Disappointing photos show what the ‘Harry Potter’ theme park looks like in real life

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, is nothing short of magical. Potterheads from around the world visit the park to see their favourite locations, foods, and characters from the series come to life.

But no theme park is perfect – especially with Muggles on the loose.

Here are 20 photos that show the expectation versus the reality in Harry Potter’s world.


You can ride the Hogwarts Express into the Hogsmeade section of the park.

In June, a British railway company was looking for “Harry Potter” experts to work on a real version of the Hogwarts Express train.


However, the traffic at the mock King’s Cross station is almost as bad as the real one in London.

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Boarding the Hogwarts Express. Amy/Flickr

Fans flock to the real King’s Cross station on September 1 every year, the day the Hogwarts Express left in the books.


That first glimpse of Hogwarts is nothing short of magical …

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Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Bank Haha/Shutterstock

Many fans still dream about attending Hogwarts someday.


though passionate “Harry Potter” fans have been known to get a little bit overexcited.

Many celebrities are hardcore “Harry Potter” fans, too.


Up close, the castle is just as impressive.

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Hogwarts is the centrepiece of the park. Chioric/Shutterstock

The castle is also the entrance to the ride “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.”


If you can get close, that is.

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The castle is a popular spot in the park. Gordon Tarpley/Flickr

Everyone wants a picture of Hogwarts.


Diagon Alley features famous spots like Gringotts, where goblins keep watch over the wizarding world’s bank accounts.

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Diagon Alley. Sheri Lowen/Universal Orlando Resort via Getty Images

You can exchange real money for Gringotts bank notes to use around the park or keep as a souvenir.


The alley gets pretty packed.

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Diagon Alley at its peak. osseous/Flickr

The Diagon Alley expansion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in 2014.


The stores in Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade are full of wizarding novelties.

The park is full of delicious treats that you need to try.


But most of them are just storefront facades.

While these shops help the world look authentic, you can’t go inside.


Performers dressed as wizards and witches serenade crowds with songs.

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Performers dressed as Hogwarts students perform in the park. Walter/Flickr

The frog choir in Hogsmeade is not to be missed.


If only people would put their phones away.

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Recording a performance in Diagon Alley. osseous/Flickr

Celestina Warbeck, Mrs. Weasley’s favourite singer in the “Harry Potter” books, performs in Diagon Alley.


Butterbeer is a creamy treat only available at the park.

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Butterbeer enthusiasts. Kevin Kolczynski/Universal Orlando Resort via Getty Images

The park celebrated selling their millionth Butterbeer in 2011.


If you want to pay $US7 for a cup of what is essentially cream soda.

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Butterbeer. R. Crap Mariner/Flickr

The price of Butterbeer keeps increasing – regular Butterbeer was only $US2.99 when the park opened.


The hallmark attraction is “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey,” a ride that takes visitors inside a Hogwarts castle packed with references to the books and movies.

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The Mirror of Erised inside ‘Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.’ HarshLight/Flickr

Some of the Hogwarts costumes worn by people working in the ride were reportedly used in the films and worn by extras.


Unfortunately, the ride sometimes requires un-magical maintenance.

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It’s not all magical. Jeff Kern/Flickr

Even magical rides need a tune-up now and then.


The line for “Forbidden Journey” snakes through different parts of Hogwarts, including a Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom with Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

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Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger. Harshlight/Flickr

The ride features the actors from the “Harry Potter” movies.


The line can take hours, and not all of it is air conditioned.

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The greenhouse portion of the ‘Forbidden Journey’ line. HarshLight/Flickr

Part of the line winds through an outdoor greenhouse.


You might run into actors from the “Harry Potter” films as you wander around the park.

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James and Oliver Phelps, who played the Weasley twins, and Bonnie Wright, who played Ginny Weasley, pose in front of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. Kevin Kolczynski/Universal Orlando Resort via Getty Images

Actors from the “Harry Potter” movies have been known to visit from time to time.


But you’ll just be in the company of other enthusiastic Muggles.

Being a “Harry Potter” fan makes you a better person, according to science.

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