After catching the Hogwarts Express to the other side of Universal Studios we made our way to the exit. I truly recommend doing both parks as you have the best of both worlds.
While Island of Adventures has Hogsmeade, Universal Studios has Diagon Alley. We took a stroll through the exciting alley which made me feel like we were in the actual movie. I was keeping my eye out for Harry, Ron and Hermione but no such luck.
We saw plenty of little shops fronts all different colours show casing what they sold inside and came across a stage with 4 female performers. They were singing and dancing and were captivating their audience members. They knew how to put on a show and by the sounds of it, everyone enjoyed it. We wandered through and came across the Gringotts Money Exchange. Yup you heard me correctly. I decided to exchange some muggle money over to Wizard money. Here you can actually use it in the park but I chose to keep mine as a souvenir. Hey, there isn’t a Harry Potter world in Australia…yet *prays for one to come to Australia*.
After we finished exchanging my wizard money, we headed over to the Gringotts ride – This one is not to be missed! Expect long lines for this one but it was so good I would have loved to have experienced it for a second time but our time at Universal Studios came to an abrupt end when I got a headache (nasty things). We waited in the queue for about 45 minutes if not just a little longer. It was starting to get hot and when we thought we had reached the front we in fact saw ourselves climbing a spiral stair case to get to the line. I believe we stood in the single riders’ line and ended up going together anyway.
This ride is unbelievably good! There is so much action filled into this one ride that you’ll be wanting more. I loved it that much that I can’t recall a lot of things during the ride (typical). All I remember is that’s very fast paced and so much fun! Another ride I left with wanting more and the looks on people’s faces as they exited the carriage you could tell you were in for the ride of your life.
After the Gringotts ride we wandered through Diagon Alley again so see what shops interested us. One in particular stood out to me as I wasn’t sure what it was.. There was a gentleman standing by the door and as we peered through the door to see what it was we were ushered inside to a holding area. Only 6 other people joined in and we were moved into a big open room. It wasn’t until we entered the room that I knew where we were. We were in Olivander’s. Remember the scene in Harry potter and the Philosopher Stone where Harry goes and gets his wand. Yup this was that moment. We stood facing the guy at the desk. He made his way around and greeted us and before I knew it he picked me to get my wand. This was definitely an experience and not everyone in the room gets do this but it’s great to watch as well I’m sure. I’m not one who loves public speaking or standing out the front of a crowd doing thing – in fact I loathe it. It makes me feel nervous and sick to my stomach. And this was exactly what I was feeling at that moment.
I got measured, I casted a few spells, some backfiring spells happened, and finally my wand was chosen. The wand of Ivory was “made” for me. The guy asked if I would like to purchase it (pity it doesn’t come for free) and so I did. I mean come on, when will I ever get another chance to do this I thought to myself – probably never. So I took it and I bought it. A hefty $50 later and I walked out of the shop feeling like a true witch. I had my own wand and I was happy! We took a detour and ended up walking through parts of Knockturn Alley – dark and creepy like the movie. We didn’t stay long and we headed towards the entrance of Diagon Alley.
As we walked outside we made our way to the other rides in the park but stopped for a quick photo in front of the Knight Bus.
Our next ride was the Men in Black ride – very similar to the Toy Story Mania and Buzz Lightyear rides as mentioned in other blog posts. This was fun also. Want to shot aliens? This is the place to go..
We moved onto the Krustyland as I didn’t experience this when I did Universal Studios Hollywood two years ago. This was another simulator ride – and we all know how well I cope with them. Not very well. I was seated in the back with a couple of kids and another adult. I remember during the ride that I wanted to get off. But once the ride had started there was no turning back. If you like simulators it’s a good ride but for me, I personally won’t be going on it again.
As we left Krustyland this was where my headache came in to ruin my day. I couldn’t handle anymore as I think the excitement and lack of water caused our day to end earlier than we anticipated.
The rides we missed out on was the Mummy ride, Transformers & E.T. Don’t worry, Universal Studios, I will be back!
We made our way back to our hotel and decided to have a quiet night as we were both flying out the next day. I was heading to Montreal, Canada while Adam was flying back home to New Jersey. You can read about my first day in Montreal here.
(Too obsessed with taking photos of both Harry Potter World so sorry there isn’t a lot of photos of other parts of parks)
**Photos also taken by Adam in all Theme Park blogs.