Tonight we got a sneak peek at the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando. We were SO SO SO excited to see this park and were not disappointed. No photo/video was allowed so we tried to sum up some of our experience.
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Here’s some more detailed information about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter from a theme park junkie’s point of view:
There are many shops that you can’t walk in that are still interactive as you walk by. Spintwitches was probably my favorite. It has a Quidditch set with a Quaffle, two Bludgers bouncing up and down trying to get free and a Snitch that’s seen flying about the shop inside (via hologram). The level of detail here is top notch. Dogweed and Deathcap has exotic plants in the windows that move while Tomes and Scrolls has an enchanted quill that magically writes names in a book of future Hogwarts students. Other shops include Wiseacres Wizarding Equipment and Outages Cauldrons. We were told that many of the props in the window are actually from the Harry Potter movies.
Dragon’s Challenge looks great. Before you walk into the castle you walk through a forest with banners advertising the challenge and see the Weasley’s crashed car. Once you enter the que you walk into the Champion’s Tent with the Goblet of Fire in the center. The goblet has smoke/mist shooting up out of it lit by blue LEDs from inside. You then see the Triwizard’s cup, along with the 3 golden eggs. You then enter a hallway filled with floating candles above you. This was probably my favorite room of this ride. The rest of the line is very similar to the Dueling Dragon’s line, except at the end you choose to battle between the Chinese Fireball or the Hungarian Horntail. Once in the station there are shadows of dragons flying projected onto the tent above you.
The que for Flight of the Hippogriff takes you past the pumpkin patch where you hear Hagrid warning students to stay out of the forest. You then pass Hagrid’s hut which looks almost lifesize. The station is filled with ropes/tools etc. As you leave the station there is a HUGE animatronic of a Hippogriff on his nest. He bows at the train as you pass by (we of course bowed back). Let me tell you, this thing looks amazing. The feathers look real and I’m pretty sure it blinked.
Overall I was very very much impressed. This is obviously the first night so I’m sure there are bound to be things added (hopefully it snows outside). The costumes for the employees all look great. I think my favorite are the Forbidden Journey costumes. They are full black robes just like in the movies. It’s just an entire experience that anyone who knows anything about Harry Potter will fall in love with.
A Harry Potter fan perspective of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter:
As I read through the seven Harry Potter books I always longed to be able to take track 9 and 3/4′s to Hogwarts. I wanted to own a wand, drink butterbeer at Hogsmeade, and eat chocolate frogs. Today Universal Orlando finally gave me the chance to experience Hogwarts with the soft opening of The Wisarding World of Harry Potter.
My first stop (as every first year Hogwarts student knows) was Ollivander’s Wand Shop. The man working behind the counter took his time asking questions about me and trying to find the right wand for my needs. I tried spells with a few wands one of which was to make flowers levitate, but instead they wilted. The man working fixed all my wrongs with his wand. On my third wand I did a spell that made wind blow, music play, and a light glow on me…my wand had chosen me. And for a small price (just below 30 dollars) I choose it.
Also in Hogsmead is Honeydukes which sold all flavor candy beans, chocolate wands, and soon chocolate frogs that will come with cards bearing famous witches and wizards pictures; Ron’s twin brothers toy shop which was a little disappointing; and Three Broomsticks that sells butterbeer and pumpkin juice.
The area that looked the most like what I pictured when I read the book was Dumbeldore’s office. The office is in the line for Forbidden Journey, which is the new ride that has not opened yet, but we were able to walk through the line. His office had amazing detail: tall wooden ceilings, his desk, and Dumbeldore himself (as a really believable hologram) talking to people in line. He warned us that there will come a time when we will have to choose between what is easy and what is right. At that moment staring at that Hologram standing in the Hogwart’s castle I felt so much like Harry Potter…like it was my purpose to save the wizarding world. Don’t judge me but I almost cried a tear.
In the end I don’t want to ruin all the details of this spectacular addition to Universal Orlando. No one wants me to be a young Ron blabbing about how amazing Hogwarts is to Ginny who wasn’t old enough to take the train on track 9 and 3/4′s yet. The great thing is you don’t have to wait years….just days to have your own magical experience. Enjoy the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!