I mentioned in yesterday's honeymoon post that we took a trip to Universal Studios in Florida as a mini break from our Disneymoon. You might have noticed by now that I am a rather intense Potter fan... as a consequence all of my photographs from this trip feature the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure are, on the whole, not my cup of tea. In fairness though, the parks do have some brilliant restaurants, most of which are located at the entrance though, so don't really form part of the whole experience. The parks are just a little bit bland for my liking, with large gaps between "worlds", lots of ill-decorated warehouse-style buildings to house the rides, and a very significant lack of shady areas for when the heat becomes too much. The two areas dedicated to Harry Potter are the exception as they are absolutely rife with detail (lacking in other areas of the park) and Diagon Alley in particular feels as though you've stepped into a different world entirely. Grimmauld Place, although pleasingly authentic with the parking signs and Kreacher peering out the upstairs window, feels a little out of place as you can see the rest of the park around it, but once you step through the secret entrance into Diagon Alley you soon forget you're in Florida.
Sadly I was suffering particularly badly from heatstroke both days we visited (hence my comment regarding the lack of shade) so I don't have a great many photos from our days at Universal. You're also not allowed to take a bag or a big camera into Gringotts (which was absolutely fantastic) - such a shame as they've done a brilliant job at recreating the set from the films, but I managed to smuggle my phone in and post a couple of images on my Instagram here and here., as well as the photo above of the very realistic looking goblin clerk!
The only thing which always jars a little when visiting Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley is the weather - the snow-tipped buildings in Hogsmeade always clash a little with the visitors milling around in brightly coloured shorts and t-shirts (although I did wear my Ravenclaw tie in deference). I would really love to see a similar park developed here in the UK, just to allow us to explore in film-appropriate jumpers and scarves... and to allow those who can't afford transatlantic flights to indulge their childhood dreams a little!
Have you visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter?
If you liked this, you might also enjoy my post on the Warner Brothers' Studio Tour - read it here!