Universal Studios & Harry Potter World

Thank you for the comments & emails that you left me over the weekend when I posted about my Skin Cancer surgery on THIS post. I appreciate your thoughts & prayers.
I am emotionally exhausted and trying to be patient as my face heals.

We had a busy weekend hosting a family reunion for my Dad's side of the family at our house and I might have over done it...my face hurts, but it was so good having our house full of family.
Today was a stay in your pj's all day type of day. I spent it watching the World Cup, reading & thought it would be a good time to catch up on blogging. I have several things I have wanted to blog, like our trip to Universal Studios & Disney!

We told the kids last year that when they finished reading all 7 Harry Potter books then we would take them to Harry Potter World in Hollywood.
Kate finished the series last summer, she couldn't put them down.
 Since last July, Kevin has been reading them out loud to the kids at bedtime. #DadoftheYear

They finished a few weeks ago...what should they read next?!?!

At the end of May, we headed to Southern California for my nieces college graduation & we knew it would be the perfect time to visit Harry Potter World at Universal Studios in Hollywood.
 We drove down a couple days before the graduation and were ready for a fun day at Universal Studios.
Even though I was born & raised in California, I had never been to Universal! We would always just go to Disney. So, I was excited to see what Universal Studios was all about.
And, yes....my kids were totally those kids who wore their Hogwarts robes the entire day
Harry Potter Nerds Unite :) 

We got to Universal as soon as it opened because they were so excited!
We have had several friends who also love Harry Potter like my kids and their advice was to go to Olivander's Wand Shop as soon as it opened so that you can go on that "ride"
It's not really a ride, but its an "experience. They take groups of maybe 40-50 people into the shop and there is a wizard there who chooses one person from the crowd to have a wand chosen for them by the wizard. Kate is the one who got chosen. It was incredible. I literally had tears in my eye during her wand selection because it was truly magical.
After the wand experience we headed into the actual shop. Wall to Wall filled with wands.
Santa gave Claire a wand last year for Christmas, so she already had one. 
Kate & Luke got wands and they are awesome because they come with a map of Hogsmede and they are interactive wands.
They were in wand heaven!
After we bought wands, we headed to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride which is in the castle.
Everyone said to do this as one of your first things because the line can get really long....like 2 hours long. Luke was 1/2 inch too short for the ride, so I waited with him and then when Kevin & the girls got off the ride, I was able to go on. They have a parent pass area for those of you who have to do a parent swap. The ride was AWESOME!!!
Then all of us went to the Flight of the Hipogriff which is another roller coaster, but a cheesy kid one.
We waited almost an hour & it was nothing special, but Luke really wanted to go on it since he missed out on the other ride. 
Also, we did not do the Fast Pass for Universal...it was $50 extra a ticket and we thought that was a rip off :)

The kids had fun walking around Hogmede doing the spells in the windows.
We took a break from Harry Potter World and decided to check out the rest of Universal Studios.
We went on some rides, saw some shows & then my highlight was the studio tour.
I loved it!
 It was a long wait, but it was worth it.
 Fun to see all the sets & special affects.

 This is a standard NYC block.
 From shows like Seinfeld & Friends.
 I love how they can change any city block to fit with the show/movie.
 They said these city blocks are used on hundreds of shows/movies
 It was fun to see the set of The Good Place.
 My friend from high school, Darcy plays Janet :)
 Set from Jaws:
 Set from The Grinch who Stole Christmas:
 Remember this from Back to the Future?
After our tour we saw an Animal Actors show, that was really amazing how they can train animals.
Then we headed back to Harry Potter World because the kids HAD to spend more time there :)

It was definitely more crowded towards the end of the day.
We were ready for Butterbeer!
We got a Frozen Butterbeer and a Regular Butterbeer.
Frozen was way better (in my opinion) The kids liked the regular (that was too sweet for me)
We had to check out Honeyduke's Candy Shoppe.
Kids were in heaven :)
We got a Chocolate Frog
Luke putting a spell on the frog ;)
Who doesn't love a candy shoppe?
The Joke store was right next door.
Doing more spells:
The Post Office/Owlery
One last stop at the Harry Potter Store to check out more souvenirs.
It was fun to see all the wands on display, my kids loved that.
It was a fun day at Universal Studios. We were there for about 9 hours.
In my opinion, 1 day at Universal is plenty.
We were able to see & do everything we wanted to see & do.

After a fun day at Universal Studios Hollywood, we took a slight detour to our hotel so that we could check another mission of our list.

Mission San Gabriel Archangel!
This is Mission #18 of 21 out of the California Missions!

 This Mission is in the middle of the town & is still an active church and while we were there, a mass (or church event) was going on so we didn’t go in the chapel.
I am glad we made time to see it since we were only 20 minutes away.
 Only 3 more Missions to go! Going to visit them this summer :)

It was a fun day of Universal Studios, Harry Potter World & the Mission.
Universal Studios was fun...it's not as awesome as Disney.
Nothing compares to Disneyland.
If you have kids who love Harry Potter, they will love Harry Potter World...our kids loved it.
You can do it all in 1 day....in my opinion 2 days isn't necessary for Universal.

The next day we woke up early to go to the college graduation and then we surprised the kids with 2 days at Disney....they had no idea we were going to Disney. 
Disney deserves a post on it's own... stay tuned for that post later this week!


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  2. My kids are begging to go to Harry Potter World. Thanks for the tips. Planning to go next Spring.

  3. I've never been to Disney. Someday, oh someday...
    I had the opportunity to check out Harry Potter World for about 1.5 hours during a VIP blog trip. Wish I could have stayed longer. Looks like so much to see and do.
    Wowzers, that's a lot of wands! Didn't realize they had so many.



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