Harry Potter World!!! (mostly)

Okay all, hold on tight to the Portkey, as I am transporting us Muggles to Harry Potter world today! (and finishing up the rest of our time in Universal).

We left off in “San Francisco”. A bit past SF you will see King’s Cross– the first hint of our entrance into the fantasy land! There are a few little Harry Potter references in a crossway that leads to other side of Universal. If you directly cross through King’s Cross you will end up in HP land.


Knight Bus, anyone?!


I am forever convinced this is the creepiest creation below in all of HP… even above the noseless He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named.


Before exploring HP land through King’s Cross, we decided to first explore that side of Universal Studios. We entered into Krustyland- a Simpsons Fan’s dream. I have never watched an episode of the Simpsons, but it was still fun!


For lunch we had Moe’s, which is a big cafeteria providing many options that are odes to Simpson’s food. (sorry to all the innocent bystanders that I captured in my photos- whoops)


I was still able to sniff out a vegetarian option. I had some hummus and pita with a veggie sandwich that was tasty & filling. I did notice that nearly everywhere we went in Universal Studios and Disney had accommodating options for people who don’t eat meat.


But most would opt for their delectable burgers & curly fries! This is the “Clogger Burger” below. That name…. hahah.


The big group of us also all had a try of the Lard Lad Donut!


It was so yummy! Even better than I expected. Mmm ! I thought it would taste like straight sugar, but it actually had great flavor that came through too.


Okay, zipping back to King’s Cross — crossing through we entered into Diagon Alley.  Even if you are an expert in Harry Potter I think it’d be impossible to absorb all the details. It’s ah-may-zing.


First things first! Gotta grab a wand 😉 If you buy an interactive wand, you are given a map that leads you to place in the park where you can use your wand to “cast spells”, marked by a circle symbol on the ground that you step on, with a pattern for how to use your wand to activate the “spell”.

Each wand corresponds with a character from the series. Can you guess whose is whose?

img_4536-2img_4538-2img_4539-2img_4537-2img_4589img_4588img_4590img_4593facetune_14-12-2018-10-35-14Originally we all grabbed our character wands (Amy and I chose Hermione), but then we realized you could trade it in for personalized wand at Olivander’s. Basically they take your birthday and tell you what wand is specific for you. For my January birthday, I received the  “Birch” wand!


Below is one of the spots you can use your wand I was describing earlier. In this one you can control the eyeballs. That’s a sentence I never thought I’d write? haha.

Next, we rode the new Gringott’s ride which was just insanely incredible, easily one of my favorite rides we did the whole day. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. Virtual reality + roller coaster= mind blowing experience. Wow oh wow- Did I mention I loved that ride?!


Time to finally try a Butterbeer!


The gang with our wands and butterbeers 🙂


They were SO gooooood! It is like a cream soda, but thicker. it’s very very sweet, and typically I don’t like any drinks too sweet- but gosh, I loved that. It almost had that root beer float type of creaminess. There is actually no alcohol in Butterbeer despite the name, so it is safe for kiddos & trust me- they’ll love it!

Below is a building that you can turn the lights on and off with your interactive wand.


Time to enter Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes!


In order to get to the second part of HP world, you have to take it Hogwart’s Express to get to the second part of the park. But first- you have to run through platform 9 3/4, of course. 


All aboard!! We shuffled into a cabin that perfectly resembled the ones in the movies. There is a screen that has passing images of rolling hills, a simulated invasion of dementors, and finally your arrival to Hogwarts. Too cool.


We heeeereee! This is the Hogsmeade portion of the park.




It was really chilly that day, so it added to the real feel of the fake snow on the rooftops.

HoneyDukes was one of the “must-visits” for the day…


It did not disappoint! I was blown away by everything you could try that was straight from the books. Anyone brave enough to try the Bertie Bott’s Beans?


I opted for a chocolate frog. I mean you havee to get a chocolate frog, right? Next time I’ll be trying the pumpkin pasty. That is something in the book that always sounds so delicious too.


It was wonderful milk chocolate! I am not even a fan of plain milk chocolate usually (I prefer dark), but this was lovely & smooth.

Oh, and you get a trading card just like they do in the books. I received Bertie Bott!


Last, but not least, we saw THE Hogwarts. There is a ride called The Forbidden Journey inside the castle we rode too- it was a blast, but Gringotts still has it beat. Better just do both to be sure 😉 I was just wowed by the attention to detail, the magnitude, and again, the total immersion of the experience.


