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If there is one wedding trend you will never hear me grumble about, it’s destination bachelorette parties. A chance to get away with a group of my best gal pals? Sign me up! Let’s face it — the opportunities for girlfriend getaways are fewer and far between as time goes on, families get started and responsibilities pile up. So I’m all for making the most of indulgent time away while we can.

Plus, you know I can’t pass up an opportunity to raid the closest arts supply store! If my girl Angie’s Bachelorette Bonanza in Bonaire was any indication, it’s not a Wanderland-stamped bachelorette bash unless it’s replete with crafted and curated goody bags and coordinating outfits. Crafting is my love language, guys.

A Harry Potter Bachelorette Party at Universal Orlando

A Harry Potter Bachelorette Party at Universal Orlando

When I first told our dear family friend Ashlee that I was working with Universal Orlando for the year, she nearly fainted with excitement at the mere thought of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Not long after, she got engaged. My travel-idea wheels started turning, and soon a Harry Potter Bachelorette Party for Ashlee, my sister Olivia and I was born.

Both girls arrived on a Friday afternoon, and we spent a low-key evening enjoying dinner and girly giggles at the Royal Pacific Resort. I’d had a big week at Volcano Bay, and so I was thrilled we were having an early night in to prepare for the big day out ahead!

A Harry Potter Bachelorette Party at Universal Orlando

A Harry Potter Bachelorette Party at Universal Orlando

A Harry Potter Bachelorette Party at Universal Orlando

A Harry Potter Bachelorette Party at Universal Orlando

While we had a few delays in the morning and weren’t the first ones banging down the gates at opening time, we did take advantage of the extra hour of park admission for onsite hotel guests. We were visiting on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, so crowds should have been crushing. But by planning out our route and taking advantage of onsite guest perks, we really did make the most of our visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

My advice? Check to see which parks have early admission — on this particular day, only Islands of Adventure did. (Remember, Hogsmeade is in Islands of Adventure, while Diagon Alley is in Universal Studios, and they are connected by the Hogwarts Express ride. Thus, a park hopper pass is required to visit both in one day.) So we started our day in , and rode all three rides there as soon as we arrived, waiting only for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey — which in retrospect, we totally should have sprinted to first out of the three rides, since it’s the only one that doesn’t accept the Express Passes that we received included in our stay at Royal Pacific.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is definitely the standout of Hogsmeade, and it truly left me speechless! Dragon Challenge is a traditional crazy coaster that you could ride twice and have two totally different experiences, and the Flight of the Hippogriff is a more family-friendly roller coaster.

Flight of the Hippogriff at Universal Orlando

Flight of the Hippogriff at Universal Orlando

Flight of the Hippogriff at Universal Orlando

Once we had all the rides under out belt, we wandered in and out of the beautifully themed shops, took a million photos, and giggled while Ashlee did spells. While neither Olivia nor I are huge Harry fans — though believe me, it’s growing on me! — we seriously were having a blast and loving how much fun Ashlee was having.

“Is this what it’s like to be parents?,” Olivia mused, as we watched Ash waving her wand around with huge smiles. While I’m normally not much of a souvenir-buyer, wands are an absolute must for the true Potter-head. They allow you to perform spells at mapped locations all over the Wizarding World!

A Harry Potter Bachelorette Party at Universal Orlando

A Harry Potter Bachelorette Party at Universal Orlando

A Harry Potter Bachelorette Party at Universal Orlando

A Harry Potter Bachelorette Party at Universal Orlando

A Harry Potter Bachelorette Party at Universal Orlando

A Harry Potter Bachelorette Party at Universal Orlando

While this was my third trip to Universal Orlando, I had never truly experienced Hogsmeade before, so it really was a blast for me. After a Butterbeer toast to seal the morning, we were off on the Hogwarts Express — which again, thanks to our Express Passes, magically had no line!

Hogwarts Express at Universal Orlando

Hogwarts Express at Universal Orlando

And after a whirl on the world’s only inter-theme park ride, we arrived in ! I was so excited to see the girl’s reactions to this truly magical place, one of the greatest themed lands I’ve ever seen in any theme park anywhere in the world.

