(Originally posted: August 24, 2016)
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS, ORLANDO, FL- It's 8a.m. and we have returned to Universal Studios.It took us a while to get to Diagon Alley and although Universal Studios is smaller than Islands of Adventure, there were more attractions in this park.. We got to see some cool stuff on the way to Kings Cross Station.
Helen and Ivonne ran into Lucille Ball from I Love Lucy. Movie stars like Marilyn Monroe and Jimmy Stewart strolled along the Walk of Fame. It was like being in TMC all over again. As we continued on, Alondra got the shock of her life. It turns out the Krusty Crab does exist. Oh, what a day for the Spongebob Squarepants fan in her. I got a childhood shocker when I noticed Fivel from An American Tail. That film and The Land Before Time made my childhood awesome. One of the employees at Universal redirected us to find Diagon Alley. We had been going the wrong way.
This part of Universal Studios is on team DC Comics instead of Marvel, hence the appearances of Batman and Superman. The world turned yellow as we approached Simpsons Land. Some of the rides and attractions were creepy, especially Krusty's cafe. Who would have thought Homer Simpson would have a spot in Universal Orlando with his family? The yellow color faded away as we walked deeper into the park. Grimmauld Place appeared along with the Knight Bus. We had arrived at Kings Cross Station.
The dilemma of arriving at Kings Cross Station was finding our way into Diagon Alley. Hagrid was not around to tap on the bricks and we did not have any Floo powder on us. It was then that Helen noticed people coming in an out of an arched passageway behind the station. We followed the crowd and mischief managed, there was Diagon Alley in all it's glory! My inner book nerd took it all in. Quidditch supplies, the Weasley twins shop, The Leaky Cauldron, Ollivander's, Gringotts, and the a magical pet store.
We explored the Weasley's shop first where I encountered the Extendable Ears and love potions. The robe shop had Fleur Delacor's wedding dress and Cedric Digory's triwizard tournament uniform. Here, Helen and I purchased Hermione's time turner. Alondra and Ivonne looked through the magical pet shop to see if they can purchase an owl, snake, cat, werewolf, or any other magical creature. The Leaky Cauldron was amazing to see, but the food was expensive. We entered Gringotts bank for "Escape from Gringotts." The goblins worked on bank accounts while Harry, Ron, and Hermione lead the way to get out of the vaults. Belatrix LeStrange causes chaos while you try to escape. At the top of Gringotts, a dragon blows fire.
I wished Flourish and Botts had been a real store instead of a prop in Diagon Alley. Merged into a deep corner by The Leaky Cauldron was Knockturn Alley. It's a small, poorly-lit area selling dark magical objects and books. Before leaving Diagon Alley, we all got merchandise based on our Hogwarts houses.
From Kings Cross Station we wanted to check out the Transformers attraction. Unfortunately, the wait was two hours long so we moved on to The Mummy instead. If you think the Florida heat is unbearable try riding though fire in this attraction. Terminator was both a live action and 3-D show. As we continued walking we noticed a new ride was being constructed. It will be based on Jimmy Fallon and New York City. Of course I had forgotten Universal and NBC collaborated in many things. More characters appeared like BettleJuice, Betty Boop, Scooby Doo, and Shaggy.
After meeting one of the Minions, Alondra had been dying to ride the Rock It. Helen, Ivonne, and Gil opted out of it so I got on with my little sister. It was an hour wait but at least the area had shade. One cool feature about the roller coaster is that you can play music out of a playlist while you ride. I chose Daft Punk, but it did not distract me enough from the fear I felt throughout the entire 90 seconds of the coaster. It's a great ride, but I did not feel secure with just a gigantic lap restraint when it goes upside down. Alondra and I had our upper body strength tested to the max on this. We survived, but I doubt I will ever do it again. My only regret was not getting the video. I bet our faces were a good laugh while we screamed on the way down.
This is one experience I will never forget. Not only did I get to explore Harry Potter's world, but other famous places as well based on pop culture. Until next time Universal!
Photos by: Rosa Elena Burgos
Last Updated: July 24, 2019