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What is the Hogwarts Express?
The Hogwarts Express is a first-of-its-kind ride that links multiple geographical locations in one themed experience. The train not only provides transportation from park to park but also presents two different “stories” for passengers to enjoy on their routes.
The Hogwarts Express travels from King’s Cross Station (in Universal Studios Florida) to Hogsmeade Station (in Islands of Adventure), as seen in the books and movies, and from Hogsmeade to King’s Cross. Thanks to video monitors that double as the locomotive’s windows, a number of Harry Potter characters make appearances, including the fabled trio of Harry, Ron, and Hermione and a sneak attack by the chilling Dementors.
Where is the Hogwarts Express located?
In The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, which is in Universal Studios Florida, and also in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, which is located within Islands of Adventure.
The Hogwarts Express – height restrictions and other factors
There is no height requirement; has Express Pass access; requires a park-to-park theme-park ticket to ride.
The Hogwarts Express – wheelchair, ECV, and pram accessibility
The Hogwarts Express is a unique attraction in that it is also a mode of transportation between both of Universal Orlando’s theme parks. As such, it has greater accessibility for wheelchairs, ECVs (electric convenience vehicles), and prams (note that, in the United Kingdom, strollers are called “prams” and will be referred to as such in King’s Cross and Hogsmeade Stations).
Guests may bring all three of these items aboard the train, but please be aware that Universal-rented prams won’t be allowed; instead, passengers will drop them off upon entering the Hogwarts Express queue and then pick up another rental upon exiting the ride at the other station.
The Hogwarts Express – what you wish you knew before you experienced it
The only negative part of the entire attraction is the lack of voices and likenesses from Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger). Unfortunately, Universal didn’t do the very best of jobs in finding a suitable replacement for the latter – and if you didn’t expect Hermione to sound so different beforehand, it might take you (momentarily) out of the experience.
Also, be sure to have your ticket or annual pass ready before heading to the queue, as fumbling for your admission at the last minute can really extend the wait time. (And, of course, make sure everyone in your party has park-to-park access!)
How scary is the Hogwarts Express?
We rate the Hogwarts Express one out of five Dementors in terms of fear factor. With a smooth ride and a mostly passive experience, the attraction really is designed for the whole family. The only potential hang-up here is for small children, who will probably be frightened by the boarding Dementor – which is a creepy-but-very-brief encounter.
What was the Hogwarts Express‘s opening date?
July 8, 2014
The Hogwarts Express – OI fun facts
There are, arguably, more Easter eggs in the Hogwarts Express queue and ride experience than practically any other attraction on the planet – the perfume advertisement in King’s Cross Station, for example, or the (invisible) thestrals outside of Hogmseade Station. Discussing what you managed to see with your friends and family afterwards is a major part of the fun.
Also, did you know that the Express is the first theme-park attraction in the world to be designed for literally anybody? Even if you’re an infant or on an oxygen tank, everyone can take the ride from London to Hogsmeade (or vice versa).
The Hogwarts Express – photo gallery
The Hogwarts Express – real guest reviews
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Universal has done an amazing job with this ride, and making it different for each direction. The attention to detail in both of the stations at each end was extremely well done. There were items we missed the first few times, that we were finding ourselves catching.
Even better was our first time on the ride. We were going from Kings Cross to Hogsmeade and one of the Station staff members made the comment about my wife's "wine bottle". We were puzzled for a bit until we realized they were referring to the box with the wand we had picked up at Olivanders prior to the ride. Later, another Station staff commented on our odd looking school uniforms.
I have a bit of a biased opinion because I do not do thrill rides so Hogwarts Express is the first HP themed ride I can do. I have probably been on this ride about 10 times (both ways) and it has only been open a month. I don't think I can get tired of it.
The King's Cross queue is ten times better than the Hogsmeade station queue. It is massive though and has more queue space than it could ever need.
I love that you can bring food and drink on board and my husband and I have been known to grab a UK beer from Kings Cross station and take it on the train and enjoy in Hogsmeade, and doing the same with a Hog's Tea from Hogsmeade and going to Diagon Alley with it (so awesome the first time I did it).
I love the beautiful themed details on the exterior of the train, the steam effect when the train is in the station, and the interior of the train is picture perfect. The cabin is so much like the movies it is remarkable.
The only two downfalls, in my opinion, is the terrible not Hermione voice, it sounds nothing like her and the other is the pacing of some of the scenes is a little rushed, i.e. the Demeantor scene and Harry's patronus seems super fast to me.
All in all, this is one of the my top attractions in all of UOR.
Hogwarts Express hands down gets five stars from me it was amazing. Since there are so many reviews about it already I wont dwindle on it.
A major thing I wanted to review, but there was no space on here was the London Front but really just Sirius' home the Order used, where you will see Kreacher. The reason I wanted to comment is that Kreacher peers out the window but not a lot and not very long each time, this made it very difficult for pictures and lead to a line build up but otherwise this was such an authentic replica it was astounding!
The Hogwarts Express was easily my favorite part of the whole Wizarding World experience. We rode it 6 times during our 3 day visit, but every time I told my husband that I would be happy to just ride it back and forth all day. I was worried the effects through the windows would take me out of the authenticity of the experience, but it didn't. The only things I could possibly complain about are Hermione's voice, and the long hike through each queue. The good news about the long hike, though, is that it always meant very short wait times. 🙂
I really love everything about the Hogwarts Express! King's Cross station is beautiful and it really makes it seem like you're boarding a train in London. Once you enter platform 9 3/4 everything seems so authentic. The way the steam rises out of the train, and the way the whistle blows when it's getting ready to leave. It sounds just like the movie. I also really like the films that are played on each trip. Sure Hermione's voice is bad but it doesn't ruin the whole experience. It's also a Much needed and great way to quickly get between both Potter lands. Overall, a fun addition to the Wizarding World!
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