Diagon Alley in Universal Orlando Resort

Diagon Alley in Universal Orlando Resort

Diagon Alley in Universal Orlando Resort

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts was down temporarily, so we wandered the alleys doing more spells, splitting an ice cream, and checking out all the fab little shops and details.

Throughout the day, we were overwhelmed with super sweet and sincere compliments from Universal employees on our outfits, and Harry Potter glasses specifically. Considering they’ve seen it all, we were pretty dang proud of ourselves. The best part was, since I’d had to order , we had extras to hand out to strangers who asked us about them — so fun!

Diagon Alley in Universal Orlando Resort

A Harry Potter Bachelorette Party at Universal Orlando

A Harry Potter Bachelorette Party at Universal Orlando

Next up, it was time for a lunch — and air-conditioning! — break at in CityWalk. I’d heard raves about this spot and while we were all boring and ordered (super delicious) salads and soda waters, I am totally coming back some night for their craft cocktails and signature Burgushi®.

The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar • CityWalk Orlando

The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar • CityWalk Orlando

The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar • CityWalk Orlando

After lunch, we headed back into to hit my favorite area of Universal Orlando… Seuss Landing! The girls humored me with spins on both The Cat in The Hat (which I’d been on before) and theThe High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride (which I hadn’t.) Neither had more than a two minute line.

Turns out the train ride has some of the best photography vantage points in the entire park — it’s so cool to see it all from above! So whether you’re a Seuss fan or not, if you’re coming with a camera you might just want to hop aboard for a spin.

Seuss Landing, Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure

Seuss Landing, Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure

Seuss Landing, Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure

Seuss Landing, Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure

Seuss Landing, Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure

Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure

After, we headed for my favorite ride in the park — Jurassic Park River Adventure. At this point, the late afternoon holiday weekend crowds were at their peak, so we decided to head back to the hotel for a dip in the pool and a nap before the rest of the day.

My big regret of the trip? Not taking the girls on my beloved Hulk coaster and not trying out the two water rides, Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls and Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges, when it was blazing hot! Sure, we could have fit it all in if we’d stayed in the park from open to close, but with a long weekend of fun ahead, we chose to pace ourselves — which is the exact reason I’d recommend travelers invest in at least a three day park-hopper pass so they don’t burn out while trying to enjoy all Universal Orlando Resort has to offer (which is, if you haven’t picked up on it already, a lot.)

Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure

Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure

Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure

Thankfully, by the time the sun set we were well rested for a night on the town — the town, in this case, being ! One of my favorite things about a Universal vacation is you don’t have to get in a car once if you don’t want to.

You can eat, stay, play all in one compact, well-connected resort without fussing with rental cars, cabs, or Ubers. It actually makes it the perfect bachelorette bash port of call — between the security checks into CityWalk, the free water taxis back to the onsite hotels, and the peace of mind of keeping everyone in one place in a big group, you really couldn’t ask for a more worry-free destination for a girl’s night out.

Antojitos Universal Orlando CityWalk

Antojitos Universal Orlando CityWalk

Antojitos Universal Orlando CityWalk

CityWalk is bursting with dining options, which made it hard to narrow down our dinner reservations, though we finally settled on  for a festive Mexican meal. It did not disappoint! The modern and colorful interiors left us swooning — table for three in a birdcage? yes please! — and the menu left us drooling.

Don’t miss the ginger mojitos or the fresh guacamole made to your specifications right at the table!

Antojitos Universal Orlando CityWalk

Antojitos Universal Orlando CityWalk

Antojitos Universal Orlando CityWalk

Antojitos Universal Orlando CityWalk

Antojitos Universal Orlando CityWalk

After dinner, we rushed back into the park for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, which we literally sprinted to when I read on the Universal App had reopened! With late summer hours, you really can make the most of your day — and night. Diagon Alley looks totally different at the dark, which made the ride being closed earlier in the day actually feel like a blessing in disguise. We got on what must have been one of the very last runs of the evening, and exited right as the nightly fireworks were going off. Talk about timing.

