SMACKDOWN: All Wizarding World of Harry Potter Rides Ranked!

Ready to conquer ALL the Harry Potter rides on your trip to Universal Orlando?

Muggle, wizard, hag, goblin or elf, you have DEFINITELY heard of the Boy Who Lived.  And if you are a regular ThemeParkHipster like me, you have DEFINITELY heard of the Harry Potter World in Universal Studios, Orlando!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is something of a legend on this blog. It is one of the most well-integrated lands in any theme park I have ever seen.

From the Beauxbatons dance to Ollivander’s shop to the looming Hogwarts castle, everything is straight out of the movies.

BUT, the true icing on the cake are the Harry Potter rides! 

From riding a Hippogriff to escaping Dementors on the Hogwarts Express, your adrenalin will be pumping throughout the visit. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter rides are not for the weak-hearted– at least, not the rides we explore on this blog.

We are NOT here to talk about kiddy rides or the rides designed to keep the kids occupied while parents gulp down some Fire Whiskey.

Instead, we are going to talk about rides that have you screaming, gasping, laughing and awe-struck.

We’re a tribe of independent, solo ThemeParkHipsters! And we are on a mission to conquer the most daunting rides the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has to offer!

Hogsmeade at Universal Hogwarts Castle Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Hogsmeade at Universal Hogwarts Castle Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

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Ranking Our Favorite Rides

But before we can begin that mission, we need to do some scouting. Out of all the amazing rides and attractions at the Wizarding World, there are five that truly stand out.

These rides have the most immersive experiences, the highest thrill ratings and the best storylines. 

And yes, it was extremely hard to pick them.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter rides we are going to explore are ranked from pretty damn good to mind-blowingly great.

Harry Potter Dragon Challenge Queue
Wizarding World of Harry Potter Dragon Challenge Queue

Especially if you are short on time, just visiting the rides in this list will leave you pleasantly tired and utterly satisfied.

So put on your invisibility clock because we are going scouting!

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#5 Flight of the Hippogriff

Remember the scene where Harry saves Hagrid’s first class by getting on Buckbeak? My heart was in my mouth the whole time. And I could say the same about this ride!

It’s a regular train ride, except that you are zooming through Hagrid’s prized pumpkin patch! Make sure to listen carefully to all of Hagrid’s instructions. He gets very cross when you disturb the faeries living in the patch!

Flight of the Hippogriff Hogsmeade Universal Orlando
Flight of the Hippogriff Hogsmeade Universal Orlando

This ride is one of the more mellow rides but represents the huge part that Hippogriffs played in the Harry Potter movies (especially the Prisoner of Azkaban).The ride is designed so that you feel like you’re flying on the grounds of Hogwarts.

On one side, the castle towers over you while Hagrid encourages you from the safety of his hut.

Flight of the Hippogriff Wizarding World of Harry Potter

And if you hear barking, don’t be scared. It’s just Fang, Hagrid’s pet Boarhound. He may look fearsome but he is a sweetheart– just like Hagrid.

#4 Hogwarts Express 

Is there anything more iconic than the bright red Hogwarts Express choo-chooing its way out of Platform 9¾. The scenic journey, the billowing smoke and then, of course, the dementors who ruined it all.

Hogwarts Express Train on Hogsmeade at Universal Studios

Harry met his best friends Ron and Hermione on the train as well as his arch-nemesis Draco Malfoy. He bought his first magical chocolates there and first knew of Dumbledore there. 

Universal Orlando has done its best to recreate this legendary train in Orlando– even going to the extent of creating two separate Wizarding Worlds the train can travel between!

You can hop on the train from Kings Cross station (in Diagon Alley) or Hogsmeade (in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter). Either journey will have a different storyline, so if you have the time, it’s worthwhile to check both of them out! 

London Facade with Kings Cross Station at Harry Potter World Diagon Alley

And before you ask, yes they do have the disappearing brick wall that leads to the platforms!

Remember just keep walking fast and don’t stop or blink!

#3 Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey 

It’s time to talk about the most popular ride in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter– Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey! Or as most people know it, the ride inside the castle that has the longest queue the world has seen.

Hogwarts Castle in Florida Sun

This begs the question– is this ride worth the wait?

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is one of the most exciting rides on this list because it actually takes you inside the castle. You get to see iconic rooms like Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor common room and the Room of Requirement.

Besides, this ride ranks pretty high on the thrill scale. It takes you on a dark, action-packed adventure through the castle AND on top of it.

