The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure was the only place in the world authorized by author J.K. Rowling to recreate the details of her novels and the films based on them. It attracted well over 5,000 visitors on opening day in June,2010, far more people than Universal seemed prepared to handle.
Some people had to wait in line for as long as 8 hours just to gain admittance to the 20-acre mini-theme park. Most seemed to feel it was worth the wait. Frozen Butterbeer ($3), the high-tech Forbidden Journey ride and the towering presence of Hogwarts castle remain the most popular attractions.
Entrance to the magical world is at Hogsmeade Village where the billowing steam locomotive of Hogwarts Express greets you at Hogsmeade Station.
Hogsmeade Village looks as it should, the only settlement in the United Kingdom where all the inhabitants are magical folk. With its leaning buildings with snow perpetually on its rooftops, Hogsmeade is where you will find such landmarks as Zonko’s joke shop, The Three Broomsticks restaurant, Ollivanders Wand Shop, Dervish and Banges and all the other iconic Hogsmeade shops from the Harry Potter novels.
Hogsmeade Village is everything you expected because it looks exactly like it did in the movies. Yet the faithful reproduction of the city created a serious problem. The individual shops–built to scale based on the films–are far too small to accommodate theme park crowds. As a result, the shops often become far too congested, sometimes with lengthy lines waiting to walk through their doors.
For parking information, visit Universal—Where To Park.