I’m something of an Orlando junkie. I love theme parks, and I think the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando does a pretty good job of getting details right when it comes to specific rides. So when I geared up to divert my attention to Universal Studios Islands of Adventure this past trip, I was uber-excited to finally lay my eyes on The WizardingWorld of Harry Potter.
My first impressions were that everything looked simply fantastic. The first thing you see is the Hogwarts Express, and that sets the tone for a magical (sorry for the pun) experience. However, I then made the mistake of heading into a store to buy a wand.
While I won’t go so far as to say that I could touch four walls without moving (that would be an exaggeration), I was shocked at how small the stores were. Granted there was some space and the park was crowded (hey it’s Universal in June if you can’t deal with a crowd stay home), but I was a bit underwhelmed by the stores and the staff.
Long waits at all the rides were pretty much expected, and one of my travel party who rode Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey (I wanted to wait for my kids to ride it with me) classified at a nice ride but not a thrill ride by any stretch of the imagination. Another ride was broken, but the Hippogriff turned out to be okay, and the kids loved it.
All things considered, I thought The Wizarding World of Harry Potter looked fabulous, but I question the layout and the size. The park has been open for a few years since making its debut in 2010 and it was still packed to the gills, which is a good sign for Potter fans.
All things considered the visit to the Harry Potter world was a great experience, but at the same time it was a bit underwhelming. I just expected a bit more, and luckily Universal will be answering with more the upcoming Diagon Alley expansion.
Bottom line: I’m glad I saw it, but my expectations were through the roof, which means I was a bit disappointed. Will I go back? Faster than you can Quidditch.