Travelogue: Universal Studios 2011

March 2011

After our time in the Keys, we drove to Orlando. My parents stuck around for a little theme park fun before Bethany arrived (and they left for Boca Grande!). My mom and I had been DYING to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. I hadn’t been to Universal since I was about seven years old – and A LOT has changed since then. I didn’t even recognized the park. Thoughts..

– Universal ain’t Disney. No matter how much they try.
– There was a Dr. Seuss-theme section of the park. Very cool, yet a little creepy. Kind of like his books.
– The pink flowering crab trees were in full bloom and they were BEAUTIFUL.
– I think Universal is geared toward boys. A lot of superheros, comic book, and action-adventure themes. Yawn.

Using the 50mm on this was a stretch..

Cuteness. And my parents walking in front of me. :)

If you know me, you know that I am a HUGE HUGE HUGE Harry Potter fan. I’ve read all of the books multiple times and I have a deep emotional attachment to the story and life lessons taught therein. So imagine my delight when an entire Harry Potter-themed section of Universal opened.

It definitely lived up to my expectations. You really did feel like you were stepping into the books. Everything felt authentic and magical. The employees even referred to the visitors as muggles. And the butterbeer? AMAZING. I was skeptical, as I knew it would be a super sweet, butterscotch-flavored drink. It just sounded too sweet for my taste, but I was wrong. I would have had multiple cups if I could — and if the lines to get it weren’t so long. FYI, if you go, be sure to get the FROZEN version of the drink. So much better — and it will cool you down!

My only complaint about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was the retail. The ONLY gift shop they had was a TINY shop — that people had to pack into like sardines. The merchandise sold also left a lot to be desired. I’m surprised Universal didn’t think this one through — as they could make a killing with a decent-sized store that sold a good variety of Harry Potter merch. Not to mention, park guests could avoid having clausterphobia-induced panic attacks while trying to shop..

Lens flare love. :)