There is no fairy tale that encourages anyone to take a step into the dark, enchanted forest, but if you’re a true blue Potterhead, stepping into the Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience is a rite of passage, as the travelling attraction has infiltrated the woods in the United States, Belgium, and more, and making it’s first and only stop in Asia in Singapore.
Modelled after the dense landscapes and trees surrounding the grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the experience, located in Sentosa’s Coastal Trail at Siloso Point, can only be accessed by the Beach Station shuttle bus. Visitors can fuel up at the food area before entering the trail, which is effectively a circular trek with only one refreshment stand along the way.
Visitors are also required to set a time to visit the attraction each night and those arriving at later timeslots might want to arrive earlier, as the merchandise store and food stalls located near the trail exit may be closed upon the completion of your trek.
Since this is an outdoor event, the Forbidden Forest experience is also at the mercy of weather conditions so make sure to bring along a poncho, just in case, A bottle of insect repellent is also highly recommended because it’s the only magical substance that can fend off Mother Nature’s smaller inhabitants.
The 45-minute hike begins with a magically illuminated forest that welcomes you into the Wizarding World, and strange happenings are afoot. Take the chance to snap a picture with Harry’s glowing patronus at the entrance guiding you into the forest.
As you stroll down the trail, you’ll come face to face with Hagrid and Fang, as he makes his way back to his hut. Bow to Buckbeak, who is surprisingly gentle if you’re not Draco Malfoy, and you might just get the chance to pet him. Channel your inner Hermione Granger and convince Gawp the giant to help you out on your adventure in an Order of the Phoenix-esque fashion. Hedwig will even make an appearance, so you can pretend you’ve been accepted into Hogwarts –so yes, dressing up for peak immersion is highly recommended! You can also scan projections on the floor using the Companion App which reveals quizzes, information tidbits, and more.
It’s evident that the middle half of the trail has less to offer, and some parts feel more like a hike through Sentosa more than the Forbidden Forest. This portion tries to immerse you with the film’s soundtrack, as well as with audio from certain movie scenes playing during the less interactive parts, but listening to a recording played on a loop takes away the magic.
Midway through the trail, visitors will find a Butterbeer stop, and it doesn’t matter if you drink or not because the experience here is anything but magical. The chilled, S$14 beverage is served in a plain plastic takeaway cup and severely lacks in presentation of any type. As for the flavour, the taste is overly sweet and falls short of the delightful versions offered at Universal Studios US and Japan.
Food prices do not come cheap either, ranging from S$8 for a themed cookie to S$12 for a scoop of butterscotch ice-cream, so have a hearty dinner in advance.
During our media tour, the interactive spots were packed and you have to constantly wait in line to illuminate some lanterns, have a wand duel, or plant a kiss under the mistletoe, so if you can spare the time, weekdays are your best bet for shorter wait times. It’s worth noting that certain Forbidden Forest attractions available in international versions of the tour, such as the Aragog’s lair jump scares, are conspicuously absent, making the Singapore edition a severely toned-down experience in comparison. Regardless, each journey concludes with an engaging highlight – a chance to cast your own Patronus into the canopy, a moment not to be overlooked.
Ticket prices also vary across different days of the week, and for residents and tourists. On average, an adult standard ticket on a weekday evening is priced from S$72, and a child ticket starts from S$58. Deluxe Tickets, which start from S$105 for adults and S$91 for children include entry to the trail plus a souvenir letter, exclusive tote bag, light-up lanyard and magnet.
Whether the Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience in Singapore is worth the trip depends on your preferences towards walking trails and enthusiasm for the series, but for what little there is to see and do, this Forbidden Forest experience expects a lot, and provides very little in return.