Florida Guide > Universal Parks
The World of Harry Potter
I have to hold my hand up and tell you I know very little about Harry Potter. I haven’t read any of the books. I have watched some of the Harry Potter movies. So I did have a general idea who Harry Potter was and what was involved in his world.
But even so I was very excited when Universal Studio’s in Orlando announced the World of Harry Potter. I was curios what Universal would do and how they would create and expand from the books and movies .
I also wanted to see how they would re-construct part of the Lost Continent at Island of Adventure and what the new rides would be like.
I remember on a very cold day in January 2010 standing watching the construction of Harry Potter amazed how far they had progressed in such a short time.
Unfortunately it was another 9 months before I returned to Universal, by this time Harry Potter was open and the reviews had been excellent.
I entered the Harry Potter World at 1-15pm on a sunny October afternoon. I looked around in amazement. I loved how they had themed the area I knew next to nothing about Harry Potter' s environment, but I felt Universal captured the essence of Harry Potter' s world. The snow on the rooftop buildings was amazing. It did look odd to see snow when the temperature was 70 degree that day. The Hogwarts Express train staged at the entrance was so authentic. I had to touch it to ensure it wasn’t the real thing! !
I wandered around Honeydukes. The store was just wall-to-wall candy. Chocolate shaped cauldron pots were my favourite. The Dervish & Banges gift shop just outside Dragon' s Challenge ride sells dragon-themed merchandise.
All the shops are themed and boasts a good selection of merchandise, The shops are very small and quite dark. I would guess would be a tight squeeze when busy in the summer months.
I watched two live shows, one was a group who sang Harry Potter themed songs. The other was Triwizards Tournament Celebration group with martial artists and ribbon dancers. Both were enjoyable to watch.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has three rides, the Flight of the Hippogriff, Dragon Challenge, and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Two rides have been re-themed from the Lost Continent. The Flight of the Hippogriff is the re-themed Flying Unicorn roller coaster.
The Dragon Challenge was once known as Duelling Dragons. Fire dragon is now Chinese Fireball and Ice dragon is the Hungarian Horntail. The ride is pretty much the same. but still well worth a go.
The entrance to the castle was decorated with several lovely flags, very impressive.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. This ride breaks the barriers of technology once again. The ride is basically a mechanical robotic arm on a overhead track.
As I queued I saw many moving and talking portraits and paintings. Harry Potter' s friends appear and talk to you. Periodically snowflakes flutter down as you wait in line.
As I approached the ride loading area. although I waited 60 minutes The line moved quickly as I had lots to keep me entertained.
Each robotic arm, or as they a call them magic benches. They hold four guests with an over the shoulder restraints. The magic benches loads off a moving sidewalk that never stops.
As you load onto the ride you pull down the restraint and you are ready to go! !
The ride takes you on a flight over castles and into a tournament. The ride has many scary scenes of dragons skeletons, and a big spider. As you fly from scene to scene, you tilt back and forth on your bench. The magic bench never flips you over or turns you around.
I was amazed at this ride, gives you a sensation of flying, one ride not to miss.
I thoroughly enjoy the addition to Islands of Adventure. I will definitely be visiting Harry Potter again and riding the Forbidden Journey
Nearly forgot they also serve Butter beer What does Butter beer taste like? it tastes like root beer to me! ! !
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