The best moments:
- Walking through the crack in the wall and entering into Diagon Alley - OMG the dragon shooting fire from the top of Gringott's Bank, all the shops and sounds!
|Entering Diagon Alley|
- Going through Hogwarts Castle - this is really the queue for the Forbidden Journey ride but it is SO well done! I loved walking through the hallway and the paintings were talking to each other, going through Dumbledore's office, and the bubbles that magically appeared from the ceiling in one of the classrooms.
|Hogwarts as seen from Hogsmeade|
- Visiting Gringott's Bank - complete with animatronic goblins and all!
|The Dragon over Gringott's Bank|
- Watching people pass through Platform 9 3/4 - the way they pull that off was pretty cool!
|The Hogwarts Express Arrives|
A word on both the restaurants: They are set up as traditional taverns and I have to say that they were well managed. We didn't have to wait in line all that long to order or receive our food and they had people who seated you, delivered food, and bussed tables quickly. Both served relatively similar, but not exactly the same fare.
First up, The Leaky Cauldron! This is located on the Universal Studios - Diagon Alley side.
It was a little bit darker here unless you were sitting out in the open part of the main room. We were seated under an overhang so it was rather dark, but I liked the ambiance. I forgot to take a photo until the food was almost gone, but I ordered a Cottage Pie and my husband ordered the Beef, Lamb, and Guinness Stew. Both were very good and much better than I expected given it was amusement park food. And then there was the butterbeer! My husband got it frozen and I got it normal: I'm not sure what I was expecting it to taste like, but it was SO good! It had a bit of a fizzy base - like a ginger ale - and then was topped with a concoction similar to marshmallow fluff that tasted like butterscotch. So, so good!
On the second day, we ate at the Three Broomsticks - on the Islands of Adventure - Hogsmeade side of the park.
Here is was much more open and airy as all the tables were seated under a two story cathedral ceiling. Here I made sure to take a photo before eating - I ordered a half chicken with corn and potatoes and my husband got the same thing but with an addition of ribs. Again, very good food. And the butterbeer!!! I think I enjoyed eating at The Leaky Cauldron a little bit more, but that could have possibly been just because I was awe inspired on day one.
As for the candy -
Overally, this trip was excellent and if you ever have the chance, I encourage you to go. To ride the Hogwarts Express and visit both sides of the Harry Potter park, you have to have a Park to Park pass, which was more that I wanted to pay, but it was worth it!
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