The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

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 Truth be told, I am a huge Harry Potter fan. Having read each book numerous times, going to many book premieres, seeing each movie, having endless discussions, owning many artifacts and basically living Harry Potter since I learned how to read, I had much anticipated Universal’s Harry Potter world. When I learned this summer that my family and I were planning a visit to this magical land, I was a little bit nervous, what if it wasn’t everything I dreamt it would be? There were three main aspects that concerned me most:

 The Rides

The three rides in Harry Potter World are Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, the Flight of the Hippogriff, and the Dragon Challenge. Molly Bruner, senior, said, “The rides were so much fun, I rode them two or three times each.”        

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is featured within Hogwarts, the line is a part of the journey. Standing in line you pass through the castle walls, viewing the herbology green house, Dumbledore’s office, and the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, where you will come across Harry, Hermione, and Ron, and the Sorting Hat. This line is usually really long, but, not only is the ride worth it, but also the line is enjoyable. Once you enter the actual ride, it is a virtual ride. You are strapped in, and it feels like a roller coaster, however, it is not. There is a screen in front of you in which you see Harry, and you follow him on broomstick.

 Jordan Buches, senior, said, “The castle ride was really well done even when I was standing in line. It was really neat how they represented each part of the castle. I loved how they did the Defense Against the Dark Arts room, especially when it snowed.”

Flight of the Hippogriff is an easier ride that should be acceptable to most age groups. The really fun part of this ride is, again, the line. As you walk through, you come across Hagrid’s hut and Buckbeak the hippogriff.  When you are being loaded into your seat, you will hear Hagrid speaking, giving helpful tips. One of the best parts of this ride is the view from the top; the castle looks magnificent from this viewpoint.

 The last ride is the Dragon Challenge, a ride for more advanced riders. There are two coasters, in the form of dragons, that race. As you loop, and twist, and speed away, the feeling is that you are truly racing dragons. Yet again, the line is an important aspect of the ride. The point of this ride is that you are entering the Triwizard Tournament, signs for each champion are placed along the entrance and throughout the line. Also, you enter into the champions’ tent, and you can see their possessions.

 The shopping

As you enter Hogsmeade, a wizard town close to Hogwarts, you will see snow covered buildings, busy shops, and eventful windows. Ollivanders, a renowned wand shop, is one of the first attractions. The line for Ollivanders is always busy, so it is usually a first priority to get a wand. When admittance is allowed, a group of thirty people enter into a small store with walls lined with wands. Ollivander enters the store from upstairs, comes down the steps, and selects a person. This person, usually a child, steps forward and Ollivander chooses a wand. He asks this child to try a spell which then goes wrong. After a few tries, Ollivander finally will give the child the right wand, and a line will shine as the child is filled with magic. After the show, customers can go into the connecting store to purchase a wand, either an original or one of the characters’ wands.

In this same store, customers can buy a multitude of items. There are different souvenirs representing each house, Griffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin, including scarves, sweaters, house robes, shirts, ties, or badges. Along with these items, there are Quibblers posters (a wizard magazine), brooms, time turners, (allows you to go back in time), and many other items.  All of these souvenirs are very Harry Potter and, no matter the price, fans from all over will spend large sums of money to enjoy the experience.

 

The food

In Hogsmeade, there are two restaurants, the Three Broomsticks and the Hogshead. Both of these restaurants sell the world famous ‘Butterbeer.’ Butterbeer is a nonalcoholic beverage that is enjoyed by all students at Hogwarts, along with the residents at Hogsmeade. Butterbeer had to be created by workers at Universal and approved by J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series. This delicious beverage, served both cold and frozen, contains a surprising 47 ingredients. When purchasing butterbeer, you can purchase a souvenir cup for a higher price. Buches said, “The butterbeer was the most delicious drink I’ve ever had, it tasted like cream soda. It was just amazing.”

Honeydukes is another food store at Universal, however it sells sweets. Chocolate frogs is one of the most well known of Honeydukes treats. The name sums up this delicious treat chocolate in the shape of frogs, but there is a surprise in each box. When purchasing a chocolate frog, you also purchase a wizards trading card, containing a picture and information on the back. Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans is another Harry Potter classic, containing such flavors as vomit, boogers, and dirt as well as classics like coconut, strawberry, and tutti-frutti. The walls are filled at Honeydukes with a ton of other treats like treacle fudge, exploding bonbons, Fizzing Wizzbees, and Cauldron Cakes.

Like so many fans, Molly really enjoyed Harry Potter world. She said, “Harry Potter world was amazing, it was like I was actually at Hogwarts. It was the best part of the park [Universal].” Actually going to Hogwarts is what so many people dream of, that is why The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a dream come true.