I can't even begin to tell you how much fun this trip was for our family. It's like getting to see your children play inside their imaginations but you get to participate. I was beyond thrilled and pretty emotional too! Who knew when Hadleigh was in 3rd grade and her sweet little teacher asked me if she could introduce her to this series that it would be so much a part of her childhood and then her sisters.
I stalked Pinterest boards for weeks planning and organizing our trip. One piece of advice that I found most helpful was written by someone who works in the Wizarding World and we followed his suggestions. Even though it was very crowded when we were there, his advice helped us manage the crowds and our timing for waits and lines was bearable! I would highly suggest this route if you go during the busy seasons.
So without further ado here is a picture walk through our trip! Wingardium leviosa!
When we rounded the corner of the part of Universal that leads to Hogsmeade I think we all squealed. Well minus Lee. He doesn't squeal!
The girls were practically running from one thing to another. It was SO much more than we expected. I felt like I had truly stepped into the book!
There was so much to see and experience which is why we dedicated two whole days to just that. We never even went outside into the rest of Universal. We didn't want to leave!
Honeyduke's was incredible and Hadeigh's biggest wish was to try all the food and drinks that were ever mentioned in the books. A box of Every Flavour Beans was the first sampling.
These pictures don't even do it justice. The first one was cherry. Safe. The second was earwax! Eww! She made herself keep going but said later she might never eat jelly beans again.
Obviously riding the Hogwart's Express was SOOO impressive. We rode it both ways so we didn't miss a thing! You can board in either Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade and it is worth it to ride twice or three times or four times....
The girls were so excited to finally walk through the platform. I was glad I hung back so I could get this shot of them walking through the wall. Incredible how they make this work.
So just when I thought things couldn't get any better in Hogsmeade we arrive in Diagon Alley. OH MY WORD! It looks just like the movies. They went to such great lengths to make it feel, smell and sound real.
Our first day was a HUGE success and we fell into bed sleepy but so excited to go back for round two the next day. I was so grateful that we chose to do it in two days because there was so much more that we wanted the girls to experience.
The weather was better for our second day so we took advantage of a clear morning and grabbed some family shots in front of Hogwarts. There is a little bridge that sets this up perfectly and if you arrive early you won't have to fight people in the background.
Talking to the Knight Bus driver and talking head is a must. They have some funny thoughts and peg each person as they walk up.
We had two big requests for day two on Diagon Alley. Ollivanders and Madam Malkin's for robes for Leighton. She couldn't wait! The only questions were which wand, and what house?!?
She is courageous and brave like a Gryffindor but also clever and ambitious like a Slytherin and the girl would rather make a potion than eat when she is hungry. Mr. Ollivander choose her from the audience and then the wand that chose this wizard was a wand of vine, 15 inches long, rather bendy and unicorn hair core! I don't think her feet were on the floor!
The house? Well must be SLYTHERIN!
This was one of those days as a mother that I will never forget. It was really like watching a dream come true for this little cutie, and her sister was so excited for her she could barely stand it. So wish this had been open when Hadleigh was 11. Although she would have been "sorted" in a totally different house!
Butter Beer and Fishy Green Ale. Butter Beer was the clear winner here. I may have had one or two or three...
Truly one of the most remarkable family trips that we have ever taken and our days at Disney were just icing on the cake. If you have a Potter Head in your home it's worth saving every little penny to take them.
We ended our trip sitting front and center to watch the holiday show and fireworks in Disney and I marked that off my bucket list. It was worth squirming to the front 2.5 hours before it started especially because my sweet Hadleigh said, "I'll go with you Mom!" Merry Christmas to me.