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Visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley

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Ah, Harry Potter. One of the greatest things on earth. I don’t know about you, but I pretty much breathe everything Harry Potter. I’m constantly reading the series, watching one of the movies at least a couple (or few) times a month, scroll through multiple Harry Potter Facebook groups, you get the idea… So when Brandon agreed to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter during our quick stop in Orlando before heading to Aruba for a honeymoon, I was pretty much in heaven.

Universal Studio’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter did NOT disappoint. We only made it to Diagon Alley for lack of time, but still worth every penny galleon. We even waiting in line for almost 3 hours to board the ride “Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts”. You guys, I almost cried after this ride because it was like a childhood dream coming true! (More on that below).

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So first, I would plan on at least one entire day or two just to be safe that you cover all grounds at both parks! There are two parks connected by the Hogwarts Express. Diagon Alley is inside the park and Hogsmeade is out on the island. Since we only had a limited time we opted for just Diagon Alley so we could explore it with the rest of the park. If you have to choose, I would suggest Diagon Alley because you have to pay for the Hogwarts Express as well, so it’s definitely the cheaper option.

You enter Diagon Alley from the streets of London feeling like a true muggle turning eleven and discovering that “yer a wizard ‘Arry”! It’s SO COOL! Here’s what it looks like on the outside:

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Next thing you know, you’re in Diagon Alley! Now go get yourself a wand ya wizard! Stop at Ollivanders Wand shop and choose a famous wizard’s wand or opt for the interactive one!

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This is something I wish I would’ve planned ahead of time. Here’s why: I thought that if you were buying a wand that you could do the whole “the wand chooses the wizard” thing. But it’s actually chosen at random sometimes for a quick show while everyone is in the shop. The other thing is you can only buy wands from other famous witches and wizards, where I thought it would be all kinds of wands you could choose from. So I went for Harry’s wand and to this day I still wish I would’ve gone for Dumbledore’s wand (the Elder Wand). That’s okay, though, looks like I will just have to start collecting them all… 😉

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The wand isn’t cheap, I believe it was $40 and not interactive. You can buy an interactive wand which is SUPER cool! Basically, it comes with a map to interact with things around the park. For example, there might be a feather in a shop window that you can make levitate. I would suggest this if you’re planning on spending a lot of time there to give you optimal time to explore all the secret wand places. Oh, and I suggest getting your wand early on to start your wizarding experience right!

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One of the best parts! Bring an appetite and empty belly because there are a LOT of food and drink options everywhere you look. They have lots of little pop-up shops for drinks and candy that are so much fun to check out! I of course, snagged a butter beer with an upgrade to a collector’s cup! Gotta be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of it but I still drank it because I just wanted to sip out of that cup! We also had lunch at The Leaky Cauldron which was one of the coolest experiences. The entire place is so realistic, it’s incredible what they did to build that entire park. So many details and it just feels like everything you’ve watched and read is right in front of you.

Expect The Leaky Cauldron to be pretty busy all the time, but they actually move quick and get you in fast. It helps that there was just two of us so we could squeeze in. So if you’re in a larger group, you might need to save a little extra time for it. I had fish and chips and they were DELICIOUS!

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Photo Credit

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Bahaha! That meme will never get old. Diagon Alley is one heck of a place at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! The shops, food, everything. It’s just pure perfection! They do have one ride, “Harry Potter and the Escape to Gringotts” and holy crap it’s so awesome. You will most likely wait awhile in line to get in but it’s worth the wait. They use holograms and… I don’t want to give away anymore! But let’s just say you will feel like you are in the movie. It’s amazing. I almost shed a tear after it.

I don’t really have much more to say other than YOU NEED TO GO IF YOU HAVEN’T YET! I would be sure to plan lots of time if you can (it’s a busy place) and save money so you don’t have to hold back on anything like an interactive wand and trying all the foods you see 🙂

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I want to hear! Have you visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? What was your favorite part?! Any tips?

A Weekend in Chicago…

Full of booze, fun, fish, bikes, and a couple wins.

Safe to say I’m exhausted. Good news is this Monday back at work we spent half the day playing “tiny golf” aka mini golf. So that was awesome!

This Chicago trip was one of the tops for me. I don’t know if it was all the Husker fans taking over the city or that we were able to pack so much greatness in a couple days. Let’s begin where it all went down…

Wrigleyville.

Highly recommend staying at this sick Airbnb that is 3 APTS AWAY FROM WRIGLEY FIELD! I couldn’t believe it – def the way to stay in Chicago. Just a few blocks away from the Red Line and beach. Here’s what we did during the weekend (and what you should plan on doing when you visit Chicago next!!)

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Wrigley Field Tour

Quick pro tip: Do the tour when there’s not a game that day because then you get on the field! We need to do this again, though because we couldn’t visit the opponent’s locker room since the Cards had already arrived. That locker room is one of the most historic places in the ballpark because so many famous athletes have been in there. Think Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, you name it!

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Trader Todd’s

What we really wanted was karaoke and boy did we find it! THIS PLACE WAS AWESOME! It reminded me or a Margaritaville meets Nashville. If you’re ever near this place, be sure to visit Trader Todd’s.

I also sang “Friends in Low Places” for the 98th time. I’m really livin’ out that glory of the time I met the songwriter.

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Cubs Game

Because, duh! Also made sure to get my brew, peanuts, and Giordano’s personal pizza.

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Ride Bikes Along the Beach

This was so much fun (and so much work). We should’ve known that after drinking two days straight your muscles don’t work quite the same as usual. It was still awesome, though. We rented a bike for $10 then rode it along the beach from Wrigleyville to the Navy Pier. It’s a great ride that took about 30-40 minutes but for sure grabbed an Uber on the way back 😉

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NE vs. Northwestern Football Game

Okay, so you can’t always do this but it was great! Always a good time there, it’s just straight up Husker fans all around. That stadium was FILLED with red – such a beautiful sight! BONUS: They had veggie burgers!!! Seriously, I love you Memorial Stadium but you NEED to get some veggie-friendly selections. It’s so not fun not having decent food to fill my booze-filled stomach with!

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This trash can is no joke.

Shedd Aquarium 

THIS is getting its own post soon – OMGSH you guys, this was one of my favorite parts of the trip. When I woke up Sunday morning I had very rare end-of-the-weekend energy. I was determined to make it to Museum Campus to check out a place I haven’t been yet even if I went alone. So I did. The place was so cool and so worth a visit. I even found a book about Lake Michigan shipwrecks that I’m now currently reading and holy crap it’s fascinating. Will have to share my finds later on here 😉

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