A lot of Travel Experta’s readers are not only visiting Central America, but they actually live here. And I get tons of queries about fun trips to do that is close to Central America for families.
Florida is not only conveniently close, but has sooo much to offer. Here’s a great example of what to do, even for a long weekend.
Before I start, let me state here and now that I am not a mega Harry Potter fan, however after my visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I’m a new admirer.
Holidays to Orlando are action-packed, and Universal Studios are a huge pull, with massive thrill-seeking rides and great for movie-buffs. WWOHP, as we’ll affectionately call it from here on in, is part of Islands of Adventure, the sister park to Universal Studios, and is free when you buy a ticket for the park. You can also buy hopper passes, allowing movement between Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. I’d suggest you shop around, there are many great deals to be had.
To save as much money as possible, it’s certainly worth pre-booking airport extras to cut costs and stress. Airport parking is a great service, and there are many great prices around. Check out Glasgow Airport Parking when flying from north of the border, or alternatively East Midlands Airport Parking have great deals available too, when flying indirect.
For fans of the books and films, this is probably going to be the best park in Orlando. Hogwarts is unbelievably realistic and inside is a fan’s dream. You’ll see the school of magic before you even enter the park, high on a hill and standing imposing over the park. The streets are cobbled, the houses and shops snow-topped and wonky, just like in the film, and even the Hogwart’s Express makes an appearance.
For ride lovers, you’re in for a treat, as Forbidden Journey is quite frankly one of the best rides in the whole of Orlando. The queuing area is also arguably the best too, with a tour through Hogwarts whilst you wait. Not wanting to ruin any secrets but there’s a Christmas tree, there’s snow, there’s talking pictures, there’s even Moaning Myrtle in the toilets! Talk about authentic. You’re at the front of the queue before you know it, and my, oh my is that ride worth waiting for. I can now say I’ve ridden a broomstick with Harry Potter.
The park is predictably busy, one of the main attractions in Orlando, so expect to queue for quite a while for the rides and the shops. Olivanders is a hugely popular shop, with authentic goods from the films, including magic wands and scarves. As you enter the store, you’re ushered into a smaller section, where Olivander himself will personally select one lucky ‘student’ who’s wand chooses them.
Honeydukes is the famous sweet shop, and contains all the yummy treats you would expect, including magic frogs and Bertie Bott’s Beans. If you’re going to buy one thing, make it these, they’re great fun! Not cheap, but the items from the two main stores are major keepsakes, so save money before you travel, with pre-booking extras, such as Stansted Airport Parking and you’ll afford to be able to treat yourself.
For lunch I would highly recommend The Three Broomsticks, for a truly Harry Potter authentic experience, including butter beer. I’m not convinced it’s that tasty, but try it and see for yourself!
For fans of the film, this is a no brainer of a place to visit, for those that aren’t major fans, like me, I’d highly recommend you give it a go, because the effectiveness of the place, and the major rides themselves, are worth it alone.
Magic, spells and Orlando magic – the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has it all.