A few days ago I got to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando. The reason I got to attend is because Warner Bros. Home Video was promoting the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 on Blu-ray and DVD, and they flew in reporters from all around the world to interview the cast and filmmakers. While I wasn’t sure what to expect, I was blown away by the attention to detail (credit goes to Harry Potter production designer Stuart Craig) and how walking through the park is like walking through the streets of Hogsmeade Village outside Hogwarts. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you will absolutely love it.
However, it’s very important to know one thing before you go: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is not an all day park. It’s merely one portion of Universal’s larger Island of Adventure theme park. In fact, if the lines are short, you could visit every store and go on all the rides in a few hours, though the lines are never short and you’ll want to spend a lot of time shopping in Ollivanders Wand Shop. I know I did. Hit the jump for more.
As I was saying, as long as you know what you’re getting before you go, it’s absolutely worth the money. Also, one of the things that really impressed me is Universal sells a lot of the merchandise for a fair price. Most of the candy at Honeydukes is $10, and you get a lot of it. In addition, the wands at Ollivanders are $29.99 and they’ve got almost every character in stock.
What Universal has done is make most of the items impulse buys, rather than big decisions. Since they’re only $30, almost every kid leaves with a wand, and almost every person stands in line to buy a Butterbeer. I drank a few. I strongly recommend the frozen kind.
As you enter the park, you can spot the people that are on their way out by their Wizarding World of Harry Potter bag filled with merchandise. If you could judge the economy by the people standing in line to spend money inside the park, America is in great shape.
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, I definitely recommend visiting the park. And make sure to bring a credit card.
Here’s a stand up I recorded in the park right after doing my interviews and further down are a ton of pictures. Finally, if you missed them, here’s my video interviews with director David Yates , Warwick Davis and James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley).