Harry Potter's Wizarding World - Universal Hollywood Vs Universal Orlando: Which Is Better?
We give you the low-down on the main differences between the two wizarding worlds at Universal Hollywood and Universal Orlando. Read the full story at MTV.co.uk.
If you know your gryffindor from your Dumbledore or your Dobby from your dementor, chances are you would have visited at least one of the many Harry Potter themed attractions around the world.
But for the true fans out there, there are now two wizarding worlds of Harry Potter in America to explore - Orlando and Hollywood.
The Hollywood theme park celebrated its grand opening on 7th April this year, six years after the original park in Orlando opened. Universal executive Ron Meyer said: "Orlando was just the start. It's now Hollywood's turn to have the Wizarding World of Harry Potter."
What delights does the new Harry Potter zone have in store for us, and what are the major (and subtle) differences between them?
We'll let you in on a few secrets on what you can expect-o (sorry) from each location...
Initial wow factor
Based on sheer size and scale, Orlando's 13 acre park has more to offer than Hollywood's six acres. Orlando's offers Diagon Alley too, whilst its counterpart is predictably less developed with only Hogsmeade and Hogwarts castle to explore. BUT a Diagon Alley expansion is reportedly in the works which is majorly exciting for the future of Hollywood (dreams coming true over here).
The cobbled streets of Hogsmeade contain all of your favourite shops like Honeydukes, Ollivander's Wand Shop, The Owl's Post, Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment, Zonko's Joke Shop, Filch's Emporium of Confiscated Goods as well as places to eat like Hogshead Tavern and The Three Broomsticks. The best thing about the Hollywood park is that there is an extra magical alleyway called Town Wall, which reveals hidden shops like Ceridwen's Cauldron, Dominic Maestro's music shop, The Magic Neep greengrocers and the cafe Brews and Stews.
Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey is the ride within Hogwarts Castle and was named 'Best Ride' by Theme Park Insider when it opened in Orlando in 2010. But guess what? Hollywood has had an upgrade with way better effects and sharper images. The outdoor rollercoaster, The Flight Of The Hippogriff is slightly higher, faster and more exhilarating in Hollywood, too.
Now we know queuing is totally boring, but not at the the Hollywood theme park! The queue for Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey takes you through the best spots within Hogwarts castle like Dumbledore's office, the Gryffindor common room and the Greenhouse, which offers incredible views of the surrounding valley and mountains in the distance that isn't available at Orlando.
After stocking up on your butterbeer and finding your dream wand, you'll be pleased to know that there is a new clothing store at Hollywood called Gladrags. It's where Hermione, Harry and Ron went into to buy odd socks for Dobby's birthday in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and it's where you can feast your eyes on Hermione and Cho Chang's dresses from the Yule Ball. You can also buy items like crystal balls from Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment which isn't open for business at Orlando.
HP enthusiasts can board Orlando's Hogwarts Express to take a journey between Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. Whilst the Hollywood train doesn't move, there's a life-size replica train car on the Hogwarts Express where visitors can take photos. The luggage rack and seats are actual props from the film! Watch this space too as Hollywood's Hogwarts Express may be put into service in the future.
Hollywood's 3D version of the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey totally kicks it up a notch. You wear quidditch goggles to view everything in 3D, meaning dementors can get right in your face so you can feel their breath! SPOOKY.
MTV Travelled to... Universal Studios Hollywood. You can book your Universal Studios Hollywood tickets with AttractionTix today. Adults: £75 / Children: £71. MTV also travelled to Universal Studios Orlando. You can book your Universal Studios Orlando tickets with FloridaTix today. Adult tickets: £153 / Children: £145.