I haven’t read any Harry Potter books, and I haven’t seen more than 20 minutes of the movie series. I have avoided writing about him thus far because I don’t have much to say (not that such problems have stopped me before). I do have experience with one aspect of Harry Potter, though, which is his theme park ride at Universal Studios.
The area surrounding Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is well done. The people at NBCUniversal, LLC, subsidiary of Comcast, have dubbed this area “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.” I assume “wizarding” is the present participle form of “to wizard.” Is “wizard” a verb in the Harry Potter universe?
The ride itself, I think, is not as impressive as its home. You, the Universal Studios guest, are seated on a giant robot arm that swings you around in front of a bunch of 2D video screens and a few props. In general, I find screen-based rides less immersive than those populated with humanoid robots and actual, phsyical scenes. For Forbidden Journey (which would also be a good name for a Journey b-sides collection), they do try to mix in a robotic character here and there (or maybe just there), but that just makes the screens look flatter and faker. It’s like turning off all the lights at Best Buy, piping some flight simulator footage into the TV display, and having a friend roll you around in an office chair. Sure, it’s fun, but you don’t really feel like you’re flying.
Pirates of the Caribbean opened almost 50 years ago and is more effective at transporting riders to another world. The Haunted Mansion opened in 1969! I doubt that Forbidden Journey will hold up as well in 50 years, and not only because Florida will be underwater! That said, it’s a fun ride, and the Harry Potter slice of Universal Studios is neat. As rides go, I prefer the Jurassic Park ride next door. It has a giant robotic tyrannosaurus rex!