Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is an experience like none other! More than a ride, this attraction allows for Wizards and Muggles alike to explore the grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
For the first time in the U.S. in 3-D, Hollywood’s version of this beloved attraction brings about an exciting new element for guests to experience without having to make a trip to Japan!
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey lasts approximately 4 minutes and 30 seconds.
Yes, ask for assistance! Guests in wheelchairs are able to navigate through the entire queue, or you can take an elevator located inside Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods.
Photography and videotaping is permitted throughout the queue. We strongly suggest not using flash, as it can be distracting to other guests. However, photography and videotaping is not permitted, nor is it practical, on the ride itself. Just a friendly tip: employees will require that you put any large items (including cameras) in a locker prior to boarding. Therefore, picture and video may only be taken with a small phone or digital camera.
Height is strictly enforced at 48 inches. Any guests shorter than this height will not be permitted to ride. Keep in mind, guests of large stature may have issues with this ride, as well. There are multiple points in the queue where employees can test the over-the-shoulder harness. Proper fit is essential to go on this ride safely.
The Gate A Entrance for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is to the right of the normal queue. If you have any difficulty finding where to go, there are typically one or two employees located near the entrance who can answer any questions you may have.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey does offer a Child Switch option. It is conveniently located right before the boarding process to allow for the child to experience the entire queue with their group.
Parents should exercise caution. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey includes a variety of effects that may be upsetting to young children. As mentioned above, Child Switch is available to those who need it. Be sure to read the intensity meter below for a more detailed explanation.
The sorting hat from the Harry Potter series
While Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey features the child friendly, and popular Harry Potter storyline, the ride itself may be too intense for younger children. This ride makes use of both 3-D and practical effects to simulate high heights, fire effects, and more. The ride utilizes a robotic arm that makes quick movements and dramatic twists and turns.
Most children above the height requirement should enjoy this attraction, but parents should exercise caution.
Upon first sight of the enchanted benches inside the Room of Requirement, the seating can look a bit daunting. However, it is actually quite a simple and convenient method of boarding for this particular ride.
Each arm holds four seats. Depending on the amount of people in your group, you may be split up. Be sure to watch your step as you board, as the arms run on a continuously moving track. Once seated, be sure to pull down your over-the shoulder harness. An employee will hand you your 3-D glasses and you will be set to enjoy the ride!
The design of this ride makes it virtually impossible to have any sort of carry-on with you. As a result, the ride building provides an area for guests to put their belongings in a free locker prior to entering the queue.
Items such as phones, glasses, or hats can be held while on the ride, however, we highly suggest that you secure them tightly!
Universal’s largest attraction to date, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey combines practical effects and 3D imagery in a unique and exciting journey through the Wizarding World!
From the moment I walked through the archway into Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I immediately felt like I was back in Florida. It did not officially settle in that I was in Hollywood until I was handed the 3-D glasses by the employee prior to being covered with Floo powder by Hermione. In other words, up to that point, the experience of Wizarding World West is a close rival to its relative in Florida.
As mentioned already, this is the first time 3-D effects have been utilized in Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in the United States. In my opinion, this is where the Hollywood version of this attraction starts to falter under the shadow of its predecessor. A big factor in this impression was the ill-fitting 3-D glasses. I felt that throughout the ride, I was more concerned with keeping the glasses on than enjoying the ride itself. With that said, I have to take into account that this attraction is still going through technical rehearsals, and things like the 3-D glasses have the opportunity to change. Another negative aspect I have found with the addition of the 3-D effects is that it seems to have toned down the energy of the ride itself. What I loved about the Florida attraction so much was how jarring and thrilling the robotic arm moved throughout the ride. Unfortunately, I felt as if this area was lacking.
Well, let me be the first to say that this tour is far from that. Yes, it is an hour long, and yes, it is at times educational, but to skip the tour based on that alone is missing the point. The Studio Tour contains half of Universal’s attractions – such as King Kong 360, Earthquake, JAWS, and Fast and Furious – which make the tour far more interesting and entertaining than one would lead you to believe. Above that, the Studio Tour actually takes you through one of Hollywood’s busiest and biggest movie studios. And while that phrase probably has a jaded meaning, Universal Studios is truly a filmmaker’s destination – which means you’re almost guaranteed to see a set or prop from a movie you’ve seen in the past.
Despite my lack of interest in the 3-D effects (to be honest, I don’t like 3-D in most things), this ride is easily up to par with the version over in Orlando. Unfortunately, I am unable to make any comparison towards the ride in Japan, as I have not been there yet. However, I would not be surprised if my assessment were the same! This ride, in both of its versions, is impeccable. It is a perfect blend of digital and practical effects that work together so seamlessly to literally transport guests into the world of Harry Potter. I have said it before and I will say it again, this attraction, along with Wizarding World as a whole, is a mere glimpse into the talent behind Universal Studios’ creative team and what they are capable of.