Thursday, 2 August 2012 2:16 PM
For many people, the first book of the Harry Potter series came out when they were a child and the last tome was published when they were an adult. For others, they were already grown-up, but just as glued to the tales of Harry and his best friends.
Since then, the magical world of Hogwarts has continued to enthral young readers, who have also been able to enjoy the eight movies. The story of the young wizard and his sidekicks Ron and Hermione has gripped people of all ages - and now there's a theme park dedicated to it.
Of course, you'll find it in Orlando, which is probably the best place in the world for theme parks. Kids will love the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and even those who haven't read the books will appreciate the mystery and excitement. Below is a guide to visiting the attraction.
Where is it?
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is located in Universal Studios Florida in the Islands of Adventure section of the park. If you pick up a rental vehicle at Orlando Airport, you'll need to drive 11 miles on the SR-528 to I-4 East, before continuing for 2 miles and then coming off at the 75a exit. Hiring a car is probably the easier option if you're travelling with kids, as you can pile them and all of your belongings into the vehicle, rather than having to tackle public transport. More information about hiring a car at the airport can be found here.
What rides does it have?
There are three rides within the Harry Potter theme park. Flight of the Hippogriff is all about the intriguing creature that Harry gets to ride during a class with Hagrid. This is a family ride that will require you all to bow to the Hippogriff before you climb on board, just as the characters do.
Dragon Challenge will see you select one of the fire-breathing creatures to ride on, with each dragon a different rollercoaster with loops and a high-speed chase to mimic the Triwizard Tournament. The third and final ride is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which will see you explore the casle before soaring above the majestic structure. You'll get the chance to look at some of the most popular places at Hogwarts, including the Gryffindor common room.
Does it have any shops or restaurants?
As you might expect, the shops are modelled on those in the books. Zonko's will no doubt be the first store youngsters want to check out, as this is the famous novelty item and joke store where Ron's twin brothers used to stock up on all sorts of things. Screaming yo-yos and boxing telescopes are just some of the toys kids can snap up, while there is also an array of sweets to sample.
The Three Broomsticks tavern should also be on your agenda, even if it's just to enjoy a mug of Butterbeer. There are meals for people of all tastes, so make sure you fill yourselves before heading back out to explore the shops. Another store in the theme park is Ollivanders, where you can choose a wand to take home, while Honeyduke's - the famous sweet shop - will definitely prove popular with children once they see the piles of Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bott's Every-Flavour Beans.