Los Tweens was invited to a media familiarization tour of Universal Orlando Resort. As always, all views are certainly our own.
Our team was invited to experience the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando and it was as if we stepped into the movie studio for Harry Potter movies! You’re transported from Orlando to London as you cross into the amazingly authentic area which includes the Knight Bus (a magical triple-decker bus), magic shops and alleys where wands actually work and unique treats only found in this area of the park. Diagon Alley surely is an area for older children who have had the opportunity to read some or all of the Harry Potter series as the books and movies just come to life. But anyone with an imagination can get a sense of the literary works and themes since the area is so well constructed and presented.
Diagon Alley & Universal Orlando Favorites
When I asked my family what were their favorite areas of the Park, I received a number of answers. My twin daughters (one has read most of the series and the other has not) told me immediately that they loved:
- The RIDE (Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts) – actual quote: “It was amazing!” and the roller coasters in the park (surely for older kids who meet the height requirements)
- The magic wand shop where a wizard ‘outfits’ one special visitor with a wand that selects the owner (Ollivanders)
- The Butterbeer Ice Cream! One item they asked for a second time when we returned on our own the next day following the media trip. They loved the unique flavor of the ice cream.
Related article: Los Tweens Travel to Universal Orlando
- The architecture. For those who have read the books or seen the movie (which Dad has done!) it feels like a true movie set and you’re in the midst of the action.
- The fire-breathing dragon that roars and shoots out a very hot fire burst every 15 minutes or so was top of his list!
- Butterbeer- he surely has a sweet tooth and this exclusive offering is among his favorites
- The roller coasters and he just makes the height requirement!
So I had to think of my own list and I have to say that I enjoyed the restaurant The Leaky Cauldron. I was pleasantly surprised with the food quality and unique offerings that include:
- Bangers and Mash (traditional roasted sausages with creamy mashed potatoes)
- Toad in the Hole (traditional sausage baked into a Yorkshire pudding and served with onion gravy)
- Cottage Pie – the dish I enjoyed- delicious fish or ground beef pie
Instead of your average burgers you really are transported outside of a typical “theme park menu.
I also loved the train ride between parks on the Hogwarts Express – see our video on the Los Tweens Facebook page. At one point you literally disappear into the brick wall that makes everyone waiting giggle with silly excitement. The station and actual train ride are imaginative and authentic. If you’re not a series follower or reader, it simply feels like you’ve stepped back in time to enjoy a bit of old fashioned English hospitality with a bit of magic sprinkled in.
Our family truly enjoyed the new Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando. If you have the opportunity to plan an Orlando vacation with older children, I suggest you consider it since there are plenty of ticket specials and offerings for 2015.
As a mother of twin tweens in 2011 and an active Girl Scout Troop leader, Cristy realized there was a need to develop bilingual digital content and foster a community facing the challenges of raising kids after first grade. That year she founded and remains co-Publisher of Los Tweens & Teens, to support multicultural parents and mentors with content related to raising Gen Z- tweens & teens ages 7-18. Through the Los Tweens & Teens LIVE events such as Teens & Me – the growing team aims to provide our community with essential resources from chats with therapists to battle anxiety and bullying, to understanding social media and technology.