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A Magical Journey through Universal Studio’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Updated on February 25, 2014
Hogwarts Castle at Sunset
Hogwarts Castle at Sunset

The highlight of our summer was a surprise trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. Once we began planning a family vacation to Orlando, we knew a trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was a must. Our daughter loves the Harry Potter books and movies and has dreamt of visiting the life-like replica of this magical world ever since it opened. As we entered the gate of Islands of Adventure and saw Hogwarts Castle in the distance, all of the planning, money saving, and anticipation for this day paid off in tenfold when our ten-year-old daughter’s face lit up with excitement.

Welcome to Hogsmeade Village
Welcome to Hogsmeade Village
Wintertime in Hogsmeade
Wintertime in Hogsmeade
Bertie Bott's Beans at Honeydukes Sweet Shop in Hogsmeade Village
Bertie Bott's Beans at Honeydukes Sweet Shop in Hogsmeade Village

Hogsmeade Village

Universal’s Wizarding World has recreated Hogsmeade Village with many shops and restaurants that avid readers of the Harry Potter series will instantly recognize. Our first stop was Olivander’s Wand Shop which is a fun interactive experience. Mr. Olivander chooses a witch or wizard to try out different wands just like Harry Potter did in The Sorcerer’s Stone. This magical experience is very popular and long lines form quickly, so be sure to check it out early. Next we sampled some of Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s favorite treats at Honey Dukes Sweet Shop including Bertie Botts Flavored Beans, chocolate frogs, and licorice wands. Then we explored the unusual magic products and inventions of Fred and George Weasley in Zonko’s Joke Shop. One could purchase a pygmy puff, extendable ears and a Wizard’s Chess set. We also visited Dervish & Banges, Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods, and the Owl Post where you can find various souvenirs and collectible items including Hogwarts’ clothing, wizard wands, pet owls and broomsticks. Universal’s attention to precise detail inside and outside of the shops throughout Hogsmeade Village is amazing.

Hogwarts Castle

After exploring Hogsmeade, we entered Hogwarts Castle to ride The Forbidden Journey. The line for this ride is an adventure in itself as you walk through a greenhouse filled with mandrakes, the Room of Requirement, and the Griffindor Common Room. You also travel through the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom where Harry, Ron, and Hermione invite you on an adventure. Later you enter Dumbledore’s office and he warns you of the dangers that lie ahead. My daughter’s excitement grew and grew as we encountered magical artifacts fromHarry Potter like the Sorting Hat, the Great Eagle, the Fat Lady, the Memory Cabinet, and the talking paintings in the Great Hall. Countless times my daughter exclaimed, “This is the best day ever!” The ride is a fast-paced, indoor flying simulator where you help Harry and Ron fight off Dementors, Death Eaters, Giant Spiders, Dragons, and the Whomping Willow Tree. This ride was definitely our favorite from both parks.

Hogwart's House Cup- Looks like Gryffindor is winning!
Hogwart's House Cup- Looks like Gryffindor is winning!
Talking Pictures in the Great Hall of Hogwarts
Talking Pictures in the Great Hall of Hogwarts
Screaming Mandrake from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Screaming Mandrake from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Encounter with the Sorting Hat in Hogwarts Castle
Encounter with the Sorting Hat in Hogwarts Castle
Listen to Dumbledore's instructions carefully before embarking on the Forbidden Journey
Listen to Dumbledore's instructions carefully before embarking on the Forbidden Journey

Rides in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Ride
Height Requirement
Description
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
At least 48"
Flight simulator ride inside Hogwarts Castle
Flight of the Hippogriff
At least 36"
Family-friendly roller coaster with spirals & dives
Dragon Challenge
At least 54"
Two high-speed intertwining roller coasters that twist and loop
Survive the Dragon Challenge to become a Tri-Wizard Champion
Survive the Dragon Challenge to become a Tri-Wizard Champion
Find the Weasley's Flying Car in the forrest surrounding the Dragon Challenge Roller Coaster
Find the Weasley's Flying Car in the forrest surrounding the Dragon Challenge Roller Coaster

