Because we stayed on resort, we were allowed into Harry Potter land one hour before the rest of the park opened. Emma was fairly easy to wake; we ate a small snack in our hotel room and then caught the shuttle bus near the hotel lobby. I was unsure where we would be dropped, so just followed the mass of people that we were riding with. I was devastated when we took the escalator up from the bus depot and came through security to find ourselves in City Walk.
When we were in City Walk the night before, I could see the entrance to Islands of Adventure. At the time, I did not notice that Universal Studios was adjacent. When I had looked at the map so many times before, I really thought they were too distant to walk between. Nope! All of the attractions are right there! I had already confided in Emma that I was lost and nervous and was going to figure it out. She clutched my hand and went right along; I was so excited when I realized we were right where we wanted to be!
We hustled back to Diagon Alley in the rear of the park. It is so funny to me that it is well-hidden from the street. If you weren’t a Harry Potter fan and didn’t know what you were looking for, you might just think it is a London street-scape and miss all of the magic!
I had read online about the lockers (you can’t take loose items on many rides) – they were really convenient and easy to use. We stowed our stuff and walked into Gringotts. To borrow words from Emma, it was amazing! The decor, the goblin tellers, the Daily Prophet strewn about; it was all so well-designed. I am normally not a ride person, but this was fine. I was able to just close my eyes and not watch the 3D imagery if I felt overwhelmed.
Next stop was Ollivander’s to get fitted for a wand. Emma purchased an interactive wand, and read each description thoroughly to decide which wand was the right fit for her personality. We ate breakfast at the leaky cauldron, tasted our first butterbeer, and then left Diagon Alley to ride a couple more rides before taking the train to Hogsmeade (at Islands of Adventure).
Don’t worry; Emma carefully stowed her wand whenever she was around Muggles.
Islands of Adventure was definitely more packed than Universal Studios. We rode the Flight of the Hippogriff right away. It is a small outdoor roller coaster in Hogsmeade (Harry Potter). I hated it. Emma kept laughing at me while we were riding, saying, “Mom! I wish you could see your face!” We rode on Harry Potter’s Forbidden Journey (much easier on me), which takes you through the Hogwarts Castle. I really enjoyed how waiting in line was actually entertaining on most of the rides.
We needed to cool down a bit; we bought sunglasses for Emma, two bottled waters, and a tub of mixed fruit. I wanted to sit in the shade, but Emma wanted to stay in the sun. After a sunscreen re-application, we each got what we wanted in the Jurassic Park climbing area. I sat down and checked my email while Emma climbed through tunnels and rope ladders and all sorts of things that give me the eebie jeebies.
As we made our way around the park, we ran into our good friend Captain America and rode several more rides. We took the train back to Diagon Alley from Hogsmeade and had a lovely afternoon treat at Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour. Emma had butterbeer soft serve and I had a hard pack salted-caramel-blondie scoop in a waffle cone.
The shuttle bus took us back to our hotel and we crashed until round two.