They’re the stuff of fantasy, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, the Wizard of Oz and Hogwarts Castle.
They are the castles of our imagination, so think about the chance of seeing them come to life.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, to give it its proper name, rises majestically from the pages of JK Rowling’s books…
And into the magnificent Hogwarts Castle in Universal Resort Orlando.
All fantasy castles are based on real ones and every Potterhead knows that JK Rowling was inspired by Alnwick Castle.
In Northumberland which is in the north-east of England. www.alnwickcastle.com.
But back to Orlando.
And the village of Hogsmeade where young wizards bedecked in cloaks, and brandishing wands, sing and dance for our entertainment.
School was never this much fun.
You’ll get right into the heart of the castle where the pictures follow you and even rifle around Dumbledore’s study.
Just an aside here, I wouldn’t have minded the Great Bearded One being my headmaster.
At my school the teachers were never on our side!
I mean Harry and Ron never had to feel the thwack of ferula leather on the palms of their hands.
Sports are better too. And quidditch is a far better option than freezing your whatsits off in cross-country.
And I was good at that.
Universal will give you the chance to join in the fun and games with our heroes on a broomstick ride around the castle.
In the 4D ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
You’ll get the feeling of ducking and diving thrillingly close to the turrets.
It can be a little disorientating for the senses (well, yeah) but there are few things that are truly unique.
And this is one of them.
Universal never rests on its laurels though.
And this year it has introduced a new experience, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.
Where you can fly on a rollercoaster as pillion to The Big Fella through the Forbidden Forest.
Watch out for some strange creatures. As well as the ones you’ve come with.
A fun ride
How to get there: all major airlines fly to Orlando, the world’s rollercoaster capital.
I flew with Aer Lingus www.aerlingus.com from Dublin with pre-clearance.
Once there catch the Hogwarts Express at Kings Cross Station in London in Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
Watch out though through the windows for those scary Dementors.
And, of course, at Hogsmeade Station you can pop around the corner into the world of Diagon Alley.
Universal is a day and a night, a day and a night.
And at night the castle really lights up with a dazzling spectacle with dramatic music.
I was part of the Dark Arts show when I visited Orlando’s sister park in Hollywood.
Read my Hollywood series https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/22/my-weekend-with-marilyn/. http://Stair Wars
Diagon Alley deserves its own blog and I’ll return to that but for now here’s my first time in Orlando https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/aaawlando-orlando-the-rollercoaster-capital/.
A reminder of my return trip to Universal https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/disney-why-i-love-the-donald/
And here’s my reprise of my first Orlando trip https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/08/21/eat-my-shorts-voldemort-and-bart/. Because you never forget the first time.
There was a second and there will be a third, fourth, fifth…