The Dragon Challenge

The Dragon Challenge is a high speed roller coaster with twists, turns, and upside down loops geared towards teenagers and adults. There are two dragons to choose from, the Chinese Fireball or the Hungarian Horntail. The two intertwining tracks are completely different so each dragon is a unique experience. This ride includes replicas of the Tri Wizard Cup, the Goblet of Fire and the Weasley’s Car. Unfortunately, we did not go on this ride because our daughter did not meet the 54” height requirement. Luckily, the park has a walk through & explore option for those not riding the ride. It is something we look forward to experiencing on our next trip.

Hagrid's Hut in the Flight of the Hippogriff Rollercoaster
Hagrid's Hut in the Flight of the Hippogriff Rollercoaster

The Flight of the Hippogriff

The Flight of the Hippogriff is a milder roller coaster which is fun for the whole family. Travel through the pumpkin patch where you’ll encounter a large, automated hippogriff and an up close view of Hagrid’s Hut. This ride also gives you one of the best views of Hogwarts Castle and Hogsmeade Village.

Butterbeer- Even better than you imagined
Butterbeer- Even better than you imagined

Food & Drinks from the World of Harry Potter

To complete a fun filled afternoon at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter visit The Three Broomsticks. This restaurant was built as a replica of a pub frequented by the students and teachers of Hogwarts. Our expectation was that the food here would be similar to the fast food commonly found in amusement parks. Surprisingly the food, service and décor exceeded our expectations. Since this is the only restaurant in this busy area of the park it fills up quickly but don’t despair the organization, friendliness and speed of the staff makes the wait fly by. Food selections include Shepard’s Pie, Cornish Pasties, Turkey Legs and Fish & Chips. The Great Feast Platter, which includes a sampling of almost everything on the menu, is a great deal for families or large groups. If you don’t plan on eating, still stop by Hog’s Head for a refreshing Butter Beer or Pumpkin Juice.

Current Ticket Prices

Park-To-Park Tickets
Adult
Child
1-Day Ticket
$128.00
$122.00
2-Day Ticket
$146.99
$136.99
3-Day Ticket
$159.99
$148.99
4-Day Ticket
$167.99
$155.99
One Park Only
Adult
Child
1-Day Ticket
$92.00
$86.00
2-Day Ticket
$125.99
$115.99
3-Day Ticket
$140.99
$129.99
4-Day Ticket
$150.99
$138.99
*Additional ticket options can be found at www.universalorlando.com. *Keep an eye out for specials like buy a 2-day ticket & get the 3rd day free. * In order to ride the Hogwarts Express between the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Islands of A

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The creators of this one of a kind attraction spared no detail in recreating J. K. Rowling’s magical world of Harry Potter. Universal is building an expansion that is set to open in the summer of 2014. There will be a life size Hogwarts Express train that travels from Islands of Adventure to a new Harry Potter section of Universal Studios. The new section will feature King's Cross Station in London, Diagon Alley, The Leaky Cauldron, Knockturn Alley and Gringott’s Bank. Gringott's will include a new multi-dimensional ride through the vaults of the goblin-run bank. Our family cannot wait to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter again to explore both the old and new attractions.

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    • BernietheMovieGuy profile image

      Bernie Ment 3 years ago from Syracuse, NY

      Nicely done! This is handy information if I ever manage to find myself in Florida again anytime in my lifetime. I used to go every January but with funding limitations, my traveling has been scarce. Voted up!

    • Mayabird218 profile image
      Author

      Mayabird218 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Thank you for your feedback BernietheMovieGuy. I hope you get the chance to go to Florida again and check out the Wizarding World for yourself.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Oh, how I look forward to our next trip to Universal Studios. The way you've described the adventure, it sounds great.

    • Mayabird218 profile image
      Author

      Mayabird218 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Thanks PegCole17. Our trip was definitely a fun adventure. We cannot wait to return!

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