TRAVEL VLOG | Wizarding World of Harry Potter

2019 – Let’s fly to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios (Florida)! The world was so immersive and I have footage/photos from both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. Join me as I walk through the parks. Service is spotty in Gringotts so I hope this video posted…

As always, thank you for stopping by and spending time with me XOXO

THE GOOD STUFF:

blog post on HP world
HP series review – https://youtu.be/jYWSuJEqUkU
another travel vlog (Denver, CO) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzHmjInvdwU&t=167s

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Suitcase Diaries: WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER

“J.K. Rowling is my hero.”

Scorpio season was a good time to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter because I felt the spooky, magical, mystical vibes the entire time. Not a fan of zodiacs? Fair enough – moving on.

We went to the Orlando location, located roughly 15-20 minutes away from Disney World. Universal Studios is a unique place. The park specializes in simulated animation, which may leave your motion-sick family members feeling green. There are plenty of disclaimers before each ride so you can simply read the CAUTION signs and advance at your own risk. Lol. In my opinion, this makes it a little less “family friendly.”

HOWEVER, the bread and butter of this park is 1,000% Harry Potter. No contest. Don’t even @ me. The attention to detail is outstanding and I commend J.K. Rowling for not selling her empire to Disney, which would have relinquished her vision for the masterpiece you see today.

Instead, Universal Studios offered our beloved author a true presence which the Harry Potter series clearly deserved. Essentially, it is its own entity and boosts Universal high up in the theme park ranking (for HP world alone).

To start, they bring Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade to life. You enter Diagon Alley through a brick wall consistent with the novel. Immediately to your left you’ll find the Leaky Cauldron and to your right the Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes joke shop. And it doesn’t end there.

They serve butterbeer: cold, warm, or frozen. What Harry Potter fan doesn’t want to get their hands on a cup of butterbeer?! (My favorite is frozen or warm, depending on the weather when you arrive).

Some of the rides include an escape from Gringotts, a tour of Hogwarts, and the ever popular still-semi-new Hagrid’s Motorbike rollercoaster. In Gringotts you’ll find realer-than-life goblins running the bank. The tour of Hogwarts is a mixture of simulation and movement throughout the castle – if you get motion sick I think you can still ride it and cover your eyes during the simulated portion (that’s what I did). It’s too cool to miss and the line itself is an experience. Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure will take up some time (in line) but is worth it for the true Harry Potter fan that can appreciate the attention to detail. I hear 12-1 pm is the best time to hit the line as most folks are heading to lunch. We waited an hour before we got on, totally worth it.

Diagon Alley sits in Universal Studios while Hogsmeade is located in Islands of Adventure. I preferred Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade, but I’m excited to visit Hogsmeade during a quieter season when the narrow “town” isn’t so packed and crowded. There were perks to each, and I’ll list them below:

DIAGON ALLEY

  • Seemed to be less crowded (definitely go right when the park opens for the most breath-taking experience – and room to walk around)
  • You’ll see a lot of kids (or adults) with wands casting spells which is just too cool
  • Stop by Ollivander’s to watch someone get selected for a “wand fitting”
  • Send out a postcard at the Owlery for a unique and memorable experience
  • Step inside the Leaky Cauldron for a snack or lunch
  • Observe all the storefronts which include animated photo frames and magical demonstrations

HOGSMEADE

  • Entrance to Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure
  • Breathtaking view of Hogswarts castle (+ the ride!)
  • Listen for Moaning Myrtle in the restrooms
  • Entrance straight into Hogsmeade if you pick up the “Hogwarts Express” train from the other park – I’d recommend doing this early so you aren’t dumped into a crowded street as your first experience of Universal’s Hogsmeade

Lastly, I’d like to chat about the Hogwarts Express, which is just… BRAVO! This was a 20 min wait for us. Right before you enter the platform, pay attention to the guests ahead of you. They disappear walking onto platform 9 ¾ and you do not want to miss! I don’t know if you can capture on camera, but definitely keep an eye out. It’s low-key one of the coolest things I saw there. You feel as if you’re stepping right into the books.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is not one to miss. Even if you’re not a fan, I think you’d enjoy it. If you are a fan, you’ll poop your pants. I teared up walking into Diagon Alley for the first time. It’s emotional! A huge round of applause to J.K. Rowling + Universal for fully immersing their guests in an experience of a lifetime. To date, it is the most impressive themed “world” I have ever encountered.

