Hogwarts, chocolate frogs, platform 9 and 3/4, Olivander’s wands, Firebolt, butterbeer, magic. During my Spring break, I got a chance to fly to sunny state Florida and have a hysterically fun week skipping along from theme parks to theme parks.
One of the highlights was entering the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is a part of the Islands of Adventure at the Universal Studios Resort Orlando.
I do not know if it was because of Spring break, or is it really the magic of everyone’s most beloved wizard created by J.K. Rowling – the park was extremely packed with excited muggles wishing to enter Hogwarts and Hogsmeade.
There was a 2-hour standby line even for entering The Wizarding World of Harry Potter itself, and additional waiting times ranging from 30 minutes to 150 minutes for the rides and attractions. Nonetheless, the long wait was all worth it and I couldn’t think of anything but the words magical and extraordinary to describe my day.
There are three main rides at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey being the star attraction, Dragon Challenge and The Flight of the Hippogriff. The first ride is simply out of this world. It takes you into the Forbidden Forest, soaring high above Hogwarts castle, chasing for the golden Snitch in Quidditch match, and even lets you encounter with the creepy Dementors. I literally felt that I was flying at some points of the ride too. Spectacular and really amazing. The 150 minutes line for this ride was made bearable by the exhibitions inside the Hogwarts castle. One will get to walk into the hallway that was filled with portraits that can move and talk, tour Dumbledore’s office, meet with Harry, Ron and Hermione in the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, and (I wish that we can) get sorted into the different houses by the Sorting Hat.
The Dragon Challenge is a thrilling roller coaster ride that is similar to the Battlestar Galactica at Universal Studios Singapore where there are two lines that will meet together at a point. The Flight of the Hippogriff is a less intense ride that will be suitable for every one of all ages.
But what really make this world real and magical are the shops, food and very detailed decorations of Hogwarts and Hogsmeade. You can get good ol’ classic Butterbeer and dip your lips in the thick froth like how Harry did it. If you are curious what Butterbeer tastes like, it is carbonated and has a caramelized taste – bliss.
One of my favorite shops at Harry Potter Theme Park has got to be Honeydukes. This wizard version of candy empire is simply pretty, sweet and colorful. Everyone can feel that childlike excitement the moment they step into the store and you will feel like you want to get everything, from chocolate frogs to Bertie Bott’s every flavor beans.
As for souvenirs, you can get different kinds of wands from Olivander’s, Gryffindor scarf and robe, the snowy owl Hedwig, and even Firebolt. Now if we can just dress ourselves as one of Hogwarts students and not return to the muggle world…
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
6000 Universal Blvd Orlando
Florida 32819, United States
Tel: +1 954 558 1784
About the writer
Anlin Melina is a Business Administration and Economics student at the University of California, Berkeley, who likes travelling and writing during her free time. You can buy her new book “Once Upon A Blue Sky” – a travel guide book on cities in the United States – from Amazon.