For my birthday this year, my wonderful boyfriend treated me to a weekend in Orlando. I have always been a huge Harry Potter fan but had never been to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter so he thought it was time that I go! I had also never been to Epcot so we did that the second day. I had such an incredible weekend – even though it was way too short – so I wanted to share about my trip! I figured I would share some of my favorite parts of the parks, the best things to do and see, where to eat, and (since this is a fashion blog) everything I wore throughout the weekend! I hope this provides some insight and inspiration for anyone planning a trip to Orlando any time soon!
The Flight Down
We flew down Thursday night and came straight from work, so I needed an outfit that was work-appropriate but would also be comfortable on the plane ride. This adorable t-shirt dress did the trick. The length is perfect for office-wear but the material is super soft and comfortable so it was perfect for travel. Since I never feel fully dressed without earrings, I wore my go-to rose gold hoops. I also made sure to bring my favorite denim jacket since I always get cold on planes, and I wore my pink adidas sneakers that I planned to wear all weekend so that I wouldn’t have to pack them in my suitcase. If you want some more packing tips, you can read my post on the items I always have in my carry-on here!
Day 1: Harry Potter World
On Friday we woke up bright and early to make sure we got to the park right when it opened. We read that it opened at 9, but they start letting people in a little early so we showed up at 8:30. By the time you pick up your tickets, go through security, and walk past all the shops to get to the entrance of the park it takes about a half hour anyway. Plus, I had time to stop for an iced coffee at the Starbucks in the front of the park. I knew it was going to be a hot, humid day so I wanted to wear something light and comfortable. This adorable off-the-shoulder dress was perfect for the Florida heat. Plus, it has pockets! This was super handy when I kept putting my phone in and out of my pocket to take pictures. And of course Florida in the summer means sunshine, so I brought these rose-gold aviator sunnies that were perfect for the whole weekend.
We had tickets for both parks (Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade) so we decided to start the day in Diagon Alley. The entrance is slightly hidden (after walking for some time you see The Knight Bus and this is a clue that you’re close) but finally we found the brick alleyway and rounded the corner into Diagon Alley. I actually got chills when we walked in. There are so many details in the park from the music playing to the shop windows that make any Harry Potter fan feel like they’ve been transported into a magical world.
Since there’s really only one ride in this park – Escape From Gringotts – we went there first to beat the line. The simulated ride was an amazing experience and a perfect way to start the day by feeling like we were fully immersed in the wizarding world. After the ride we were hungry for breakfast so we stopped in to The Leaky Cauldron. Here they serve traditional english breakfast paired with some classic wizard beverages like pumpkin juice. After breakfast I was anxious to get my wand, so we headed to Ollivander’s. At the shop, they take in groups of about 30 visitors, and choose one person in the group to demonstrate their wand skills. Guess who got chosen! I had so much fun trying out the different wands and finally finding “the one” that chose me. What’s cool about buying a wand is you can use it around the park in different shop windows and alleyways to activate objects and make them fly, shoot water, etc. It truly makes you feel like you have magical powers!
Next we visited Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, which had lots of fun toys and games to look at, and tried some ice cream at Florean Fortescue’s ice cream parlor. I highly recommend the strawberry and peanut butter flavor – it was delicious! After a few hours in Diagon Alley it was time to take the Hogwarts Express over to Hogsmeade. Even the train ride is part of the experience because as you look out the window you see Arthur Weasley’s Ford Anglia fly by, and even hear Harry, Ron, and Hermione as they walk past your cabin.
In Hogsmeade our first stop was Honeyduke’s Candy Shop, which was a perfect place to pick up some edible souvenirs for friends and family such as chocolate frogs and Fizzing Whizbees. After satisfying our sweet tooth, we rode the Flight of the Hippogriff, which is a small roller coaster. After that, we figured it was time to get in line for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Although the line for this ride can be long, the wait takes you through Hogwarts so it doesn’t feel long when you’re being entertained by talking portraits and Hogwarts artifacts. After the ride, it was time for what I had been most excited about all day – trying butterbeer! Now the park offers butterbeer in regular, which is more like a soda consistency, or frozen. I wanted to try both so we got one of each. Although they were both delicious, I think I preferred the frozen kind especially since it was such a hot day. Whichever you choose, though, they both come with the most delicious foam on top!
Since we started the day so early, we had seen most of the attractions by about 5PM, so we headed over to the Polynesian Resort for dinner & drinks. First was dinner at Kona Cafe – I loved the Asian Stir Fry, it was so yummy! After dinner we went downstairs to Trader Sam’s which was one of the most fun bars I had ever been to! This bar isn’t just about drinks but more about the experience. As you order your drinks, you discover the atmosphere changes with each different drink order. It’s one of those places that’s hard to describe if you’ve never been but I would highly recommend as something different and fun to do in Orlando. It was the perfect end to a perfect day!
Day 2: Epcot
On Saturday I woke up feeling like I was a kid again. I felt so excited and giddy to be going to Disney World and to see Epcot for the first time! I knew it was going to be another hot day so I wore my off-the-shoulder pink ruffle bodysuit with my favorite jean shorts. I dressed up the look a bit with these adorable statement earrings. I also want to give a quick shoutout to this backpack that I carried with me throughout the whole weekend. I knew I wanted a backpack to bring on the trip and this one was the absolute perfect size to substitute a purse without being too bulky.
After I got over the initial shock of seeing Spaceship Earth (which I had always called the big golf ball) we started our day. After going on the Spaceship Earth ride, we waited in line for Soarin’ Around the World (which was AWESOME and well worth the wait). After that, it was time to start our journey around the world.
From frozen margaritas in Mexico, to sushi in Japan, and crepes in France, we had so much fun eating and drinking our way around the world. I would recommend the top things to eat, but honestly I don’t think you can go wrong. Each country has so many delicious treats to offer that it would be impossible to try them all. In between meals, we also checked out the many gift shops, museums, and attractions that each country had to offer. After many hours of wandering through the pavilions, the day ended with IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, the beautiful firework show that lit up the whole park. After the show, while the park was closing, I wasn’t ready to call it a day so we went down to the Disney BoardWalk and did a tasting at Big River Grille & Brewing Works of all the beers they brew on site. This was a great way to unwind after such a fun-filled day.
The Flight Home
Since our flight was in the afternoon, we had a few hours in the morning to relax and grab lunch before heading home. We decided to go to Disney Springs and have a nice lunch right on the water at Frontera Cocina. After a weekend of eating park food, the Taqueria Salad really hit the spot. If we had more time, this would have been a really beautiful outdoor shopping center to explore. After lunch, as much as I didn’t want to, I had to admit that it was time to head to the airport. On the flight home, I wore this super comfy jumpsuit. It helped me look put-together for lunch, but I swear it’s so soft and stretchy it feels like pajamas so I couldn’t have been cozier on the ride home. I also paired it with my favorite white slides which were so easy to slip off and on as I went through security.
After an amazing weekend in Orlando it was hard to say goodbye and come home to NYC, but I am so thankful for the trip that I got to experience. I think the bottom line is that Orlando has so much to offer from the weather, to dining, to entertainment, that it’s hard to go wrong in this city! I know I’m already looking forward to the day when I’ll be able to come back. Have you been to Harry Potter World or Epcot? Comment below with your favorite things to do!