On February 18th, 2011, I took a trip down to Orlando to visit what seems to be the most talked about theme park-subject, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
There are 3 attractions at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. One is Flight of the Hippogriff, a mini roller coaster that is themed around one of Hagrid’s magical creatures from Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s not large, so roller coaster haters (like me) don’t have to worry.
The second is Dragon Challenge. Based on the first task from Goblet of Fire, this is the same dueling coasters with a new theme and name. It’s a big, fast, terrifying roller coaster, designed for adrenaline junkies.
The final attraction is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, located inside Hogwarts. This is the ride that everyone is talking about. the ride mixes live sets, Animatronics, and video screens, all while using Kuka Arm technology. I experienced it first hand, and when I say it’s the best theme park ride ever, I’m not exaggerating AT ALL! It’s very smooth (only one part has you on your back, and it’s not even that bad), so roller coaster haters won’t find it making them queasy.
Overall, the attractions at WWoHP are very good, HPFJ adds extra appeal to Islands of Adventure.
What WWoHP doesn’t have in attractions, it has in shops. Hogsmeade, the small village from the books, is replicated in WWoHP, and has plenty of shops for Harry Potter fanatics like me.
First off, you have Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods. Located at the exit of HPFJ, the shop has plenty of HP merchandise. T-shirts, trading pins, mugs, stuffed animals, and more memorabilia can be bought here. I bought a Hogwarts T-shirt and Hogwarts crest pin while I was there.
Next up is Dervish and Banges. All your favorite Harry Potter merchandise can be bought here, including Sneakoscopes, Golden Snitches, Hogwarts House journals, and even deluxe brooms.
Honeydukes features all the wacky and wild candy from Harry Potter. Here, you can buy Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, Fudge Flies, and Chocolate Cauldrons.
At the Owl Post, you can buy your wands, after Ollivanders if you go to that show. You can also send out postcards to your jealous friends, with a Hogwarts stamp. You can also get mugs and stuffed animal owls.
Lastly is Zonko’s Joke Shop. At Zonko’s, you can get all sorts of gags and pranks. Some of these include Screaming Yo-Yos, Fanged Flyers, Chattering Teeth, Extendable Ears (from Order of the Phoenix) and Pygmy Puffs.
There are two dining facilities in WWoHP.
The first is The Hog’s Head Pub. At the Hog’s Head, you can buy all sorts of alcoholic drinks. Of course, most HP fans come for something else- Butterbeer! You can buy regular or frozen Butterbeer, in a cup or collectible mug.
The other is The Three Broomsticks. Here, you can find traditional English meals served, like Fish and Chips, Cornish Pastries, and Shepherd’s Pie. You can also get your Butterbeer here.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is just plain magical (pun intended). It makes a great park like Islands of Adventure even more freakin awesome than it was without it. A must-do for HP, theme park, or HP theme park fans!