The UTCT team do enjoy a staff outing, and we were more than thrilled to learn that in November 2017, we would be heading across to Orlando Florida – purely for work and research purposes of course. Whilst we were there, we had the pleasure of checking out Christmas at Universal Studios and wanted to share our experience with you all. Below is part two of our magical time at the park.
None of us had ever been to Florida before, so we did wonder how we would manage to get into the festive spirit with such glorious sunny weather. Every one of us were most excited to check out the Harry Potter park, which as of November 18th, was decked out to look like the perfect wintry scene, not forgetting to mention the incredible light show which would run from November 24th through until January 8th.
In part one of our Universal Orlando review we discussed Diagon Alley and all the weird and wonderful creatures we encountered plus the thrill seeking rides we also went on! Next we take the journey to Hogsmeade to see all this had to offer.
We hopped aboard the Hogwarts Express on Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station where we saw an animated Hedwig much to the amusement of everyone in line. The train and set was identical to the one in the movies! As we hopped on board, we watched a short film of the train moving through it’s journey alongside some Dementor’s and characters on the train itself to keep you on the edge of your seat. The journey lasted less than 10 minutes and we were fully entertained throughout and felt as though we were students on our way to Hogwarts!
We attended Universal Orlando on Saturday 24th which was the opening day for the Harry Potter Seasonal light show (it starts at roughly 5.30pm, though many start queuing as early as 4.30pm). Throughout the day, we visited the Harry Potter park, where Hogsmeade had been transformed into a winter wonderland.
As we arrived at Hogsmeade we were welcomed with the full village. From Butter beer, to snow covered buildings, it was easy for us to forget that we were basking in 30 degree heat as we enjoyed the wintry festivities.
There was Olivanders where you could go and get your very own wand, visit the Three Broomsticks for a drink, head on over to Honeydukes for some tasty sweets or you could just wander around and visit the souvenir shop which had loads of Harry Potter memorabilia such as robes, mugs, ties, key rings and even broomsticks.
The evening show itself was incredibly busy as you would expect on the opening night. Visitors were able to view the 8 minute long show in 15 minute rotating time frames, meaning if 1000 people were queuing to see it, 250 people (purely an example, exact figures are unknown) were allowed through to view the show, before allowing the next 250 through.
We were able to view the first and second showing which we documented on our YouTube channel.
When walking up to Hogwarts castle we stood in a good spot but to be honest you could stand anywhere and see a good view of the castle as it is so big. When the light show began it started with the Harry Potter music and the first scene came from the very first Harry Potter movie.
As the show continued it moved through each of the films projecting scenes from each film onto Hogwarts. For example, one of the scenes showed Hermione and Viktor Krum dancing at the Yule Ball, another showed the castle being adorned with the school flags and moving through each of the films with lots of fun different scenes.
The castle looked beautiful, all lit-up and the attention to details was incredible. The show ended with the magical music from the movie which we were all singing along to and fireworks which finished the show off perfectly.
Watch the full Orlando Florida experience including the Harry Potter Wizarding World Light Up Show below:
To truly appreciate how magical it is, you need to experience it for yourself. We were surrounded by children and adults alike (including many elderly people!) who were ‘ooh’ing’ and ‘ahh’ing’ at the show. It truly made us feel as though we were part of Harry Potter and we wouldn’t tire of watching the show time after time.
For more information and to buy tickets, visit the Universal Orlando website.
Will you be visiting the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter this Christmas? Comment below and let us know or share using the social media buttons below.