The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter is home to some of the best rides at Universal Studios, one of which is Harry Potter And The Forbidden Journey, located in Hogwarts Castle.
Harry Potter And The Forbidden Journey ride at Universal Studios can be seen as scary as it is ‘dark themed’ and does have some frightening tendencies such as the Acromantula called Aragog and the dementors that are within the ride. Although there are plenty of moments that are magical too.
In this post, we will highlight the many asked questions about Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey so you can decide for yourself if the ride is suitable for your and your family.
What Type of Ride Is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey?
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is a dark—themed “robocoaster” attraction at Universal Studio’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter that takes you through the Hogwarts castle. It allows you to explore its walls while you are seeing your favourite characters going on their daily life.
It’s pretty much a motion simulator rollercoaster that will make you feel like you are in Harry Potter using a simulator and 3D visualization technology.
The attraction itself features filmed sequences, as well as animatronics and sets. You will also have simulated aerobotics set on a robotic arm – one that moves on a track. In the story, you are a Muggle that is allowed to enter Hogwarts castle and using floo powder, Hermione, Harry and Ron take you through every part of Hogwarts.
You can visit the walls of Hogwarts, the Astronomy Tower, Forbidden Forest, the Quidditch field, even an audio-animatronic version of the Whomping Willow. Simply put, you’ll be entering Hogwarts, but the 3D technology will give it an extra edge of magic.
The ride itself is “dark-themed,” after all – which is why some people might think it to be scary. It has its magical parts that will make you say “wow, how did they do that” – but it also has its scary parts.
For example, when you pass through the forbidden forest, you will come across the huge Acromantula called Aragog (big, big spider) which spits venom at you (fake, and it’s water).
The Dementors might also make your heart skip a few beats, particularly when you see them flying straight at you as Harry is trying to lead you away. And let’s not forget about the dragons; Hagrid might see them as cute and fuzzy, but those that are easily scared might need an extra pair of trousers when they see the big one shooting flames straight at you.
It can be scary for some, intense for others. It all depends on how easily you get scared. For the Potterhead that loves Harry Potter to the moon and back, every moment of it will be savoured. However, for people who scare easily (or perhaps for children too), this ride can be very scary.
Is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Worth the Wait?
Like pretty much any ride, you will have to wait a bit in line for a relatively short ride. Plus, it’s one of the main attractions of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – so, you can expect the line to be even longer than for others.
During the time that you are waiting, you could as well wait to ride the Hogwarts Express, escape from Gringotts, or have a nice meal at the Three Broomsticks or the Leaky cauldron. So is it worth waiting in line for it?
Every Harry Potter enthusiast, upon hearing this question, will look at you as if you just spiked another head: of course, it’s worth the wait!
After all, with Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, you will be able to experience Hogwarts in a way that not many Muggles can. It’s a ride that you weren’t supposed to take part in because you are a Muggle – but in the end, you get the chance.
What’s the Standby Waiting Time for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey?
Waiting time depends on a number of factors. The average standby time is around 30-45 minutes, but it can stretch for as much as 250 minutes on a very busy day.
This is why you might want to go in line at the perfect moments when the waiting time is at its shortest. The best times are thought to be at noon, at around 12PM, 4PM, and 7PM close to evening.
This is because at around those times, people are typically stopping for lunch, dinner, drinks, or are simply going home for the night.
Bad weather will also make the line shorter, so if you do not mind getting a little wet (or you have a waterproof poncho on you), then you should stand in line for the ride.
Rides are still going when it’s rainy, but many people prefer to find shelter during the rain – which means the lines thin out quite significantly. That’s the shortest standby waiting you’ll be likely to get.
Can You Use an Express Pass for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey?
If you do not want to wait in long lines, then you might be interested in the Universal Studios Express Pass.
Universal Studios offers Express Passes for almost every ride you can find on the premises – and fortunately, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is one of those rides. You can also access priority seating at shows using an Express Pass, but the best part of it is that it saves you quite a lot of time.
While the waiting time is much shorter, it doesn’t mean it’s non-existent. After all, you won’t be the only person with an Express Pass – and there will also be the ones without the Express Pass to consider.
Seating and places in line will have to be considered as well. You will simply be seen as a priority. As a result, instead of waiting 45 minutes to get on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, you will wait under 20 minutes with an Express Pass.
