UNIVERSAL STUDIOS, ORLANDO, FL- It’s 8a.m. and we have returned to Universal Studios. Although Universal Studios is smaller than Islands of Adventure, there were more attractions in this park. We got to visit various worlds on the way to Kings Cross Station.
Helen and Ivonne ran into Lucille Ball from I Love Lucy. Movie stars like Marilyn Monroe and Jimmy Stewart strolled along the Walk of Fame. It was like being in TCM all over again. As we continued, Alondra got the shock of her life. It turns out the Krusty Crab does exist! Oh, what a day for the Spongebob Squarepants fan in her. I got a childhood shocker when I noticed Fivel from An American Tail. That film and The Land Before Time made my childhood awesome. One of the employees at Universal redirected us to find Diagon Alley. We had been going the wrong way!
This part of Universal Studios is on team DC Comics instead of Marvel, hence the appearances of Batman and Superman. The world turned yellow as we approached Simpsons Land. Some of the rides and attractions were creepy, specifically Krusty’s cafe. Who would have thought Homer Simpson would have a spot in Universal Orlando with his family? The yellow color faded away as we walked deeper into the park. Grimmauld Place appeared along with the Knight Bus. We had arrived at Kings Cross Station.
The dilemma of arriving at Kings Cross Station was finding our way into Diagon Alley. Hagrid was not around to tap on the bricks, and we did not have any Floo powder on us. It was then that Helen noticed people coming in and out of an arched passageway behind the station. We followed the crowd and mischief managed, there was Diagon Alley in all its glory! My inner book nerd took it all in. Quidditch supplies, the Weasley twins’ shop, The Leaky Cauldron, Ollivander’s, Gringotts, and the magical pet store.
We explored the Weasley’s shop first where I encountered the Extendable Ears and love potions. The robe shop had Fleur Delacor’s wedding dress and Cedric Digory’s triwizard tournament uniform. Here, Helen and I purchased Hermione’s time turner. Alondra and Ivonne looked through the magical pet shop to see if they can purchase an owl, snake, cat, werewolf, or any other magical creature. The Leaky Cauldron was amazing to see, but the food was expensive. We entered Gringotts bank for “Escape from Gringotts.” The goblins worked on bank accounts while Harry, Ron, and Hermione lead the way to get out of the vaults. Belatrix LeStrange caused chaos while we tried to escape. At the top of Gringotts, a dragon blew fire.
I wish Flourish and Botts had been a real store instead of a prop in Diagon Alley. Merged into a deep corner by The Leaky Cauldron was Knockturn Alley. It’s a small, poorly lit area selling dark magical objects and books. Before leaving Diagon Alley, we all bought merchandise based on our Hogwarts houses.
From Kings Cross Station we checked out the Transformers attraction. Unfortunately, the wait was two hours long, so we moved on to The Mummy instead. If you think the Florida heat is unbearable try riding though fire in this attraction. Terminator was both a live action and 3-D show. As we continued walking, we noticed a new ride was being constructed. It will be based on Jimmy Fallon and New York City. I had forgotten Universal and NBC collaborated in many projects. More characters appeared like BettleJuice, Betty Boop, Scooby Doo, and Shaggy.
After meeting one of the Minions, Alondra had been dying to ride the Rock It. Helen, Ivonne, and Gil opted out, so I got on with my little sister. It was an hour wait but at least the area had shade. One cool feature about the roller coaster is that you can play music out of a playlist while you ride. I chose Daft Punk, but it did not distract me enough from the fear I felt throughout the entire 90 seconds of the coaster. It is a fun ride, but I did not feel secure with just a gigantic lap restraint when it goes upside down. Alondra and I had our upper body strength tested to the max. We survived, but I doubt I will ever do it again. My only regret was not getting the video. I bet our faces were a good laugh while we screamed on the way down.
This is one experience I will never forget. Not only did I get to explore Harry Potter’s world, but other famous places as well based on pop culture. Until next time Universal!
Photos: Rosa Elena Burgos, Gilberto E. Burgos, and Alondra Oliveras
Last Updated: December 28, 2021