Day 9 – the day of the Forbidden Journey (and no magic bands)!

It’s Universal day…or should I say Harry Potter Day?!

We leave the Lodge and take the 30 minute drive along I4 and manage to find the Hendry-Blums in the chaos that is Universal security…what a hot mess!

Finally into park one, Universal Studios awhat a journey! It’s fantastic! 

I’ll steal a bit of wiki to explain as I was too in awe…

The entrance to the station, which is a quarter-scale replica of the real London King’s Cross railway station, is located in the London area, close to Diagon Alley.[10][26][27] Passengers enter the station building and have their admission ticket checked. They then enter a queue which takes them farther into the station building, under a split-flap departure board, and past London-related advertisements, several stacks of suitcases and a shop selling food. After ascending a flight of stairs, passengers find themselves between signs for King’s Cross Platform 9 and Platform 10. They can see those ahead of them walking through the “wall” forming the entrance to Platform 9¾. This effect uses the Pepper’s ghost illusion. After continuing around several corners, guests arrive on Platform 9¾ itself to wait for the next train to arrive. After the Hogwarts Express has reversed into Platform 9¾ and the arriving passengers have disembarked, the next passengers enter one of the twenty-one compartments in the three passenger carriages.

As the train departs King’s Cross, Hedwig the owl flies alongside while passing through the outskirts of London. Hedwig flies away and Dementors arrive from over the nearby buildings. At the same time Harry, Ron, and Hermione pass along the corridor side of the carriage looking for food. The journey enters a tunnel; upon its exit, it passes by Malfoy Manor during a stormy night. Next, the train passes through a second tunnel and the lights in the compartments go out as a Dementor enters the train and passes along the corridor; Harry Potter uses his magic to defeat the Dementor. After exiting the tunnel, riders are greeted by Hagrid flying on a motorbike with Hogwarts in the background. As the train enters a forest, the flying Ford Anglia appears and starts driving through the terrain. The car crashes soon after and the train leaves the forest, passing by Hogwarts once again before arriving at Hogsmeade Station with Hagrid greeting passengers.

On arrival we take a walk through Hogsmeade…(where Natty gets loads of comments on her Marauders Map dress – thanks Auntie Ev!)

…and head to the Forbidden Journey inside Hogwarts…

Baby R is too small so we baby swap, with Frank looking after R and the rest of us ride. Brilliant! Next up it’s Frank and Natasha…whilst we pop over to to take P on Flight of the Hipogriff. Whilst in line, we get a text from Frank… we are stuck!

They get stuck for quite a while and in the end they get a ‘back stage tour’ of the ride with lights on and their seats being ‘walked out’ of the whole ride! I’ll post a video.

Once reunited, we  grab lunch at the Three Broomsticks with  frozen butter beer with our fish and chips!

Next up is a spot of shopping…new school bag for sixth form etc. Our next visit is to the wand shop, Olivanders where Natasha was chosen for wand fitting at least 5 years ago on our  first trip to Hogsmeade! We enter with around 30 guests…and over comes Olivander himself and asks Natty her name…yes, Natasha is chosen for wand fitting again!

With wand in hand we catch the Hogwarts Express back to Kings Cross where we find Kreacher peeping out at us.

We also take a look at the Knight Bus…

…before heading down Diagon Alley – it’s amazing!

Frank and Natty scored special passes for getting stuck on the ride earlier so we walk straight past the 50 minute queue into Gringotts Bank…

Another incredible ride but I don’t take up the offer of a second rude courtesy of baby swap…so Frank takes P and Natty for a second go!

Enter Gringotts™ bank beneath the massive fire-breathing dragon at the far end of Diagon Alley™. Inside, walk through the bank’s grand marble lobby and see goblins hard at work. Then, get ready to take a journey through cavernous passageways that lead deep underground as you climb aboard this mind-blowing, multi-dimensional thrill ride.

You’ll face the bank’s stringent security measures while navigating perilous subterranean vaults. Along the way you’ll encounter Harry, Ron, and Hermione. But you’ll have to evade the wrath of malicious villains Voldemort™ and Bellatrix, as well as trolls and other creatures that stand between you and a safe return to Diagon Alley™.

We also got to see and hear the fire breathing dragon..but it didn’t half make little R jump in his sleep! Bless!

Baby R was having such a lovely snooze!

Natty shops for a Pygmy Puff in Weasley’s Wizardinf Wheezes and an Irish quidditch team shirt in Quality Quidditch Supplies! We follow this with delicious Ice cream from Florean Fortescue…

Then have fun with the interactive wand down Knockturn Alley before saying goodbye to our friends.

We then take in at bit more of the Universal park and firstly ride  Men In Black, where Will is comprehensively beaten by Natasha! Next up we  ride ET, which is something we haven’t done since 1995! It’s still so lovely and simple but cute.

Natty then gets us a virtual Line spot for Jimmy Fallons Race through New York’s a crazy 3D motion simulator which does not agree with my motion sickness tendencies…bottom line, I feel awful! I think I’ve recovered ok so agree to take Natt on The Mummy ride – an indoor roller coaster. Now I’m normally ok with these rides but I think Will had the best idea and sat this one out…

I decide (and it’s easy to get everyone to agree) that we should head towards Kings Cross again and take a final journey on the Hogwarts Express being as we love it so much!

Once in Hogsmeade, Natty uses her special pass to ride the Forbidden Journey again in the hope that it doesn’t break down! Will and I enjoy drinks in the Hogshead whilst we wait…and I catch up on a bit of blogging. I’m sure there are photos somewhere…

On our way out of the park I write a littlemore blog  whilst Natty enjoys the Spider-Man ride. We’ve had a long day, with over 11 hours in the park so we decide to grab food from our favourite Chicago pizza place, Giodarnos and take it back to the Lodge. Sadly, my night ends with a dental disaster as my crown literally falls out…

Good night!

But here’s a few more photos that I didn’t add to today’s story…

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