Being a kind and understanding woman, the Lovely and Talented Mrs. Shodan has admitted that my Harry Potter addiction is untreatable and incurable. Resistance was futile, to mix up quotations - I have been assimilated.
Accordingly, we are off in a few weeks to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, in Orlando, FL, to spend a few days indulging my Harry Potter ueber-geekdom. The kids are coming with - my daughter because she shares my addiction, and my son because, hey, it’s Florida.
Anyone been, who wants to make recommendations? We are staying on the grounds, or at least at a hotel next door so we can have early entry and expedited rides and so forth. My daughter’s friend says Ollivander’s is “legit”, which in her language appears to be a Good Thing, and if possible we want to see the final HPatDH movie, Part Last, while there.
Anything else not to miss? Anything to avoid?
Y’all had great suggestions for my Mystery Kidnapping to Las Vegas. Thanks in advance for whatever you have for HP.
God yes. The butterbeer is amazing. Get there early and be patient. There will be long lines. It’s worth it just to see the recreations of the Hogwarts Express and Diagon Alley. There’s also lots of overpriced merchandise, but that’s to be expected. Definitely enjoyable if you’re an HP nut.
It was by far the best thing at that park. I’m not even a Potter fan and I thought the detail and attractions were amazing.
Butterbeer is great. Hogsmead Tavern is actually a pretty good place to eat. I actually appreciated that they don’t serve name brand soda there. It’s butterbeer or iced tea. No one is walking around with a coke cup.
I’m not a HP fan but I’ll admit the themeing is very well done. I didn’t check out the shops but did go on the duelling dragons (which is always fun) and the flight of the hippogriff (fine for small kids).
The main Harry Potter ride is excellent. Brilliantly themed and something genuinely different.
My five year-old loved it but be warned, it is quite scary and what suits her is not going to suit all five year olds (plus you do have to be 42 inches to ride)
Also, the queues can be ridiculous. Thankfully we were there in Jan/Feb so could pick and choose our times and avoid the crazy rushes but even then at some times of the day there was a 90 min queue for the Harry Potter ride.
We went soon after opening and the line just to get into that section was a good 90 minutes. The line for the big new ride was also long, but it takes you through various interesting parts of Hogwart’s. We all (adults and 10-year old nephew) liked that ride and thought the wait was worth it. The real pleasure of the day, though, was just in seeing how well they re-created the Hogwart’s and Diagon Alley from the movies. I didn’t get to go into Olivander’s but according to others in our group that did, it was also quite worth the wait.
Get there early. Be at the entrance gates 45 minutes before posted opening time. As soon as the gates open, head straight to WWHP; move quickly and don’t dawdle. Go straight to the biggest ride (the dragons coaster, I think). Then go to the next-biggest ride, then the next, etc. Once you’ve done all the rides, enjoy WWHP at your leisure. Then do the rest of the park.
Here in Texas, I’ve seen some pretty misleading commercials on TV that imply that Harry Potter is part of the Universal Studios park, when in fact, it’s part of Islands of Adventure, a different gated park at the resort.
Probably easily cleared up once you’re actually there, but I’m sure there’ve been cases of people buying tickets to the wrong park.
I don’t understand these comments about the Ollivander’s attraction. My girlfriend and I spent a full day at the HP park in December (thankfully before the holiday rush), and Ollivander’s was the only disappointing piece of the ensemble. Once you get to the front of the line, they usher you in with a group of 15-20 people, and you all crowd together inside a cramped room. To their credit, it does feel like you’re inside Ollivander’s wand shop. But that’s where the fun stops, unless you are a) lucky and b) under 15. The entire experience is a half-assed “show” in that one tiny room. One lucky child is chosen from the group (and the Ollivander actor will always pick a child) to go through the process of choosing (or being chosen by) a wand. As they try out wands, various special effects props activate on the walls of the room, such as a collapsing shelf or a wilting plant. On the third wand, there is a magical light and the natural order of the Universe is restored, the kid gets to keep the wand, and everyone else gets shunted out into the actual wand shop to spend $35 if they want to get a wand. It’s not worth whatever wait on line you will undoubtedly have. Don’t bother.
Everything else, though? Fantastic. From the butterbeer to the Hogwarts Castle ride to the general atmosphere and excellent recreations of the feel of the movies, it’s an A+ theme park.