Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Universal Studios

Universal Studios is my favorite theme park and one of my favorite locations on Earth. It's amazing and I keep asking myself every year why I don't go more often since it's only a little over an hour away. Hm, could be the pricing and Orlando traffic?  Yes, probably. Either way stepping through those doors is like living in a world of magic and wonder. Some get that from Disney, but I think Universal Captures it much more fully - the world of movies and books brought to life through rides and design.

I did a Tours and Vacation of a 2014 Universal trip for the blog a few years back - Harry Potter pictures were featured there, but not as many since I had to focus on the other areas of the park too. Tours and Vacation posts are already image heavy, so be warned since this is about what pictures I snapped of HP World, this is picture heavy as well.

It's tough getting GOOD pictures of these places because there's so many people - for those who have been caught on image, my apologies, but you've now made Paperback Stash Site permanency.

When it comes to the actual rides, you can't take pictures, and inside it's rather dark so I couldn't take many while waiting in line. They have now updated the area and added MORE, but I haven't been back yet. When I do, you can bet updated pictures will be placed here. I went to Hogsmeade, but they've now added Diagon Alley to the other park which can be rode via Express Train. Must Go!

If you're curious, here is part one of the Universal Trip (which has images from Harry Potter of course, but also Superhero Island, Jurassic Park, etc.)  And of course the great Universal Monster Cafe! For official stuff, Universal Studios Link to their Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

One of the first sights you see is a made prop area for the loading station of the epic train. I got some quick pictures when being rushed by company and crowd. This isn't the train that will take people to Diagon Alley, but a prop that's existed since Hogsmeade was created.

Another shot of the boarding/entrance areas

You can see the castle from the entrance. Beautiful, right? It was the home of the Harry Potter Ride.

The ride itself was fun, although a little disappointing. They do have better virtual rides in the park, but it was nice. They have hologram images of speakers from the series on the stairs above you telling about the adventure that's about to come up.

The village is detailed, snow covered, and awesome.

I cropped people from this one in the crowd to get a shot of some of the buildings. Most you can't enter, but they do have some you can - such as Honeydukes, which sells Harry Potter themed goodies and treats like Chocolate Frogs, and The Three Broomsticks with refreshments like Butterbeer. I'm telling you, a trip back is definitely needed for me to experience this in detail.

What was irritating is one of the coolest looking shops - the BOOKSTORE - was just a prop and you couldn't enter. I understand Universal Studios isn't in the business of having bookstores in the park, but it would have been a nice place to sell some extra merchandise, right?

Inside the ride they make sure NO Muggles are allowed, as well as keeping fun props on the wall to entertain us during our incredibly long, over hour line wait. At least most of it was indoors.

If only these walls could talk...

Random decor. The time it must take to make these "worlds"!

Making sure while we wait that we're up to date on the latest warnings and news. Can never miss those notices talking about the latest break-out from Azkaban or the ministry's new rules...

And that concludes this picture-heavy post. I'm already itching to go back, so will have to do an updated 'tour' sometime later. Until then, check out the rest of the posts from  Harry Potter Special Week.