Events are my absolute favorite. It’s so much fun bringing an idea to life. Recently, I had the privilege of planning a Harry Potter themed bachelorette party and it turned out totally AWESOME. Personally, I am a huge Potterhead so this event was a breeze, but I could definitely see how it could be challenging for those lacking a Hogwarts degree ;). Anyways, that’s who this blog post is for~
So, the plan included a 2-day 2-park pass to Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando, FL. They’re home to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. I surprised the bride-to-be with our mini-vacation. The unveiling included a white balloon with a hand-drawn owl’s face on the front tied to an acceptance letter. I placed it on her bed for her to find a-la owl post. It was adorable and magical.
For the letter, I put my own spin on a downloadable Hogwarts Google Document I found online. I visited a FedEx print shop and printed the letter on a long sheet of custom sized paper. Then, I filled a cookie sheet with dark roasted coffee to stain the paper. I placed the wet sheet on a tray and baked it at 250 degrees for about 8 minutes until it started to become a crispy, light brown.
Since we didn’t want our apartment to accidentally burn to the ground, my boyfriend helped me burn the pages. He used a lighter to slightly burn holes and spots for an authentic, aged look. It was a little nerve-racking considering we only had one shot to get it right. There’s a trick to it… wet the tip of your finger with some saliva and outline the area around the spot you’d like burnt. This creates a ‘fence’ which keeps the flame from reaching other areas. Hold the paper about 3-4 inches from the flame, never keep the flame still by moving it around. When we had our first hole burn through, I freaked out but turns out it looks even cooler with some holes in it. We also burned the edges and very top of the paper too.
You can view the letter here: Hogwarts Acceptance Letter PDF
I had a blast creating a fan-tastic Harry Potter scavenger hunt too. With some help from Reddit’s R/HarryPotter I got some great tips about the park only true Potterheads would pick-up on. For example, in the movie Hagrid teaches his students to bow before they ride the Hippogriff. Since there is a ride called ‘Flight of the Hippogriff’ they suggested I add a bow in the game.
You can view the scavenger hunt here: Scavenger Hunt PDF
For the scavenger hunt, I created a 3-section brochure mimicking Marauder’s Map that begins with an ‘I solemnly swear I am up to no good’ first page. It also included a House Points section where each person marks their points once a task is completed to make it competitive. Since we lacked a talking sorting hat, each witch was assigned to their appropriate house through mystery cupcakes!
Because we all know cupcakes automatically make everything soo much sweeter.
I filled a couple of red velvet cupcakes with colored frosting in the Hogwarts house colors (yellow, red, green and blue). On top, I used white frosting and multi-colored sprinkles. That way, the girls had to bite into the cupcakes to see which house they got. They loved the idea…
I introduced the scavenger hunt and our matching T-shirts in a wooden box addressed to the bride from Hagrid. I ordered the most perfect matching tees from etsy (check the image on the right). The bride’s shirt said “I Found A Catch” and the bridesmaid shirts said “She Found A Keeper.” It was a charming pun on quidditch.
I highly suggest tank tops, it helps keep you cool in the unforgiving sunshine state. FYI stay away from Orlando, Florida from May to July unless you enjoy heat strokes – wink. To add a magical touch to the presentation, I stuck some 3-D spider stickers diagonally across the top of the box to tie in with the movie.
We topped off our mimosas, hidden in disposable coffee cups and headed out to the parks!
The Double Tree by Hilton Hotels at the entrance of Universal Studios made it super easy to get to the parks and back with their free shuttle bus. We also got a free (and very delicious) breakfast every morning. Needless to say, it really helped us stay on budget. The hotel was on the same street, directly in front of Universal Studio’s entrance. We could have even walked there if we wanted to. The bride loved the newly-renovated rooms with a view of the parks from the 7th story. The restaurants and Starbucks on the bottom floor were perfect for some late night drinks and early morning frappucinos!
It was so convenient that we never had to really leave the Hotel or drive. It was absolute heaven. Plus, we got a great deal by booking through Expedia. The only thing they don’t tell you is that parking is about $20 per night…
At first, we went back and forth on buying fast pass tickets, but we are so happy we decided on purchasing them. Some lines run as long as an hour and forty-five minutes. With the fast pass tickets, the longest we waited was about 35 minutes! If you purchase fast passes you will have to carry them around with you throughout the park and show it at each ride. They are little pieces of paper that are way to easy to lose.
If we hadn’t bought our Hogwarts house lanyards we most likely would have lost that $110 paper receipt within the first hour. Since it has a clear holder, the park attendants were able to quickly scan the passes without having us go through the hassle of taking out our passes. We also bought cute pins to decorate our lanyards with. Everyone at the parks had their lanyards completely filled with the coolest pins.
As a Florida resident and frequent theme park goer I rarely purchase luxury extras, but from this day forward I am forever a fast pass gal.
Thanks for reading!
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