Harry Potter World, Orlando: A Must See
By Fiona Hill
Who isn’t a fan of Harry Potter? Most families have a long-standing love for the character that graced our books and screens.
In 2010 Universal Studios in Florida openned The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a theme park dedicated to all things “Potter’, much to the delight of fans worldwide. Promising, and delivering, access to all of the familiar landmarks from the Harry Potter books and films, the park features a Hogwarts Castle, the Village of Hogsmead, the Enchanted Forest and so much more! This spectacular park has even been completely approved, right down to the very last details, by J.K. Rowling herself!
The park’s main attraction is “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey’, a ride that allows us mere “Muggles’ to gain entry into Hogwarts for the very first time. The ride is inside the Hogwarts Castle and begins with a walk through the building, punctuated by interaction with paintings and chats with Dumbledore, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, and the famous Harry Potter.
The Flight of the Hippogriff ride was created specifically for families, and is suitable for all children. The ride mimics a lesson on how to ride a Hippogriff, taught by Hagrid, but for the thrill seekers amongst the family the Dragon Challenge rollercoaster is a must-try! The coaster is the only one of its kind in the world, with a chasing, inverted track, based on the first task of the Triwizard Tournament from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The attraction is popular, so you may have to queue, but the line is so littered with Harry Potter memorabilia and relics, it’s worth the wait!
Whilst visiting the Village of Hogsmead, families can stop off at the surprisingly well-priced Three Broomsticks Restaurant for a bite to eat, pumpkin pastries or Mad Eye Meatload, anyone? As well as this authentic restaurant, visitors can grab a Butter Beer at the familiar Hog’s Head Pub or gorge on sweets at Honeydukes, just like Potter himself!
For those who can afford a little extra expense, the V.I.P tour will make your trip even more magical! As well as queue jumping, the kids can take part in their own private wand ceremony at Ollivanders, in which a wand will “pick’ the child. Many parents have described this experience as so realistic that it brought tears to their eyes (and that was before they paid $30 per wand.) This particular “branch’ of Ollivanders is located in Hogsmead however, as the park, somewhat disappointingly, doesn’t include a depiction of Diagon Alley.
If that isn’t enough, there is plenty of merchandise on offer and everyone in the family will surely leave clutching bags overflowing with chocolate frogs, sneakscopes, remembralls, wands, and so much more!
This theme park is a delight for all types of families, with rides that are also suitable for even smaller children. Part of Universal’s Islands of Adventure, which features even more fantastic worlds, including Jurassic Park and Seuss Landing, this is a place that you and your family will adore!
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is open all-year-round and is a must-see if you are visiting Orlando Florida. ( click link to save on your trip)
Ms. Jensen is a leading advocate for families and children and was the founder and president of ACES, The Association for Children for Enforcement of Support.
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