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The Wizarding World of Who?

Posted by: Dr. Geek

Okay so this might be a stretch, but since David Tennant has shown up in a Harry Potter film, and an actor from the Harry Potter films will show up in this year’s Christmas episode of Doctor Who, I figured it was alright to talk about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the new attraction at Universal Studios’ Island of Adventure in Orlando Florida.

As most of our readers know from previous posts, I am a huge Theme park fan. While I am more a fan of the audio-animatronic style entertainment of the Disney parks, than the high speed thrills of Six Flags Parks, I cannot resist a good themed attraction, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is just that.

This Wikipedia article does a fair job describing what is there, so I will focus simply on my reactions.

First of all, Islands of Adventure is very well themed, taking Disney’s concept of lands, each island has its own theme and the attention to detail for each theme is impressive. After walking through the island of The Lost Continent, you come to The Wizarding World. The train is there and before you know it, you are surrounded by Hogsmeade. Quite simply this little town is fantastic. It really feels like you are there in the Wizarding World.

At this point I should probably point out that the reason this themed land does so well is because the production team that designed and built the sets for the films participated in the attractions’ construction. In fact The Three Broomsticks restaurant was built first and then the movie set was made to reflect the attraction.

My wife and I tried Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice. Both non-alcoholic drinks are staples of the HP World and it was neat to see that they were available The Butterbeer tastes like a cross between a caramel candy and creme soda with a foamy cream topping. The Pumpkin Juice tastes like a liquid pumpkin pie. Both drinks are good but each are filling in their own right. Just one word of warning, don’t drink Butterbeer and then go on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey :)

As for the signature attraction, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, this ride is awesome, the designers really brought their A game. The queue leads you through Hogwarts Castle where you see the Headmaster’s office, the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom and Gryffindor common room. Each of these sets are fully realized. Even the pictures on the walls talk to you while you wait in line.

The ride itself is extremely turbulent. Think of a motion simulator gone totally mad. If you get motion sick seriously think before trying the ride. If you can stomach the turbulence you are in for a treat. “The magical bench” takes you through Harry’s world and you even get to play Quidditch.

Overall this is definitely worth seeing. As a Doctor Who fan I kept trying to recreate scenes from The Next Doctor. I even purchased a wand…er I mean sonic stick from Ollivanders. Hey, its a stick that makes a sound when you tap it with something … That’s sonic right ….:)

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About the Author

Dr. Geek holds two doctorate degrees and is an archaeologist and an attorney who has done extensive research on myths and their impact on modern archaeology and modern storytelling. He appreciates the history and mythology woven together in the Doctor Who shows.

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