Tuesday, December 4, 2012

“Disney” Day Five: Universal’s Islands of Adventure

After a relaxing day at the aquarium, our next day (Thanksgiving) was spent not at Disney but at Universal. Many of us are huge Harry Potter fans, so we were all excited to see Universal’s version of his world. It did not disappoint.

Since the Wizarding World is in the very back of the park, we had to walk past a huge roller coaster, through Seuss Landing (very whimsical and colorful), and the Lost Continent to get there, but we didn’t really stop. We were on a mission to see Harry Potter, so that’s where we went first.


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The first part of the Wizarding World puts you right into Hogsmeade, complete with snow-covered roofs and many familiar shops lining the cobblestone streets. The Hogwarts Express is even there. I had to stop and take a moment before walking in; it really felt like I had been transported into a Harry Potter movie.



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We walked, awestruck, through Hogsmeade and finally got our first glimpse of Hogwarts itself. Talk about impressive. We also spotted a few students from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang as we were walking towards the castle, which was very cool. I bet all of the kids working in this area of the park are, in a way, living out their childhood dreams.




We all decided to get in line for the attraction in the castle, mostly just to see some of the inside since hardly anyone wanted to actually go on the ride. The many warnings of extreme motion deterred most of the group, even though I so would have ridden it if I could have! Paul, Nicholas, and James were the only ones to go, and they said it was awesome. I think it ended up being Paul’s favorite thing we did the whole week.


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After the castle, everyone but Jaimi and I got in line for the smaller of the two roller coasters, the Flight of the Hippogriff. Even Riley was big enough to ride, and he absolutely loved it. When Kenny walked off with him afterwards, he cried because he couldn’t go on it again right away. Luckily, Grandpa was in still line with Paul, Debbie, and their boys, so he had an empty seat next to him. I passed Riley to Grandpa when they were loading up, and he got his second ride. Happy boy.

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My next order of business was to finally try a butterbeer I had heard so much about. They are offered in both draft and frozen forms, and we tried one of each. In fact, everyone except Grandpa tried one or the other, and there were smiles all around as we sipped on our delicious treats.


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Butterbeers in hand, we decided to go to check out another area of the park before going back to the house for an afternoon break. Half headed to the big roller coasters while Grandpa, Jaimi, Kenny, Riley, and I decided to revisit Seuss Landing. We did the train, the carousel, and the flying fish ride and then left the park for lunch and a rest.






We arrived back at the park around 5pm. Grandpa, Steve, Paul, Debbie, and Kenny headed straight for the huge Hulk roller coaster while the rest of us made our way to the Jurassic Park area and the Pteranodon Flyers ride. There was a really long wait at Flyers, so Debbie was able to catch up to us and take Riley (since I couldn’t) while the guys did a few more thrilling rides. She also informed us that the Hulk was one heck of a coaster. (Kenny and Steve later said it was the best one they had ever ridden.)


I wish I could have seen Riley fly through the air (he actually sat by himself with Debbie in the seat behind him….she was apparently paranoid about him falling out but he had a blast), but Grandma and I decided not to wait around for them and instead went back to the Wizarding World to shop. I got some really yummy peppermint frogs at Honeydukes, and I also got a killer shot of the castle at night. So pretty.






Once everyone was done with their respective rides, we met back up at the Three Broomsticks for Thanksgiving dinner. We ordered two “Great Feasts,” which came on huge, family-style platters, so it actually felt like a real Thanksgiving dinner, minus the stuffing and cranberry sauce.



We had a really nice meal, got one last butterbeer for the road, and four of us decided to call it a day. Grandpa, Kenny, Riley, and I went home while the rest did a few more things (including Nicholas, James, and Zac each picking out their very own wands) before coming back as well. Day five: done.



The next day was our last day before flying home, and we were unanimous in our decision to return to the Magic Kingdom. We got there early and had a fantastic last day. Final Disney vacation recap coming up next!


Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

I really have nothing to say except WHAT A WONDERFUL TRIP Hugs, Grams

QP said... Best Blogger Tips

You guys certainly packed a lot into every day!

Lizzie said... Best Blogger Tips

1. Awesome pictures of Hogwarts!

2. I assure you the line is much better than the ride. You did not miss much, but you should try it when you are not baking a baby...:D

3. Did you prefer the frozen butterbeer or draft more?

4. The picture of Zac with is wand is awesome!

Love and Hugs, Lizzie

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