By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here. PDF version available on Gumroad here.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

How Old/Tall Your Children Should be for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

By Dave Shute


Pretty much any school-age kid will find be able to find something to enjoy at Harry Potter. Younger kids, or kids without a deep engagement in the books or movies, may find it less interesting.

  • The Dragon Challenge attraction is a very intense, very cool coaster, and has a minimum height requirement of 54 inches.
  • The signature ride in Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure,  Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey requires at least 48 inches.
  • The minor re-themed The Flight of the Hippogriff requires at least 36 inches.
  • The signature ride in Diagon Alley at Universal Studios, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, has a 42 inch minimum
  • The Hogwarts Express has no height requirement


(These instructions are for fitting a visit to Universal Orlando’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter into a first family trip to Walt Disney World. Click here for the Summary of Instructions for visiting Harry Potter.)

Three things are going on in the two parts of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter:  themed areas, classic rides with lines and such, and interactive play within the themed area.

There’s something to enjoy here for kids of all ages, although kids 8 and up will have the most fun.  Only the ride Dragon Challenge will pose a serious problem for young kids (and some of their parents).

In Hogwarts in Islands of Adventure, the themed area begins with the village of Hogsmeade, and climaxes in Hogwarts Castle itself.  In between you’ll find Hagrid’s Hut.  This should be great for any kid enough of a fan to recognize the recreations of the books and movies, and fun for younger or less interested kids as well.

Three rides are currently operating in Hogwarts: Harry Potter and the Hidden Journey, an all-new ride, and two re-decorated rides–rides that already existed at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure, but redecorated to fit the Harry Potter theme.  The two re-themed rides are Dragon Challenge and Flight of the Hippogriff.

  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has a minimum height requirement of 48 inches, and is described in Universal marketing material as follows: “Make your way through the classrooms and corridors of Hogwarts, then soar above the castle on this groundbreaking ride that lets you join Harry Potter and his friends in a thrilling adventure.”  Those with moderate or worse motion sickness should avoid the ride.
  • The Flight of the Hippogriff has a minimum height requirement of 36 inches, and is described by Universal thus: “Hagrid will teach you the proper way to approach the Hippogriff before you take off on a family-friendly coaster that spirals and dives around the pumpkin patch and past Hagrid’s hut.”
  • Dragon Challenge, a rethemed set of different two world-class roller coasters, the Hungarian Horntail and the Chinese Fireball, has a height requirement of 54 inches, but will scare the bejeesus out of many kids (and adults!) with more inches than this.  (Note that some websites have incorrectly reported this as 5 feet.) According to Universal, “you’ll feel like a Triwizard Tournament competitor as you climb aboard one of two ferocious dragons that twist, loop, and nearly collide in an intertwining roller coaster chase across the sky.”

Interactive play  includes “the wands picking the wizard” in a recreation of the wand shop Ollivanders in the Hogsmeade Village area of the Wizarding World.

In Diagon Alley, there’s one ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, with a 42″ minimum height requirement. The Hogwarts Express train between the Diagon Alley and Hogwarts has no height requirement. Diagon Alley is deeply, deeply themed, and has multiple fun and clever interactive elements


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