joyride the Gringotts dragon, but you can challenge some!

Dragon Challenge takes you on a high-speed chase full of twists and turns. Choose either the Chinese Fireball or the Hungarian Horntail as your dragon!

This is where I must bid you goodbye. 

I hope you enjoyed this quick-fire tour around Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the go-to for any Potterhead out there.

There is no other way to keep the magic alive than immersing yourself in the magic itself.

I can't wait to see what new things keep coming to this part of the parks. 

I still stand by the fact that this area would be perfect for Halloween Horror Nights. I have so many ideas that would be amazing! 

Stay tuned for next time as we visit Islands of Adventure.

See you later, Snitches.


Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Tea Monologues | Universal Studios Orlando

Universal Studios is the place to go if you love all things movies!

From the moment you see that little (big) globe you are fully immersed in the feel of the movies.

It's not every day you bump into Marilyn Monroe on the streets, is it? 

Now this was the first time I have ever been on the Transformers Ride as it was only in the planning stages when I was last there.

We walked straight on and was instantly shoved straight into it when the guys working asked us to show them our war faces!

 I was pleasantly surprised with the ride. It takes on the same format as the Spider-Man ride at Islands of Adventure. Even as someone who isn't particularly interested in The Transformers, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed this ride.

Men in Black, as always, was awesome. I forgot how much it spins you around, and actually found myself holding on in parts. However, it could do with a little bit of an update, but I shan't be complaining.

Never know, they might recruit me soon. 

 The last time I was in Orlando, Springfield consisted only of The Simpsons Ride.

The Simpson's Ride was fantastic back in its day, and the screen gives IMAX a run for its money! Yet I can't help the comparison with Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. It's still a good ride all in all.

The Kwik-E-Mart still has the best selection of merchandise, with the addition of a Flaming Moe!

I only had a quick walk around inside the Springfield eating area. The Krusty Burger's looked so good! Inside this eating area are a selection of different Simpson's themed places. It is pretty awesome, and I am hoping when I get back there I can have more of a peruse. 

I love Back to the Future, so this little corner of the park is absolutely awesome. I do wish they would bring back some more Back To the Future experience.

I bumped into Doc Brown whilst I was there too!

I have always liked ET. However, I think this ride has either run its course or needs a huge overhaul. This really disappoints me to say because it's such a clever ride.

ET doesn't even say everyone's names any more :(

Scooby-Doo, where are you?!

I was absolutely gutted that Rip Ride Rockit was shut on the one day I was at Universal! But from what I can remember it is a good roller coaster with a non-inverting loop, and I was gutted to not listen to some music whilst zooming around.

This was also the first time I have been on the Mummy roller coaster. It had a 15 minute wait so we went for it. Although it would appear it was only 15 minutes because of how long it takes to walk through the queue. We got straight on.

I managed to get a front row seat! It was very clever with the inclusion of special effects and scenery.

I managed to get onto Disaster in one of the last few days of it being open. You can now see why they are closing this attraction to pave the way for something new. It was becoming a little drawn out, and the special effects just weren't on par with some of the newer technology. It had a good run and I am excited to see what is replacing it.

What a view into Islands of Adventure! 

Follow me next time on a trip to Islands of Adventure!