In 2010, Universal Orlando officially opened a new themed area — The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The area was designed to put guests into the Harry Potter series, more specifically transport them to Hogsmeade Village and Hogwarts Castle. Its success has led to developments of the Wizarding World in Japan and Hollywood and an expansion in Orlando (Diagon Alley). Today, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is one of the most beloved areas in the world. It is an experience that exists only at Universal — and it is an experience that forever changed the theme park industry. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter not only brings to life an iconic series, but it is also highly detailed and immersive, and the area’s rides are beyond impressive; this is perhaps the best-themed area currently in existence.
Though theme parks are already precise in detail, the Wizarding World is different. There are no cardboard facades or painted features on structures to create an illusion of its existence — everything in sight is real. Universal did not take any shortcuts when constructing this magical world, they included every bit of detail from the series.
This world that has been brought to life allows you to visit popular locations throughout the Harry Potter films, including Hogsmeade Village, Hogwarts Castle, and Diagon Alley (in Orlando). The setting for each destination/landmark is truly magical, fascinating, and breathtaking. It’s almost as if everything is real, as if you’re actually a wizard/witch and in a magical world free from muggles (humans). The incredible recreations are just incredible! With a fire-breathing dragon atop Gringotts Bank, a realistic replica of the Hogwarts Express, a towering reproduction of Hogwarts Castle, and more, it makes you just want to leave reality.
Your mind is further blown away by the area’s world-class rides and attractions. Situated in each Wizarding World throughout Universal’s theme parks is the iconic Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, a flight simulation attraction that takes you on a magical bench ride with Harry Potter and his friends. Throughout the attraction, you’ll come across a fire-breathing dragon, Dementors, the Whomping Willow, and more. The ride uses KUKA arms to make the movements possible, screens to bring the characters to life, and animatronics and sets to further create a believable experience. Located in Orlando’s expansion is the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts attraction, which takes you down to the vaults, where you’ll eventually encounter Voldemort. It’s basically a mix between a roller coaster and a simulator with combinations of screens, physical effects, and sets. (There are additional rides in each Wizarding World but they aren’t marquee attractions). These rides are all original concepts that have never quite been accomplished before, and they are nothing short of epic!
With all things considered, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter can definitely be considered the best-themed area currently in existence — and with valid reasons. From the moment you walk down the streets of Hogsmeade Village and Diagon Alley, your jaw instantly drops. The magical world J.K. Rowling wrote about, the same world that was visually created in films, is real (as in, actually, physically real and visitable).
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