If you head down to Harry Potter World, you have to hit the castle first. Anyone who's been there will agree with me. You avoid the long lines, you go on Forbidden Journey before eating, and you start the day with awesomeness.
There are two things I can say that Universal Studios did well: the attention to detail in the construction of the buildings and creating rides that are a thrill.
Hogwarts Castle is definitely the standout feature of the park. You can see it from anywhere in Universal Studios (it's that huge), but you don't fully appreciate the astounding detail until you get up close. From each angle you notice something different. The beauty of it is breathtaking. Below are some pictures from various angles to illustrate my point.
As you wait in line for the best HP ride in the park, Forbidden Journey, you get to walk through Hogwarts castle where you see various statues, moving portraits, and you kinda get to see some rooms in the castle. I say kinda because everything is at a distance and the employees in the park rushed you through the line. I'd recommend just slowing down and letting people pass you if you want to look because chances are you're only going to do this ride once. The portrait hall was my favorite! I recommend standing there for a bit and listening to the Hogwarts founders chat it up! Here's some pics of statues, portraits, the Sorting Hat, and the Pensieve:
|Entrance to Dumbledore's Office|
|Hogwarts Founder statue|
|Portrait Hall (with moving, talking portraits!)|
|The Sorting Hat|
And finally, I'm not going to spoil the ride, but it is INTENSE. If you get motion sickness, I really don't recommend going on it. And definitely wait to get butterbeer until after the ride! It's probably the most technologically advanced ride I've ever been on. But Universal Studio's approach to making a Harry Potter ride was to take every scary, thrilling bit from the movies and throw it into one ride. I wouldn't say it's very "little kid friendly." But maybe little guys are tougher than I was back in the day... Here's the warning sign for the ride. The 90 minute wait time was the shortest we saw all day...
At the end of each post this week, I'm going to write about one thing I think they SHOULD have had at Wizarding World of Harry Potter but sadly they don't... (While my brother and I waited in lines all day, we brainstormed rides and attractions we wished the park had, and came up with quite a "dream park")
One thing I wish they had at Harry Potter World:
A mine cart ride through the underground vaults at Gringotts. The ride could begin with a line that winds though the inside of a big marble bank interior "to speak with one of the goblins and request to access your vault." Then you hop in a mine cart and zoom through tunnels and caverns past vaults filled with Galleons and Sickles and Knuts. Maybe a waterfall that flips you upside down... And of course a dragon! Seriously, this scene/location from the books begs to be made into a ride.
Check tomorrow's post for another ride/attraction I wish they had at Harry Potter World...