Here's what the critics I trust are saying about Island of Adventure's latest draw, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. (Spoiler alert: the reviews do give away a lot of the surprises of the rides):
From Jason Cochran of WalletPop.com (see his video reports on that site):
"The new theme park addition is a pitch-perfect evocation of the Hollywood version of the beloved J.K. Rowling book series.
'...Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, the epic new ride created for the park...[is] unlike anything you've ever ridden. You don't need 3D glasses to enjoy it. The ride takes you high off the ground and there are both enveloping animated film portions (it turns out the Harry Potter appearance in the Super Bowl ad was a sneak peek at ride animation) and some really large, really in-your-face segments featuring dragons, spiders, the Whomping Willow and the Dementors.
It's so big you can only be agog and what they've accomplished, even if the effect can feel like the most expensive haunted house ever created. The queue itself, which ride creators will only call "the Castle tour," renders the inevitable wait period as painlessly as possible, with lots of pre-ride entertainment such as talking oil paintings (is that Dawn French?)."
From Liz Izack of IVillage.com:
"Mostly the crowd was gawking at the unbelievable Hogwarts castle, which rises up at the end of the 20-acre World like something, well, right out of the books. The attention to every Potter detail is truly mind-blowing, as is the ride that everyone's been waiting for -- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey!...You’re sitting in what is essentially the hand of a big robotic arm, which has the ability to turn you every which way. Over the next four minutes you’ll join Harry on broomstick -- twisting, turning and diving as he flies over Hogwarts -- you will lose your stomach and, if you’re wearing flip flops, you will be very worried that you’ll lose those, too. If you’ve been to Epcot, this part of the ride is similar to the Soarin’ experience, except way, way more intense.