I rode the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride twice, last week on my visit to the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The ride is amazing! I will try not to give away too many spoilers in my review, but be forewarned a couple may drop here and there. 🙂
The Harry Potter ride does not have a Universal Express option (and likely won’t for some time), but it does have a single rider option that I took on my first ride. While it’s much, much faster this way, you miss almost the entire tour of Hogwarts Castle. So, in order to see what I was missing of Hogwarts, I went through the full Harry Potter ride queue on the second trip.
Wow! What a difference! Other than a short stint underneath a canopy outside Hogwarts, you get a great tour of Hogwarts with a show in almost every room and stage of the line. A griffin statute, Dumbledore’s office, a scene from the Dark Arts classroom, and more. It’s a ride in and of itself! I took quite a bit of video of the line, so check it out for yourself.
You can also take a tour of Hogwarts without riding the Harry Potter ride. Just ask a cast member when the next Hogwartstour starts and be there at that time. Lots of times, the cast member will just take you on a tour of Hogwarts, right then.
As for the ride, you’re crammed into the ride vehicle so tightly that it makes it nearly impossible to operate a camera on the ride, so I wasn’t able to get any footage of the ride. I don’t think I’m giving much away by saying that the ride is a broomstick ride in, through, and around Hogwarts with Harry Potter — in fact, I was surprised after going on the ride how much Universal gave away in it’s Super Bowl ad.
The ride is unlike any other ride I’ve ever been on or built. It’s a new ride vehicle technology and allows for some crazy movements and scenes. The one thing I do want to say that may be a spoiler for some — this ride could be too intense for younger riders. Many of the more scary elements of the Harry Potter books and movies show up during the ride in amazing detail and close-up. The ride has a 48″ height requirement, so this may deter some of the younger riders, but my 6 year old son meets that height requirement and I would not take him on the ride during our next Orlando travel adventure.
Although it’s very fast-paced, the Harry Potter ride seems to last for quite a bit of time. A nice end to what’s sure to be a long wait. Also, the ride vehicle has four seats and each one offers a different show, so be sure to ride it a few times in different seats. Quick tip: This can be hard to do as a single rider, since the Universal staff tends to stick singles on the end of a group of three, so you always get the same seat.
Overall, I loved the ride and can’t wait to do it, again. I think I liked the “tour” through Hogwarts better than the ride, but it’s a close contest. Be sure to get to this one early — I was there fifteen minutes after opening and the wait was already over an hour on a soft opening! Imagine when the park’s fully open.
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