Feel the excitement of the unique world of Harry potter and his magician friends with us at the Harry Potter theme park. The attractions of the park will transport you into a mesmerizing trip with depictions of the soiled lanes and by lanes of market place, the eerie narrow corridors of Hogwarts castle, Headmaster Albus Dumbledor’s office, Hogsmead, Ollivander’s wand store, and the Gryffindor common room. Everything else is very close to the description of J.K.Rowling’s book and the film.
Based on the concept of wizard kid Harry Potter and his magician friends who go to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, this theme park is inclusive of various rides, eateries, various places to hang out along with an exhaustive souvenir shop.The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Islands of Adventure is the ultimate realization of Rowling's dream. Upon entry, guests are instantly transported to Hogsmeade Village, complete with snow-covered rooftops and the ominous spires of Hogwarts castle in the distance. The atmosphere and sense of depth created by Universal's team of designers is nothing short of astounding, and fans of the Harry Potter universe will find a lot to love here.
Tour of Harry Potter Theme Park
From the front archway of Hogsmeade to the immensity of Hogwarts castle, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter features the locations listed below:
- At the entrance of Hogsmeade, billowing steam and an iconic whistle signal the arrival of the Hogwarts Express into Hogsmeade station.
- Across the way is Zonko's, a joke shop with a collection of tricks and jokes, including Extendable Ears, Boxing Telescopes and Sneakoscopes.
- Honeydukes is next door and full of treats like Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bott's Every-Flavour Beans.
- The Three Broomsticks and adjacent Hog's Head pub features traditional British fare and drinks including Butterbeer and pumpkin juice.
- Across from the Three Broomsticks is The Owlery, where owls roost and await their next delivery.
- The Owl Post sends letters with a certified Hogsmeade postmark and sells official stamps from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
- Ollivanders wand shop allows guests to experience "the wand choosing them" just like Harry's wand chose him in the film. Guests are immersed in the experience from the moment they step in the doors - the store is filled with wand boxes from floor to ceiling and decorated with colors and details from the books and films. A Wandkeeper asks them a series of questions which allows the guest to be chosen by a wand. If they pick up the wrong wand, a magical mishap will occur!
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Tips
- The first time you visit, enter from the Seuss Landing/Lost Continent side, which is the main entrance. That will mean turning right when you enter Islands of Adventure and going counterclockwise around the park. While you can also enter from Jurassic Park, you won't get the fantastic bit of stage work as you enter.
With the castle looming in front of you, the music swelling, the train belching steam and Hogsmeade all around, it's a stunning effect created by Oscar-winning production. The rooftops are even dusted with "snow," a lovely illusion in 90-degree heat.
- Arrive Early!
Optimal Times – The best time to visit Wizarding World of Harry Potter is as soon as the park opens or after 3:00 PM. On busy days, such as weekends and holidays, this area of Universal’s Islands of Adventures has a monitored gated entrance. Once the area becomes overcrowded, time tickets are handed out with specified return times near the Sinbad area. During high attendance periods, the entrances to the Wizarding World may actually be closed for some peak hours later in the day.
- A VIP tour is the only way to fast-track into Hogwarts Castle for the "Forbidden Journey" ride. Neither the Universal Express access for hotel guests nor the Universal Express PLUS Pass applies for "Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey". Guests with these passes have to join the regular line-up, and it's usually a long one.
- Check to see if there are two lineups, one for guests who need to store stuff in a locker before riding, and the other for those who can go directly to the ride. Reportedly the no-locker line-up moves much more quickly.
- Look for a single riders line-up: the single rider line wait is consistently about 1/3 of the regular line. However you may miss the tour of Hogwarts castle, by skipping straight to the end of the indoor rooms but
unlike the regular line the entire single rider line is completely air conditioned.
- Stay Late, Be There at Dusk. Being there at closing givesyou the chance to be in the Harry Potter theme park area at dusk. The crowds are normally gone, you may be able to ride the Dragon Challenge Coasters umpteen
times in a row, Honeydukes and the other shops look cozy, with lights on inside. And Hogwarts Castle, high on its perch and illuminated within, looks magical.
A great way to end the day.
- LOCKERS. Use the lockers as you enter Hogsmeade (by Hogwarts Express) to stow your bags first. At THE RIDE, those without bags go directly in line, while those with bags must stand in another LONG line for lockers.
WALLET. Don’t forget to keep your wallet out before stowing bags. The lockers require payment AFTER opening and many people were forced to call for help when they realized their money and bags were INSIDE the locker.
- Pick the Seat on the Left Side of the Forbidden Journey Ride
When you're staring at the 4 seats of the Forbidden Journey Ride, catch the seat on the far left. The seat on this side actually ends up being the front of the ride which means you're the first to encounter every part of the ride up close and live. The seats on the other side of the ride don't seem to face a lot of the ghouls and at times almost feel even slow. This might make that side of the ride a great choice for smaller children or those who aren't a fan of thrill rides.
- If you’re planning to ride the rides, try to come to the park without any bags or backpacks.
- Ollivanders Wand Shop - Many Harry Potter fans rush to Ollivanders to buy a wand, only to find a long line-up to enter the shop. But this famous shop is NOT where you buy a wand, in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The line-up for Ollivanders actually leads to a one-person live performance inside the shop; only a few dozen people at a time can fit in, hence the slow-moving queue.
Wands are sold in the Owl Post shop, adjacent to Ollivanders; you can enter the Owl Post through it's own exterior door or through the adjoining Dervish and Banges shop. Even more convenient, guests can buy a wand from a cart positioned at the side of Hogwarts.
- Shop Where It's Less Crowded - Guests at the Harry Potter theme park should definitely visit all the shops familiar from the books: Honeydukes, for candy; Zonko's joke shop; Owl Post, where wands are sold; and Dervish and Banges which is crammed with robes, Gryffindor scarves, Ravenclaw t-shirts and all manner of merchandise for sale, and also has delightful details such as a caged biting book. However, these shops are small (--on purpose; it's called ambiance--) and can get very crowded. For an alternative, try shopping at Filch's Emporium of Confiscated Goods, in the lower regions of Hogwarts Castle: a much bigger store, and with some different merchandise.
Some Harry Potter merchandise is also available at the large Port of Entry shop near the entrance/exit for Islands of Adventure; however, not all items can be bought there. Wands, for instance, are only available in the Harry Potter theme park itself.
- Good Eats - There is only one restaurant in the Wizarding World, The Three Broomsticks, so it's a good thing it's well done. The outdoor eating area behind the Three Broomsticks is a handy, quieter area to rest and sit a spell. If for example, some members of your party want to ride coasters, others can relax in this area which can be reached without walking through the restaurant.
- Butterbeer: Buy the Refillable Mug it makes a nice souvenir, and you'll pay just 85 cents to refill it with soda, and $3.25 for a refill with butterbeer. You can also fill your mug for free with water, where sodas are sold.
- Shortcut the Line at the Butter Beer Cart. Instead of waiting in the long line at the butter beer cart, slip into the Three Brooms Tavern which is right next to it. They'll ask how many people are in your party, then direct you to a cash register where you can order and pay. There's never a wait this time of day and you can just order butter beer and skip the food. This should take about 5 minutes as opposed to the 30 or more minutes you will wait in the butter beer cart line.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is not for toddlers. As we've already noted, it will be tough to move around anyway, and even harder with a stroller. If the kids are too young for the books or movies, they are too young for this.
Also, you have to be 48 inches tall to go on the signature ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, and there are some intense images and sounds even in the shops that would scare a 3-year-old.