Universal Studios Hollywood

As far as I remember, I haven’t ever been to Universal Studios Hollywood before. 

So both Topher and I were excited to compare it to it’s counterpart in Orlando. First off, it is so weird knowing a theme park like the back of your hand then visiting another version of it. Lots of similarities but you can’t seem to find anything. Thank god for the map!

Universal Studios Hollywood - spinning sign

Universal Studios Hollywood - Popcorn

We arrived at opening and started the morning by jumping onto the Studio tour. My initial plan was to go to the lower lot where the most popular rides were but as we arrived we found out that it doesn’t open for the first hour of park opening. I hate when places do this but it worked out ok in the end as the studio tour lasted about 40 minutes so by the time we were done, the lot opened.

Universal Studios Hollywood -studio tour

As it had just opened, the rides were pretty much a walk on down there (so many escalators!) which was a bonus. Transformers is exactly the same as Orlando and Jurassic Park is almost the same with a couple of differences. The Mummy on the other hand was completely different. Still a rollercoaster but a different track. I really enjoyed it – not sure which one I prefer.

Universal Studios Hollywood - lower lot

Universal Studios Hollywood - jurassic park

Then we moved onto Krustyland. The Simpsons ride is the same as Orlando one – don’t have lunch before this ride!

Universal Studios Hollywood - krustyland

Universal Studios Hollywood - side show bob

We had lunch at Luigis Pizza in Springfield/Krustyland which did the job. Universal food is never much to write home about but the theming of their restaurants is always on point!

Universal Studios Hollywood - duff beer

Of course we couldn’t visit Universal without a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It is an exact copy of the Orlando Hogsmeade right down to the rides. It was nice to be “back” as the last one we visited was in 2015 when Topher proposed!

Universal Studios Hollywood - hogsmeade

Universal Studios Hollywood - hogwarts

After riding both rides we headed to the Hogs Head for a butterbeer to cool down. Now in Orlando it’s usually much quicker going in there to get your butterbeer as most people queue up at the carts outside. That was not the case in Hollywood. We were so confused at the large line coming out of the Hogs Head and couldn’t figure out why until we eavesdropped on some other people in the queue.

It turns out that everyone likes to get a shot of whiskey in their butterbeer here. It was never a thing when we went in Orlando so it was a bit surprising (is it a thing now?). Considering how hot it is, we like to avoid alcohol because of dehydration. But then maybe we’re weird – I know plenty of people who like to drink around the world in epcot but I’ll stick to my single margarita thanks.

When we did eventually get our frozen butterbeers we were disappointed to find them really watery in taste. Maybe we got a bad batch? Or maybe that’s why people add whiskey to them? Oh well. It wasn’t the end of the world – I’ll just look forward to the next time we go back to Orlando in a few years.

Universal Studios Hollywood - butterbeer

Pygmy puff slippers!

Universal Studios Hollywood - pygmy puff slippers

Universal Studios Hollywood - hogwarts express

One thing Orlando doesn’t have is Super Silly Fun Land from Despicable Me. The rides were more for kids so we just walked around and enjoyed the theming. I guess Orlando don’t have it as it would be in direct competition for Seuss Landing. Both have that same colourful, childlike vibe.

Universal Studios Hollywood - super silly fun land

We met Gru!

Universal Studios Hollywood - gru

And King Julien

Universal Studios Hollywood - king lou

Another thing Orlando doesn’t have – The Walking Dead attraction. It’s a walk through where zombies jump out at you. It’s just like Halloween Horror Nights but with more space. Claire would definitely enjoy this more as she found the HHN houses way too claustrophobic. So if you’re claustrophobic but want to see some zombies – this is a way better option!

Also super random but well done for the employee for stopping a women taking in her scared five year old. This is definitely not an attraction for small kids! Not judging the woman but I definitely advise reading the attraction descriptions carefully before going on.

Universal Studios Hollywood - walking dead

Universal Studios Hollywood - sign

Overall, we had a great day but the Orlando Universal Studios is definitely superior in our eyes!

