The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studio’s Orlando
Last week Kidgrade had the pleasure of exploring Universal Studios Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
I should preface this review with the fact that I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I grew up attending midnight book releases and completing those four hundred plus page books in a day as well as seeing every movie in theaters. Naturally, I have wanted to head to Harry Potter World for ages and finally in my late 20’s I’ve had the chance.
My husband and I were lucky to stay on grounds at Universal because we were offered early admission to Hogsmede in Universal Studio’s Islands of Adventure. This allowed us to enjoy this portion of the park an hour before anyone not staying on grounds. Due to huge crowds at both sections of Harry Potter World this was quite an advantage. However, the park advertises early admission to Harry Potter World and does not specify just Island of Adventure until you are already there.
The park did a great job recreating how Hogesmede looked in the films. You could explore some of the shops and eat at the Three Broomsticks just like Harry, Ron, and Hermione do. As far as shopping goes I loved all the colors and treats in Honeydukes. Hogesmede also included an Olivander’s wand shop where you could purchase an interactive wand to use around both parks. You will want to buy at least one and share as this might have been one of the best parts of the parks. It’s a tiny complaint but I wasn’t a fan of Olivander’s in Hogesmede. Harry purchases his first wand at Olivander’s in Diagon Alley.
Hogesmede was home to three rides Dragon Challenge, Flight of the Hippogriff, and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Dragon Challenge is a high speed coaster where you must empty your pockets and place all items in a locker located not far from the ride. The strangest part is they have you walk through a metal detector in line to gt on the ride when you didn’t to enter the park. Flight of the Hippogriff is a family friendly coaster that provides great views of the castle and Hagrid’s hut. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is one you won’t want to miss. Even the line is interesting as you get to walk through Hogwarts castle. The ride takes you on a broomstick through everything you loved about the books and movies. A word of caution though some parts can get a little scary. My husband was not a fan of the part with the spiders.
Once you have had enough of Hogesmede be sure to take out your park to park hopper pass and board the Hogwarts express to Diagon Alley. Sadly if you are using your early park admission you will not be able to head to Diagon Alley until 9am when the rest of Universal Studios opens.
The Hogwarts Express is absolutely amazing. It offers two different experiences one for the way to London and one for the way to Hogwarts. You will of course want to see both.
Diagon Ally looked just as it did in the movies just walking through was so much fun. Again you can use your interactive wands to cast spells at things in the windows and even a fountain! You can shop in all of the shops Harry buys his school supplies as well as Fred and George’s Wheezley’s Wizard Weezes, take an interactive adventure ride through Gingotts, brave Knockturn Alley, eat at the Leaky Cauldron, and of course enjoy a glass of cold, frozen, or hot Butterbeer. We tried all three and all were delicious. Remember, everyone can try Butterbeer as it is nonalcoholic . As I said before the sections of the parks that make Harry Potter World are by far the most crowded. If you want to ride the big rides in each section arrive early or prepare to wait to get on them.
I’m sure I’m not alone in saying The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was my favorite part of Universal Studios. If you are a Potter fan you will for sure want to plan a visit.
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