Thursday, October 7, 2010

Playing Quidditch, Fighting Dragons and Riding a Hippogriff aka The Rides of Harry Potter Land

I didn't just eat and drink Butterbeer while I was at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  I also rode the rides.  There are three rides in Harry Potter Land; The Dragon Challenge, Flight of the Hippogriff and The Forbidden Journey.

We got up bright and early so we could get to the park near opening time.  When we entered the magical land of Harry Potter we noticed that the Dragon Challenge Roller Coasters only had a wait time of 5 minutes so we decided to go ahead and jump on that.  So apparently I'm a little afraid of the roller coasters that go upside down but hey, I knew I had to power through.  The line for the ride takes your through things related to Book 4 (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) which is about the Triwizard Tournament.  You also get to see the Ford Anglia.  (Side Note to Twilight fans, you do know that before he was a vampire, Robert Pattinson was Hogwart's student, Cedric Diggory?  You know that right?).  Anyways, you got to choose which roller coaster you went on.  Red or Blue?  We went with red the first time.  It's one of the ones where your feet hang off the bottom so I do not recommend wearing flip flops on this.  I noticed that some people took theirs off and sat on them.  During the ride you actually pass the other roller coaster and at times it looks like you are going to run into them.  When I got off the ride, I was dizzy.  I mean it was like 9:30 am and I'm a wuss.  But overall I would say it was fun and good for people who really like roller coasters.  We rode on the blue one the next day.  I thought that one was a little tamer.

We had a 30 minute wait for the Flight of the Hippogriff Ride.  I seriously think this was the worst line I had to wait in (even though it wasn't really long).  They had fans pointing at the line but they weren't turned on and you kept listening to Hagrid tell the same story over and over again.  I mean it was a good story but it got old.  The ride only lasted about 30 seconds (I think).  It was a family friendly roller coaster so it wasn't super exciting but it was decent for one ride.  I think the kids would like it.  You also got to see the outside of Hagrid's hut so that was cool.  Who doesn't love Hagger?

My favorite ride ever was The Forbidden Journey.  I loved it.  We went on in multiple times.  I won't say how many times but each time was a 40 minute wait.  It was just cool.  The waiting line goes through the castle, then back outside (where there is a beer purchasing station, just an FYI) through Herbology, and then back in to the castle.  You go through Dumbledore's office.  He comes out and welcomes you (well a digitalized version of him does).  Then you got to the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom where Harry, Ron and Hermione plot to sneak you out of the lecture so you can go to a quidditch match.  It might even briefly snow on your while you're in that room.  You also get to see many moving pictures, the Fat Lady, the Sorting Hat, etc.  Once you are on the actual ride, it seems like you are flying through the air.  You get to fly through a quidditch match, face the Whomping Willow, and see the Great Hall.  Watch out for the Dementors though and those acromantula.  Eek.

While I was not riding rides and eating, I was shopping.  Harry Potter Land (as I prefer to call it) features several stores from the books including; Dervish and Banges, Honeydukes, Zonkos, Owl Post and Filch's Emporium.  I loved perusing Filch's Emporium every time I got off the Forbidden Journey Ride.  I had a minor freak out when I was in Dervish and Banges because of the eleventy billion other people that were also in there.  I walked around briefly and then left.  When I tried to go back in there was a line.  I did buy some postcards and have them stamped with Hogsmeade from the Owl Post.  I think my favorite stores were Honeydukes and Zonkos which were actually connected.  It was so cool to see all the things from the books...Extendable Ears, U-No-Poo (Beezus5's fave), Chocolate Frogs (which I purchased, it featured a Salazar Slytherin Card), Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, etc.   I also bought a cauldron cake which was very tasty.  The pumpkin tarts looked good as well.  They were behind a counter, along with fudge and a bunch of really tasty looking caramel apples.  At one point I was very happy that I did not have a kid with me because I heard multiple kids trying to con their parents in to buying them sets of $100 robes.  Some of them succeed.  Some did not.  I also saw a lot of people who bought wands.  The wand shop was always extremely crowded and had a line so I didn't ever go in there.  But apparently you have the chance to see if a wand will "pick you" like they do in the books.
Random Observations/Comments-
-I think October is a pretty good time to go.  It was really crowded at times but I'm sure not near as crowded as it was in summer.  The longest we had to wait in line was 40 minutes for the Forbidden Journey but it wasn't bad since you were walking through the castle for half the time.  Also the weather was really nice while I was there.  It was a little hot at times but not too bad.
-If you have kids, they do have a thing called Child Swap where you can wait in line with your kids and then have one adult stay with the kid while the other adult rides and then switch.  All the rides recommended that you not ride though if you are pregnant.  The height requirement for most of the rides was 48 inches.
-The 3 Broomsticks restaurant is worth going to even if there is a line.  It is pretty efficient once you actually get inside. The food prices ranged from $5 for kid's food to $8-$14 for adult food and I thought the food was high quality.
-You are not allowed to take purses or any kind of bags on some of the rides but they have temporary lockers that are right by the rides that you can use for free for the duration of the ride.  They were pretty easy to use.
-Wear Tennis Shoes.  I wore my running shoes both days and I was really glad.
-Read up to the 4th Harry Potter book before you go if you haven't already.  I mean if you really don't have time or don't want to, you will probably still have a good time.  But you will understand everything that is there a lot better if you've read up to the 4th book.

PS-I'm sorry if I misspelled any Harry Potter words.  I tried my best but spellcheck is telling me that half the words in the post are not real words.  Weird eh?

So are you going to read Harry Potter now?
Do you want to go to Harry Potter land?
Have you been to HP land?  If so what was your favorite thing?


Salt said...

I love rides that make the waiting in line part not so bad by adding in other awesome things. Such as beer stations. That sounds like my kind of line.

Hutch said...

We're seriously planning our trip now for next spring and I am so beyond excited!!

Bonnie said...

Very informative! Im interested to know how many times you rode that ride.

bmellisen said...

This trip was awesome. I agree, October is a good time to go...summer might be good but you have to want to ride the water rides as well. The Forbidden Journey was great, probebly my favorite ride of all time, and I have been to numberous theme parks, including I am sort of an expert. And while HP land was sort of pricey, it wasnt over pricey...worth it if you love Harry Potter. Shanzie, go ahead and read the books now.

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

I loved it there. The only thing I wished I could have done was go into Zonks. That part of the store was sooo packed that I couldn't get in there!

Jenni said...

Sounds like a good time!

Mo Young said...

Since I haven't read any of the books, I am unsure of apprx 63% of the things you're talking about here. However, I may one day go to this HP World just b/c of your excitement - glad y'all had fun! And good to know it's better than Dollywood, that's a nice standard.