Wizarding World of Harry Potter Take Two

Before the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Hollywood officially opened, I took Squirt over to Universal Studios during the week to check it out while they were having their soft openings. And as a huge Harry Potter nerd, I fell in love with Hogsmeade and Hogwarts, much like I expected I would. However, the one bummer was discovering how un-toddler friendly WWHP (and Universal in general) was. So for my second trip, I grabbed an adult friend (that sounds super creepy, but it’s not, we’re just friends who happen to be adults who happen to love Harry Potter) and we headed back to Universal. My main goal for this trip was to ride the rides, since neither one in WWHP is toddler friendly. Plus, it was my friend Kristen’s first time at WWHP, so she wanted to do everything.




After waiting in line for 30 minutes for butterbeer, our first stop was Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which is the main ride at WWHP. It’s the one that lines up inside Hogwarts Castle, you can’t miss it. The queue is actually one of the coolest things about the ride, I kinda wish I could just wait in the line a bunch of times. The outside part isn’t super exciting, but you do get to see the crashed Ford Anglia…

wizarding world of harry potter

Once you get inside, things get a little more interesting. First, you are not allowed to bring any bags onto the ride, so you must put all your purses and backpacks into a locker (they’re free for three hours) that is right inside the castle. Then you travel into one of the Hogwarts greenhouses…

wizarding world of harry potter

Once you pass through the greenhouse, you enter the castle. I could have spent hours in the castle alone, and honestly I kind of wish you had the opportunity to spend more time in there if you wanted to. Most of your time waiting in line is spent outside (in a line with no shade or coverage, btdubs) and then it feels pretty rushed when you are walking through the inside part. Plus, I feel like if you are going to put that much detail into a queue, there should be a way to walk through it without riding the ride. But that’s just my two cents. ¬†Anyway, here are some of the awesome details you can see while you walk through Hogwarts…

The containers holding the stones that mark the House Championship point totals…

wizarding world of harry potter

In this room the Hogwarts founders’ portraits are all having a discussion amongst themselves. The majority of the paintings move so there is tons to look at in this room.

wizarding world of harry potter

Then Harry, Ron and Hermione go through a little set up that ties into the plot of the ride…

wizarding world of harry potter

Two of the last things you see are the portrait of the Fat Lady (who guards the Gryffindors’ chambers) and the Sorting Hat.

wizarding world of harry potter

wizarding world of harry potter

Then you are loaded onto the ride. There were a couple of things about the ride itself that I really liked, and some that were kind of eh. In general, this roller coaster/projection simulated experience is like nothing I have ever experienced before. It’s like taking Space Mountain and Soarin’ and mashing them together. You travel in roller coaster type cars and are flipped and spun and fly, but the whole time you are watching images on a screen. It’s badass. There are a lot of awesome moments during the ride, but my favorite were the Quidditch scenes. If you’ve ever wondered what it would feel like to fly on a broomstick, this ride will give you that experience. The main downside of the ride for me was the fact that I suffer from mild motion sickness and I was definitely feeling not so great after. I mean, I didn’t puke or anything, but it left me nauseated at the end. I can ride all of the rides at Disney (except for the teacups) and feel fine, so this one was obviously more intense than any of the coasters I am used to. Adding to the motion sickness is the fact that the simulations are in 3D. To me, the 3D didn’t enhance the ride enough to justify adding it in (there’s no 3D in the Orlando version). I’m glad I rode it once because it is amazing, but I don’t know if I will be riding Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey much in the future.

After the coaster, we grabbed a quick bite at the Three Broomsticks. I had the fish and chips again and it was still yummy. Then we went in Ollivander’s for the wand presentation. Even though this is not technically a ride, I didn’t do it with Squirt because it is such small quarters, which means no bueno with a stroller. Kristen was chosen as the wand shopper, which is ironic because she has never read the books, but it was cool to see the little show. They did try to sell her the wand that “picked” her at the end (duh).

wizarding world of harry potter

After Ollivander’s, we went on Flight of the Hippogriff, which is the only other ride at WWHP. While the ride was fun, it was super short and I’m not sure it was worth the wait in another line that was totally outside with no shade or coverage.

wizarding world of harry potter

It was fun, but not something I would necessarily wait for again. I now feel like I have experienced pretty much all that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has to offer. I caught short parts of the two shows, the Frog Choir and the Triwizard Spirit Rally, though I would like to see them in their entirety. To be completely honest, even though I bought a season pass (it was more cost effective for me as a So Cal resident), I don’t know how many more times I will go back to WWHP. I love Harry Potter and I love feeling like a part of his world, but it is lacking that special sort of magic (heehee) that keeps me going back to Disneyland again and again. I’m not sure exactly what it is, but something is missing for me. I might change my mind when Squirt is old enough to enjoy it, or if/when they expand WWHP to include Diagon Alley (which I’m assuming will happen at some point), but for now, I think I have had my fill of WWHP, which kind of makes me sad.

Have you had a chance to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter yet? What did you think?

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