Yesterday I went to Universal and checked out the new Harry Potter area at Universal Studios, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It originally opened about 2 months ago and although people warned me the lines might still be too horrible to contemplate, I braved the fort and had a pretty good time. This blog is written as a guide for those going out there. While I won’t add spoilers for most of this blog (despite the fact that most people are probably already spoiled), I do have some warnings.
First off, I got to the park around 8:30am. I didn’t want to head to Harry Potter straight off because I wanted to wait until my best friend got there with his family so we could experience it together. So instead of going right at the entrance I took a left and started off with Marvel Adventures Land (probably not the official name).
Now at this hour the rides are almost empty and a place that has a normal wait time of about 30 minutes is down to 5. I ripped right through every ride my 7 yr old was tall enough for. Before I knew it I had gone all the way around to Harry Potter Land and my best friend was still looking for parking. The line to get into the Hogwarts ride was longer than all hell. It was so long that it went out the gate of Harry Potter land and bled into Jurassic Park. This was a bit disheartening.
My best friend gets there and we go to Dr. Seuss Land because his daughter is 2yrs old and small. Eventually we decided we’d go brave Harry Potter land. It was now 11am.
So here’s the hint. By this time the lines were comparatively non-existent. The Hogwarts ride line didn’t even make it out to the main entrance of the ride. My best friend’s wife hypothesized that everyone got there early thinking it was going to be packed and effectively screwed themselves.
We decided to start by having lunch at the Three Broomsticks around 11:30am w/a 30 minute wait. Butterbeer tastes like cream soda/root beer, stuff I don’t like, so I gave mine to my friends. The Hog’s Head was kind of small.
In order to handle the kids and go on the Hogwarts ride we took turns. They watched the kid while I went on it, and then I watched their kid while they went on it. At about 1pm, 1 ride on Hogwarts (The Forbidden Journey) is equal to two rides on Flight of the Hippogriff, which is where my friends kid ended up riding 4x (and kept saying “again!”). When I left the wait time on Hippogriff was 10min and Forbidden Journey was 45 min. The hippogriff ride is really short.
There’s plenty of entertainment in Hogwarts before you get to the actual ride part so the 45 minutes goes by without much notice. If you can, I recommend not going by the fast pass way with this one the first time because you miss a lot.
Not so much with the line outside of Ollivander’s. 45 minutes of waiting in the sun with no one but the relatives you are getting sick of for company before you’re shoved into a tiny room. It’s not worth it. In the future when the wait time is 10-15 minutes or they have show times, okay, fine.
I don’t really have anything to say about Dervish and Banges, Zonko’s and Honeydukes and the other places I forgot to mention. They’re all fine. I would like to say something though about the gift stores. I expected the stores to have a plethora of merchandise, but I was disappointed. You see, I’m a Slytherin and there really wasn’t much for us. I suppose I shouldn’t complain, the Ravenclaw’s and Hufflepuff’s have it even worse. I would have bought the Durmstrang long sleeve if they’d had it in my size.
I complained to a friend out loud when she pointed out this real nice Gryffindor bag. I said “But I’m a Slytherin!” and I was joined by two Slytherin girls next to me complaining to the store clerk passing by.
On a good point though it was nice to see chocolate frogs in the containers from the movies.
Conclusion… if you’re a Harry Potter fan, as in, If you have a house affiliation, can name the other schools in the TriWizard Tournament and know the rules to Quiddich, then The Wizarding World of Harry Potter a must, but don’t worry about getting there too early.