From the cobblestone alleyways to the snow-capped roofs, you get the sense you are on the street of an English village. It all feels very natural, organic, and comfortable, and that’s was deliberate by the designer. There are film artifacts throughout the village. The school desks and chalkboard in the Defense Against Dark Arts classroom scene are inside Hogwarts Castle. In the train station there are luggage racks. There are many of the wizarding world’s best known establishments in which to shop and eat. Moaning Myrtle, was a Muggle-born witch who attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and was killed by Tom Riddle’s orders.  Now, she is a ghost who haunts the restrooms in the Harry Potter Park, moaning and talking, which catches you off guard at first. There are many of the wizarding world’s best known establishments in which to shop and eat.
Above the entrance to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a sign says “please respect the spell limits.”  Once inside, our eyes immediately go skyward to a huge, rambling, castle with a jumble of towers and battlements. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the magical wizarding school towers over the snow-capped village of Hogsmeade.
It was fun walking around this set but we were glad it was a movie set and not something we had to experience!
Our tram stopped at the set from 2005’s “War of the Worlds” (with Tom Cruise), where an airliner has crashed into a residential neighborhood. The actual, full-size 747 jet airliner fuselage was purchased and shipped to Hollywood at the cost of $2 millions. The plan was ripped in two, its tail section is still intact, while its engines smolder in the ruins of the tract houses around it. Mary pressed a  switch and smoke and water started coming out around the houses and airplane.  
The Transformers a 3-D thrill ride, takes place in the middle of a war zone. As our seats rocked, the HD 3D media and flight simulation technology made us feel like we had things being thrown at us, hurtling down tall buildings, and large robot creatures coming at us full force. We entered The Walking Dead attraction through an archway to start our journey into a world overrun with hungry walkers. As we worked our way through the mazes the walkers reached out and walked into us. If we had watched the show it might have been more fun and meaningful.
The Jurassic Park river raft adventure, was inspired from the hit movie, Jurassic World. where we saw dinosaurs in their natural jungle habitat. One encounter was with one of the Park’s most famous inhabitants, a 9-foot tall Velociraptor. We narrowly escaped a 50-foot T-Rex as our raft made an 84-foot plunge to safety.
We started our Despicable Me Minion Mayhem 3-D adventure in Gru’s home, where we were recruited for his latest scheme. After making it through “Minion training” things didn’t go as planned! Within moments, we were launched into a trip through his super-villain laboratory. After the ride there was a Minion inspired dance party.
The Special Effects Show was presented by the best stunt performers in sounds, sights and illusions. They fool the cameras to create moments in our favorite films. People were pulled from the audience for the zero-gravity space travel and to produce sound effect. Through professional demonstrations we were shown how they set a person on fire, realistic physical combat sequences and horror scenes.    
At the Universal’s Animal Actors show, we saw exotic birds, dogs, cats, pigs and other special animals that have been featured in some of Hollywood’s biggest productions. As our tram passed by the infamous Bates Motel from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, Norman Bates came out carrying one of his mom’s victims. The Shrek 4-D attraction was a 15 minute movie where we sat in chairs that rock to simulate horse riding. During some of the scenes we had wind blowing on us, water being sprinkled on us, making us feel like we were right in the middle of the fairytale adventure. Flight of the Hippogriff is a roller coaster ride over the Forbidden Forest and Hagrid’s Hut. During the minute ride, we were instructed to bow to the Hippogriff before the ride progresses up the lift hill. At the top of the lift, we had a full aerial view of The Wizarding …
We arrived at Jardin de Paris, the VIP dining room, for our gourmet lunch prepared by Universal’s very own executive chef. The food selection and quality was outstanding!  We had New York Roasted Sirloin, Penne Alfredo with shrimp, Chicken Marsala, Salmon and lots of other things. The food and the atmosphere was so well done, it’s easy to forget that you’re inside a theme park. We took the full hour to enjoy our lunch, while others went out and explored the area around the dining room.
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