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Universal Studios Orlando & The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Betsy Bailey is the co-founder and executive editor of SheKnows, Pregnancy & Baby, GeoParent and, among others. She has also served as the editor-in-chief of four national print magazines. She lives with her husband and their...

Universal Orlando travel guide

If you are a Harry Potter fan (or the parent of one) you are probably aware of the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park that debuted this summer at Universal Studios Orlando. SheKnows co-founder and executive editor Betsy Bailey and her 13-year-old daughter, Hannah, jetted off to Orlando for a peek. Now we're sharing this experience with you!

Universal Orlando travel guide

An invitation to harry potter's world

The last time I was in Orlando was, I recently realized, nearly 20 years ago. I went to Walt Disney World as a college graduation gift from my then-in-laws. At that time, Universal Studios was in its infancy —barely a year old! We didn't make time for the park during that trip, but I always thought I would someday when I found myself back in Orlando, especially when I started hearing reports that they were building a Harry Potter-themed park.

How lucky I feel to have been one of six women in media who were invited by Universal Studios Orlando on an all-expense-paid trip to experience all they had to offer at their resorts and theme parks — including a guided tour of the all-new Wizarding World of Harry Potter. (Or at least as much as we could experience in two and a half action-packed days.) Even better: We were invited to bring a child along!

Universal Orlando travel guideFanatical fan

Introducing Hannah: She is 13 and has been a dedicated fan of Harry Potter since she started reading chapter books around 8 years old. I myself have been a dedicated Harry Potter fan since this child was but an infant — I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone when it was the only book in the series! And I have avidly collected the books, usually pre-ordering each installment so I have a copy in my hands at the earliest possible moment. (OK, not so avid of a fan that I'm waiting in line at a bookstore at midnight. I've never been that avid about anything!) This child has read my hardcovers to absolute tatters; seriously, I think she's read the entire series at least a dozen times.

So it was a no-brainer that she was going to be the chosen child for this adventure. Even my other girls, who enjoy Harry Potter (but not with nearly Hannah's commitment) and would always leap at the chance to go to a theme park, were resigned to the idea that it would only be fair for Hannah to go.

Once we got all the travel arrangements made, I shared this exciting news with Hannah and she — well, see for yourself!

Video: Hannah finds out she's going to Orlando


>> Page 2: Review of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

>> Page 3: Where to stay? Review of Universal Studios resort hotels

>> Page 4: Where to eat? Review of some Universal Studios restaurants

>> Page 5: Must-do, must-see

>> Page 6: Hannah's notebook

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