Once in IOA, which drops you off in Hogsmeade, I enjoyed a little time at Honeydukes and would have purchased some sweets if the line hadn't been 30 minutes long.
I opted out of that and instead got in line to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. This was about a 35 minute wait, but again they keep you interested with all of the things you'd expect to see in the castle, from talking paintings to cool artifacts.
Next, I hopped the Hogwarts Express over to Islands of Adventure (IOA) to enjoy the other part of the park. The Express was a bit of a disappointment. I've visited the Kings Cross Platform in London and this is similar, but when you board the actual train, it's pretty lame. They don't even do things you'd expect like having a sweets cart and making it cold when the dementors come on board.
Okay so I'll let you in on a not so little secret, Eclectik Girl is really a nerd. Like superhero loving, D&D enjoying, sci-fi enthusiast nerd. So it really should come as no surprise that I absolutely love Harry Potter.
I was actually late to the Potter game, discovering the joys of Hogwarts when I was rendered ill a few years ago, but ever since I have been quite the Potterhead and am a proud Ravenclaw.
When I had to go to Tampa for work last month, I figured why not let all my geeky dreams come true and stop off at Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter while I was there.
I had a tight visit, a mere 5 hours to take in both parks and let me just say I was up to the challenge. I entered Hogwarts with high expectations and all of them were fulfilled.
If you're a rabid fan like me, your first stop must be Ollivander's wand shop where you can be fitted for your own personal wand or buy your favorite character's.
I chose Sirius Black because well he's my guy. After you have your wand, you're able to cast spells and unlock all kinds of fun things throughout the park. I should probably note, you'll see mostly kids partaking in this, but if you're like me, you won't care at all and will Tarantallegra merrily on your way.
Once we actually boarded all I can say is hold on to your wand! Omg, this was such a fun ride, possibly one of the best thrill rides I've been on. The whole thing is a simulated flying game where you actually get to play Quidditch and ride a broomstick, so cool!! I would have ridden again if time permitted. When you exit, you're given a chance to buy lots of souvenirs and of course get your ride photo.
After leaving here, I spent the rest of my time exploring Hogsmeade, even partaking in a Butterbeer (with a souvenir glass). This was the creme de la creme for Potter fan and I can't wait to go back.
There are 2 amazing rides and unfortunately they're in different parks so you really should spring for the dual ticket. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringott's in Universal Studios had an hour long wait, but you hardly notice as you are entertained with sites from the books the whole time. (You're even able to make a deposit into your account!!)