So what are the chances that the one day I’m going to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I wake up at 4am with excitement, fall back to sleep at 6:30am, only to have my alarm not go off, and I sleep in till 15 minutes before the park opens? (I beat my ‘getting ready’ record).
And what are the chances my camera refused to recharge overnight (iPhone you are my hero), but the iPhone battery died just as I went to walk into Honeydukes (iPhone battery, we need to talk…).
Fortunately it did mean I had to just stop and absorb the design and atmosphere.
Staying at a Universal Studios affiliate hotel is your best bet, since it means you can get in that one hour earlier and walk straight onto Harry Potter rides. I smashed through all three in the first hour, and went to walk the rest of the park as a huge trampling stampede of teenage girls came barreling through. *whew* Good timing.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter rides
The best section out of the rides has got to be walking though Hogwarts castle on your way to the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride (the ride is something else).
You start by walking through the entrance of Hogwarts,
make your way through Herbology,
before you enter the actual castle and make your way through the dark stoned corridors, stopping by to see Dumbledore’s office along the way as an example (and many other things),
hear the talking paintings chattering away,
before finishing off with The Forbidden Journey ride. Seeing The Making of Harry Potter in London was one thing, but this actually puts you into the scene and makes you feel like you’re really there. No better feeling.
As for the actual ride, everyone raves about it, but I couldn’t get off it fast enough. I love roller coasters and such, but the swinging around mixed with the very realistic digital screens that swoop you through the castle made me so nauseous, I spent most of the time willing it to end. My face (far left), says it all… Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey flies you through Hogwarts grounds, before you face spiders and dementors. All I can say is I would be terrible at flying a broomstick, and passed on going again.
Before this, we tackled Dragon Challenge. You choose between two roller coasters, the Chinese Fireball or the Hungarian Horntail, that twist you through the air. You know the scene in the Triwizard Tournament where they need to get the golden dragon egg from the dragon? That’s what this ride is inspired by.
Maybe it was all the rides I’ve done over the past few days, but I got off that ride not walking straight either. Personally I preferred this one over the Forbidden Journey ride.
I’ll be honest, after being flung around twice in a row and ready to hurl, the tameness of Flight of The Hippogriff was a relief, where you dive and swoop past Hagrid’s hut and pumpkin patch.
Now, important stuff. Let’s talk food.
Eating in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
It’s suggested you make a reservation for The Three Broomsticks, but if you go for a breakfast first thing in the morning when crowds are manageable, you should be able to find an empty table. Good luck after the first hour or so.
There’s the Butterbeer you can buy from the beverage ‘cart’.
And there’s Hog’s Head Pub where you can try Hog’s Head Brew. Jamie and I both ordered a glass, however I got through only half of mine as I found it too bitter for my liking (Jamie happily drank both of ours though).
Want to window shop in Hogsmeade within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter? I’m making this its own post!