The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is Still the Best Themed Land!

Edited: February 16, 2021, 10:44 AM

With videos and POVs now available to view Universal Studios Japan’s Nintendo Land, I think we all can agree that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is still the best and most immersive themed land in any theme park ever! Nintendo Land falls short because of its two disappointing rides/attractions (they are very SLOW moving). The immersion and level of detail throughout the land is fantastic, but the rides...suck.

Ranking the lands in order from top to bottom:
1. WWoHP: Hogsmede (far and away THE BEST!)
2. WWoHP: Diagon Alley
3. SW Galaxy’s Edge (Rise and MF:SR really boost it UP)
4. Cars Land
5. Pandora: World of Avatar (FoP is fantastic but the land itself is still too static)
6. Nintendo Land (can move up with the addition of Donkey Kong)
7. Toy Story Land
8. Avengers Campus

Replies (42)

February 5, 2021, 8:28 AM

I do Love WWOHP areas.
Pandora is 2nd.

Although I have not been to Galaxy Edge Yet.

Edited: February 6, 2021, 7:20 PM

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is pretty amazing! The land and attractions are superior. My personal favorite, however, is Card Land. When walking around, you feel like you’re actually in Radiator Springs. Radiator Springs Racers is a fantastic ride as well.

Galaxy Edge is also fantastic. Rise of the Resistance is probably the best ride in the world. Millennium Falcon is another great ride. Pandora is a very good land as well. I personally prefer Disneyland’s Fantasyland, over many of the themed lands. It has that classic Disney feel.

I’m looking forward to Avengers Campus, when it finally is able to open. I’m a big Marvel fan. I’m excited to visit when it opens.

February 8, 2021, 7:09 AM

Agree on Potter. The rides are great too. Count me as one who was disappointed with Pandora. However, since we are on ‘themed’ lands, I have to say that Asia and Africa in Animal Kingdom is every bit as good as Potter in terms of theming. Maybe I feel that Pandora is out of place. The pandemic has kept me from Star Wars. However, just saw a ride through of Mario Kart and it looked ... bad.

February 8, 2021, 7:07 PM

Joe Rohde's masterful vision makes Pandora come alive. Landscaping, floating mountains, waterfalls. 'Pandora: The World of Avatar' is far and away the most immersive themed land ever created in the history of themed entertainment.

February 9, 2021, 5:35 AM

I do agree that he is the greatest designer of all time. My knock on Pandora is more of my feeling that it may be in the wrong park and the hype was massively built up. The main attraction was an amped up Soarin, but Animal Kingdom is simply amazing. The jungle walk throughs have to be the most underrated aspects of WDW. I love that park.

February 9, 2021, 11:44 AM

Diagon Alley, not Hogsmeade, is the greatest themed land. You can spend hours there without even doing the ride. Pandora at night is the most visually spectacular, although SWGE isn't far behind in that category.

February 9, 2021, 3:25 PM

At night, Cars Land is the most spectacular with the nightly “Sh-Boom” lighting ceremony!
Unfortunately, Pandora’s lighting was not as sharply defined as I expected. More projection mapping could help improve Pandora at night.

February 9, 2021, 7:42 PM

There isn't anything even close to the floating mountains of the Valley of Mo'ara.

Game over.

February 10, 2021, 1:18 AM

@Keith_Schneider: Have you ever been to Tokyo DisneySea?

February 10, 2021, 4:48 AM

I’ll be able to get on the Nintendo rides with most of my family, which is what the company wanted.

Edited: February 16, 2021, 10:45 AM

Yes, DisneySea, the most immersive theme park in the world! And Mysterious Island is the best and most immersive land in DisneySea. Mysterious Island could probably be #6 on this list.

Edited: February 16, 2021, 4:39 PM

My take on this one...

Harry Potter is definitely worthy of the top two slots, but I'd swap Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. From an attraction perspective, Hogsmeade definitely has the better rides, but the feel of the whole land in Diagon Alley is far superior. Because it is so immersive, it actually feels like you've stepped into the wizarding world rather than the theme park land feel that Hogsmeade has.

Galaxy's Edge is third largely due to the attractions, but also due to the immersiveness. While not on the level of Harry Potter, it still is superior to most other lands I've visited and feels like a part of the Star Wars universe rather than a theme park. If Disney brought in actors to make it feel like a living part of the galaxy, this land would probably leap over Hogsmeade to claim the #2 spot.

From what I've seen, I'd put Nintendo fourth. While the rides look to be a step down from the top tier lands, the immersion is still there and this one seems the most interactive of them all. I've got a feeling appeal of this land will depend largely on how much of a gamer you are and how much you engage with it. If you get a Power-Up band and play with everything, you'll probably love it. If you just ride Mario Kart and then leave, it will feel subpar.

Cars Land is fifth. A faithful recreation of Radiator Springs with a very strong E-ticket as the headliner and several quality supporting elements. Plus this land looks amazing at night, especially during the holidays. The two main strikes against this one are the lack of interactive elements and the fact that it doesn't make a whole lot of sense from a canon perspective.

I've seen very little from Avengers Campus, but based on what I've heard it would likely land sixth. The rides don't seem to be a big draw here, but I think there might be enough other activities to bump it up a notch once operations return to normal.

Pandora is seventh. I didn't get the hype for this land when I visited, and found both of the attractions underwhelming. It is immersive, but too static to feel real, and offers very little beyond the two rides.

Toy Story Land is last. This feels like filler, and while it does add some needed family attractions to the park, nothing here is really worth a second visit once you've seen it.

February 16, 2021, 5:49 PM

Nah! Pandora: The World of Avatar is the best, most immersive themed entertainment production ever created.

