10 Secret Adventures You Might Miss When Visiting The 'Wizarding World'

10 Secret Adventures You Might Miss When Visiting The 'Wizarding World'

Now you just HAVE to go back to check them out.
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If you have had the immeasurable pleasure of entering the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, you know that it most definitely takes the cake as the happiest place on earth.

Universal has done an impeccable job creating a world that truly mimics the images we have imagined in our dreams since we were young kids delving into a series that would forever change our lives and instill in us some of the most valuable lessons we could ever learn.

Although there are some obvious attractions that are a must-see in the Wizarding World there are some that really will put you right in the middle of muggle heaven that are a little harder to find, so let’s make like Hufflepuff’s and get to finding:

1. HOG’S HEAD & HOG’S HEAD BREW

Hog’s Head is a must-see bar in Hogsmeade right next to Three-Broomsticks. It is VERY easy to miss and quite honestly I walked past it a hundred times over the past few years. There is a small rustic sign that dons a hog outside of the entrance that is really the only identifier of the bar. Once inside, you will come across a taxidermed hog’s head as the center of the bar, well at least you think he’s stuffed until he snarls at you. They offer a beer exclusively to this bar that is my absolute favorite Harry Potter beer, Hog’s Head Brew. It is a Scottish red ale and it will not disappoint, but make sure you grab it here because it’s the only place you’ll be able to get your paws on it!

2. DIAL 62442 FOR THE MINISTRY OF MAGIC

Outside of Diagon Alley is what looks like a prop London telephone booth. Go inside and dial 62442 to actually talk to the Ministry of Magic and listen to their anecdotes! “You have nothing to fear as long as you have nothing to hide.”

3. WAIT FOR THE DRAGON TO BREATH FIRE & GET A DRAGON SCALE

The Dragon in Diagon Alley will breathe fire randomly throughout the day and night and it is actually really amazing. Also, if you didn’t know the outside of Diagon Alley is colder than any other outdoor area of the park, don’t ask me how it works, but it is significantly cooler once you reach Diagon Alley. Dragon Scale is another Harry Potter brew that is a Vienna Lager and is really well made.

4. HAVE A DRINK AT THE FOUNTAIN OUTSIDE DIAGON ALLEY AND PEOPLE WATCH

This is going to be some of the best people watching and relaxing you may do the entire day, so grab a brew and head to the fountain. It is right next to the Knight Bus so you get to watch the bus driver and Dre Head interact with everyone. Tip: Diagon Alley can be tricky to find the first time, it is extremely easy to walk right past (making people watching at the fountain that much more fun). Looking at it head on it is just a brick wall, from the side it almost looks like it could be a restroom entrance, however if you walk behind the brick wall, the bricks open up into a whole new universe.

5. ACTUALLY ENTER THE KNIGHT BUS

You are able to meet the bus driver and Dre Head most hours that the park is open and it is very easy to find. However, what most don’t know is if you head to the back of the Knight Bus you can actually crawl in and see all the beds and the entire interior of the bus.

6. RIDE THE ESCAPE FROM GRINGOTT’S & THE FORBIDDEN JOURNEY

I cannot tell you how many people have gone to the Wizarding World and came home to tell me they never actually went inside Gringott’s or Hogwarts. In my opinion, the wait is just as exciting as the rides because they are filled with so much wizarding memorabilia. You will see things in line for these rides that will make you feel like you are inside the largest Harry Potter museum; they really are an experience all in themselves. Mandrakes, Goblins, and Dawn French oh my!

7. BUTTERBEER ICE CREAM

You heard that right, move over frozen butterbeer, bring on the ice cream. You can find this in Diagon Alley at the ice cream shop right in front of Gringott’s or at the Hopping Pot.

8. DON’T FORGET KNOCKTURN ALLEY

Knockturn Alley is located in Diagon Alley and is often overlooked as it is kind of hidden in the side of the park. You’ll kind of get a chill looking at displays and make sure to head into the store that holds real memorabilia from the movies and will have you embracing your inner Bellatrix.

9. OTTER’S FIZZY ORANGE JUICE

This non-alcoholic orange drink will have you going back every hour to the Hopping Pot in Diagon Alley to get another for it’s refreshing yet dense taste. It is one that is definitely underrated.

10. HARRY POTTER TATTOOS

Feeling risky? There is a tattoo shop located in City Walk, Hart and Huntington Orlando, that has had their fair share of experience in a wide variety of hp tattoos for all your muggle needs. They really do an amazing job and are super easy to work with. Their shop also has a ton of Harry Potter themed paintings so be prepared to be in ink heaven.

Take your time to really take in everything in the two worlds, there really is so much to see and you will undoubtedly see something new every time if you keep your mind open. After all, it’s the safest place in the world.

Cover Image Credit: Brandi Harmon

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.

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Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.


I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.


I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.


As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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