We are living through crazy times people. At the time of posting this video, Universal Studios has been closed indefinitely due to a worldwide pandemic. It will reopen again one day – and until then, we can live vicariously through my foodie adventures!
Universal Studios is like Disneys more mature older sibling. From dinos to dancers, everything at Universal has a bit more of an edge to it.
But of course the real reason I love universal studios is for one very magical reason…
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is one of Universal’s biggest draws. It’s an essential destination for most Potterheads such as myself.
We started our day in Hogsmeade – and after being sorted before the Forbidden Journey and helping Hagrid round up some blast ended skrewts on the new Magical Creatures ride – which is totally worth the hype, by the way – we found ourselves famished in front of the Three Broomsticks.
With a wide array of traditional British dishes available, we settled to try the beef pasties with a fresh salad on the side. The beef pasties were small but filing, and the fresh salad was probably the first vegetable I had eaten in days.
I paired my lunch with a pumpkin fizz – which I honestly think is better than butterbeer. But of course, I had to have something butterbeer flavored, so for dessert I had butterbeer flavored potted cream – which tuned out to be one of the best things we had on our entire trip.
After the thee broomsticks we made our way to Honeydukes to fill our pockets with magical sweets. From chocolate frogs to U-No-Poo pellets, Honeydukes candy selection is a dream come true for any Harry Potter fan who ever wanted to get candy off the trolley on the Hogwarts’ express.
I truly felt like a kid in a candy shop while I picked out my treats and happily exclaimed “We’ll take the lot!” as I checked out. There’s also an assortment of magical bakery items such as their chilled flaming cauldron cake and never-melt ice cream, both of which really hit the spot on a hot Florida afternoon.
With all the snowcapped buildings, its easy to forget its 90F degrees out.
After Hogsmeade, we headed to the train station and boarded the Hogwarts express, bound for Diagon Alley.
Did you know that Diagon Alley is named because it is built DIAGONALLY to the Muggle world roads? It’s true! it’s just some clever wordplay on JK Rowlings part, but it took me nearly 25 years to make that connection.
From the magical menagerie of animals to making magic in the streets, there’s a little something for every Harry Potter fan in Diagon Alley.
My favorite part of Diagon Alley is the dragon escaping from Gringotts – and if you’re lucky, you’ll ever get to see him release a blast of dragon fire!!
Our next stop was the Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes joke shop where I picked up a skiving snack box packed with nosebleed nougats, fainting fancies, fever fudge and puking pastilles.
After the joke shop, we decided to pop into the Leaky Cauldron for dinner. if you didn’t know, it’s named the Leaky Cauldron because it’s got this big cauldron that leaks. We’re just learning all the magical facts today!
For dinner we dined on the speciality chicken sandwich – which I recommend for muggles. I had the scotch eggs and pickled beat salad, which turned out to be just as delicious as it looks. The beat salad was surprisingly tangy – and something I’ve been craving since we left!
For my drink I tried the insanely sweet and sour tongue tying lemon squash and for dessert I had the Cranachan – which is essentially a little fruit parfait with granola.
After dinner we make a quick stop at Florean Fortescue’s ice cream parlor for a second dessert. The ice cream shop offer a range of magical flavors – but their most popular, and one of Harry Potter’s favorites, is the chocolate strawberry peanut butter sundae – and despite the somewhat unusual combination of flavors, this ice cream works!
While trying to find our way back to the Hogwarts’ Express, we turned down an alley we thought was a short cut. Instead, we found ourselves in the darkness of Knockturn alley, and after scoping out Bourgin and Burkes we managed to escape back into the daylight of pretend London.
Finally, I made my way through the invisible entry of Platform 9 3/4, chit chatted with my girl Hedwig and finally boarded the Hogwarts’ Express to return to school. Disney may be the most magical place on earth, but Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.