Universal Studios + Harry Potter Land

This is my 600th post in the last <six years!  Pretty crazy.  I decided to look up my last blog from my pre-Buhr days, which I still haven't taken down believe-it-or-not, and there are 193 posts there in two+ years.  That is a lot of posting for a personal/journal/running/family/whatever blog!!  I think I am proud, for nobody really blogs anymore.

Anywho, we went to Universal Studios and Harry Potter Land!  We had tickets that allowed us into the park an hour early to experience Harry Potter Land before the crowds, because it gets really, really crowded.  The nutty thing is the park opens at 8, which means we had to be there by 7, and it was a weekday, and LA has outrageous traffic no matter the time/day, but throw morning rush hour in the mix and to get there by 7 we had to wake up at 4!  It was earliest we've gotten up for a non-run related funtivity, but worth it.

Harry Potter Land was really cool and walking into it was pretty magical!  Even though I had no idea what was going on because... I have ...never...seen ...Harry Potter.  But without the wacky fantasy land background, I was still amazed, and everybody else appeared to be in heaven noticing details from the books/movies.  It was excellent.

Universal is great because they have "child switch rooms" where once you get to the front of the line, one parent or group can ride while the other half sits in a room, then you switch.  It makes it so easy to enjoy the whole thing with family even when a ride isn't one year old friendly.

I will throw it out there that the Harry Potter ride is kind of very terrible and made us sick.  I rarely get sick and I had to pass on a bunch of rides later in the day because my equilibrium was still suffering.  It was a 3d glasses type and it jerks you from one room to the next and I thought I was gonna lose it.  But walking through the castle was fantastic.

Also fantastic?  Butter Beer!  I got the slushy version and oh man, good.  It cracks me up that my sister (below) looks like she's chuggin' beer.  Hers was not the slush version.  I am going to try to make Butter Beer at home and have found a few recipes.  Maybe for the birthday month:  SEPTEMBER.

We took Bentz on the tram tour which I was a little nervous for because of things like the earthquake in the subway, King Kong, Jurassic Park dinosaurs, etc., and there were some times during the 45 minute tour that we did feel like horrible parents.  During the scary/dark/loud parts he'd bury his head into me and I'd cover his ears and talk to him with my face smashed against his so he could hear my happy tone, and he would calm down.

We all bought sweet matching-ish shades and Bentz learned how to put his on all by himself.

They have a Walking Dead haunted house which was pretty sweet and freaking scary to walk through!  Of course I was head of the pack and I usually like scary stuff but I was really glad when that was over.  My favorite part of Walking Dead tv show is the theme music, hands down.  Then the gory zombies.  The acting is somewhere near the bottom of my list if you were wondering.  lol

B3 was asleep when we passed by Gru's house and saw the minions walking around.  Had it not been late in the afternoon and all of us exhausted, I'd have woken him up because Minions has been his favorite movie for most of his life (+Despicable Me 1 & 2).  He mostly watches CARS now, but he still is obsessed with minions.

In fact as I write this B3 is going crazy about the minion picture.

The minion store!!  James bought a... I can't remember what it was... maybe a minion smores?  It was very random and very expensive and I was jealous.

The way to do Universal is with the Front of the Line passes!!

Outside of the building, Dallin and Emily got picked out for the Special Effects Show so we got seated before they opened the doors. 

During the show my sister recognized one of the actors as a friend so we had to stick around for a picture afterwards.

Universal wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Waterworld show which happens to be one of my favorites (3rd to the Studio Tour and The Mummy roller coaster)!!  After a 13+ hour day, we jumped back in the car for another LA rush hour two hour drive back to the beach house, but luckily Ben is the master driver.  We even made it home in time to run.  Definitely a day for the books and I want to relive it asap with my family, pleaaase.  


  1. I LOVE Harry Potter World in Florida, can't wait to get to the one in CA! HOW DID YOU GET EARLY ACCESS PASSES!? You must share your secrets!
    I couldn't handle the HP ride either! I rode it once and then when my family did it every time after that, I just went through the line to see the amazing castle and then hung out in the baby switch area ;) I'm going to say what we're all thinking: shame on you for not reading HP or seeing the movies! For someone who loves reading (I know this isn't your typical genre) but these are incredible! So detailed and well thought out.

    1. Believe me, I have heard it from my fellow Harry Potterians!! Maybe I will try to watch the movie sometime.

      I think the early access is an option when you buy your tickets online. I'm not 100% since I wasn't the one who bought them, but I know they have different ticket options (for the different prices).

  2. Wow, time really does fly. Can you believe it’s already been 7 years since the first Despicable Me movie was released?? Despicable Me was released in 2010 followed by Despicable Me 2 in 2013. The minions who were featured in both movies got their own movie in 2015 that served as prequel to the Despicable Me series. And now, finally, our wait for Despicable Me 3 is over.