I found myself previewing the Wizarding World of Harry Potter a couple of days back, and I can honestly say that it’s everything Universal Orlando has promised. And more.
My job involves visiting a lot of theme parks and seeing a lot of cool stuff, but I have never felt so immersed in a fictional environment. I was walking the streets of Hogsmeade Village. I was a student at Hogwarts.
You can witness the squabbling portraits at Hogwart’s Castle, get growled at by the Monster Book of Monsters, and be admonished by one Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.
There is no doubt that fans of the Harry Potter books and movies are going to enjoy the heck out of a visit to the Wizarding World.
And that’s an important note that this mom needs to make: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is aimed at the target audience for the Harry Potter series, tweens and older.
It’s completely logical, of course. In fact, it’s best, because the creators of the Wizarding World could never be true to the environment they were creating if the land wasn’t aimed at the typical Harry Potter audience.
But because many people think of a theme park as a family outing, I think it needs to be said: There are no kiddie rides in the Wizarding World.
The new ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, has a 48-inch height requirement and a long list warning away anyone with a health issue more serious than a zit or a stuffy nose. The ride was not open during the preview, but obviously, it involves some intense thrills.
And there’s some intense stuff going on in the shops and streets: Video “feeds” from Azkaban, a mounted Hog’s Head that startlingly comes to life. Like I said, it’s awesome. But it will totally scare a 3 year old.
My rule of thumb would be this: If you would let your kids watch the Harry Potter movies, then they are old enough to enjoy the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. If not, they aren’t going to get much out of it. Logical, right?
I’m not trying to discourage you from going to Universal’s Islands of Adventure, just pointing out the realities of the new Wizarding World for those who may not realize it. There’s still plenty for the little ones to do in the nearby Seuss Landing while the older kids go off to see the wizard.
And moms, be sure to switch off the babysitting duties and get some Harry Potter time for yourself. It’s awesome. Really. Just not for a toddler.