Hogwarts Castle nighttime show

You are chased by a Hungarian Horntail dragon (that Hagrid brought home…and then promptly lost) while Harry and Ron try to help you! Talk about a hair-raising storyline!

So, to answer my earlier question– YES, the ride is absolutely worth the wait!

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#2 Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts 

Talking about awesome storylines, how cool was Hermione as Bellatrix Lestrange in the movie?! (in case you don’t remember, Hermione disguised herself as Bellatrix to get into the Lestrange’s vault in Gringotts and steal Voldemort’s Horcrux)

Diagon Alley: Gringotts Bank with Dragon on top.
Diagon Alley: Gringotts Bank

Luckily for you, you get to see the action AND experience the improved version of the scene first-hand! 

On this ride, you are fleeing from the Dark Lord himself, his loyal consort Nagini and a furious Bellatrix! And yes, the Gringotts goblins are after you too!

But don’t worry, Harry, Hermione and Ron will be with you throughout the ride!

While it is classified as a roller coaster, for a regular ThemeParkHipster the drops and jolts won’t be as scary. Still, it is pretty thrilling for a family-friendly ride.

#1 Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure 

We have finally made it to the #1 ride (according to this seasoned ThemeParkHipster) of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Universal Orlando Resort has created its most life-like animated figure for the most highly themed, immersive coaster experience yet, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure – opening June 13. And it’s none other than Hogwarts gamekeeper and Care of Magical Creatures professor himself – Hagrid.
Universal Orlando Resort has created its most life-like animated figure for the most highly themed, immersive coaster experience yet. Photo: Universal Orlando

If you remember the three categories we scored the rides on were experience, thrill-level and storyline. Hagrid’s Magical Creature’s Motorbike Adventure puts big, fat green ticks on all these boxes!

It’s a completely immersive experience that draws on the movies most-loved elements– Hagrid’s clumsiness, Arthur Weasley’s love for Muggles and Sirius Black’s motorbike.

Riders actually get to sit in replicas of the motorbike. And yes, you can choose to sit in the sidecar!

Hagrid Grand Opening Moment 061319Hogsmeade Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Photo: Universal Orlando

It all starts with a bunch of Cornish Pixies getting loose during Hagrid’s Care of Magical Creatures class.

In the resulting adventure to recover them, you race through the Forbidden Forest with Hagrid and Arthur Weasley, meeting the Wizarding World’s most dangerous creatures on the way.

Now that’s one thrilling class you won’t forget!

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Tips for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

  1. If you are going to the park on a super-sunny or super-rainy day, take shelter at the Kings Cross station. Unlike its Hogsmeade counterpart, it is fully covered. There are also many fun activities and photo opportunities you can take advantage of!
  2. The Wizarding World is full of hidden references to the movies. Keep an eye out for ancient-looking carvings or familiar animals. Pssst… Keep an eye out for Fluffy during Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure!
  3. Buy your wand BEFORE entering the Wizarding World. There are many places where you can actually wave your wand and see things happen!
  4. Show up early for your favorite ride– especially if that ride is the Forbidden Journey or Escape from Gringotts. You can reduce the wait time from 30 minutes to only 10 minutes!

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What to Know Before You Go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Front Entrance to the Three Broomsticks and Long Island Tea at Harry Potter World Universal

How many Harry Potter rides are there at Universal Orlando?

There are FIVE Harry Potter rides in total as of 2021. These include Flight of the Hippogriff, the Hogwarts Express, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. I ranked them from awesome to jaw-dropping in this blog.

Can you do both Harry Potter parks in one day?

Yes definitely! There are only five major rides after all. But you have to be planned, prepared and wake up early. It’s better to hit the popular ones first and then explore the rest at leisure.

Hogsmeade vs Diagon Alley with fire breathing dragon and hogwarts castle
Hogsmeade vs. Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando Resort

What type of ride is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey?

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is a KUKA robocoaster with a slightly darker theme than the other Harry Potter rides. It is a virtual, visual feast and is actually also classified as a 3D movie!

Harry Potter World Hogsmeade

However, be warned that there are some nasty twists, turns and drops that may cause dizziness.

Is Hagrid’s motorbike adventure scary?

While the ride begins harmlessly enough, there are some parts that can get a bit too exciting for some. The part where Hagrid’s broken wand propels all the motorcycles backwards is one of those parts.

All Wizarding World of Harry Potter Rides Ranked!
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And there you have it! 

All the Wizarding World of Harry Potter rides ranked from pretty great to utterly mind-blowing.

Which one was YOUR favorite? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!

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