If you haven’t been to Universal Studios Florida since the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in 2010, prepare for your world to be rocked—especially if you are a fan of the Harry Potter films. Universal has spared no expense in replicating the movie world in great detail.
From the spot-on Hogwarts Castle and the beautiful snow-capped roofs of Hogsmeade (in Islands of Adventure) to the narrow passageways, cluttered shop fronts, and fire-breathing dragon of Diagon Alley (in Universal Studios), you will be transported right into Harry Potter’s world.
The lands are so elaborate that they practically qualify as an attraction themselves, but rest assured; Universal has put as much effort into the cool rides as they have the décor. You could spend a day just looking around and getting lost in the two themed lands, but nothing will immerse you quite like the following five attractions.
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
Located in Diagon Alley, the ride theoretically takes place in the deep underground vaults below Gringotts, the goblin-run bank. If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to have He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (okay, the evil wizard Lord Voldemort) after you, this is the spine-tingling adventure of your dreams. Part roller coaster, part 3-D adventure, the ride features Harry, Hermione and Ron as well as a few unsavory characters. Even the queues are incredibly well themed.
The Hogwarts Express
Technically, it serves a purpose: to take visitors with two-park passes between Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. But this train, which is a replica of the iconic train from the books and films, is so much more than just a means of transportation. It’s a magical, immersive ride in which the British countryside chugs by outside your window while some of your favorite Harry Potter characters converse just outside your cabin. Magical indeed.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Walk through the gates of Hogwarts and join Harry, Hermione and Ron in an exciting Quidditch match—which unravels into a high-speed chase. An action-packed, high-octane journey, this one moves riders around quite a bit in front of enormous screens, so don’t ride it immediately following a big meal or if you’re prone to severe motion sickness.
These two dueling coasters are old-school theme park wizardry at its best. Pick one side or the other—the Chinese Fireball dragon or the Hungarian Horntail dragon—and set off on high-speed coaster chase on intertwining tracks.
Flight of the Hippogriff
Perfect for younger visitors (36 inches and up) with a daring streak, this family-friendly coaster is surprisingly fun for adult riders too. It provides great views of the castle and the rooftops of Hogsmeade and elicits shrieks of delight from visitors young and old.