Editor Samantha Magpantay reviews Harry Potter World

Every kid dreams of the day that they receive their Hogwarts letter so that they could be introduced to the world of magic. I wasn't any different. But like many, I was disappointed by the blunt reality that the letter would never come and consequently, that magic would never enrich my life. Yet as I walked down the grey cobbled streets of Hogsmeade, wrapping my Slytherin house scarf around my neck, I was content because this moment at Universal Studio’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter was the closest I would ever get to being a character in J.K. Rowling’s magical world.

To me, the best part of the Wizarding World was not the classic butterbeer, the quirky employee that guided the morning rush with an enthusiastic “this way, Muggles”, or even the moment I bought my very own Slytherin house scarf. Those features paled in comparison to a life-sized version of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The 4D motion picture ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey was cleverly built. Its wait line was woven throughout the whole Hogwarts school so the time before the ride was an attraction itself. While I struggled to find my footing through the dimly illuminated hallways of Hogwarts, I found myself impressed with the attention to detail, especially the unique quirks of the series like talking portraits. Deep in the school, I walked into a room that featured on all four walls dozens of the talking portraits. I quietly snickered as Salazar Slytherin looked affronted, complaining about the “infestation of Muggles” to Rowena Ravenclaw. Typical Salazar, I thought. Surprisingly, there was even the Fat Lady portrait who granted access to the Gryffindor dorms, her sass never-ending.

Right before the ride itself is the glorious Sorting Hat. I inspected its tattered folds and recoiled when it boomed the ride’s safety instructions. I couldn’t contain a small inkling of disappointment in my heart that the Sorting Hat didn’t belt the school song. But my dismay was quickly relieved the moment I boarded Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The wicked flying scenes, the altercation with the Whomping Willow, and the horrifying confrontation with Aragog and his fellow spider clan created an unforgettable adventure.

Unfortunately, the Hollywood version only featured Hogsmeade, unlike the Florida location, which also transforms the iconic Diagon Ally into life.

Despite this, California’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter still amazed me with its striking accuracy.

At the end of the day, I only spent four hours at Harry Potter World as there weren’t that many attraction to visit. But I’d definitely recommend going to the Wizarding World. Just be ready to empty your wallet as I spent around $100 solely there.

It’s true, I never did receive my Hogwarts letter. But that one magical day in the Wizarding World was good enough to last a lifetime.

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