General Question

Rarebear's avatar

Has anybody been to the Harry Potter theme park in Orlando? If so, what did you think of it?

Asked by Rarebear (21085 points ) September 18th, 2010

Looking at the website there are only a few rides. Was it crowded because of that? Is it someplace you’d want to spend a whole day at like Disney World?

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26 Answers

syz's avatar

I’m sorry, I haven’t been, but this reviewer seems to hate it.

Seek's avatar

The Harry Potter thing isn’t a whole park to itself – it’s part of Universal Studios.

That whole park is made up of sections – there’s Jurassic Park, which has a few rides, Medieval land with the Dueling Dragons roller coaster, a whole comic strip land (TOTALLY go to Dagwood’s for a sandwich), Dr. Seuss land… and a few others. Harry Potter is part of that.

Whenever I go, I get the two-park pass, and can generally get in every ride I want to at both Universal and Islands of Adventure, usually with time to get on the Hulk at least twice, so you’re definitely not going to be spending all day at Harry Potter.

I hear the butterbeer is really yummy. I haven’t been since Potter opened up.

Seek's avatar

Oh! And a few tips -

Go on Tuesday or Wednesday. The crowd is at least 50% smaller on those two days. You’ve already missed monsoon season for this year, but I usually recommend going to theme parks in early to mid Summer, because it rains every day at about 2:00, for just enough time to scare the tourists away, and then the crowd is even smaller. ^_^

Try to avoid holiday weekends and major conventions in Orlando, if you can.

Rarebear's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Thank you. I hadn’t realized that it’s part of a larger park. Doing the two park pass seems like a good idea.

Unfortunately, I’m stuck on the days I’m going—I got tickets for the next shuttle launch and we’ll be going over the weekend prior to the launch.

Seek's avatar

Fair enough. I think you’ll be in good shape – the kids are in school and the next holiday weekend is a while away yet.

Definitely do the two-park. Islands of Adventure is my favourite of the two – Marvel Comics land and all. ^_^ And there’s a fairly large area between the parks with shops and restaurants. It’s a nice walk. And I think they do fireworks there at around closing time.

Rarebear's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Although now it appears my daughter is going to pick the Magic Kingdom. I gave her a choice—she keeps waffling between the two. Thanks for your help!

Seek's avatar

DON“T DO EET!

Seriously.

We’re talking seeing two whole amusement parks in one day, as opposed to 3 hour waits for a single ride all day long, probably getting to see maximum three areas of the park.

Rarebear's avatar

LOL! I know. But we’re dealing with the mind of a 9 year old girl, remember.

Seek's avatar

Well, tell your nine year old girl to bring a book for the line to Splash Mountain.

Rarebear's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr We actually have disneyland down to a science, with the fastpasses and all. But I see your point. HP is my first choice.

keobooks's avatar

I had a patron tell me that it was amazing walking through the Harry Potter themed village, but that the butter beer was too sweet (but still worth getting for the mug) I wish it was around when I was living in Orlando.

MrItty's avatar

Ok. First of all, there is no “Harry Potter themepark”. There is a Harry Potter themed area of the Islands of Adventure themepark.

The one new ride there, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, is spectacular. I’m a Disney nutcase, and it was seriously better than almost any WDW attraction I’ve been on.

That being said, the rest of the area is pretty terrible. There are only two more rides – both of which are re-themed or simply re-named old rides. A kiddie coaster and a pair of real coasters. There is a show/shop based on Ollivander’s wand shop from the books/movies – but expect to wait over an hour to see it. The joke and candy shops are cute and nicely themed, but are TINY and difficult to move around in. We didn’t get a chance to try either of the restaurants, so I can’t review those.

Basically, if you were going to Universal anyway, definitely go to the area for that one ride. If you’re very HP-obsessed and are going to Orlando anyway, it might be worth the cost of a one day ticket to see it. But under no circumstances is it worth a trip to Florida on its own.

And no, you can’t spend a day there. Unless you’re a thrill ride junkie, I don’t even think you can spend a full day at Islands of Adventure itself. We did the HP ride twice, all other adult rides at least once each (some twice) and left IoA by 4pm.

keobooks's avatar

I kew MrItty would have the true skinny on all that is Orlando theme park. I’ll defer to him.

MrItty's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr you are in serious need of someone with decent planning skills to take you around WDW. If you’re waiting more than 20–25 minutes for any attraction – yes including Splash mountain – you’re doing it wrong. I was just there in the peak of the summer crowds with my 15 year old half sister. Our longest wait of the entire week was 30 minutes for Peter Pan. Oh sure we saw waits of 2.5 hours for some attractions, but if you follow a decen touring plan and arrive at park opening, you’ll never wait that long.

keobooks's avatar

I’ve only gone to WDW with employees on their park passes. NEVER had to do much waiting. I never thought about it before, but it’s probably because they knew that park inside and out. I only went with them on special friend’s days or whatever they were, but these guys not only worked there, they ate there almost daily and spent almost all their free time—just hopping parks when they had a few hours to kill. There’s probably some sort of way tr soo tell which lines are the best or something.

