Harry Potter at Universal Studios

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Parador Student

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Post Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:30 pm

Harry Potter at Universal Studios

Just letting you know that Professor Voertigern, Kore, and I recently returned from vacation to Florida and, to answer the question that is currently budding, the Harry Potter park at Universal Studios is at least 3 kinds of awesome.

The scenery makes you feel like you're on the movie set with parts of the Hogsmead section looking more like Daigon Alley. Even the ATM machine is labeled as a branch of Gringott's. We ate at the Three Broomsticks, saw the mini-show at Olivander's wand shop, had frozen butterbeer and pumpkin juice and have the mugs/bottles to prove it.

The Forbidden Journey ride is worth a very long wait but I'd suggest going either when the park opens or mid-late afternoon or else that wait is 90+ minutes. We got in line when the tail end was in Jurassic Park -- no joke, but that was mitigated by the performance by the singing frogs of the school song. Once we got through the gardens, the castle itself was freaking incredible. The pictures interact with each other just like in the movies (on a loop, but you can't have everything.) We even got snowed on when Ron's charm backfired. The ride itself is a broomstick ride to remember that combines projected outdoor scenes with in-your-face animatronics (Spoiler: the chinese fireball asks politely for a breath mint at one point -- well, polite for a chinese fireball anyway.)

Not sure where pictures are being uploaded to yet. One of the others we traveled with took 4 GB of pictures from the week so getting these coordinated may take until Starfest.
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Post Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:14 pm

Re: Harry Potter at Universal Studios

I went last summer--it was pretty magical. Just looking through all the shops and shop windows is entertaining--they have all sorts of little things tucked in there--books with moving pictures (I saw Gilderoy Lockheart's latest, for one), a store window with a snitch flying around inside it, a wanted poster for Sirius Black in which a mini-scene is enacted of Black being manhandled by the Aurors while getting his mug shots taken. Just all sorts of things--people told me later about things I'd missed. So if you go, be sure to give yourself time to just look around. Same thing goes for the trip through the castle to get to the Forbidden Journey ride. There are all sorts of nooks and crannies--someone found the door to Snape's office behind a statue, there are trophies in the exhibit cases, stuff like that--all the way up to the ride itself. (You can go through the castle even if you don't actually take the ride, too, so at least do that part, even if you can't handle wild rides).

On the Forbidden Journey--we went when the park had only been open a short while and apparently they hadn't gotten all the bugs out of things. This ride was having trouble that evening and eventually shut down, but I was lucky enough to have gotten on before this happened. A friend who got a multi-day pass and went back said that Sunday morning was less crowded, by the way.
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[Spoiler] At one point the ride froze with the seat that left us in a position almost like lying on our backs, while these giant spiders were descending from the ceiling, and this officious female voice came on the loud-speaker saying that the ride was having momentary difficulties and to be patient. She sounded just like a voice from the Ministry of Magic asking you your purpose for visiting or something, and I assumed it was all part of the ride. "Wow, how really creepy!" I thought. It was only later, after talking to some other people, that I realized that wasn't part of the ride, but had been a real malfunction. Good thing I didn't know at the time, or I would have freaked out.
“Curiouser and curiouser!”
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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