The States, Part II

Day 1 - Universal Studios

The Gringotts dragon. Looking down the fabulously wonky Diagon Alley.

Oh the excitement was mounting! We got on Bill’s bus to the park, Laura bouncing around beside me, and set off to what Laura assured me was going to be the best day of my life.

Off the bus, we rushed to Islands of Adventure, hoping to get into the new Diagon Alley section before it got busy. Unfortunately we found that only the Universal Studios section was open early, but at least the queues were shorter for us to collect our tickets.

We rushed on over and headed straight for Hogsmead, where Laura promptly dragged me onto the “best” ride (the Harry Potter one, of course). I was a bit scared at first, but Laura wore me down and it was pretty good in the end, though I felt a bit queasey after our 3rd (consecutive) go. We also discovered the joys of ‘Single Rider’ queues, which are much much shorter and quicker than the main ones.

Looking at our watches, we realised that we had to get moving if we wanted to get to our (free!) breakfast in the Leakey Cauldron. We rushed to the platform, and joined the end of a pretty lengthy queue for the Hogwarts Express. The ride was pretty cool, and much quicker and more fun than walking across the park.

We arrived at the Leakey Cauldron just a little late, but that was fine, and we ordered and ate our breakfast. The food wasn’t bad, but I was a little disappointed at the pumpkin juice. It was more like apple juice with cinnamon in it, and didn’t really taste much like pumpkin.

All fueled up, we went out to explore Diagon Alley! It was very cool, especially the big fire breathing dragon on top of Gringotts. After looking around the various stores Laura went into Gringotts for the ride/rollercoaster, which she loved, but couldn’t convince me to go on.

We eventually left Diagon Alley, and explored the other rides, of which I particularly liked the Men In Black one, E.T. Shreck, Minions and the Terminator one. Laura did a few of the larger and scarier ones, like Dr. Doom’s tower of terror.

Day 2 - Islands Of Adventure

I no longer trust Laura when it comes to rollercoasters.

On this day we decided to explore the Islands of Adventure park a bit more, since we hadn’t seen much of it (just the parts on the way to Hogsmeade). Although of course we started off by going on the Harry Potter ride a few more times, since we were there so early.

We also had a photoshoot booked, for our moving portrait, which turned out very cheesily, but was fun.

Laura got really scared on the King Kong themed queue, which was a good laugh. She seemed to think that someone grabbed her, but I know she’s just yarning. I didn’t feel anything.

After that, Laura convinced me to come to Hagrid’s hut, and go on the Hippogriff ride. “Oh no!” I hear you crying “That’s really scary and fast and high! Don’t go on that one Olly, you’ll probably die!”. Well, I wish I had heard that before being dragged on. I didn’t die, but I didn’t like it at all, and my trust in Laura’s judgment was sorely bruised.

To help me calm back down after that, we went on a nice soothing Dr. Seuse themed ride which was for little kids but was still cool, going on a rail above all the footpaths. A few more of our Harry Potter themed favorites and we were done for the day.

Day 3 - Our Favorites

Our morning dining destination.

On our third day, we had breakfast at the three broomsticks - much the same as the Leakey Cauldron. I tried some butterbeer, but it was all fizzy and not very nice.

After breakfast we went on all of our favorite rides again, and Laura even convinced me to go on the scary Gringotts rollercoaster! It was not too scary, but there was one bit that I wasn’t too keen on. Still, the rest of the ride was good, and as always the themed queues were amazing.

The rest of our last day was spent frantically trying to go on as many other rides that we hadn’t tried, and going to shows that we hadn’t seen, like the trained animal one.

And that’s about it! Tomorrow we’ll be on our way to Iceland, which will be a nice change after all this hot weather.