The park had three rides – Dragon Challenge, Flight of the Hippogriff and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The entrance to Dragon Challenge was sandwiched between the Hogwarts Express and the Owl Post. It was two roller coasters – one representing the Chinese Fireball and the other the Hungarian Horntail. Banners for the Triwizard Tournament champions lined the walkway to ride. (“Fleur to Win” “Krum… You can do it!” “Support Potter” – strangely there were none for Cedric.) The wrecked Ford Anglia was displayed at the end of the line before you entered the building. The goblet of fire, triwizard cup, and the golden eggs were set up inside. The ride was a typical roller coaster: fast, loopy, and quick to stop. We road it twice (both times before lunch) so that we could experience both dragons, and that was good enough for us.
The Flight of the Hippogriff was at the end of the street across from the castle. It was the “kiddie ride” but I thought it was pretty fun. Hagrid’s cabin was built alongside the line; you could hear barking coming from inside as if Fang wanted out. The building to the ride kind of looked like the inside of Hagrid’s cabin. There were hanging keys, a can of Flesh-Eating Slug Repellent, a basket of Doxy Eggs and a box labeled “Baby Nowegian Ridgeback” sitting on the rafters. At the beginning of the ride you had to bow to Buckbeak before you got to fly!
Also across the street from the castle was a little performance space. They had two acts – the frog choir and the Triwizard spirit rally (I stole that name from some website). The frog choir was four “students,” one from each house, conducted by a Prefect. Two of the singers held big toad puppets that also did some singing. They sang the classic “Double Double Toil and Trouble” song and a few others. The “spirit rally” was performed by students from the Durmstrang Institute and Beauxbatons Academy. The Durmstrang guys jumped, kicked, and hit each other with sticks. The Beauxbaton girls danced around with their ribbons. Every now and then the girls would let out a sigh and the Durmstrang boys, who were busy looking stern in the background, would fall out of order for a second and start fanning themselves; it was pretty amusing. We got pictures to take pictures with them at the end!
Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods was the last shop, and it was connected to the castle. I feel like we visited that place 20 times because it became our mission to get Kelley a shirt she wanted. See, the first day we were in the park everyone was wearing this cool black shirt with gold lettering that said, “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” (or something to that effect). And Kelley wanted it, but all the smalls were always sold out. We went there multiple times and made sure to stake out the rack during restock times. Finally on the last day she was able to snag a small; the rest had been grabbed up before she even checked out. Filch’s was the most touristy of all the shops – shirts, mugs, keychains, stuffed hippogriffs, and even a $70 (!!!) marauder’s map. I got myself a Ravenclaw shirt and a Hogwarts crest pin. We also made sure to get some pumpkin juice from the street vendors. It was pretty much apple juice with pumpkin flavors and lots of spices. It was rather gross the first day, but the second day it had grown on me and I gulped the thing down without a problem.
That just leaves Hogwarts!