The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Who has been to Universal Studios in Florida? It’s an amazing vacation choice no matter what. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, this is Mecca! The first year we went, I spent half a day, to Tony’s dismay, in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

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As you approach, Hogwarts is all you can see. It seems larger than life, even though it’s obviously not a full size castle. The tips site I’m referncing says to make sure you take lots of pictures. You want to make sure you get at least one with the castle. I have probably 200 pictures taken in this one part of the park, and they’re all beautiful. Hogwarts is amazing, no matter the angle! Personal tip: best place for a picture with the castle is on the bridge heading towards Jurassic Park.

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Under the castle is the entrance to the best ride in this world. The Forbidden Journey of Harry Potter. They have two lines, one for single riders and one for groups. The single rider line may move quick, but the sites are much better along the group line! The group line takes you through Dumbledore’s study, the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom and Harry, Ron and Hermione tell you they’re going to give you a secret tour though the castle.
Once on the ride, you may believe you’re on a broomstick! You see the whole castle, the forbidden forest, compete in a quidditch match and face a dragon! Wow!!
The other rides include The Dragon Challenge, formerly the Dueling Dragons and The Flight of the Hippogriff.

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Be prepared to spend time browsing the shops too! If you have some time, make sure you visit Ollivander’s wand shop. They select someone from the small crowd and take them through the wand selecting process, just like in the movie. It’s nothing earth shattering, but cute nonetheless.
You can visit the gift shops and buy your own wand or other amazing items.
                          

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The food is a must! Mainly the candy and most definitely the butterbeer! You can even buy it in a souvenir cup so you can make your own at home! Check out my homemade butterbeer, tried, true and delicious, recipe We did try the lunch at the Three Broomsticks and it was pretty good. A little pricey, but you expect that in a theme park.

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Something that wasn’t on this particular tip list was the shows! There are two shows they perform throughout the day. One is the Hogwarts choir. It features 4 students and their director, singing with giant frogs, just like in Prisoner of Azkaban!
The second show features the visiting students in Goblet of Fire. You get to see the Durmstrang guys jump around, like in the photo. You also see the beautiful Beauxbaton ladies twirl around. Neither show should be missed!
If you’ve never been, put this on your list because it is so much fun! It doesn’t matter if you’re 9 or 99, while you might not be able to ride the rides, you will love the atmosphere!
If you’ve already been, share your own experiences!
Original pin can be found at http://usa.amateurtraveler.com/tips-for-wizarding-world-of-harry-potter/

Universal Studios Butterbeer

Universal Studios Butterbeer

The recipe exists! I mean, I know it exists, but I’m so excited about the recipe existing where I can have it! I’ve been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter twice and I’m in love with the whole world they have built. The rides, the shops and the food. The Butterbeer is at the top of the food list! The cup in the picture is one of the souvenier mugs that you can get when you order them and of course I have a pair of them!
Directions: Combine 1 cup brown sugar and 2 tbsp water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil and cook, stirring often until the mixture reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer (I just waited till it boiled and taste tested this extremely hot mixture to make sure it tasted yummy). Immediately remove from the heat when it reaches 240 degrees to prevent burnt flavor. Stir in 6 tbsp butter, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar and 1/4 cup heavy cream. Set the mixture aside to cool to room temperature. (I didn’t let it cool enough, still tasted amazing, but I reccomend letting it cool all the way!) Once it’s cooled stir in 1/2 tsp rum extract.
For the foamy head of the drink, combine 2 tbsp of the brown sugar mixture to 1/2 cup heavy cream. Use an electric mixture to beat until just thickened, but not completely whipped, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Divide the brown sugar mixture between 4 glasses (about 1/4 cup per glass) add 1/4 cup cream soda to each glass then stir to combine. Fill each glass with additional cream soda, spoon whipped topping over each glass.
It feels like a lot of work when you are anxious for the taste of Butterbeer, but it is so completely worth it! I would suggest everyone, even non-Harry Potter fans (not that such a person could possibly exist), try this drink because it is amazing!

Original pin found here