February 17, 2021, 12:35 PM

Pandora is close. It needs to expand and add more life to the area. A new E-ticket attraction based on the sequel coming out soon would help push it closer to the top. That and more of the Na’vi - WE NEED MORE NA’VI!

February 17, 2021, 1:07 PM

For me, it'd land about like this purely based on 1) immersiveness/quality of the land and 2) quality of attractions and 3) personal preference (let's be honest, this is true for all of us).

1. SWGE. Probably the second or third most "immersive" land in my opinion, though I would have preferred a location that is in the SW films. The rides are what really bump this one up, as RotR is my favorite attraction of all time and the Falcon is also an excellent attraction. I am also a HUGE Star Wars fan so I am biased.

2. Hogsmeade. I agree with AJ Hummel that Diagon Alley is more immersive, but the rides are just so superior at Hogsmeade that it wins out. Hagrid's is perhaps my second or third favorite attraction of any park and FJ is also excellent (though it makes me nauseous).

3. Diagon Alley. I'd argue this is the most immersive land of them all, but it's lacking in the attractions department. Gringott's isn't terrible, but it's not great.

4. Pandora. I find the land to be excellently themed though for some reason it feels smaller than the others. FoP is an incredible ride that is also a top 5 all-time attraction in my opinion. The river ride is just eh.

5. Cars Land. Very nicely themed with a great E-ticket. I just find the above lands to be more interesting and have a better headliner attraction.

6. Toy Story Land. It does what it needs to do and is pretty fun. Nothing spectacular though.

I have not been to Nintendo or Avenger's Campus so I will reserve judgment. But it looks like Nintendo would probably go above Cars Land and Avengers below it.

March 8, 2021, 5:25 AM

Diagon Alley. Hands down. When we first walked in, it truly felt like we stepped into our 2nd favorite film franchise. We Havnt made it to GE or Pandora, but there’s no way either is better. And the reason is simple.

I simply don’t care about Pandora. It was a decent movie. That’s all.

And GE cannot give you the feeling like you are in Star Wars. I won’t be using the force, flying an x-wing, or fighting the sith with a lightsaber.

Diagon Alley is simply the movie in real life. You are buying (and using!) a wand. Buying a quidditch jersey. Eating at leaky cauldron. It’s honestly perfect. The gringotts ride is excellent too.

March 9, 2021, 12:47 PM

lubjab2004: "Diagon Alley is simply the movie in real life."

Me: Where were all those people wearing Baby Yoda and Mickey Mouse t-shirts in the movie?

March 10, 2021, 6:16 PM

@TH: Boy, you are really reaching hard for a counterpoint when you bring up what guests are wearing ...

Edited: March 14, 2021, 4:02 PM

@lujab2004: Which is the greater transgression? Me noting the presence of typical muggle Florida tourist chic shattering an illusion, or you dismissing both Pandora and Galaxy's Edge without having even seen them? You actually discounted the efforts of artists and writers and engineers and construction workers ("... there’s no way either is better. ") without even regarding their efforts.


Edited: March 15, 2021, 4:32 PM

This one is definitely one of my all time favourites! Agreed, World of Avatar is a top one as well. Can't wait to visit again! -Drew tow truck

March 16, 2021, 1:14 PM

I agreed with the ranking. I really love WWoHP: Hogsmede (far and away THE BEST!)! best scaa certified coffee marker

March 18, 2021, 7:42 PM

I personally prefer Disneyland’s Fantasyland, over many of the themed lands. It has that classic Disney feel. I have a collection of fantasy land at our home in Augusta.

March 19, 2021, 8:38 PM


Yes, seriously. I Layed out WHY they couldn’t be as good. People just do not care for the Avatar universe at nearly the same level as Harry Potter or Star Wars. Surely you aren’t arguing otherwise. So in my opinion, that eliminates Pandora.

As for GE, I love SW more than HP. But I feel like a Hogwarts student when I cross into Diagon Alley. Unless I am going to be lifting rocks with the force, fighting a sith, or flying the falcon Diagon Alley wins.

Now, the GE rides may very well be better. And I’m
Aware one is the falcon. But I’m referring to the immersion of the land, not the rides.

March 21, 2021, 11:18 AM

You're evaluating themed entertainment experiences without having experienced them. Certainly saying that Diagon Alley is the best that you have ever seen has validity. But saying the land is more impressive than others you have never experienced is weak sauce at best.

March 23, 2021, 3:56 AM

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Edited: March 28, 2021, 6:36 PM

My favorite is 'Pandora: The World of Avatar'. Harry Potter Alley is just a bunch of gift shops.

Edited: March 30, 2021, 9:29 PM

Man... some things never change. TH still cheerleading anything Disney being superior to anything Universal. LMAO...

Waiting for the "I respond" response.

Theme lands in half day parks (Animal Kingdom) shouldn't count anyways. Galaxy's edge has two rides and is littered with gift shops. How come no snarky comment... oh, that's right... Disney.

March 31, 2021, 10:36 PM

Which is better at Universal Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley? arborist melbourne

Edited: April 2, 2021, 4:59 AM

NB: "Galaxy's edge (sic) has two rides and is littered with gift shops."

Me: Diagon Alley has ONE ride and is littered with gift shops.

Now get up off of the floor go away again.

April 2, 2021, 12:36 PM

The more this thread has gone on, the more I thought about it, and I am going to change my answer. The best themed area is one people may have taken for granted. People want it to invoke a specific area with music, architecture, food, and great attractions, then my new answer is New Orleans Square. The Blue Bayou is one of the best restaurants, and the counter service in the area is amazing too. It has great shops, and two of the best attractions ever made. And a train depot as well.

April 3, 2021, 7:29 PM

Mr. Vanhouten raises a strong point. Also, 'Pandora - The World of Avatar' is the best themed land.

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