I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II last night at a sneak-peek viewing (read my review of the movie here) and starting thinking about my last visit to the theme park land. The minute you walk into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando, you feel as if you have left Universal Studios and Orlando. Most areas of the theme park have gimmicks, but do not simulate the worlds they are set in the way The Wizarding World of Harry Potter does. It’s life-size. Wizards walking around with owls on their shoulders. Butterbeer stands (read about my experience with Butterbeer and the restaurant the Three Broomsticks on Carlos Eats). There are tons of photo-opportunities and when you enter, you’ll notice the majority of the theme park visitors have all concentrated into this side of the park.
There are lines to enter stores and people will gladly wait around for some Butterbeer as well. There is a mini-coaster called Flight of the Hippogruff and the popular ride Dueling Dragons, was re-named Dragon Challenge in celebration of Potter. My favorite part of the Dueling Dragons is when the ride takes you over water, quite scary yet exhilarating for roller coaster thrill seekers.
Perhaps one of the coolest parts of this world is signature ride, The Forbidden Journey. The ride has to be one of the coolest rides I have been on at Universal Studios. You actually feel as if you have been thrown into the movie (The ride utilizes KUKA robotic arm technology). Some other rides at Universal, such as The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man attempt to feel real, while meaning cheesy. Not The Forbidden Journey. During scenes when were being chased or thrust, it felt almost real.
The wait to get on The Forbidden Journey was extremely long when I came, but it was all worth it. Once you make it to the Hogwarts castle you’ll see many recognizable objects and walls, including projections of Harry, Ron, and Hermione that for a few seconds looked real to me. Fun photo opportunities can be taken inside the Hogwarts castle, just be careful to move ahead as other people in line press forward to the ride.
When you finish the ride you’ll be left at Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods gift shop, which was swarming with park visitors when we came out. The general curiosity of people at this park is what makes it so exciting. I had a great time at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando. Make sure you catch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II in theaters July 15th.