For the second year in a row I took part in the Facing Fears trip at Universal Orlando Resorts. For me, the scary part is touring the haunted houses. I am not into scary movies and I can be a bit of a wimp when it comes to gory things.
The Walking Dead is my only exception to the rule because, Daryl….
Anyway…. the other half of the trip is about facing your fears in the theme parks. I love rides and I’m not intimidated by big roller coasters, so I see this part of the trip as my chance to really explore the parks and enjoy the things that I know I love.
As a huge Harry Potter fan, that is always the highlight for me. Hogsmeade can be found in the Islands of Adventure park. It is easily identifiable by Hogwarts, which is the home to my all time favourite ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The line to get to the ride is almost as fun as the ride because you wind your way through Hogwarts where you will see talking and moving portraits and some of the most memorable Harry Potter characters. If rides aren’t your thing, you can still take a tour of Hogwarts. Just ask one of the cast members at the ride entrance.
The Hogwarts Express is a newer addition to the parks. It transports you between Islands of Adventure (Hogsmeade) and Universal Studios Orlando (Diagon Alley). You need to have a park to park pass to ride it and you will want one. Not only is it a convenient way to get from one park to the other, it is also an attraction that will transport you into Harry Potter’s world. Don’t just ride it once though, because the show is different in each direction.
Once you reach Diagon Alley, you will have a chance to explore the shops that young wizards shop in when preparing to head off to Hogwarts. You can find a wind at Ollivander’s, exchange your money for some wizarding money and get some pranks from Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. Gringott’s is the main event though. A fire breathing dragon sits atop the bank where the goblins guard the wizarding treasures. Once inside, you can go on an adventure through Gringotts, just like Harry and his friends did in the books.
Of course there is so much more to Universal than just the Harry Potter parks. Seuss Landing is popular for young children. The Marvel area is thrilling for my family of superhero fans, and of course Jurassic Park is a big hit. The Hulk coaster was undergoing some work on this visit, but you can see it below, along with Doctor Doom’s Fearfall.
I did go on a ride that I had always avoided in the past. I wasn’t afraid of the ride so much as I was resistant to get wet on it. My daughter has raved about Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls since she went on it the first time several years ago, but the way her clothes squished and dripped all day made me avoid it. This time I wrapped up in a rain poncho and went on the ride.
I got soaked.
It was really fun though, and on a hot day it wasn’t so bad to be soaking wet. There are dryer machines you can stand in to dry off, or you can bring a change of clothes. We usually bring a change of shoes for the water rides when I visit with my kids. There are lockers at the front of the park to store your stuff if you don’t want to carry it around.
It was a fantastic day at the parks, and every visit makes me want to get back for the next one.