It might not seem like much in the beginning, and you might think “why not skip the wait altogether,” but think about it: that Express Pass can be used almost everywhere. With the time you save on this attraction and the time you save on the other ones, you’ll be able to see more attractions on the same day.
What Is the Seat Format On Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey?
Seats in Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey go in two’s or fours. After going through the castle and entering the ride itself, you will reach a point where you will strap yourself in a coaster chair.
Those chairs do not have the typical rollercoaster foot support, but your feet will be dangling in the way. This way, it will look like you are also riding a broomstick together with Harry and the others.
In most cases, you can choose to go in two’s – particularly if there are two of you riding. However, you can also go with 4-seating options. This option is more convenient if you have a larger family or going with a bigger group (for example, a class field trip).
The beauty of this ride is that, unlike other rides, you are not cramped into other groups of people. You’ll be able to enjoy your trip without being bothered by the strangers around you.
Seats used to be smaller, but now they were made to fit people of multiple sizes. Seats in the front are the “regular,” appropriate for people of average size, whereas people on the plus-size will have to use the seats in the back. This way, the staff can be sure that the restraints and everything fit around you properly.
The height of the backrest is 35.83 inches (21 cm), and the width of the backrest is 20.47 inches (52 cm). As for the actual seat, where your bottom will go, the length from the back to the front is 17.32 inches (44 cm), with the crotch area stopping at 13.32 inches (34 cm). This format of the seat will ensure that you are strapped into position, with no danger of slipping away.
However, bear in mind that the maximum limit for the seat is 265 lbs.
Can You Take Your Bag on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey?
This depends on where you are planning to go through Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and how big your bag is. Typically, fanny packs are permitted – but anything bigger than that will not be allowed. The general rule is that unless you can fit it in a pocket, it will have to go – so obviously, the fanny pack cannot be too big either.
After all, it might mess with the restraints, which is why you might want to leave it in the locker before entering the queue. Rest assured, considering that lockers have biometric scanners, your belongings are completely safe.
Some people say that as long as you are not intending to ride, then you might be able to take a bag in with you. You may get a few funny looks from the other people, but considering that you aren’t riding anything, you may as well carry your bag with you.
How Long Does Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Last?
The queue itself lasts about 40 minutes, maybe even more – but the ride itself lasts at around 4 minutes. This is why many people wonder whether it is worth going through the queue with such a short ride.
The ride is the “darkest” part of the journey, however, as that’s where most of the magical effects of the attraction take place in. That is also where you will see the dragons and all the “scary” stuff, per se. The queue part will take you through Hogwarts and is typically less scary – or not scary at all.
How Tall Do You Have to Be to Ride the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey?
In order to ride on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, you must be at least 48 inches tall (122 cm). Due to the fact that the seats are fairly spread out, no children under that height will be allowed on the ride – even with a supervising adult.
This is different from other rides from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (such as the Flight of the Hippogriff). Here, children around 39-48 inches (99-122 cm) may ride as long as they have a supervising companion that’s at least 14 years old.
Is There a Child Swap at Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey?
If your child cannot ride or is not at the right height yet – but you really want to go onto the ride – you may also take advantage of the child swap. Children are easily scared, so you might want to think twice before taking them on the ride with you.
Before entering the queue, tell the people at the front that you wish to take advantage of the child swap – and upon reaching the ride itself, the child will be taken to a waiting area. There, they will load Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for your child to watch as you try to determine whether the ride is too scary for them or not.
Does Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Have Drops?
That depends on your definition of a drop. As you ride, you will come across a simulated drop on the screen – but there’s no actual drop.
However, it comes with a lot of movement – often made more intense with the motion simulator. There’s one five-foot dip, but many riders say that it’s not that bad.
That being said, if you are prone to motion sickness, it may affect you. Mixing that with seeing creepy scenes such as huge spiders coming straight to your face, it might add to your upset stomach even more. The drop might not affect you as much as the creepiness of the whole ride would, along with the motion-stimulating effect.
Can You Walk Through the Castle without Going on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey?
Absolutely. In case you do not want to go on the ride, there is a non-rider path that you may take as well. Considering that the queue has many signs telling you to bail if you have motion sickness or other conditions, they made a path that non-riders could take as well. This allows you to enjoy the beauty of Hogwarts without the ride.
Watch the Fat Lady portrait make faces, Pages in the Daily Prophet coming back to the light, the Great Hall with its magical look, and everything Hogwarts related. However, you will be asked to wait in line for the ride, because that’s where the exit path is. Simply ask them, and they will allow you to.