Fun for Tweens at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Lily, age 11, our guest blogger
Meet Lily, age 11.  She and her family spent part of the holiday season in Florida. Since Lily is a huge Harry Potter fan, I asked her to report back on her experience at Universal Orlando's newest theme park. I love to hear the tween's perspective.  So, welcome Lily!  

My name is Lily, and I am the guest blogger for today. I am going to write about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

There were two things that I thought were the coolest: the ride The Forbidden Journey and the design of the whole place. The Forbidden Journey is a ride where you get into a bench, of all things, and then you fly behind Harry and Ron around the castle, after Hermione makes you able to fly of course. You tilt and turn you see many memorable creatures and places from the books and movies. It is a 4-D ride, and I had an awesome time riding it. You go through rooms and in front of screens where you fly. The one downside to this ride is that it will break down, in fact it did the day I went (but not while I was on it, thank goodness).

There are 2 roller-coasters, and I rode both: Flight of the Hippogriff and Dragon Challenge. Flight of the Hippogriff is a roller-coaster that is not as fast-moving as Dragon Challenge. If you get motion sick you may want to go on this rather than Dragon Challenge. Dragon Challenge has upside-downs and loopedy-loops and two tracks that sometimes go very close to each other.

The park’s design also is very neat. There is snow on all of the Hogsmead buildings. The Hog’s Head has a hog’s head behind the counter that moves and makes noise. The people who work there are all in costume. They do not look like all of the Muggles. They dress differently depending on where you are. For example, the workers at the Hippogriff ride all dress mostly like Hagrid, considering, they are not 9 feet tall and very wide. So, they are not as big a size as him.

I had the pleasure of eating at the Three Broomsticks, which is adjoining to the Hog’s Head. I ate Shepherds’ Pie with a little salad and a glass of Butterbeer. It was all so filling I could only finish the Butterbeer, although the Shepherds’ Pie was wonderful, and the salad was good. Butterbeer is very sweet and has a slightly different cream on top that is tasty. The cream is put on after they fill the cup very pretty far. I later had Pumpkin Juice. Even though it was a new flavor, I really liked it. The attention to detail at the park makes you feels like you are really a student at Hogwarts.
Butterbeer at The Three Broomsticks

There was only one thing I wished we had done differently, I wish we had gone through the group line for The Forbidden Journey. We had a choice: it was an hour and a half long wait for the group line or you could go through the single riders line and have a ten to fifteen minute wait. We went through the single riders line. What we didn’t know was that we skipped the whole castle and went almost right to the ride. We wanted to go on the ride again and to see the whole castle, but we wanted to do other things as well, and we never went back.

The Gypsy’s Essentials 
  • Location: Universal Studios in Orlando Florida. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is part of the Islands of Adventure park: 
  • Price: $82 per person for Adults (10+ years old) and $74 per person for Children (3-9 years old) 
  • Who will love it? Harry Potter fans of all ages – particularly those 8 years and older. 
  • Notes: Try not to take too much with you because though there are lockers, they don’t let you take anything onto “Dragon Challenge” even if you are a tri-wizard champion with a fast-pass. When you are planning for your trip you should plan for this section of the Islands of Adventure to take a long time if you are a Harry Potter fan at all. We were there for 7 hours. Be at the park when the gate rises and you will be fine, otherwise you might have to wait awhile to go in because they don’t let every one in when they show up, they let them in small groups. 
I waited two hours to go to Olivander’s, the Owl Post, and Durvish and Bangs, but it was worth it because in Olivander’s they pick one person and do a little presentation. Part of why it was so long is because they only let in 20 people at a time. I did not get picked, but I bought Hermione’s wand in the Owl Post, it cost $29.95. I bought it because it is beautiful and I don’t have any Harry Potter character wands.

I also bought a chocolate frog, and it was $9.95. They are bigger than the ones in the movie, they come with a collectible card, and I was in Honeydukes Sweet Shop at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I mean why shouldn’t I? At Honeydukes I also bought some candy in a bag labeled, “Honeydukes,” I had picked how much and what kinds of candy I wanted, not what someone else did.

On the whole I loved The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and I think if you like the books or the movies and you will, too.
The Hogwarts Express

Thanks, Lily!  If you have any questions for Lily, leave them in the comments.  She'll be happy to answer them for you.  

In London, check out this spot with your Harry Potter fans: Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross Station.

Harry Potter Travel for Muggles

I don't know about you, but I can't round a corner without seeing a poster or billboard for Harry Potter 7: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1). And I'll freely admit that November 19 is circled on my calendar; I'll be one of the first in the queue!

While you are waiting for Harry Potter to come out, you might want to check out these past posts about where to find Harry Potter in the Muggle world.
And here's a little something that will make the wait for HP7 just a little shorter...

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Hogwarts Castle soars over Florida's Universal Orlando Resort
Attention all Harry Potter fans: the countdown is on.  On Friday, June 18, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida.  And the hysteria will begin!

"Hysteria?" you say.  Ummmm... yeah.  As Neil Genzlinger of the New York Times reports, nearly-hysterical fans have been stampeding though the gates on sneak-peek visits for the last few weeks.
The Portrait Gallery comes alive.
So, just what is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter?  Well, it is a new corner of the Universal theme park, built around a new ride: the Forbidden Journey.  But the four-minute flight through Hogwarts on a broomstick isn't the only attraction.  At long last you'll be able to quaff a butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks with your best chums.  And a wand just might choose you at Ollivander's shop.  And you'll be able to meander the streets of Hogsmeade, under the hot Florida sun, in your wizarding robes and not be alone.

Read more about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (and start planning your pilgrimage): 
Dumbledore's office -- one of the stops within Hogwarts Castle.
And if you aren't headed to Florida soon, you can also try making your way to Hogwarts the traditional way for free.  Visit London's King's Cross train station where you'll find Platform 9 3/4.  Read about it here: