Harry Potter Experience in the Isle of Misadventures – Part II
harry potter vacation
Chamber of Paintings
Continuation of Harry Potter Experience in the Isle of Misadventures
We had a difficult time looking for the entrance of the Hogwarts castle so we asked an employee and he said it was left of the line. The line didn't really look like a line and it was more like a mob. If there were people going to the tour we did not see them. So we made our way through the mob to get left of the crowd and there were people that were telling us to go to the back of the line. At first it felt wrong as it looked like we were cutting in front of them and the mob complained to an employee. But the employee told the crowd that if you want to take the tour inside go left of the line. That calmed the crowd down and we proceeded inside the castle.
The castle is very dark and my kids felt a little frightened. Only a few people were doing the tour. When we got deeper inside the castle it was clear where the two-hour wait exists. The line to the Harry Potter ride continues inside the castle. People can also tour the castle as they wait in line to make their way to the ride. However the ride was still broken at the time and nobody was moving except us. There were only three things that stood out to me. The big room with the moving paintings was cool. It was just like the movie. The paintings did not look like video screens. They really look like real art that was animated and talking to you and to one another. There was Dumbledore’s office with a 3D looking video of the headmaster wizard himself as if he was really there. Lastly, there was the great hall of Hogwarts which was really dim. Instead of great long tables for the students, lines of people waiting for a ride zigged and zagged about the area. At the far end, a 3d video of the big three, Harry, Ron, and Hermione talks to the thrillseekers.
At the end of the brief tour we decided on our next move. I went to look for a wand shop but not far outside the exit, a stand with employees dressed as wizard students were selling them. The wands were replicas of the characters’ wand. They looked like nice works of art and all were priced at $31. My daughter picked Hermione’s and that was the only souvenir that we purchased out of the entire park.
There is another place where you can buy one and be entertained at the same time. The place is called Ollivanders wand shop. You essentially wait for a very long time to get into this shop where an entertainer selects a wand for you. An employee reminds people that entering the back of the line that the shop is only a demonstration. Only a dozen or so tourists are allowed at one time. Of the group only one person is selected to be part of the show. The wand can cost from $30 to $120. You're not obliged to buy the wand. We skipped this and the rest of Hogsmeade to hook up with my sister again. The place was just mobbed with hoards of people but at least we got good pictures and experienced some interesting scenery.
As we made our way to Seuss Landing we noticed that the area was starting to get busier but still nowhere near crazy back in Hogsmeade. Later on during the day we made our way to the left side of the park because there are still lots of places to explore that are appropriate for my kids. In paths that are narrow, it became dangerous because stampedes of adults are just heading towards the Hogsmeades place. We had to make our way to either side of the herd to wait for the rush to settle down. It was good that my sister had a very big stroller, which acted like a buffer from the crowds. If not for that there was a potential for my family to be trampled. I did not see any employees in sight to direct foot traffic.
There was one water ride that we wanted to do. It is called Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges and after half an hour in line we were told that the ride was broken and there was no time limit on when it would be fixed. Again, hardly anybody left the line.
We explored the rest of the park and made our way back to the park exit at the end of the afternoon. A steady flight of people continued to make their way to the Harry Potter area while we avoid the rat race.
One thing is for sure. Disney World does run a better park operation. At least things work and when a ride is broken, they just close the attraction and put a sign when it will reopen. Universal City Studio just let people wait and hope that the ride is going to be fixed someday. My guess is that these people are thinking about how they are going to complain to Universal City Studio to claim a refund. For the even longer waiting at Hogsmeade, maybe the people are hardcore Harry Potter fans and don’t care about the wait.