Wednesday, December 14, 2011

WDW December Trip Pt.2 Shopping in Hogsmede and visiting Hogwarts

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Friday was a different day for us as were going to venture off Disney property and visit Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure. Chauncey had never been to either while I had never been to Islands and it had been about 15 years since I last went to Universal. I booked a shuttle through Mears, $19 per person round trip and they picked us from and dropped us off at our resort. It was super easy, we got picked up outside Old Port Royale and got dropped off at the bus/taxi area outside the gates of Universal. We went to Islands First to visit the Harry Potter section.

I'm a HUGE Harry Potter fan so for me this was really exciting. We headed straight for Hogwarts to ride "Forbidden Journey", unfortunately Chauncey was too tall for the seats so I had to ride it without him. I will say FJ is super cool, but as I learned over the course of this trip, rides that use simulations (like FJ, Spiderman, Star Tours, etc.) make me really sick to my stomach so I only rode it the one time. (Maybe we might go back one day and I can take something for motion sickness and see if that helps.) We decided we were going to come back later in the day so I could shop and take pictures so we wandered out of Hogsmede and explored the rest of IoA.

We decided to hop over to Universal to get lunch and see it as well. Even though it was a Friday the crowds were really low at both parks and we hardly had to wait for anything. Between the two parks, Universal really needs some help. While we were there they announced the closing of Jaws and the expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter presumably in the Universal park instead of IoA. Overall both parks are nice but as far as immersion and theming go, Disney wins.

We hopped back over to IoA so I could shop in Hogsmede and so we could eat dinner at the Three Broomsticks.

 Inside Honeydukes

 Zonkos, which is attached to Honeydukes

 Inside the Hog's Head Pub

 Butterbeer! I liked it better than Pumpkin Juice

 I did ride FJ again but we both did the walking tour of the castle so I could take pictures and Chauncey could shoot video (you can't take anything with you if you are riding so doing the castle tour is the only way you can take a camera)

 Helga Hufflepuff

 Salazar Slytherin

 Rowena Ravenclaw

 Godric Gryffindor

 Professor Dumbledore

 The Fat Lady

 Hagrid's House

Me with a conductor of the Hogwarts Express

We stayed until right before park closing then we went back to the bus/taxi area where we were picked up by Mears and dropped back off at Caribbean Beach. We grabbed dinner inside Old Port Royale and then went back to our room and quickly to bed.


  1. OMG! I'm not sure if I can wait until 2015 for HP land to come to CA. Your pictures are awesome!!! I love that you can do a castle walk-through! What did butter beer taste like? I always pictured it like liquid butterscotch. I found a recipe online but am not sure if it's worth trying in muggle world. ;) How were the rides? Kiddie or thrill-seeking?

  2. Butterbeer tastes like cream soda with some butterscotch mixed in. They sell it in liquid form and frozen, we had the frozen which seems to be the favorite for most people.

    Overall a LOT of the rides are more on the thrill-seeking side, there were many we skipped because they were roller coasters which I like but wasn't to keen on riding that particular day. Over in Islands of Adventure there's a land themed after Dr. Suesse where most of the rides are kiddie rides, we rode the Cat in the Hat which is similar to the Winnie the Pooh ride at WDW but it also spins and I rode the carousel which was fun.

  3. Thanks for the feedback Rachel. I'm not a thrill-ride person but I still think it will be fun to stroll around Hogwarts and Hogsmeade Village. ;) Butterbeer sounds good. I can't wait to try it and I think I might cave and try to make it at home over the holidays. :)