Its 8a.m. and we have returned to Universal Studios, this time in the actual studio side of the park. It took us a while to get to Diagon Alley and although Universal Studios is smaller than Islands of Adventure, there were more tuns in this side. 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. Turns out we had been going the wrong way.
This park of Universal Studios is on DC 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 went 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 its not like we carried Floo powder on us. It was then at 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 its glory! My inner book nerd took it all in. Quidditch supplies, Weasley’s shop, The Leaky Cauldron, Ollivander’s, Gringotts, and the muggle shop. It was all right before our very eyes.
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 trip- wizard tournament uniform. It was here that Helen and I purchased Hermione’s time turner. Its so beautiful. 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 is expensive. We entered Gringotts bank for “Escape from Gringotts.” The goblins worked on accounts while Harry, Ron, and Hermione lead the way to get out of the vaults. Belatrix LeStrange causes chaos while you try to get out. At the top of Gringotts a dragon blows fire.
I wish the Flourish and Botts was a real store instead of a prop in Diagon Alley. Merge into a deep corner by The Leaky Cauldron and you will find Knockturn Alley. Its a small, dark area selling dark magical objects and books. Before leaving Diagon Alley we all got merchandise based on our house cups (Gryffindor, Slytherin, and Hufflepuff).
From Kings Cross Station we had wanted to check out the Transformers attraction. Unfortunately, the wait was about two hours long so we went on The Mummy instead. If you think the Florida heat is unbearable try riding though fire in this attraction. Not fun. 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 collaborate in many things. More characters appeared like BettleJuice, Betty Boop, Scooby Doo, and Shaggy.
Universal Studios mostly has 3-D simulators. 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. Its 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 Oliveras