I was a lucky duck last weekend and got a chance to go to Universal Islands of Adventure which just so happens to include The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Islands of adventure is made up of different “islands” which include: Marvel Super Hero Island, The Lost Continent, Jurassic Park, Seuss Landing, Toon Lagoon and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Since The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was the reason we decided to go to Islands of Adventure in the first place and since we spent most of our time there, that is my focus.
At the entrance of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is an archway that will lead you into the town of Hogsmeade. When you walk through the archway you can see all the facades complete with crooked chimneys and leftover snow on the rooftops.
We begin our journey through Hogsmead at Zonko’s joke shop which is off to the left. Zonko’s has little trinkets and novelty items for purchase. Attached to Zonko’s is Honeydukes which sells candy from the Harry Potter books and movies such as: Chocolate Covered Frogs, Fudge Flies and Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans.
Next up is the Three Broomsticks Tavern where you can get a bite to eat.
My friend and I dined on Shepherd’s pie and tried out the Butterbeer. The Butterbeer is sweet and refreshing and tastes similar to a cream soda. I’m sure it’s loaded with calories, but I had to try it! It’s served either cold or frozen with a nice, thick cream foam on top.
They also serve Pumpkin Juice, Pear Cider and Apple Cider. At the back of Three Broomsticks is Hog’s Head Pub where adults can try out the Hog’s Head Brew.
Continuing through Hogsmeade we come upon Hogwarts castle and Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey ride. I would recommend waiting awhile after you eat to do any of the rides, or do the rides first and then eat.
The Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey is a unique ride that uses robocoaster technology. The seats are attached to a robotic arm that moves you around while you are moving and looking at a big screen. The combination makes you feel like you are flying around on a broom with Harry and the gang. When the rides over you will exit through Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods.
Across from Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey is the Flight of the Hippogriff. It’s a fun little roller coaster but it’s a short ride and at the end when you slow down you will get some major whiplash!
A replica of Hagrid’s house can be seen while you wait in line for The Flight of the Hippogriff but it’s just for looks, as you can’t go inside.
At this point it’s the end of the street so we continue back down the way from which we came. Off to our left is the Dragon Challenge Rollercoaster. There are two sides to this rollercoaster, with each side offering it’s own unique experience. We only went on one side because they were having technical difficulties. It was definitely a thrill ride. I was a bit lightheaded after getting off and felt like I had just spun around in circles and was dizzy, but it wore off after a few minutes.
Walking back through Hogsmead we come upon Ollivanders Wand Shop. Here they have an interactive experience where they usher you into a room and choose someone from the audience to “fit” with a wand. After the wand has been chosen for that individual, you are filtered out through the wand shop where you can purchase a wand or other (albeit overpriced) gifts. Attached to Ollivanders is Dervish and Banges which has more goods to purchase. Once you step out of Ollivanders you will pass a few more storefronts that are just facades before coming to an engine replica of the Hogwarts Express.
And this my friends is the end of our journey through The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. (or the beginning – depending on how you look at it.)
I think Universal did a good job including some of the details from the Harry Potter movies and books. However, The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter is a lot smaller than I expected. You can easily walk from one end to the other in just a minute or two. I think The Wizarding World of Harry Potter could use it’s own separate full-blown theme park, but that’s just my opinon. I did see that they are planning on expanding so I will have to return in the future to check out the new attractions. All in all, I enjoyed my time at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and would recommend it.