Rarebear's avatar

Thanks everybody! That really helps.

MrItty's avatar

@Rarebear you’re welcome. I should have mentioned this before, but if you want a much more detailed description of the place, you can take a look at the trip report I posted to my blog after I got back: http://www.mritty.net/disneyblog/?page_id=50

Rarebear's avatar

@MrItty That’s a good review, thanks. My daughter has made her firm decision to go to WDW. This will just solidify it.

Ron_C's avatar

We are planning a trip to Orlando in October and were thinking about going to Universal. Fankly, the way people are talking about it, it seems to be more work than fun.

I just want to walk around, take a couple rides, see a show or two, and eat in a nice restaurant. We are in our 60’s and are going on vacation, not an Iron Man contest.

Rarebear's avatar

@Ron_C Exactly, then Universal might be more fun for you. My daughter is in to aggressive roller coasters.

Seek's avatar

@Ron_C

You’d probably enjoy Epcot more than anything else. I love Epcot – 10 different countries, each with their own show and restaurant, plus a few rides and usually some special thing going on (Flower festival, food and wine festival, etc.)

Rarebear's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr We may have an extra day and I’m going to go to try to get to Epcot also.

Ron_C's avatar

@Rarebear and @Seek_Kolinahr we might splurge and hit Epcot and Universal (different days of course). I like a good roller coaster but might have to find a temporary partner because my wife is definitely not into them.

xoxjessxox's avatar

We went at an incredibly busy time of year this summer, so the crowds were insane. That was one thing I really did not like, though also unavoidable with any new theme park (sorry, it is not actually it’s own the park, but a section in Islands of Adventure), especially a Harry Potter themed one obviously. They played up the whole Harry Potter theme very well. The town was well done and you were always entertained in lines for rides and food, so the waits, though very long, were not boring, especially the waits for the coasters (adult-coaster dragons and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which were both very well done). The 2 coasters which are shared as one ride were very fun. They were very, very fast and exciting with the two coasters going at the same time. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey was absolutely exceptional. There is no comparing it to anything. I wanted to go on again and again. I also consider the line part of the ride, because you were able to walk through classrooms and corridors with portraits and talked to all of the “muggles here in Hogwarts”. You saw Harry, Ron and Hermione in a Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom and Dumbledore in his office (on digital screens as you walked through each of these places) and the Sorting Hat, and loads of other signature Harry Potter things, it was just amazing, possibly the most favourite ride I’ve ever ridden. I cannot comment on the Hipogriff ride (which was a kid ride) because we didn’t go on it unfortunately. The Three Broomsticks was very well done too. You ordered fast-food style and your group was given a number, which they called out when your food was ready. You then were seated restaurant style. The food was very good, definitely classified as restaurant-style, and they had plenty to choose from, from singular meals to group meals. I tried Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice! I absolutely LOVED Butterbeer, and found Pumpkin Juice alright. Hogsmeade, which although was done well on the outside and inside with all of the shops and whatnot and the designs (had a very Harry Potter feel) and the Butterbeer being sold in the street, I found dissappointing. I enjoyed looking at the shops (We did not have time to visit all of them, but visited all of the main ones such as Ollivanders and Madam Malkins Robe shop) but the I found most of the Merchandise extremely over-priced. The little plastic wands, which although were hard and looked like they would last long, were about $50 apiece. They offered Hogwarts robes for each house, but they were each $100. Most of the stuff was very over priced and I didn’t find much that I would buy. The one shop I enjoyed was the Zonko’s Joke Shop and Honeydukes (candy shop in Hogsmeade) mix. They had most of the candy Ron and Harry talk about in the books, and almost all, it looked like, of Zonko’s Joke Shop items that Fred and George purchase, and Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes products. Again, some of the candy was over priced, and the joke items probably were too (I only bought candy, so I can’t say), but they only let it a certain amount of people at a time so that it was not too crowded and you could actually look around properly. The other stored were crowded to the point where the people behind the counter were pressed against their counters and it would of been a HUGE fire hazard. Honeydukes did have good size portions for what you were buying though. All in all, I enjoyed it thoroughly, and found that you were entertained almost everywhere you went, even in the washrooms (Moaning Myrtle.. hee hee)! Hope this helps.

Rarebear's avatar

@xoxjessxox Thanks! You make it sound pretty cool, except for the crowds, of course.

MrItty's avatar

@xoxjessxox GA. Your experience sounds very similar to mine, except that there was NO entertainment in the queue lines for the rides when I went. Maybe they added that after I was there (July 10–18), when they finally realized how insanely long the lines were?

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