People are lining up for hours to get into the grand opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure theme park. If you prefer to wait until things die down, here is a blow by blow account of the Forbidden Journey ride to ride you over until you can experience it for yourself. Warning: don’t read any further if you prefer to be surprised, as this article describes each of the scenes you will encounter:
You will know you are close to the loading platform when you see the Sorting Hat giving you pre-ride warnings. You board the “enchanted benches” in a loading area reminiscent of the Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion, except for all the floating candles. The benches look deceptively tame, but the over-the-shoulder restraint warns of excitement to come.
Just past the loading platform you encounter Hermoine, who dusts you with floo powder so you can fly off to meet Harry and Ron. At this point your bench is suddenly “flying,” thanks to being mounted on a robot arm that moves you in sync with the film footage being projected in front of you. You fly outside with Harry and Ron, then pause as Hargrid asks if you have seen a loose dragon. Sure enough, the fire breather attacks a moment later.
The ride then shifts from movie to real sets as you fly through burned debris and encounter the dragon itself. Be prepared for a blast of smoke and heat! He’s not the only threat; soon you encounter spiders and might just get literally squirted with “venom.” This scene is not for those with aracnophobia.
Hermoine talks you through the spiders, and the Whomping Willow gives you a smack back to Ron and Harry. You don’t go upside down on Forbidden Journey, but you will tip all the way onto your back (my husband and I got stuck in that position for about 10 minutes on one ride). You join in the Quidditch match thanks to movie footage and also encounter an insulting Malfoy. Suddenly the match is interrupted by a dementor attack and you shift away from the movie and back into animatronics. The dementors will surround you, and you might just see a very cool effect (although it’s hit and miss on whether it’s actually working). You’ll see you and your bench-mates projected in the mist as the dementors try to steal your soul.
Not surprisingly, Harry rescues you with his famous spell and it’s back to the movie footage. You fly back to the Great Hall where you are greeted by students, faculty and Dumbledore who congratulates you on your bravery and invites you back to Hogwarts any time. But the action isn’t over yet. There’s one more quick flying scene before you find yourself back at the loading platform. The exit of course leads into a gift shop.
Click here to find me on Facebook and get a very special view of Forbidden Journey. Click here for pictures from the pre-grand opening celebrity party. Click here to learn what happens when you’re chosen by a wand in Ollivanders. Click here to read more of my articles.