After, we strolled back into CityWalk ready to dance — and sing. We kicked things off at my personal favorite venue, , where you can croon with a live backup band and backup dancers. Unfortunately we arrived right as the band went on a lengthy break so the girls didn’t really get to experience Rising Star in all it’s glory, but our friendly waiter conceded that on a busy weekend you really need to arrive at opening to have a good chance of singing, anyway.

Rising Star Universal Orlando CityWalk

After a few drinks and sing-alongs, we were off to check out CityWalk’s two nightclubs, and . As very dedicated researchers, we did a thorough comparison of both — and while the dancefloors were packed and we had a blast at each, Red Coconut won out as our favorite for the retro kitsch decor (The Groove was more general-Myrtle-Beach-nightclub in comparison.) Both were totally unpretentious, with an all-age crowd all just looking to have a good time. And if you’re staying onsite, you’ll get free entry to every CityWalk venue by showing your room key — so why not check out both?

Not so much for the club scene? There are also some great bars in CityWalk —  has great live music (and Jamaican specialities on the dinner menu), boasts dueling pianos (and cajun food), and has, well, a margarita-filled erupting volcano (and cheeseburgers in paradise, duh).

Red Coconut Club Universal Orlando CityWalk

Red Coconut Club Universal Orlando CityWalk

Red Coconut Club Universal Orlando CityWalk

CityWalk’s last call is 2am, but make sure you close out your tab a bit earlier to grab late night slices at the . We took them to-go and hopped on the last water taxi of the night back to Royal Pacific, which turned out to be one of my favorite moments of my entire eight days in Orlando. Why?

When we boarded the boat, I noted that the professional young captain was a girl around our age. The only other group on the boat was another crew of ladies coming back from a big night out. As we pulled away from the dock, the captain wordlessly turned on a speaker and started blasting Madonna’s classic hit Lucky Star. When she started busting some serious dance moves at the wheel, we excitedly began belting backup from out seats. We might not have made it onstage at Rising Star, but the boat become our grandstand, the seven of us aboard rocking out for a one-song headline.

When we docked, we laughed and thanked our lovely captain for an unimaginably perfect ride home. “Well, I figured it was just us girls,” she said with a wink.

A Harry Potter Bachelorette Party at Universal Orlando

Just us girls indeed! It was the perfect day at the parks, and a bachelorette for the books.

What’s the best destination you’ve discovered for a bachelorette weekend? 

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One thing I’ve been hearing from you guys is that you want to hear more about my current travels right after they happen. Well, ask and ye shall receive! I’m jumping in to start sharing some posts from Florida and Tennessee, a trip so fresh I just unpacked from it.

This post is brought to your by Universal Orlando Resort. I am a member of the Universal Blog Squad, and have been compensated for this partnership. I maintain full editorial control and as always all thoughts, opinions, and over-ambitious craft projects are my own. 

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How to Throw A Harry Potter Bachelorette Party at Universal Orlando

How to Throw A Harry Potter Bachelorette Party at Universal Orlando

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30 Comments...
  • ahh its still on my list to make it over to this portion of Universal!! And it looks like it would completely live up to my expectations! Love this! michelle

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2017

      Thanks Michelle! We had a blast — it was SO much fun!

  • Marni
    June 28 2017

    And the nostalgia train just keeps on rolling through! This post is just deepening my already deep longing to return to the parks. I’ve been more times than I can count, but it’s been almost 2 years now since I was last there. I’m glad you’re becoming a bit of a Potterhead – it’s truly a series that has something for everyone 🙂
    Marni recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2017

      Ha ha, well I’ve already bought the t-shirt — AND the glasses! Now just time to read the books!

  • Kelly
    June 28 2017

    Ahhhh this is an AMAZING idea for a bachelorette party!! I may have mentioned this before, but I grew up in Orlando and can’t even tell you how many times I visited Universal and Islands of Adventure. Easily upwards of 5x a year!

    My family moved out of state a year or two before the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened, and I haven’t been back since! All of your recent posts are making me want to plan a trip back ASAP!