Here’s where we’ve been so far on our honeymoon:

Part 1: New York

What we ate in New York

Part 2: San Francisco

What we ate in San Francisco

Color Factory

Madonna Inn & A Californian Roadtrip

Part 3: Los Angeles 

What we ate in Los Angeles

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Universal Studios & Harry Potter Roundup

I love Universal Studios! It doesn’t matter how many times I visit this place but overtime it feels like I’ve stepped into my favourite books. Another big part of the holiday that I couldn’t wait to share with my friends. And now I can say I got engaged at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter too!

Universal Studios - Harry Potter world

I don’t know which side I love more, but the signage in Diagon Alley definitely tips the scales a bit. This pumpkin juice wall is my favourite.

Universal Studios - lampUniversal Studios - EmmaUniversal Studios - Diagon Alley

I wish the real world was this colourful.

Universal Studios - The Daily ProphetUniversal Studios - Death eater mask

As well as visiting Harry Potter world, we also spent plenty of time in the rest of the two Universal parks. Including our third trip to Halloween Horror Nights. It’s certainly not everyones cup of tea but Topher and I love it. Even though I don’t particularly like horror films, apparently I’m a-ok with paying for people to jump out and scare me. Weird that!

Universal Studios - Halloween Horror Nights 25Universal Studios - Toon Lagoon

Until next time Universal.

Universal Studios - The Gang

And of course, being the foodie I am – there has to be an entire post dedicated to what I ate, so stay tuned for my next holiday post!

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – The Extension

The final Florida post. One of the things I was most looking forward to while in Florida was visiting the new extension of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios. I’m happy to say it was amazing and it was so much bigger than I thought it would be. 

So it’s time to photobomb you now!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogwarts Express
Riding the Hogwarts Express was awesome! In case you don’t know, you need a park to park ticket to ride the train. This is because the London/Diagon Alley side is in Universal Studios and the Hogsmeade/Hogwarts side is in the park next door, Islands of Adventure. So yes it costs extra to ride the train, very clever Universal!
 
So as we’ve seen the Hogsmeade side before, we mainly spent our time in the Diagon Alley section. There’s a new ride and lots of new shops.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Gringotts

Fun fact: They now serve hot butterbeer in the new expansion. Finally! As a true fan, I have been saying for years that butterbeer must be hot. Taking my first sip, I knew this was the most amazing drink ever. (Note: You probably won’t be a fan if you’re not a sweet tooth!) I could drink this all day.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - hot butterbeer
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - skulls
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - dragon details
Between browsing the shops we decided to try the new Gringotts ride which I really enjoyed. Those who got a little motion sick on the Forbidden Journey will enjoy this more as you don’t get tipped around as much. You’re just on a track which is more traditional but there is still a 3D screen in some places. I would recommend it!
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - stationery
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - signage
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - buildings
I loved walking through the colourful streets. Why is the UK so grey and red? 
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - photos
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - toys
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes
We had lunch in the Leaky Cauldron which was cool but I have to admit that I prefer the food in the Three Broomsticks on the Hogsmeade side. Also if you’re looking for a diet coke you won’t find it in the Leaky Cauldron as my brother discovered. Wizard drinks only – sorry muggles! I personally loved trying all the new drinks but Pumpkin juice still remains my favourite (besides butterbeer of course).
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Leaky Cauldron
There’s lots of sausage dishes (bangers and mash, toad in the hole etc) so maybe that’s why I didn’t enjoy it as much. I had the lamb stew the first day and fish and chips the second. Both nice but I’m more partial to the rotisserie chicken. 
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Florean Fortescue's ice cream
After lunch the next stop was the ice cream parlour where you could actually get butterbeer ice-cream! I liked the taste but as it was soft scoop and they give you loads, it got a bit sickly after awhile. I really enjoyed the earl grey and lavender hard scoop ice cream (much nicer than it sounds) as it was really light and unusual. Topher enjoyed the sticky toffee pudding and also the salted caramel blondie. 
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - christmas wreath
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - hogwarts
I never get tired of looking at Hogwarts. Will be back soon I promise!

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