Naomi started scheming and plotting about how to get back to Harry Potter World as we were leaving the park on her birthday two years ago. Well the trip finally came and she and I made it back there. Few things of note on this super long and super amazing day: 1) going to a theme park with just another adult (albeit a miniature one) is stress free and an entirely different experience from all the other times I’ve been in a theme park. I approve wholeheartedly. 2) All the pictures are Harry Potter focused but the first thing when we got there was a roller coaster…more on that later. 3) it was better the second time, minus the Hogwarts Express being down for repairs. Boo.
The whole trip was an interesting opportunity to get to know my daughter better. We are so similar and so different we often have moments of friction. This trip was no exception. But we are also good at moving through it and enjoying each others company. But enough talk! More pictures!
I made the decision not to stay at the timeshare we usually stay at. For her “13 Trip” I figured we could splurge a little and see what it was like to stay on-site. One of Universal’s hotels is called Sapphire Falls and it has water taxis to get guests to the parks. We also got to get into the park an hour early. Not having to drive and park and getting in early makes a compelling case for paying a bit more on accommodations, even if the hotel would have been meh. This hotel was absolutely beautiful, definitely not meh. Our view was spectacular and I would stay there again in a heart beat. A lot of thought and care went into her park outfit and I love that she loves combat boots.
Before we got to Hogsmeade, we stopped at Universal’s newest headlining ride: The Velosicoaster. It is part of the re-booted Jurassic Park franchise and it really is cutting edge. Naomi is a roller coaster fiend. She will happily take on any coaster. Me? Well, I’m a little more selective in my roller coaster enjoyment. I love any coaster that pushes me into my seat. So loops, twists? No problem, bring it on. The weightless “stomach in my throat” feeling is where I draw the line…so drops? Nope. Can’t and won’t. Splash Mountain is my limit. Nay loved the Velosicoaster. I’m grateful I didn’t know what I was getting into, because I would have chickened out. There was a point where you are going down a drop but twisting back under the track at the same time. It was hands down the most intense ride I’ve ever been on.
We survived and on that adrenaline high we entered the Harry Potter bubble. Naomi doesn’t do purses…she does satchels. Her go to was a bag she hand embroidered and it served its purpose well but was on its last threads. She was ready for an upgrade, and naturally, Ravenclaw for life. The park theming was just as brilliant as I remembered and we went through slowly, taking in every detail.
These pictures aren’t in chronological order, they are just some of my favorites. Since the Hogwarts Express was down, we had to leave one park and walk the long way around to enter the other to get from Hogsmeade to Diagon Ally. Because Naomi didn’t need another wand we had lots of time to hit all our favorite places. We did all the rides and got all the treats: cauldron cake, butterbeer and epic ice cream cones. We had lunch at the Leaky Cauldron and dinner at The Three Broom Sticks. Funny thing about Florida, though…it rains. A lot. So towards the end of the afternoon it started to pour. We had ponchos, which helped somewhat but didn’t really work for her combat boots. Luckily I had stuffed her flipflops in my bag. After seeking shelter and dinner we decided to go back to the hotel to change into dry clothes, relax then head back after it got dark to squeeze in a ride on the one attraction we hadn’t hit yet. And we also wanted to see the park at night…something we hadn’t done last time because it closed early. Theme parks are extra magical at night, when you are exhausted and walking slow. Everyone has mostly cleared out and it’s quiet but all lit up. That was probably my favorite moment. Also my new socks. My sweet girl got me a thank you present for planning and coming on this trip with her. My own house socks. See, I’m a Huffledor or a Gryffypuff. So if I wear one of each, I am represented. They are actually pretty awesome socks.
Naomi and I had so much fun. I honestly think I like this world better than the Disney offering…which is saying something.