First things first – I tried out my Vibrams (Bikilas) and love them!

I did the first mile of my 3 mile run in them just to start getting used to it.  It’s tough but good at the same time.  Looking forward to running in them again tomorrow (Friday) – but not right now because I’m exhausted.

Why am I exhausted?  Oh, perhaps that’s because my mom and I just spent yesterday afternoon/evening and this morning at Universal Studios and running all around the HARRY POTTER PARK!!! (I apologize in advance for the copious amounts of pictures.  I couldn’t help myself.)

I like the part where it says “now open.”

Right when you first walk into the park, you can see the castle looming over everything.  Even though it’s all the way at the back.  What a tease!

We wandered our way through the park and eventually made it to the Harry Potter area…

Getting there…

AHHHHHHH!  (PS – Check out the woman all the way to the right.  We were seeing her all day.  Those are quite the pants.)

How awesome is that?

Entering the Harry Potter section…

People waiting to eat in the Three Broomsticks.

The Butterbeer girl.  You can also wait in a ridiculously long line and get it from the Butterbeer cart…

My mom with her butterbeer.  I tried a couple sips, because even though I didn’t know what was in it, I figured it was the only time in my life I was going to have a sip of butterbeer.  And you know what?  It was GOOD.  It tasted like cream soda and a root beer float had a baby.

Chatting it up with the Hogwarts Express conductor.  (Mom made me hold the butterbeer for every picture.)

Can you say “totally awesome?”

How amazing is that?  Every little detail was perfect.

Oh!  And I don’t have a picture (it’s just a voice), but Moaning Myrtle is in the bathroom.  Ha!

A couple suggestions for anyone who is planning on going…

  1. STAY AT ONE OF THE UNIVERSAL HOTELS – When you stay at one of their hotels, your room key acts as a “Fast Pass” that gets you to the front of the line an unlimited number of times (except on Harry Potter stuff). My mom and I did EVERYTHING we wanted to do at both parks in about 5 hours.  INCLUDING Harry Potter stuff.  ALSO, when you stay at their hotels, you can get into the park an HOUR EARLY. This allows you to bypass the giant hordes of people running to the Harry Potter section when the park opens.  We were leaving that section as they were coming in and there was already a two hour wait just to get IN to Hogsmeade.  Insane!
  2. If you don’t stay at a Universal hotel – don’t run straight back to the Harry Potter section.  Wait until around 4 or 5pm. The park is open until 9 or 10pm anyway, so you will have plenty of time to do what you want.   In the afternoon the crowds have subsided and there is no longer a wait just to get into Hogsmeade.  On Wednesday (our first day there), we went into the park at 2pm, did a couple other rides, and leisurely made our way back to the Harry Potter section.  By the time we got there, there was absolutely no wait to get in.  First thing in the morning, it can get to be up to 5 HOURS LONG.  No, seriously.  We were informed of this by the girl who was working the entrance as we left this morning.
  3. For the Forbidden Journey ride (the one in the castle) – if you don’t mind it, have your group go in the “single riders” line. When mom and I went on Wednesday afternoon it was a 90 minute wait for the ride.  We went in the single riders line and only waited 15 minutes.  The only difference is that there’s no guarantee that you’ll ride together.  But you’ll be done within minutes of each other.  And you can’t see anyone else when you’re on the ride anyway.  The only downside of this is that you bypass most of the line and won’t be walking through the whole castle.  This is where the one hour early admission came in handy – we went back and walked through the regular line the next morning before the park opened.  Again, it only took us about 15 minutes.

Just for comparison…

4 or 5 pm… (crowded, but no wait to get in)

Early admission… (WAY less crowded and no wait to get in)


(No, I’m not flipping off the camera.  I’m pointing at the Hogsmeade sign.)