our Harry Potter World + Disney's Epcot girls' weekend: part one
I think I say this every time I write a blog post, but long time no see, right?! I'm really not too great at the blogging game -- I always have it on my list of to-do's, & then I get wrapped up in everything else I have to do. But! I went to a small business conference last weekend & took a seminar on time management + prioritizing, so I've now got a super fancy schedule of how I'm going to structure my weeks & make sure that I get to everything I want to. Get ready, world -- Randi is here to blog! I'm hoping once I get into a routine, I'll be better about it -- plus I'm hoping to add some value to y'all's life if you're planning a bachelorette or girls' weekend & don't know where to start! And that's not just for my Charleston friends -- someday soon, this blog will be a source of inspiration for all the girls' getaways, not just those heading to South Carolina.
Speaking of which, that segways nicely into today's post -- I ventured out of Charleston recently to spend the weekend in Florida for one of the best weekends I've ever had, & I wanted to share our itinerary + gameplan with y'all because it really was such a perfect way to spend a weekend with the girls. And this could easily be applied to other occasions, too!
My bestie Alexis lives in New Orleans (& plans our New Orleans party weekends -- just sayin'), and let's just premise this with: she is obsessed with Harry Potter. Like, a lot obsessed. I hope to one day love anything as much as this girl loves Harry Potter. So she was pretty set on hitting up Harry Potter World for her birthday weekend in January, and her friend Tanesha has a birthday a few days later, so they got a little group of girls together & flew over to Florida for birthday shenanigans. And I drove down to meet them! It's a six hour drive from Charleston to Orlando, plus two hours for when your tire blows out on the side of I-4... but that's a story for another time.
Our gameplan was to spend Saturday at Universal & Sunday at Disney; it was definitely going to be a go-go-go weekend but it was only two days so, gotta do it. I'm into Harry Potter as much as the next person, but not going to lie, I was more amped about spending Sunday doing the World Drinking Tour of Epcot -- I've been to Disney a ton growing up, but never since I've been of legal drinking age, so I felt like that needed to happen. And also, I was excited to go to HP World because I finally got to make use of my friends' Love & Lion's super-cute Harry Potter tattoos. It might look like I have dirt on my forehead in some of the pictures -- nope, just a scar tattoo.
A few things that will be important if you're planning on heading to Universal: to make the most of Harry Potter World, you do have to buy the pass that lets you into both sides of Universal. This definitely makes it more expensive but you also get the full experience of taking the Hogwarts Express & seeing both parts of HP World, so I say go for it & just live it up while you're there. And in terms of lodging, we just got an Airbnb at a nearby condo that included a bus pass to Disney & Universal, which made it super easy to get to & from the parks without having to pay for Uber or Lyft. Highly recommend this route!
So okay, let's get to the point: we got into the Airbnb late on Friday night & went to bed right away so that we could get up early & head to Universal. The Airbnb where we stayed provided breakfast, which was super convenient, so in the morning, we hopped out of bed, put on our tattoos, grabbed a quick breakfast, & took the bus to Universal, getting there before the park opened so we could maximize our time. From there, it was a pretty simple day -- Harry Potter World is relatively easy to navigate, so just take your time with Hogsmeade & Diagon Alley! They have a few rides; my favorite was the Forbidden Forest in Hogsmeade & obviously the Hogwarts Express, & I actually skipped the other rollercoaster to have a beer while my group waited in line because rides aren't my favorite (and beer is my favorite).
The detail in Harry Potter World is insane -- it's so fun to just explore all the twists & turns of the streets & alleys, and the Hogwarts Express is great too, especially after seeing the movies & reading the books. Also, a can't-miss: HOT BUTTERBEER is to die for. I had read reviews saying that the frozen butterbeer is better, so we tried both, and maybe it's just because it was a little cold the day that we were there, but the hot beer is definitely much, much better. It's basically like drinking a warm, creamy glass of caramel... the only way it could be better is if it was actually beer.
In my opinion, Harry Potter World was well-worth the admission price; the experience was amazing & it's so fun to just explore all day. That being said, I wouldn't do it like, every weekend or anything. I'm biased towards Disney & definitely think that Disney has a bit more to offer -- but again, Universal was awesome & I'm super glad that we did it.
The Epcot World Drinking Tour was on the schedule for day two -- coming soon!