Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando

Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando

In case you haven’t heard, Universal Orlando will be the most exciting place to visit this summer. Why, you ask? It will be unveiling the much anticipated addition to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park: Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.

Will it be as good as Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey? Have no fear, Universal’s creative team worked directly Stuart Craig and his production team from the Harry Potter films to immerse guests in this exciting scene from the final Harry Potter book and film.

The new ride is reported to have 360-degree themed sets, 4K digital high-definition animation, state-of-the-art 3-D Infitec projection systems and live special effects with beloved Harry Potter characters.  As if that weren’t enough, the expansion will double the size of the Wizarding World where guests will get to enjoy more themed shops, dining experiences in addition to this groundbreaking ride.TMOM Travel Disclosure

According to Universal, “the multi-dimensional, multi-sensory attraction, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, will revolutionize theme park entertainment.” My family can’t wait, but alas we will have to because my daughter is only on the fourth book!

Which feature sounds like the most fun to you:

  • Experience a 60-foot, fire-breathing Ukrainian Ironbelly dragon atop Gringotts Wizarding Bank
  • Tour a totally authentic-looking Gringotts bank and pass through the marble hall where you’ll see goblins hard at work
  • Race through a labyrinth of underground Gringotts vaults
  • Encounter the magnificently scary Bellatrix Lestrange, or is it Hermione after taking a polyjuice potion?
  • Come face to face with He Who Must Not Be Named—finally!
Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando

Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando

For those Harry Potter fans that have never been to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park, you can expect to see the village of Hogsmeade side by side with Diagon Alley. The majority of the shops are for window shopping only but they create an authentic and fun atmosphere between the rides.  You can get every-flavoured jellybeans at Honeydukes and have a Butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks (and the food there is pretty good too).

During our first visit to the park our daughter was about one inch shy of the 48 inch height requirement to get on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey so we did what any responsible Harry Potter-loving parents would do, we stuffed napkins in her shoes so she could make it on the ride. The line for the ride was a fairly long but the wait was half the fun as a good portion of it winds through the Hogwarts castle where there is a lot to enjoy.

It turned out my daughter covered her eyes throughout most of it and all our schemes were for naught because there is child swap area so you can still ride if you have children who are too small or too scared to ride.  Our only regret was that we did not purchase the hilarious photo of us on the ride: me laughing, my husband looking ill, and my daughter with her hands over her eyes.

TIPS:

  • To get the best experience, take a tour of the castle first, especially if the line is short and moving quickly. There are a lot of fun things to see in the castle that you only scoot past when you are in the line.
  • The gift shop for all your Harry Potter paraphernalia is small and generally crowded. There are shops near the entrance that sell much of the same merchandise in a more relaxed and spacious environment.
  •  Although many come to the park to visit WWHP, the rest of the attractions should not be ignored because there is something for everyone. Dr. Suessville for the youngest visitors is fun to walk through, the Hulk roller coaster is one of the scariest I have ever been on, and the 3D Spiderman is great for most ages (the front car is best).
  • Be warned that there is no way to avoid getting wet on the Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls.

**Universal is offering exclusive vacation packages for the summer and fall that include:

Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando

Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando

  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade and the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley
  • A specially themed Welcome Parcel delivered to their doorstep

Go the the Universal Orlando website for details.