The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Entering the land of Harry Potter I’ve just got back from another holiday in Florida and plan to share a few of the new things on my blog now I’ve back.  The first of which is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter which is at Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park.

The theme park has always been one of my favourites with a good mix of rides and some great rollercoasters, set nicely around a large lake.  When we were there last two years ago we saw where they were staring to build the new Harry Potter area, so we were interesting to see how it had turned out.  There are two routes to get there – one by going clockwise through Toon Landing and Jurassic lands, or anti-clockwise through Suess Landing.  The latter is the route I would recommend as it makes it quicker to get to the area, and the view as you walk into the area is more spectacular.  The area is all set out in snow covered streets with the magnificent Hogwarts School at the top end. 

HogwartsThere are three main ride attractions in the area – Dragon Challenge (which is the same ride as the formerly known as Duelling Dragons), Flight of the Hippogriff (a small rollercoaster which was there previously but has been slightly redone) and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (which is new).  This is a ride quite difficult to explain – you sit four in a row inside a vehicle which is attached to what looks a bit like a rollercoaster rail.  The ride flies you around different parts of Hogwarts and the surrounding areas, taking in the sights you’d expect to see.  The ride is a bit of a glorified simulator though as much is done, very cleverly, through large screens.  The rest is done by flying you through various parts of the building where there are scenes laid out – some of which even interact with you such as the spider who spits!  It’s quite scary in places for young children.  They have thought the ride out well though and even the queue areas are well laid out with lots to see – from paintings which talk to snow which falls from the ceiling!  On the downside the queues build up within minutes of the park opening – it took us 30 minutes to get on the ride despite getting into the park on the dot of 9am!  A lot of people queue to leave their bags in the free lockers though, so if you keep left and don’t have bags you can miss a fair part of the line.

Hogwarts ExpressThe other thing that caused crowds from the outset was Ollivanders – people seem to queue to get in there for hours!  We didn’t feel the need for a wand so avoided that line. 

So my overall first impression is that it has been cleverly put together and is extremely popular.  If it was this busy in low season after being open for about 9 months I dread to think how busy it can get.  Make sure you head to this area first if you want to go on either the new ride or into Ollivanders.  The other rides don’t get particularly busy – even by midday the queue for the Dragons was only about 5 minutes.

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