We decided to take a last minute trip to Universal Studios in Orlando right before Thanksgiving. We haven’t traveled anywhere since Covid-19 started, and I was feeling an itch to go. Tickets were discounted, so we just decided to go. It was a controversial decision, but I think we did the best we could to stay safe and had a lot of fun in the process.
This post will share some of our pictures from Islands of Adventure. We spent two days in this park. The first day of our trip was the least crowded. Our second IOA day was a few days later on the weekend, so crowds had picked up a bit. On that day, we went to the park at opening, left around lunchtime, and came back at night to avoid the most crowded part of the day.
The part of Universal Studios that I was most excited to visit were the two Harry Potter themed lands. I have not been to Universal since these were built several years ago. In Islands of Adventure, you get to visit both Hogsmeade and Hogwarts!
Hogsmeade was a wintry wonderland covered in snow and Christmas decor.
My family represents three different Hogwarts houses, so we wore masks to represent. My husband is a Slytherin, my daughter is a Gryffindor, and I am a proud Hufflepuff. We just need a Ravenclaw to round out our group.
We visited stores all themed down to the details according to the book’s descriptions.
My daughter got an interactive Hermione Granger wand that allowed her to do spells around both of the parks. Completing the spells was a bit trickier than I expected and did require some practice to get right.
We had a lunch of fish and chips at The Three Broomsticks, which were quite tasty. I also sampled some Butterbeer.
The Hogwarts castle was a sight to behold and even more fun to see lit up at night.
The castle is home to the Forbidden Journey ride, which I quite enjoyed, but my daughter was a bit frightened of. It is an adventure as you fly around Hogwarts with Harry.
My daughter’s favorite ride was Flight of the Hippogriff which is a family friendly roller coaster. She could have ridden that one all day if we let her. Kiddie roller coasters are as far as I go in the roller coaster world, so we didn’t even attempt the popular Hagrid’s Magical Creatures ride.
We saw two shows during our time in Hogsmeade. The first was the Triwizard Spirit Rally, which showcased perfomances by students from the other two magical schools, Durmstrang and Beauxbatons.
We also saw the Hogwarts Frog Choir which performed some great Christmas tunes.
We did not get a chance to ride the Hogwarts Express, as we did not buy park to park tickets. Maybe one day!