• Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Luiz Alberto H.

Created: May 08, 2024

Last Updated: May 14, 2024

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
  • Year: 2010
  • Type: Thrill Ride
  • Single rider line: Yes
  • Minimum Height: 48″
  • Ride Duration: 4min
  • Amazing queue
  • Fans will love it
  • Janky
  • Motion Sickness

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Review

A.k.a. Harry Potter and the Dizzying Migraine

I am already casting my Protego spell to deflect your Avada Kedavra! Phew, now that I am safe, I’d like to apologize for the score not being as high as some people expected. Truth be told, I am a little bit disappointed with Forbidden Journey. Do I think it’s a terrible ride? Not at all, and Harry Potter fans will find a lot to love here. If you are in Islands of Adventure, you should certainly visit this ride, even more so if it’s your first time. If you are a Harry Potter diehard fan then this review probably won’t matter that much and you should definitely ride this one.

Harry Potter Universal Forbidden Journey (3).webp

Forbidden Journey is basically a dark ride where you will be seated on a robotic arm that moves all over the place, showing locations from the movies and featuring the actors for Hermione, Ron and, of course, Harry “Yer a wizard, Harry” Potter. You will see classic locations like Hogwarts Castle, encounter creatures from the movies and even take part in a match of Quidditch. Most of the action takes place on big digital screens in front of you, even if there are some animatronics that try to immerse you in the Harry Potter experience.

The Good

I have to say that, even if you don’t care much about Harry Potter or the ride in general, the queue is absolutely awesome. Seriously, the attention to detail is top notch, as guests walk around the corridors of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It's all so well-done, and you can tell Universal spared no expense. You will see hundreds of talking portraits, professor Dumbledore and Emma Wats– I mean, Hermione, Ron and Harry welcoming the new students (ps: that’s you).

It’s also nothing new to say that this ride will be great for Harry Potter fans, right? If you love the world of J.K. Rowling, then you will enjoy Forbidden Journey. The ride itself starts when Hermione casts a spell and you fly on your “enchanted bench”, which is actually your ride vehicle being carried around by a giant robotic arm.

Harry Potter Universal Forbidden Journey (4).webp

This same robotic arm will be carrying you around through different setpieces, shown in this ride as big digital screens featuring actors and locations from the movies. Your vehicle shakes and jerks quite a bit, mimicking the sensation of a roller coaster. You won’t turn upside down or do any corkscrews, but your vehicle does bounces and twitches around rather aggressively.

Harry Potter fans will get to see a Quidditch match, Hagrid, dragons, the Forbidden Forest, Dementors and more. It’s certainly a treat for those that love everything related to the Wizarding World. I am not a diehard fan by any means, and even I love all the references shown throughout the ride.

The Bad

The main problem with Forbidden Journey is related to motion sickness. If you do a quick Google search online and search places like Reddit, you will see that people either love this attraction or they hate it, because they feel nauseous and think that the robotic arm shakes way too much.

Islands of Adventure Harry Potter Forbidden Journey castle.webp

I have to agree with the second group. I actually don’t think that this ride should be that intense, even more so when we consider that it also has a huge appeal with kids. The jostling and shaking can be a bit too much, almost like being tossed in a blender, which can definitely lead to motion sickness, especially since it relies heavily on screen-based visuals that may not always be perfectly smooth.

If you are prone to motion sickness, think twice before coming to this ride. I usually feel fine after riding the VelociCoaster and The Incredible Hulk Coaster, but always have a minor headache after riding the Forbidden Journey.

Will Kids enjoy it?

You might be surprised when I say that… it depends. Forbidden Journey does have a ride height requirement of 48 inches, which is more than most people expect. I don’t think the constant nudging and aggressive movements will bother kids that much, but there's another issue that might dampen some kids' enjoyment of this ride.

Forbidden Journey can be rather scary. I am not kidding. Once again, if you visit forums online you will see that a lot of guests - I am talking about adults - close their eyes during some specific sections. There are creatures like giant spiders, dragons and Dementors (a.k.a. spirits) on the digital screen and appearing as puppets/animatronics surrounding your vehicle. Some people freak out.

There is a part near the end where your vehicle enters a dark room and giant spider-animatronics appear in all their spider-glory. Spiders are already scary, now imagine a few giant ones staring at you and making weird spider-sounds? Yeah, not cool. 

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