The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Muggles get a glimpse into the magical world of Hogwarts at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Theme Park at Universal Orlando.

By: Jennifer Plum Auvil

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Photo by: Universal Orlando Resorts

Universal Orlando Resorts

Muggles get a glimpse into the magical world of Hogwarts at the Harry Potter Theme Park at Universal Orlando. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is part of Universal’s Islands of Adventure and admission is included in the general park ticket price.  Follow the path of Harry, Hermoine, Ron and the rest of the crew through the gates at Hogwarts and enjoy the spot-on atmosphere that brings the beloved story to life with rides, shops and restaurants.

Harry’s Wild Rides
There are 3 rides that make up the wizardry madness with plenty of thrills as Universal re-creates J.K. Rowling’s unique universe.

On Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, riders are lead through the twists and turns of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with stops at Dumbledore’s office and favorite hangouts for Harry and his classmates, including the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom and Gryffindor common room. From there, visitors meet some of Hogwarts’ magical creatures with a little help from technology and loads of imagination.

The Dragon Challenge is a thrilling dueling roller coaster with 2 competitive dragons looping through twists and turns on a hair-raising race. Be sure to take a spin on both the Chinese Fireball and Hungarian Horntail dragons as each provides a unique riding experience.

Harry Potter fanatics need no explanation when it comes to the many magical creatures, but for those unfamiliar with the Hippogriff, it’s a mythical creation with an eagle’s head and horse’s body. Hogwarts caretaker Hagrid keeps hippogriffs as pets, so it’s only appropriate that the Flight of the Hippogriff ride starts off with some advice from the gentle giant Hagrid on how to best approach this beautiful beast. This family-friendly roller coaster twists and spins through a pumpkin patch and past Hagrid’s Hut on the way to the hippogriff encounter.

Hogsmeade Shopping Adventure
A visit to Hogsmeade is a treat for Harry and his crew, and the Harry Potter theme park brings this shopping emporium from fiction to reality. Try out the wands at Ollivanders and send off a postcard from the Owl Post where 2 dozen owls rest and roost and a howler screams in the window. Dervish and Banges is the spot to stock up on the practical goods associated with a daily wizard’s life, including Hogwarts school uniforms, Quidditch essentials like the best brooms and Golden Snitches, books on the magical arts and gadgets including Sneakoscopes and Omnioculars. Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods features a collection of confiscated Hogwarts contraband and sells more Harry-themed souvenirs, including movie prop replicas like chess sets and creepy Death Eater masks. Finally, merry jokesters can stock up on gag gifts and toys including Extendable Ears and Shrunken Heads at Zonko’s Joke Shop.

For a sweet or surprising treat, head to Honeydukes for the creative confections with a twist made famous by the Harry Potter books and movies. Kids will be delighted with the selection of Fizzing Whizzbees, exploding bonbons, Chocolate Frogs (with the signature wizard trading cards, of course) and the slightly scary Bertie Botts jelly beans with flavors bordering on the disgusting including rotten eggs, liver and toe nails. Bon appétit!

A Meal Fit for a Wizard
Don’t fill up on too many Bertie Botts because no trip to Hogsmeade is complete without a cozy meal at the Three Broomsticks. Universal has re-created this cozy tavern where Harry, Hermione and Ron plot many of their adventures. Sip a pint of Butterbeer, a cold, frothy concoction with a hint of butterscotch, and feast on turkey legs or shepherd’s pie.

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