The waits to enter the Harry Potter area of the park are long, often in excess of 2 hours in the stand-by line (as of December 2010-January 2011). I would recommend picking up a "return ticket" that is usually distributed at an offsite location (e.g. Toon Lagoon) and coming back 2-3 hours later. In the meantime, you can enjoys some of the areas of the Islands of Adventure (other "islands"). Suggested parks areas to enjoy during the wait to enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter:
- Camp Jurassic, a children's play area in Jurassic Park
- Jurassic Park River Adventure - it looks like a fun ride but "you will get wet, probably soaked, just like getting a shower". They sell ponchos ($8 each) but the employees are not sure how effective they are.
- Pteranodon Flyers, a children's low-speed, suspended roller coaster which takes 2 riders at a time around the sky above Camp Jurassic. It looks nice but it has a long wait (45 minutes).
- Triceratops Encounter/Triceratops Discovery Trail - only 10 minute wait but many people find it boring.
Dartmouth medical school named for Dr. Seuss creator, Theodor Geisel (1925 Dartmouth graduate), and his wife (http://goo.gl/a7Kvv).
- One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, a spinning ride with a musical riddle that will help riders escape water-spitting fish. This ride is quite enjoyable actually.
- The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride, a twin-track tour above and around Seuss Landing. This is one of the best rides for younger children.
- Caro-Seuss-el, a carousel - a classic ride.
After you enter the the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you will likely find that the area is very crowded, with long lines for the rides, and to enter many of the shops. The shortest wait for a ride is for the Dragon Challenge (5-10 minutes) shortly after the entrance (on the right). However, this ride is not very pleasant and is out of limit for younger kids, hence the shorter lines.
A recreation of the Hogwarts Express locomotive lies at the entry to Hogsmeade.
The Owl Post is a working post office (where postcards and letters will be delivered with an authentic Hogsmeade postmark) that sells stationery, writing implements, stamps, and owl-related gifts.
The Three Broomsticks is based on the inn and pub from the Potter series, and offers a variety of food and beverage items from the Harry Potter books and movies.
The Hog's Head is based on the pub from the Potter series owned by Aberforth Dumbledore
Honeydukes is a sweet shop.
Dervish and Banges is a store selling "magical" items, as well as Quidditch supplies, and Hogwarts clothing.
Zonko's is a toy and joke store
Filch's Emporium of Confiscated Goods is a general gift shop offering Hogwarts souvenirs.
Ollivanders is a re-creation of Ollivanders wand shop, the store where Harry purchases his wand in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Unlike other shops in the park, visitors are admitted in groups of 20 to experience the premise from the Potter series, that "the wand chooses the wizard".
The rides include:
- Dragon Challenge - a roller coaster with 2 tracks that overlap and intertwine with each other. This really is a rough ready and it is not recommended for younger children or adults who have significant disease or anxiety. Few people enjoyed it among those I asked for an opinion. You must leave your bag in the designated lockers before boarding the roller coaster.
A dueling roller coaster features typically 2 roller coasters, built close to each other. The rides are designed to do just as the name indicates: to duel. The coaster's layout consists of maneuvering to produce near-misses between the two coaster trains, designed to induce a greater "adrenaline rush" for the rider than a stand alone roller coaster. As of 2010, the only inverted dueling coaster in the world is at Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Florida. The Dragon Challenge coasters reach a top speed of about 60 MPH (95 km/h) and pass within 12 inches (30 cm, or 1 foot) of each other at some points.
The accelerations accepted in rollercoaster design are generally in the 4-6Gs range for positive vertical (pushing you into your seat). Despite safety measures, accidents can, and do, occur. California requires amusement parks to report any ride-related accident that requires an emergency room visit, while Florida exempts parks whose parent companies employ more than 1000 people from having to report any accidents at all.
In 2003, a 34-year-old woman from Jensen Beach, Florida suffered a heart attack while riding the Incredible Hulk coaster. She was taken to the hospital in critical condition, where she was later pronounced dead.
- Flight of the Hippogriff - a roller coaster designed for families.
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey - a ride simulating a tour of the castle and its surrounding grounds. Visitors initially walk through the castle, interacting with various characters before boarding a "magical bench". This is probably the best ride but it also has the longest wait, often in excess of 45 minutes.
The wait for the rides is often longer than 60 minutes. Universal uses a system for advanced checking similar to to Disney's FastPass but charges $40 for it (FastPass is free).
Steve Fuehne: Terrified dad goes on rollercoaster - as his daughter was not allowed on without him | Mail Online - http://goo.gl/F2PKA:
Harry Potter studio tour - 3-hour walking tour through the Warner Bros. studios in London http://goo.gl/aTZU7
http://www.aaatravelviews.com/category/Universal.aspxVisiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando http://bit.ly/1CGPwL8