Okayy, I’m off to finish up The Order of the Phoenix now! Have a magical weekend, my friends 🙂

Questions for you:

  • What is your favorite Christmas movie?
  • Anything fun happenin’ this weekend in your world?

xo <3


86 thoughts on “Harry Potter World!!! (mostly)

  1. Hey there Cali girl 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this amazing day with us… your pictures are always great, and it is fun to tag along with you! Here are my answers to your questions…

    1) Definately “The Holiday”. I am not that much into girly romantic movies, but The Holiday always makes me a bit teary. A great film to watch wrapped in your favorite blanket, with hot chocolate or a glass of wine 😉

    2) My weekend will be pretty ordinary, since I work both days, but I’ll make up for it next week… I hope you’ll enjoy yours to the fullest!!

    Sending you and DJ huge hugs 🙂 xx

    1. Hi hi, Cyra!! Awww thank you so much for reading and sharing in our adventure 🙂

      Oooo I don’t think I have formally seen The Holiday (maybe only a scene here or there)… I will definitely add it to my list to watch sometime this week 🙂 (and just the way you described!)

      Thank you tons & tons. I hope you have a wonderful week- maybe you get some time off this week since you worked all weekend? Big hugs right back! xo

    1. Awww I’m glad you enjoyed this! I really hope you get to go sometime. It was even better than I could have fathomed!

  2. Amazing!! I love Harry Potter and during this time of year I just want to watch all of the movies and relive my childhood. It’s amazing to see how many fun details they have added in to make it all so realistic!

    1. I am the same!! It is this time of year that I always want to watch the series. I think it’s because it seems like there is always Christmas and snow in every movie haha.

      Isn’t it amazing?! I was just blown away! Thanks for sharing in our adventure, Jess!

  3. Absolutely love seeing our trip in your blog! So fun reading about where you all went that day and your thoughts on all. I will forever be thankful that you could both join us! Love, your Ohio mom

    1. Aw, I’m so glad you enjoyed 🙂 Truly the trip of a lifetime! I have been dreaming of it ever since!

  4. You all are such a gorgeous crew! What an awesome recap. You always do a lovely job capturing your experiences! So don’t get too upset, but I’ve never been into HP. But that said, I’m still intrigued because everythjng looks & sounds fantastic! I didn’t realize butterbeer wasn’t alcoholic, so that’s great to know!

    I’ve never watched The Simpsons either. I saw the movie, though, & it’s not my cup of tea. That donut, though. Holy yum. It’s great that they accomodate different diets & preferences throughout the park!

    I’ll leave you with a somewhat funny story. Way back in 2002 I went on a double movie date with my then high school boyfriend. We went to one of the HP movies, & I legit had no idea what we watched. It wasn’t until later that I realized the whole HP craze. Hahaha. I can be a but slow.

    Fav holiday movie is a hard one to choose! I looove Ron Howard’s The Grinch so much, & I think Christmas Vacation is hi-larious. Kase threw the best tacky Christmas sweater party on Friday that started my weekend on the perfect note!

    1. Aw, thank you, Kori!!! That means so much <3 I'm glad you enjoyed reading our adventure .

      Oh my goshh hahhahaha. I'm trying to imagine seeing a movie blind- it would be baffling, and probably seem so ridiculous!! That's hilarious. You were a trooper to just tag along!!

      Oh yes, The Grinch is SUCH a classic and I love Christmas Vacation too- those two are musts during this season. Ahhhh that Christmas sweater party looked like such a blast. Glad you had a great start to the weekend 🙂

  5. I have been VERY eager for your recap posts!!!! Ha, ha! 🙂 The detail at these amusement parks is so incredible! It just makes the experience so incredible, I’m sure.
    I love the snow on those rooftops… So pretty!
    I’m SO glad your’e having fun!!!

    1. Ahh thanks so much, Nicole!! The detail in particular is what kept blowing my mind- so intricate, so GENIUS. It was just– wow!

      Thanks so much 🙂 I hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

  6. How fun, and even though I have never read or seen anything Harry Potter, I appreciate the colorful stores, the names – very creatively done. Those are some good pictures of you and DJ … it was nice you had family with you so you could get those pictures of the two of you. I have to say my favorite holiday movies are just the kids’ Christmas specials – once a kid, always a kid!

    1. Hi hi!! Thank you so much, Linda 🙂

      Ohhh I LOVE those Christmas specials as well! I think they are my favorite too. Such good nostalgic memories around them . Have a wonderful week, my friend 🙂

      1. You too Mackenzie – unbelievably I’ve never seen “White Christmas” or “It’s a Wonderful Life” but have seen the funny kids’ shows. Oh well.

