Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Harry Potter Theme Park - Islands of Adventure at the Universal Orlando Resort
Everybody in Orlando is wild about Harry, as in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studio Orlando's Islands of Adventure theme park. The popular movies based on author J.K. Rowling's series of books have come to life for visiting "muggles" to enjoy (that's wizard-speak for ordinary human beings).
The design of the attraction and even the flavor of the butterbeer received Rowling's approval beforehand, making this attraction an authentic representation of Harry Potter's life at Hogwarts School. In addition to the Hogwarts castle, the village of Hogsmeade serves up British fare in the Three Broomsticks restaurant and adjacent Hog's Head pub. Visitors can satisfy their sweet tooth at Honeydukes (chocolate frog, anyone?) and one lucky visitor per group is chosen by the wand at Ollivander's wand shop.
Other Hogsmeade shops and points of interest include The Owlery, where owls roost and await their next delivery; and the Owl Post sends letters with an official Hogsmeade postmark. Harry Potter fans can purchase their wizarding supplies at Zonko's joke shop; Dervish and Banges magical instruments and equipment shop, and Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods.
The main attraction is the Forbidden Journey ride, which gives riders a chance to join Harry and his friends Ron and Hermione on a high flying adventure that includes a game of quidditch—the sport that requires a flying broomstick to play. There is a height requirement of 48 inches minimum for the Forbidden Journey, but younger riders who are at least 36 inches tall can ride the Flight of the Hippogriff, which swoops around the grounds of Hogwarts castle.
Expect the crowds to be large at Islands of Adventure, especially within the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. By taking advantage of Universal Studios Packages at Universal Orlando Resort Hotels, guests can gain early entrance to the park when the crowds are much lighter.
Don't forget that there is plenty more to see and do at the Universal Orlando Resort. The Universal Studio theme park is right next door to Islands of Adventure, and Universal CityWalk Orlando has dozens of themed restaurants, night clubs, shops, and an AMC IMAX theater with 20 screens of first run movies and a concession stand that serves a variety of food choices and alcoholic beverages in addition to the more traditional popcorn and candy. Check the Dinner and a Movie Deal CityWalk to plan a real night on the town in Orlando.
With the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando travelers have one more reason to make a trip to Orlando. And based on the record turnout for an attraction that was years in the making, it's clear that many theme park fans have already made that choice.
Like the Flight of the Hippogriff, the Dragon Challenge was an existing Islands of Adventure ride in the Lost Continent area that was re-themed for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Formerly known as the Dueling Dragons, the Dragon Challenge inverted coasters (which means the track is above the riders) race each other as they plunge through corkscrew turns and the riders of both coasters come within several inches of each other. The height requirement for Dragon Challenge is 54 inches.
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