A day down Diagon Alley

Saturday morning, I woke up, got dressed and cried in the bathroom. It would be the first, but definitely not the last cry of the day, and I couldn’t be happier about it. An overview of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando and Islands of Adventure theme parks.

On this day, this day with so much crying, I was going to walk the footsteps of Harry Potter. We were finally visiting Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Orlando. Harry Potter has long been a conscious guide in my life. He is one of the few things in this world that I truly truly love. Family, friends, Harry Potter, my heart is split in thirds. Justin and I were joined by our friends, Dani and Reed.

We all donned our best Potter apparel. I was literally shaking as we made our way to the entrance to Diagon Alley. I absolutely LOVED that the entrance is hidden. You walk down the streets of London, passed Kings Cross station to an alley way where a brick arch way welcomes you to the wizarding world. At the end of the street is Gringotts bank, with a dragon perched at the top. Every few minutes or so, the dragon would scare the ever-living crap out of me breathe fire. It was really amazing.

It was truly perfect. They had a separate area for Knockturn Alley, and even had Hagrid’s motorbike you could pose in. The biggest, and in my opinion the best, difference between Diagon Alley and Hogsmede is that every store front in Diagon Alley is an actual store. We browsed Quiddich merchandise, candy and jokes, robes and sweaters, Everything you could possibly imagine a wizard would need. I loved the ink and quill shop. It was full of beautiful paper goods, elaborate quills, multicolored inks, and customizable wax seals. In the middle of Diagon Alley, there was a potion stand. Here you could purchase bottles of “Gilly Water” and a tiny vile of potion to mix in to flavor your water.

We stopped into Olivander’s Wand shop and purchased a wand. They offer Premium Wands and replica wands from the Harry Potter Movies. We purchased a premium wand, which is created in a variety of woods and styles. A team member was there to help pair you to a wand of your choosing, typically by matching a wood to your birth date through the Celtic Tree Calendar. The best thing about the premium wands is that you can use them at spell locations across Diagon Alley and Hogsmede. We had a lot of fun doing this across the area. A favorite of mine was performing the lumos spell on a storefront of lights. It was especially striking at night.

We stopped for breakfast inside The Leaky Cauldron. The butterbeer is a must-have, it’s so sweet and frothy!

The line for the new Escape from Gringotts ride was only 45 minutes so we made our way there. The inside was stunning, with extremely life-like animatronics of the goblins. I thought it was really cool that you could exchange your money for Grigotts Bank Notes. These are essentially gift cards that can be used throughout the Universal parks.

After we shopped for a bit, we made our way to Hogsmede via the Hogwarts Express. This was seriously the highlight of my day. When you enter Kings Cross Station, you are literally entering the Muggle Kings Cross Station, making your way to Platform 9 3/4 you have a great photo opportunity to get yourself walking through the pillar. (That is, if your husband doesn’t keep the flash on.)

When you board the train, you watch out the window as you travel to Hogsmede. We rode the train both ways and found the view was different each time. It was a really amazing experience. Finally we were in Hogsmede. I’ll never forget visiting with Justin on our first date. We found our family’s potion shop and posed for a perfect picture.

I can’t believe how perfect the day was. It was really amazing. Have you visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter? What was your favorite part?