    1. Aww I am so glad you enjoyed!!!

      YES, the Santa Claus is so gooood. Have you seen the second? Obviously not as good as the first, but still nice to watch 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!!

      1. Oh wait I don’t think I even knew there was a third?!?! I may have to watch all of them this season now (or at least the first 😉 ).

      2. What!! Yes, I definitely have not heard of that! Have a wonderful rest of your week 🙂

  7. This makes me want to jump on a plane to go to Harry Potter World right now!! It all looks incredible with the detail and attention that went into making the park. How fun that you can buy an interactive wand that actually works.

    Last time we watched a Harry Potter movie, Alex and I were saying how we can’t wait until our future kids are old enough to be exposed to the magic of Harry Potter.

    Have a great Monday!

    1. Ahhh yesss!!! Me too, girl, me too hahah. And it really just blew me away- I may have to go back once I have read alll the books and spend an entire day there instead of a few hours. There is an infinite amount to do and see.

      awwww I SO love that!!! Isn’t it the best? I have to ask- what houses are you two?

      1. I still can’t believe you haven’t read all the books! It’s definitely a series that I want to own once we have a bigger place so we can store them haha.

        Honestly I’m not sure! I remember taking a quiz forever ago but don’t remember what house I ended up in. What house are you?

      2. haha girl, I feel you! I just get them on my kindle now since the last few books are insanely large!

        I am Ravenclaw! I have a feeling you would be too. DJ is Hufflepuff!

  8. Wow is all I gotta say about those pictures! The whole place is just beautiful! And all of the food and butter beer is totally making me want to go there now and try it all! I love that you were able to get a wand that was personalized for your birthday. SO cool!

    My favorite Christmas movie is an old Nickolodeon movie, Olive the Other Reindeer. It sounds silly, but I just find it adorable! I spent my weekend baking cookies and relaxing so it was definitely a good weekend 🙂

    Have a great week, Mackenzie!!

    1. Hi, Em!! Thank you so much- the place was just stunning and made it certainly easy to photograph 🙂 The butterbeer was sooo delish! So sweet and creamy.

      Ahh I haven’t heard of that movie but will surely have to check it out before the season is over 🙂 It sounds too cute! Yesss we did the same this weekend too ! Cookie baking weekends are just the best.

      Hope your week is off to a good week too. Thank you tons for stopping in!

    1. Hey, girl!! I hope you get to go sometime soon — it really does feel like you are living in a dream world 🙂 thank you for taking to stop by, beautiful!

  9. I love your blog and appreciate you commenting on mine today. I saw where you saw the candy sushi, too funny! So, we are pretty much the same person… from hobbies, taste in food and drink, etc… Plus, my fiance has been reading every one of your posts since she saw you comment on mine and said that we even have the same birthmark on our necks. LOL! Are you my long lost sister? So, I’m going to need advice for our wedding this November since you have amazing wedding posts on your blog… and I need advice ON my blog since you are killing it and I’ve only been doing it for a month 🙂 Anyways, nice to “meet” you and I love all your stuff!

    1. OK you just made my whole day! I am so honored you stopped by here. I have never met anyone else with a neck birthmark- seriously we may just be long lost sisters, kindred spirits nonetheless with all we have in common! And the fact that your fiance took time out her day to read through my ole’ blog just warms my heart so much!

      MAJOR congrats to you both- what an exciting time!! Oh girl, you are just the kindest- I definitely don’t consider myself an expert but I could talk wedding & blogging all day long! My wedding was mostly DIY and stuff from thrift stores, lol. Soo nice to meet ya here too & ah thanks again for seriously the nicest comment! 🙂

    1. Awww yay!!! Girl- it is SO good! It is super sweet & creamy- it’s pretty rich (but so delicious) so we split one. I hope you get to try sometime 🙂 & of course take Sadie one day. My heart is bursting at the thought! <3

  10. Harry Potter World, how fun! I visited the park in CA a couple years ago and loved it. I’m dying to go to DisneyWorld and Universal, but think I should wait a couple years for when my toddler is about five. I love HP movies and although I’m a voracious reader, I just couldn’t get into the books. And my husband bought them all for me (sigh). Maybe one day….OMG I still dream about that butterbeer, so yummy! So glad you had a great vacation and spent time with your loved ones.

    I have so many favorite Christmas movies – Elf, Love Actually, The Family Stone, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (with Jim Carrey), The Sound of Music (does that count?)….I’ve also been watching a gross amount of Hallmark Christmas movies, haha! ‘Tis the season.