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2017

      Definitely sounds like a dang good reason for a stroll down memory lane 🙂

  • Gemma
    June 28 2017

    Love all of the excitement oozing out of this! Craig and I went just before we eloped in Austin, crazy fun. Think I had an ear to ear grin on all day. Would definitely go back for a hen party (and those specs).
    Gemma recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2017

      Ha, love the term “hen party” — sounds so much more fun than “bachelorette” 😛

  • Jo-Anne the crazy lady
    June 28 2017

    Oh such fun, my daughter and my niece are big Harry Potter fans
    Jo-Anne the crazy lady recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 29 2017

      You should send them this post Jo-Anne 🙂 Maybe they’ll plan a trip!

  • LC
    June 29 2017

    From Muggle to Mrs! Too excellent.

  • Ijana Loss
    June 29 2017

    This looks so fun! Every time you write a Universal Studios post I get a little more enthusiastic about wanting to visit there, and this time I’m gonna say holy crap I actually really want to go now!

    • Meihoukai
      June 30 2017

      Well then my final posts should REALLY have you booking flights 😛 Just wait!

  • Janice
    June 29 2017

    Again… Love the colours and the look of that sweetcorn!

    • Meihoukai
      June 30 2017

      The presentation at Antojitos was spot on! It was a great meal.

  • Dominique
    June 30 2017

    This is the first blogger post I’ve seen about Universal Orlando that describes the rides a bit more. I always really like water slides, so to see to many mentioned here kind of sways me to visit this theme park one day!
    Dominique recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 30 2017

      Thanks for the compliment Dominique! I agree, a lot of blog posts just mention the name of a ride but then I have a hard time visualizing it and remembering what the tips were 🙂

  • I am not a HUGE fan of Harry Potter but this looks really fun. I actually love the whole idea of it. Off to become a Harry Potter fan before my hen-do gets planned!
    Natasha | Meldrums On The Move recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      June 30 2017

      Ha! Well, there’s much more to Universal than Harry Potter… I might just have to do a Seuss themed bachelorette myself!

  • Sky
    July 2 2017

    When I get married (never), I’m putting you in charge of my bachelorette party! haha Seriously, you and your friends have the coolest celebrations! I was fangirling just reading about this. I’m actually heading to Orlando in October and the Wizarding World is #1 on my list. TOTAL HP fangirl here…my first all-nighter was when I made my mom take me to get the last book at midnight and I stayed up until I finished it…at 10am the next morning!

    So needless to say I’ve been psyched about visiting Universal but this post sent that excitement threw the roof…I might have to look into staying at the park for at least a night or two now because that looks like SO much fun!
    Sky recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 5 2017

      Haha I am ready for any and all bachelorette duties! As for your trip, I would definitely do at least one night onsite to get the extra admission hour, especially if you’re going at a busy time. It really does make all the difference!

  • Daria
    July 4 2017

    I’m totally going there next summer! I was planning a trip to USA but I wasn’t sure what to visit. As a Harry Potter fan, I whink it will be a perfect weekend for me and my frinds!

    • Meihoukai
      July 5 2017

      Florida would be a great stop! If you have a little more time, tack on a trip to one of the coasts or the Everglades, too!

  • Rachel
    July 4 2017

    What a fun bachelorette party! You can’t go wrong with HP!
    Rachel recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 5 2017

      Not for this bride 😛 But OMG, off to read your review of Pandora!

  • Kate Storm
    July 7 2017

    Sooooooooooo, brushing aside the fact that you are not a huge Harry Potter fan (how?!), this looks like an amazing trip!

    I haven’t made it to the WWOHP yet, but when I do, you have proven that the right accessories are a must! Makes the photos that much more magical. 🙂
    Kate Storm recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 9 2017

      Yes indeed! And really are fairly affordable if you plan ahead!

  • Anna Tiner
    July 16 2017

    I remember going to Harry Potter World back when it opened a few years ago, I nearly cried from happiness when we arrived! Haha. Great photos, they really take me back.
    Anna Tiner recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 17 2017

      I definitely have never understood the Harry Potter obsession quite like I have via this project 🙂 I love it!