After making its largest investment since opening Universal’s Islands of Adventure this great theme park has completed its newest and most amazing addition. The parks sixth island, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, opened on June 18th, 2010 and features a variety of great rides and entertainment that revolves around the magical Harry Potter universe. The islands attractions are built around an amazing recreation of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as well as the nearby village of Hogsmeade. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is loaded with rides, new dining options as well as shops and other attractions to experience.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter offers guests 3 exciting rides for muggles to enjoy. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is the islands signature attraction and takes guests through scenes and environments in and around Hogwarts Castle utilizing new technology to “transform the theme park experience as you know it”. This wonderful dark ride takes you through a variety of experiences including flying around Hogwarts, encountering the Whomping Willow and a horde of Dementors and putting you in the middle of a Quidditch match. Walk through the gates of Hogwarts to begin your journey in the dungeons where you will encounter many familiar items from the books and movies including the Mirror of Erised, the Hogwarts House Jewels and talking portraits. As you proceed throughout the hallways, be prepared to come across various recreations of the rooms of Hogwarts castle. Once you get aboard the “magical bench” be prepared for your adventure to truly start. The Dragon Challenge, originally the Dueling Dragons roller coaster, has been re-themed and let’s guests climb aboard and hold on tight as the two dragon coasters twist, loop and nearly collide with each other in an intertwining roller coaster chase across the sky. Choose which dragon you wish to ride, the Chinese Fireball or the Hungarian Horntail, both with their own completely unique course. The Flight of the Hippogriff is a mild alternative to the land’s more extreme rides. With Hagrid teaching young wizards how to fly a Hippogriff you have the wonderful opportunity of taking a “training flight” on the Hippogriff over the Forbidden Forest and Hagrid’s Hut. Don’t forget to pay attention to Hagrid’s instructions on the proper way to approach the Hippogriff before it takes you on a wonderful trip with an amazing arial view of The Wizarding World.
For those guests who work up an appetite while visiting there is plenty of great eats available. At The Three Broomsticks restaurant, based on The Three Broomsticks inn and pub in the Potter series, you will be able to enjoy many food selections including chicken, ribs, shepherd’s pie, fish and chips and much more. You can als quench your thirst with a butterbeer or some pumpkin juice, for those with a sweet tooth there is also strawberry peanut butter ice cream, as seen in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as well as delicious chocolate cauldron cakes. Adults will enjoy The Hog’s Head pub adjacent to The Three Broomsticks where alcoholic beverages are served, including a custom ale made exclusively for the pub.
With six new shopping venues there is plenty to choose from when selecting a souvenir to remind you of your visit to this enchanting world. Dervish and Banges offers magical items like Sneakoscopes, Spectrespecs and The Monster Book of Monsters. They also carry all your Quidditch needs from shirts, to brooms. You will even find Hogwarts school uniforms and clothing available. A visit to Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods offers a variety of Hogwarts souvenirs, replicas of props from the films as well as other toys, the shop is also the finishing point of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and is where you can purchase photos of your ride experience. Honeydukes, based on the Honeydukes Sweetshop, offers guests a variety of colorful sweets including Acid Pops, exploding bonbons and Chocolate Frogs. At the Ollivander’s wand shop you are given a unique interactive experience in which a Wandkeeper helps the proper wand choose you. You can also send a postcard of letters from the Owl Post, a working postoffice which will deliver all the mail with an authentic Hogsmeade postmark. Don’t forget to check out Zonko’s Joke Shop which offers novelty items, jokes and toys as well as t-shirts, mugs and other assorted souvenirs. With all these great new places to explore and experience, a trip to Universal’s Islands of Adventure is sure to be win for those who’ve never been as well as those who’ve visited before.