    1. I have never been to the one in CA, but definitely will have to sometime!!! I like knowing there is one on this side of the country too haha. I think five would be the PERFECT age to take the little one! Okay I GET having a hard time getting into the books… it took me over a year to get through the fourth. I kept reading other books in between haha. But the fifth book has been pretty incredible so far!

      Those movies are soooo good! I have never tried The Family Stone, so I’ll be adding it to my list! And of couuurse Sound of Music counts 🙂 … & did you really celebrate Christmas at all without a Hallmark movie?! Thanks for stopping in, Susie!! xo

  11. AMAZING PICTURES! Looks like you have been having a blast at Harry Potter World. I miss it so much and can’t wait to go back. Hopefully next year! As for favorite Christmas movie, so many haha. But a few I watch every single year are Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (this is hands down my favorite one of them all), The Santa Clause, and Jingle All the Way. I have to watch those every single year.

    1. Aww thanks so much, Ashley!! I had a feeling you would like this post 🙂 I hope you can go next year too!! Such a fun place! Yesss the Home Alone series is epic- my husband actually really introduced me to them. The NY is the best- I agree! I don’t know that I’ve seen Jingle All the Way, so I’ll have to check it out! Thanks for stopping in, girl!

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  13. I have never read or watched HP (I knowwwww hahaha) but this still looks like it would be a blast for people that don’t even know the characters or stories! I’m SO glad you got to fully enjoy this as I know how much you love HP!

    PS: your hair looks fab

    1. yess, it really is! My mom in law didn’t know anything about it and said she was still blown away by how amazing it was. Thanks for sharing in my excitement:)

      And oh my goshhh thank you, Kaci! That day it felt like such a mess since it was so cold & windy- so thank youuuu! xo

    1. Aww I really hope you can go soon! It’s absolutely magical!!! Have a wonderful day and thank you tons for stopping by <3

  14. I didn’t start reading Harry Potter until after I visited Harry Potter world! I geeeeked out there and have always loved the movies so I’m reading the books now 🙂

    1. YESS! It definitely is motivational to start them up! And then did you go back after reading them all?!

  15. I’m so jealous! You are seriously living out my best bucket list dream!
    I didn’t know they personalized the wands by your birthday, that’s so neat.
    The pictures you took are stunning, and I’m glad you had so much fun!

    1. Aww, girl you’ve got to definitely go sometime 🙂

      Thank you tons for the sweet comment. Have a beautiful day!

  16. Woww! Aaaahmazing and breathtaking! I wanna go there! 😍 this girl, makes me wanna watch HP again and again!

    That’s super cool you got a wand for your birthday!! Spells some magic now lol 😁

    1. So glad you enjoyed this, girl! Thanks for stopping by 🙂 and yess I’m not a natural with wand, but I am determined 😉 lol!

  17. Okay this was sooo fun to read!!! I went to Universal Studios/HP world in Hollywood so I was sitting here & comparing all the differences.

    The Simpsons world looks nearly the same! & I remember everyone eating those huge donuts all over the place lol. I thought it’d taste like straight sugar too so we were gagging at them.

    There was no Knight Bus or talking head in Hollywood!! I personally think the little head is cute hahaha. I was under 21 when I went & I thought butterbeer was alcoholic… so I never waited in that horrendous line to try it. Now, I am disappointed in myself!!

    There was no Weasley store or Hogwarts Express with the running through platorm 9 & 3/4!! What an experience!!

    I did buy those beans and they were sooo terrible LOL. I still have the box and it’s still pretty full! (I gave some to my little bro who had no idea ahaha). I also bought that frog but it’s still packaged & unopened. I bet the frog is completely melted inside but I’ll never open it!!

    There’s a virtual ride in Hollywood, too. You go through all kinds of scenes & stuff. I was having a blast in there. Shouting at Harry to help me and stuff LOL but then as we walked out and I was ranting and raving about it, boyfriend came out all pale-faced and had to throw up hahaha. He did no more of the virtual rides after that one. 😂

    1. hey, girl! I’ve never been to HP in Hollywood area, so it’s fun to see what people post about it to compare. It’s kinda ironic being that we live in Cali we have only ever been to the one in Florida. LOL, the whole knight bus scene kinda freaked me out when I was little- I think it was because I used to be horribly claustrophobic and it scrunches all up to go between cars, so maybe I associate the little guy with that whole thing. Just over here playing psychologist with myself.

      Oooo you gotta go back and try out some Butterbeer one day! It is so creamy & delicious (even though it’s crazy sweet).

      Okay I’m glad to know the beans were terrible because I hardcore debated back and forth about getting them. That makes me feel better hahah. Aw, I love that you are saving your chocolate frog too- I don’t have the willpower to save anything chocolate, oops!

