The Wizarding World of Harry Potter now spans two theme parks – Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida – at the Universal Orlando Resort in Orlando, Florida, USA.
The first phase opened to the public on June 18, 2010. The area’s flagship attraction is a fantastic theme ride called Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which exists within a re-creation of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It takes riders on a journey through Harry Potter’s wizarding world and has some fantastic special effects including 3-D pictures that move and change. Other attractions include Dragon Challenge, a pair of just OK inverted roller coasters, and Flight of the Hippogriff, a family roller coaster- great as an introduction for young kids.
The area also features a re-creation of Hogsmeade containing many gift shops and restaurants from the series of Harry Potter books including Dervish and Banges, Honeydukes, Ollivanders, Zonko’s Joke Shop (though it houses Honeydukes), the Three Broomsticks, and the Hog’s Head.
In 2013, it was officially announced that phase two would be constructed in the adjacent Universal Studios Florida theme park with a replica of the Hogwarts Express taking guests between the two lands. Dragon Alley officially opened on July 8, 2014- its a must see!
The ride to experience here is Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, a 3D dark ride/simulator based on Gringotts Bank, the wizarding bank that appears in the movie. The cool attraction design is similar to Transformers: The Ride and The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. The remaining attractions are themed around London and Diagon Alley.
All in all a worthwhile visit- but note-go very early- the streets are narrow and rides always busy.