“Yes, I am a 31-year-old man. And no, I will not take off my Harry Potter robe.” - Me.
For my birthday this year, my family surprised me with tickets to Universal Studios Hollywood. Jamie and I are huge theme park people. I never knew I was until we moved to Southern California and we became Passholders at Disneyland. If you are at all interested to see how addicted we are to Disneyland, please see my personal Instagram account, we basically live there. I jumped for joy and threw on the robes that they presented me with along with the tickets to the park. They even got me a wand and glasses to match.
Jamie and I got to the park as the staff opened the gates for the day. It was a gorgeous and sunny Saturday morning. When the gates open, we ran like eight-year-olds to the entrance of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We turned a corner and there it was; a snow-capped English town in the middle of Hollywood, CA. We just stood there speechless gazing upon Hogsmeade, Three Broomsticks, and Hogwarts. We couldn’t be stopped. We darted towards the parks main attraction, Harry Potter, and the Forbidden Journey. We heard the lines for it get out of hand later in the day, and we are not line people, so we figured we should hit this ride first before it got bonkers, and it did not disappoint.
Jamie and I know Disneyland like the back of our hands, but this was new territory. After we checked the ride with the longest wait time off our list, we were unsure of what to do next. We have never been here before and wanted to ensure we would get the full experience. Luckily, Universal Studios has an app, so we loaded it and started to plan it out. Universal’s layout is essentially two parks, an upper level, and a lower level. We figured we’d start at the lower level and make our way back up.
The plan seemed to work because we checked off Jurassic Park, The Mummy, and Transformers in under 30 minutes. These rides also get packed as the day goes on, so we were pumped to have a lot of the major stuff out of the way early. Getting to and from the upper and lower level took us about 5-10 minutes, without crowds. I can’t imagine what that experience would be in peak season. Side-note - Transformers is incredible.
We decided to save the Studio Tour for last and figured it was time for lunch and a beer; Duff Beer! The Simpson’s side of the park is another major highlight for me. I grew up loving everything The Simpson’s offered and being able to go to Moe’s as an adult and have a beer is a dream come true. As it turns out, Fox brought in a brewmaster to Trademark them a Duff Beer recipe. For real, I swear. Google it.
The rest of the afternoon we hung out at the Duff Beer Brewery for a while, jumped on The Simpson virtual roller coaster, meandered around stopping by Mulligan’s Irish Pub for another brew. From there we grabbed some dinner at Three Broomsticks, and of course, Butterbeer! I tend to stay away from sugary drinks, but holy hell. Butterbeer. Butterbeer is incredible. I had at least two of them. It’s just that incredible.
From there we just hung around Hogsmeade, shopped and had a few beers while people-watching. All in all, it was an incredible way to spend my 31st birthday. As I am not reading back through this, it sounds like an eight-year-olds birthday, but I am totally cool with that.