      Ohhhhh man!! The poor guy! VR rides definitely can cause ya to be queasy. The one that was the worst for us was the Simpson’s one. It was so trippy, but with no motion so it confused our bodies and brains so much that we felt a bit sick. Although the Avatar one in Animal Kingdom is hard core VR and didn’t make any of us nauseous because it was so well done. Highly recommend that one if you do VR! It’s out of this world! (quite literally, ha). Have such a merry Christmas, love! xox

      1. Oh I’m so sorry!! Haha, I totally should’ve thought that someone else probably left you a comment about the differences & you’re probably sick of reading them. 😛

        Hahaha, the Knight Bus scene is terrifying because WHERE IS HARRY GOING! Lol, but yeah I have claustrophobia, too! I would hate to be squished like that in real life, totally understand!! & def gonna get the butter beer if I ever get to go back!

        Hahah, the beans were cute because they looked exactly like the movie but they were like chalky textured & tasted soo odd lol. I probably would’ve opened that frog because I wanted to see which Wizard I got (I hate solid milk choco so that wasn’t the problem for me) but, I knew it had melted in there & I wasn’t & never will be ready for that mess lol.

        Yeah, that’s the only ride we did & the little Fast & Furious one. He said the Fast & Furious wasn’t bad because there was more open space. But I wasn’t gonna have him throwing up everywhere lol.

      2. OH my goodness- no no just the opposite!! I love reading everyone’s different thoughts & perspectives- it’s fascinating to me!! So thank youuuu tons for sharing!!

        Ohhh that makes so much sense! One day if you ever open it up you’ll have to let me know who ya got 😉

        haha aw I don’t blame him. I think as we get older too our tolerance for rides wanes. We used to have no issue with getting queasy on rides, but some reason lately we do every now and again! Hope you had a wonderful day yesterday, girlie! xo

  18. Oh my goodness, how magical!! Thanks for sharing with us! This makes me want to visit Harry Potter World even more than I did before. You make it sound more fantastic than I’d even thought it was. I love that you were able to go!

    1. Hi, Courtney! I am so glad you enjoyed virtually exploring HP with us- but I cannot wait for you to experience it one day (hopefully soon) in person!! And believe it or not, this post BARELY scratches the surface. It’s just amazing. I hope you had the most wonderful Christmas, Chica <3

      1. Yesss that would be amazing!! The fact that your post just barely scratches the surface amazes me even more. What an experience!! Aww thanks, I hope you had a wonderful one too!! <3

      2. Aww! I am excited for you to experience it one day… especially being as HP obsessed as I am 🙂 Happy weekend! I can’t believe the year is almost over- WHAT!

      3. I so agree!!! We have some major changes coming in 2019, and I was just telling DJ I want to soak up every last moment of this year before the whirlwind ensues! Have a wonderful evening, Courtney 🙂

  19. Hi Mackenzie, ooh that donut looks so good . I am not a Harry Potterfan ( I am so sorry!!!) But looks like you had such fun. Favorite Christmas movie, Its a wonderful life ( I am old school) And I love the hallmark movies every year! We just celebrated Christmas so a lot going on! Take care Dear, Terri xo.

    1. hehe- that is a-ok! Definitely not everyone’s cup of tea 😉 Ohhh that is such a wonderful classic. You are sweet to even stop in with how busy this time of year is. Have a wonderful rest of the year, Terri! Thankful to know ya 🙂

      1. I need my Mackenzie time even when I am busy! It is good to figure out Me time during all the busyness, Enjoy the resyt of the year also Dear, Terri xo.

  20. They’ve expanded the Harry Potter World so much more from when we were there many moons ago. Both of my sons have wands from Olivander’s. They are not interactive and I don’t think that type existed then (but I’m not sure). Butterbeer is yummy. We did ride The Forbidden Journey.
    My favorite Christmas show is the original, cartoon-version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas. And I like the one narrated by Boris Karloff. We often watched A Christmas Story growing up and also with my own kids. I hope that you had a lovely Christmas! 🙂

    1. So we went with a couple cousins that went just last summer and said the park has actually made a lot of changes even since then!

      The Forbidden Journey was a lot of fun. That was my favorite from the first time I ever went, and Gringotts is kind of like that on steroids. Next time you go you’ll have to try it out 🙂

      YESS.. I love the Grinch. I would say that and the Christmas Special Collections are probably my favorites. OH, and I do have a special liking for A Christmas Story too particular because it was filmed in my home city 😉 I hope you had such a lovely Christmas too, Amy!

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