Service in Gringotts is spotty so I am signing out…

Xoxo,
Katrina
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5 books into 2019 – here’s what I’m loving

“Who doesn’t love a chance to escape reality?”

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*NO SPOILERS, why would I do that to anyone? Obviously.*

HELLO, WHAT’S UP, WELCOME BACK. Today we are talking about BOOKS. I am 5 books deep into 2019 and there is some tea to spill. I mean, well, not really. But you get the gist. We’re here to chat fiction and non-fiction, some old and some new.

In this lineup we have two INCREDIBLY popular books from a series I can’t believe it took me until the age of 26 to read. We also have a memoir written by our former First Lady (here in the US of A), as well as two other fiction novels by a couple credited authors.

Let’s dive in! Books are listed in order of when I finished them (last one being the most recent read for me).

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House Rules by Jodi Picoult
I have a lot of thoughts about this book. Mainly, it’s a really long ass book for a semi-interesting ending. Did I have the ending figured out? No. Was I satisfied by the ending? No. Was it 532 pages? Yes, unfortunately.
I’ve heard incredible things about Jodi Picoult, and I will say, she’s a phenomenal writer. Her writing is what got me through all 500 pages. I was consumed by the story and it was incredibly interesting, but wow there was so much fluff that didn’t feel as if it gave credit to how the book comes to an end.
I will give one more of her books a try and probably cap it after that if I am uninterested.

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Looking for Alaska by John Green
Oh boy. Where to begin? I might have found this book intriguing if I were in the age range of 13-18 years old. Since I am 26, I didn’t relate to the high school drama/plot whatsoever. Even more frustrating was my lack in character interest – I just didn’t feel empathy for the characters, nor did I really like them.
What I think was an attempt at crafting an underlying plot of life after death (considering the class Miles was most interested in) and how to come to peace with the passing of loved ones felt rushed. I actually really enjoyed the final pages in this book about energy neither starting nor ending, but taking different shapes and sizes throughout its journey. I wish there was more to the story and how that relates to a lifetime, or previous life, etc.

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
HOW did I let myself get so old without reading these books? HOW??? The first one, while containing a lot of info to set up who is Harry Potter, what are muggles, and why did you-know-who kill those people, is an incredible read. You could knock this book out in one sitting if you put your reading glasses on. lol. It’s so damn good. And when I think of the story being written in the 90s, I’m even more impressed. It’s so “futuristic” I am in love.
The book is definitely tailored to a younger reader’s comprehension, but I hear they get a lot more complex at the series continues. GOOD STUFF.

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Becoming by Michelle Obama
This book was slow to start (as it seemed repetitive), but SO WORTH the read. So worth it. If you can power through the first 150 pages until you get into Michelle’s young adult career, meeting Barack, and simultaneously choosing to have kids/pursue the political career, you’ll thoroughly enjoying finishing the second half of this book. Michelle is inspirational, powerful, and best of all – relatable.

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
WOW – as if the first one couldn’t get any better, the second book took it to the next level for me. J.K. Rowling – goddamn! What a mastermind. The plot thickens a lot in this book and we learn so much more about Harry and his talents by nature. I feel like we are really picking up speed and I’m full force ahead onto book #3.

SO THAT’S A WRAP on my “5 books into 2019 segment”. What are your thoughts? Have you read these? I know 99% of you are like “yes bitch we all read the HP series a decade ago.” I know, I know. I’m catching up!!! Cut me some slack. It’s magical getting to experience this for the first time now.

Thanks for stopping by and spending your time with me.

Xoxo,
KS Loves red lips isolated in white

I love to meet new people!
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