For those of you that might have heard, Universal Studios in Orlando recently opened up a new area to their parks called The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Whether you are just a passing fan of the Potter series or a hard core geek, this park will satisfy anyone’s child-like fantasies of reliving the Harry Potter world. We have just returned from a trip to Universal to show you first hand what the park has in store for you. Check out the video for our take on the new addition plus what else you can not miss while visiting Universal Studios. For more information about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter visit http://www.universalorlando.com/harrypotter/
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter covers everything you know and love from the series. The town of Hogsmeade is so impressive as it has all the same stores from the books. Ollivanders, where Harry found his wand, and Dervish and Banges where the students picked up school supplies. Zonko’s Joke shop opened by Ron Weasley’s older twin brothers attached to Honeydukes for all your candy desires, including the crazy jelly beans they so famously ate in the stories. The Three Broomsticks restaurant where the kids go to sneak in a Butter Beer, however you can buy the Butter Beer at a separate stand as well. The Owl Post allows you to buy a post card and have it stamped with the official Hogwarts postal symbol and they will even mail it out for you provided you have a stamp on it. There is so much to see and do in Hogsmeade you could almost forget about the excellent rides they have in store for you.
For the younger kids there is a new roller coaster called the Flight of the Hippogriff which while it has some fun twists and turns, it is pretty short and not thrilling enough for the die hard coaster fans. Still worth a ride through once though, just to see the Hippogriff.
Dragon Challenge is a roller coaster that was converted from before and used to be called the Dueling Dragons. You might have been on it before, but it is no less fun now. The ride is the same with two coasters running the track at once and merely coming within inches of each other at times. The inside hasn’t changed that much, they just added some Harry Potter icons to the walk in, for instance, the Triwizard Cup is on display for you to see as you come in.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is by far the most advanced ride in the park to date. The line for the ride literally walks you through Hogwarts Castle. You see the greenhouse in which they had to learn to replant those screaming Mandrakes into bigger pots, you walk through a very detailed classroom with a full scale dragon skeleton hanging from the ceiling and into Dumbledore’s office with the talking pictures on the walls. The talking photos were truly amazing and looked so real that it startled me when another started to talk or move around. The ride itself takes place in the Great Hall and even has the floating candles in the ceiling! As you strap into the ride you are taken through a crazy broomstick flight through the Castle and out into the surrounding areas as you try to outrun a dragon, escape dementors, play a little Quidditch, and escape from the depths of the lair of He who shall not be named as well as spiders such as Aragog, and the Whomping Willow which almost seems to take you out. There is no other way to say this, it is one Hell of a ride!
If you get a chance, make sure and book your trip to Orlando to experience the park yourself.
by Angela Davis