Muggle Born's Guide to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

by Jeff Kober, contributing writer

Finally! My apologies to all those who waited for this article. I won't offer excuses, only to say that we're glad to have finally brought it to you.

Earlier, in Part One, we offered a Muggle Born's Guide to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. There we toured Hogsmeade Village, a main street in Islands of Adventure that incorporates elements of Diagon Alley. This is part two of that article, which takes all of you Muggles through a guided tour of the queue in the castle at Hogwarts.

Since opening in the Summer of 2010, millions have seen Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Still, some quickly blew through the queue and were not able to really study the details. Others spent considerable time in the queue, but didn't know what it all meant. And then there are the rest of you who have yet to experience it. If the queue extends outside the building, you will easily spend at least 75-plus minutes. Much of that time is well-spent, especially if you appreciate the stories and the details of the Harry Potter books and movies. But if you're a Muggle that doesn't quite have that insight, then this is the article for you.

The moment you enter the castle you are encouraged to take any belongings you have and place them in a locker. That same locker will be accessible as you exit the attraction. Once you've taken advantage of that complimentary service, you proceed into the castle, where you find the following details:

Harry Potter finds this mirror of Erised (Desire, spelled backward) in his first year at Hogwarts. Here he learns that it shows your greatest desire, in his case, his family. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

This statue of a humpbacked witch is mentioned in both the book and the movie. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The queue re-emerges outside in a greenhouse where plants used in the herbology class are featured. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

These plants on the bottom are young growing Mandrakes, repotted by Professor Sprout during class. Once fully grown the scream of a Mandrake can be fatal. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

This statue features two of the House mascots at the foot. The Lion represents Gryffindor, and the badger represents Hufflepuff. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

These containers measure the house points of each house. As you see Gryffindor is winning; Slytherin is in second; Ravenclaw is in third, and Hufflepuff is in last place. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The Griffin guards Dumbledore's office. You provide the password, and it reveals a spiraling staircase that leads you to the headmaster's office. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Draperies from the movie, referring to unicorns. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Another tapestry representing a layout of Hogwarts. Photo by J. Jeff Kober

These photos in the gallery come to life as guests pass through this hall. Those you hear gossiping compose some of the founders of Hogwarts. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Known as a Pensive, this basin will hold all of your memories. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Here at the Headmaster's office, Dumbledore appears to you and invites you to attend a lecture. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Arriving at the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, you are invited by Harry, Ron and Hermoine to skip class and partake in a Quidditch match. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

These important instructions on the chalk board will serve you well later in the attraction should a certain group desire to suck out your soul. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Keep an eye out for this dragon skeleton found high above in the classroom. You'll recall that Gilderoy Lockhart released a cage of pixies and created havoc with this skeleton in the movie. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

"The Fat Lady" guards the door to the Gryffindor common room. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The Daily Prophet on the Gryffindor bulletin board boasts Gryffindor's success at Quidditch. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Here in the Gryffindor common room, you prepare for the final queuing prior to boarding the ride. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Just as the Sorting Hat separates students into their proper house, you are placed in a final queue preparing to board. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

There are others who have detailed the ride experience itself. I won't take the time here, plus I don't want to spoil the experience too much. It is an excellent ride system with great details and effects. Moreover, it's very true to the stories and experiences of Harry Potter. Is it the best attraction on earth? No. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-man is probably better in that it provides a greater sense of destination. They use a lot of projection in Harry Potter—perhaps too much. I think that's a miss. I still personally prefer an experience like Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland, which feels like it has taken you into an entirely new world. Still, don't miss Harry Potter. It is worth taking, and it is a new class of attraction ride system.

And if you love the book and are in for a real treat!

We take one final look at Hogwarts Castle before embarking on other "Islands of Adventure." Photo by J. Jeff Kober.