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Planning a visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? You might be thinking to yourself, “How scary is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey?” Is it kid-friendly? Is it dark? Are there any drops? Trust us, before we went on the first time, we were asking ourselves the same questions!

Here’s the deal — we can’t decide whether you or your kids will think Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is scary, but we can help you make an informed decision. 

Ready to dig in? Let’s do this!

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Ride

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey can currently be found at three Universal parks, with a fourth currently being planned. Here are the opening dates at the different Universal Parks around the world:

Using KUKA robocoaster technology, the ride allows park guests to “fly” around Hogwarts, head into the Forbidden Forest, flee a horde of Dementors, and even zoom around a Quidditch pitch. The storyline is fun, and very much in line with the Harry Potter world. 

Here are some quick facts about the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride:

Is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey a Roller Coaster?

While you will be restrained in a moving seat that elevates, rotates, and swings through the air, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is not a roller coaster. 

Related post: How to Overcome Fear on Roller Coasters

Queue Area

We’ve ridden Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in Orlando, Hollywood, and Japan. While the rides are mostly similar, there are some differences. 

At all parks, this ride is within Hogwarts Castle at the rear of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, right next to Flight of the Hippogriff. Riders will walk through the castle’s gates, through the main doors, and into the dungeons. 

As you make your way to the attraction, you’ll pass all kinds of things that you’ll recognize from the movies. The Mirror of Erised, portraits, the Sorting Hat, and even the Headmaster’s office. Along the way, you’ll hear the voices of Harry, Hermione, Ron, Dumbledore, and more setting up the story for the ride. 

Things to keep in mind:

  • You will need to put your things in a locker. In Japan, it’s right in the middle of the queue area. 
  • If you or anyone in your party are seriously creeped out by the queue area, this ride might be too scary. 
  • The characters and voice instructions in Japan are, of course, in Japanese. 

Depending on a number of factors, the wait for this ride can be very long. In Japan, you can reserve a specific time slot by paying for a Fast Pass. If you have a hard time standing for lengthy periods of time, you may want to invest in a Fast Pass or get there as soon as the park opens. 

Related posts — How Scary Is:

Seat & Restraints

Upon entering the Room of Requirement, you’ll be seated on an “enchanted bench” for your ride on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. This omnimover style system relies on a robotic arm to lift, drop, and spin riders through real sets that use wrap-around projection screens. 

Universal Japan How Scary is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

The ride uses an over-the-shoulder harness system to keep guests safe during the ride. While there is no maximum weight limit, you will not be allowed to ride if you’re unable to secure the harness. 

Quick tips:

  • Test seats can be found at the queue entrance, allowing guests to see if they will fit before waiting in line. 
  • Some of the seats at Universal Orlando may have modified restraints to accommodate larger guests. 
  • Both legs must protrude from under the restraint which means that above-knee amputees may not be able to ride
  • Wheelchair users may need to use unthemed elevators and corridors to transfer onto the enchanted bench. 
  • There is only one accessible ride vehicle, which means guests may have to wait for it to become available. 

I’m really picky about harnesses and seats, and I’m a full-figured woman, but I can say that I felt completely safe on this ride at every Universal park. 

What is Scary About Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey?

We’re a family of eight, and five of us have ridden Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Here’s the funniest thing — our resident “scaredy cat” (the girl who jumps at her own shadow) is the only one who had NO fear on this ride! She loved it. 

Meanwhile, the remaining four of us all had different challenges. That should tell you how subjective the experience can be. Here are some of the scariest things about Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey:

  • Darkness. I’m not a fan of the dark, guys. I really hate rides that are in the dark, so that part of this ride is always challenging for me. It is, after all, officially listed as a “dark ride.”
  • Animatronics. We didn’t know until our first trip to Universal Orlando Resort that our then-teenage son, who was over six feet tall at the time, was terrified of animatronics. This ride is full of them, so if you hate fake, but realistic-looking robots, skip this one.
  • Spiders. They are huge, and they are many. Aragog makes a grand appearance and he’s animatronic, so… yikes if you hate both things!
  • Dementors. Yeah, they show up and they try to suck your soul. 
  • Fire. The version at Universal Orlando has a fire-breathing dragon, so if heat and flames are not your thing, sit this one out. 
  • Motion. This is a very jerky ride. You’ll be flung up, down, and all around so if you’re prone to nausea, this might not be a good idea. You can always check out our tips on fighting motion sickness, though!

Again, whether you or younger guests will be too scared on this ride is really subjective, but take the above into consideration and you should be fine!

Best Things About Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Honestly, if you’re a Harry Potter fan, you will probably love this ride! It’s enduringly popular at all three parks, and will make you feel like you’ve stepped right into the magical world. While the effects are starting to age a bit, Universal is constantly performing updates. Aside from that, the physical set, the seats, and the music make it a truly fun and memorable experience!

Universal Studios Japan Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogwarts

Here are some helpful links for your next trip to Universal: