Universal Orlando Wizarding World of Harry Potter

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Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter

In the past few years, Universal Orlando has become a place where you can easily spend several days enjoying shows, roller coasters and good food, not to mention the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (WWoHP) located inside of Universal’s Islands of Adventure.    Universal Orlando is a location for “thrills and adventure” and big roller coasters with height restrictions exist in this park, so prior to taking a smaller child you want to heed the height restrictions.  These restrictions are for guest safety, because some of these attractions are INTENSE!  As much as I love Universal, I am “one and done” for some of those coasters because they’re just too much for me.  But this doesn’t stop me from enjoying the park.  I really enjoy Universal even if I don’t ride everything

Lets take a quick photo trip through the Harry Potter area and I’ll share some of my favorite things about the place.

First the entrance… you really know you’ve arrived in another world. Just look at the details!  You’ll see things in here that come right out of the book and movies.

Signage above the archway as you enter Hogsmeade.

Signage above the archway as you enter Hogsmeade.

Train is currently a photo op; usually there is a Conductor who will pose with you for photos.

Train is currently a photo op; usually there is a Conductor who will pose with you for photos.

Front of Hogart's Express

Front of Hogart’s Express

Under the archway is the Hogwart’s Express, which is a photo op right now.  (Note:  Universal Orlando is undergoing an expansion where both theme parks will be tied together with the train.  It is opening in summer 2014.)  As you enter this area you are immediately immersed into the Harry Potter story itself with some great details.  There’s the Owlery, Three Broomsticks and several shops including Honeydukes and Zonko’s Joke Shop.And of course there’s that huge castle in the distance!

Exterior of Honeydukes

Exterior of Honeydukes

Yes you can buy Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans as well as Chocolate Frogs.

Yes, you can buy Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans as well as Chocolate Frogs.

Browsing the shelves at Zonko's should make you smile if you've read the books,  We own a Sneakoscope.

Browsing the shelves at Zonko’s should make you smile if you’ve read the books.  We own a Sneakoscope.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has several attractions with  Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey being the most popular.  It is located in the base of the castle.

Hogwart's Castle

There’s more than one castle in Orlando. This one is awesome too.

The Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has one of the best queue lines and does a great job of sticking to the stories.  You make your way through classrooms and corridors of Hogwarts, and then when you get on the ride itself you encounter magical creatures and even end up on the Quidditch pitch.  While HP is on my “one and done” list because of the motion, I never tire of the queue.  Ask to do the Castle Tour if you don’t want to ride, which is a way to experience the features of the line without actually riding.  The queue line is lengthy but you’re entertained along the way and its almost a shame to not have a wait in here.  From the Portrait Room (where the portraits actually talk), to the Defence Against The Dark Arts Classrom where Ron, Hermione and Harry give us instructions, to Dumbledore’s office, you’re probably going to be in awe of the theming, details and even the technology.

They talk!

They talk!

Ron, Harry and Hermione come out and discuss how you're going to sneak in to the Castle, and Hermione use of floo powder.

Ron, Harry and Hermione come out and discuss how you’re going to sneak in to the Castle, and Hermione use of floo powder.

Albus speaks from the balcony; you see his desk in this photo.

Albus speaks from the balcony; you see his desk in this photo.

Half of Dumbledore's office

Half of Dumbledore’s office

The details are amazing.  I never tire of standing here and just looking at what Universal was able to accomplish.

The details are amazing. I never tire of standing here and just looking at what Universal was able to accomplish.

After the ride you exit through Filch’s Emporium, which is the gift shop.  There are plenty of WWoHP souvenirs to purchase.  But don’t worry, if you forget something there are duplicates in the store in the front of the park and you don’t need to go schlepping back to the castle.

Buy your own Griffindor garb, or even a stuffed Hedwig (guilty as charged...)

Buy your own Griffindor garb, or even a plush Hedwig (guilty as charged…)

The entire WWoHP area is just filled with details, including the Weasley’s car located on the side of the line to the Dragon Challenge.  I do this line just to see the car.

Its in the trees, just like in the book.

Its in the trees, just like in the book.

The Dragon Challenge, formerly known as “Dueling Dragons” from the pre-Harry Potter years, features two ‘dragon’ coasters:  an aggressive Chinese Fireball and a ferocious Hungarian Horntail.  Each dragon’s 2-minute and 25-second flight includes several inversions, including a zero-g roll, a Cobra roll, two corkscrews, and two vertical loops.  Height restriction here is 54″ and no loose articles are permitted.  (No… I won’t ride it.  Too much for me to handle!)  These no longer ‘duel’ and don’t meet at the top.

There is also the Flight of the Hippogriff which is a family friendly coaster.  This takes you around a pumpkin patch and past Hagrid’s hut.

This area is also home to the Three Broomsticks and the Hogs Head Pub is in the rear.  In this restaurant you can choose from such entrees as the “Great Feast Platter,” fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, Cornish pasty, turkey legs and fresh vegetables. Children’s menu items include chicken, macaroni cheese, fish and chips, and chicken fingers, each served with grapes and applesauce. Dessert choices include apple pie, strawberry and peanut-butter ice-cream, and chocolate trifle. The Hog’s Head serves up regular and frozen Butterbeer as well as other adult beverages.

Here’s some of the Three Broomsticks:

Yes, there are three broomsticks here.

Yes, there are three broomsticks here.

This is the main entrance to Three Broomsticks.  This is Quick Service dining.

This is the main entrance to Three Broomsticks. This is Quick Service dining.

This is a great place to sit in the afternoon and enjoy a Butterbeer.  Look up to enjoy all of the details.

This is a great place to sit in the afternoon and enjoy a Butterbeer. Look up to enjoy all of the details.

Popular snacks are Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice; neither have alcohol but plenty of sugar.  Butterbeer comes in two varieties:  frozen and regular.  Both are topped with a creme foam.  I prefer the frozen, as does my friend here:

Huge Disney Fan dragged unwilling to Universal finds herself having FUN and ENJOYING Butterbeer!

Huge Disney Fan dragged unwilling to Universal finds herself having FUN and ENJOYING Butterbeer!

Pumpkin Juice is absolutely delicious and it comes in fun bottle too.  I brought this home with me and it sits on my desk with my Hedwig and a Sneakoscope…

This is really delicious.  I think it would taste great warm and in a mug.  Reminds me of spiced cider.

This is really delicious. I think it would taste great warm and in a mug. Reminds me of spiced cider.

Read more about Universal Orlando here:  www.themagicforless.com/universal-orlando-resort/

Want to see this yourself?  I’d be happy to help you get there !  https://www.themagicforless.com/about-us/meet-our-agents/linda-norton/

Hogwarts Castle Pin

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Linda Norton

About Linda Norton

Since 2005 I've been helping my clients plan their theme park and cruise vacations through The Magic For Less Travel, LLC. I am a Master Cruise Counselor with CLIA, IATA accredited and a Certified Travel Associate (CTA). I've sailed virtually all mass market cruise lines including experience on all four Disney ships, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland America and NCL. Disney annual passholder since 2002

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