Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience – To Enter or Not To Enter?

Did someone say Incendio? Because Sentosa has been aflame with the hottest additions that will ignite your night! The newest member of this growing list is the highly-anticipated Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience. The bewitching world of the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beast series comes to life at Sentosa’s Coastal Trail. Cast spells, meet the mystical creatures of the world of Hogwarts, and spot iconic scenes from the movies recreated for your inner child. But the question is, is the experience really worth it? To enter or not to enter? Let’s find out.

Time truly is a concept. Wasn’t it just some time ago we found out the Forbidden Forest was making its Asia-Pacific debut in Singapore and that tickets were on sale? The experience has been hyped up for months now, and the golden gates are finally open. We got to brave the experience ourselves, and we’re here to spill the tea on what you’ll see and what you should expect, and of course, whether it’s worth gracing with your splendid presence.

Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience: Photo Opportunities 3
We’re having a magic-off, so please do not disturb us!

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover (literally!), so let’s dive right into it. We bring you on the trail right here through your screens, so strap in!

Forbidden Forest Experience App

First of all, before anything, be sure to download the Forbidden Forest Experience App, which is available on Google Play and the App Store. The app is all part of the fun that awaits you in the forest! Whether you’re a fan or not, you’ll undoubtedly appreciate the app, which will give you fun trivia about the installations you see, along with quizzes, videos and filters. The witchery is all around you!

Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience: App Logo
When you see this glowing on the ground, it’s your cue to whip out your phones and launch the app for some magic!

Meet the creatures!

As soon as you enter, you’ll see that the Siloso Coastal Trail has been transformed into a stunning rendition of the mysterious Forbidden Forest. The glorious lights will leave you in awe and compel you to fish out your phones and capture these moments. 

As you walk deeper in, you’ll meet Hagrid! Ah, our favourite giant. Sorry, he’s a little busy, so you’ll only see his back, but don’t mind him; you’ll still hear his majestic voice and also meet Fang, his pet. 

Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience: Fang
Do some stretches because you’ve got some bowing to do

As you delve even further, you’ll meet other familiar creatures in the Forbidden Forest. Say hello to the Hippogriff, Buckbeak! But mind you, Hippogriffs are incredibly proud creatures. They can sense if you truly respect them. So, put it to the test! If you dare, get up close with Buckbeak, give him a bow and see if you’re worthy of a bow back. I’m proud to say that I was and that Buckbeak loves me! Delulu is the solulu, they say.

You’ll continue to meet creatures that bring to life the very same Forbidden Forest you’ve read about and watched as children – meet Hedwig (Harry’s pet owl), the Nifflers, and Grawp, Hagrid’s half-brother! He was nice, and we smelled his breath, fresh as a daisy (don’t ask)! 

Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience: Grawp
Best Bumble date ever! Clearly

Cast those spells!

But the magical part about the Forbidden Forest is yet to be seen. Behold, the spells! The most enchanting part about the Harry Potter stories is witnessing them make the unthinkable happen with a little swish-and-flick. The legend of the Harry Potter movies has even transported their way into modern technology. For example, the classic trick of telling Siri on your iPhone, “Lumos!” to turn on your flashlight and then “Nox!” to turn it off. And the Forbidden Forest brings this cherished legend to life.

Put them to the test yourself! First of all, test the fire-making spell. Set the lanterns aflame as you yell, “Incendio!”. You’d get such a cool shot of your wizardry in action! But to make sure you fool your followers into thinking you are Harry Potter incarnate, here’s a little secret. The lanterns light up with fire by sensing motion, so it’s not how loud you yell but how big and accurate your gesture is. So do Hermione proud with your swish-and-flick!

Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience: Spells 1
Look out for the discreet signs that show you exactly how to get that perfect shot!

Another spell you’ll get to cast at another juncture in the Forbidden Forest is the “Nox” spell, which is the anti-charm for the iconic “Lumos” spell, putting out light. “Nox” is Latin for night, which means reciting this incantation gives you the darkness of night! And you sound cool doing it.

Once again, this is also activated by motion, so make sure to follow the discreet “Wave here” sign to wow the world with your magnificent capabilities. Don’t be surprised if you get a letter from Hogwarts the next day! Yet again, the Forbidden Forest breathes life into our inner child and resuscitates the Harry Potter in us.

Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience: Spells 2
Yell with all your might, and turn the light into night!

Spells are amazing, but what Harry Potter movie is complete without a duel? And what kind of Forbidden Forest experience would this be without letting you engage in one?

At this duelling station, you get to pick a wand and duel it out with your friend! But you need to make the most out of this station. Plan your best duel poses, make your best fighter face, and fight for your life! May the best wizard win.

Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience: Spell Duel
We took this very seriously!

Witness those iconic scenes!

On top of that, you’ll also get to witness some memorable moments from the series recreated before your very eyes.

One of them is the unmistakable Flying Car. Allow me to rekindle your memory about this spectacular artefact of the Harry Potter universe to increase your appreciation tenfold for this installation. Arthur Weasley, Ron Weasley’s father, who loved incanting with the objects he’d see in the muggles’ world, added his own spunky twist to this blue Ford Anglia – making it fly. 

Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience: Flying Car
What a beautiful (and only a little disgusting) scene!

The car was strictly illegal, but Harry and Ron had to use it when they got blocked from the Hogwarts Express. That trip ended in a disastrous crash, but the car escaped! Such is the magic of the Flying Car, and you get to see it with your very eyes.

You’ll also see the massive Aragog, the Acromantula, in an eerie corner of the forest. But other than that, that’s pretty much it. Moving on.

Learn your Patronus!

And we finally come to the most anticipated part of the Forbidden Forest experience: casting your Patronus – a kind of Anti-Dementor who is a guardian which acts as a shield between you and the Dementor! This will meet you towards the end of the trail.

Your task is simple. Connect with inner-self. Make sure you’re feeling yourself. Take deep breaths as you await your turn. And when it’s time, bellow out the fiercest, strongest, most powerful “EXPECTO PATRONUM!” you can muster! 

Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience: Patronus
When you do, you will get to meet your Patronus. What do you think you will get?

It felt like magic. As soon as the spell leaves your mouth, your Patronus comes to life right before your eyes. There it is – your guardian, your shield, your protector. Witnessing one of the most iconic secrets of the Harry Potter series come to life is enchanting – like you’re actually there. If you want to know what your Patronus says about you, Wizarding World has your back

Fuel up on drinks and snacks!

What is the most iconic beverage in the wizarding world? Butterbeer. It’s the cherry on top that completes the Forbidden Forest experience. It’s the icing on the cake. The creme de la creme. The crown jewel. Or is it?

We tried the Butterbeer, and we were pleasantly surprised. It was definitely sweet, maybe a tad sweeter than what I’m accustomed to (for reference, I take my bubble tea at 50% sugar). It was creamy, smooth and non-carbonated. Non-alcoholic too, which makes it suitable for everyone, including kids. If you remember the Butterbeer we tried at Christmas Wonderland 2023, you’ll be pleased to hear that this was much better than that. With strong caramel undertones and an aroma reminiscent of movie theatre popcorn, it was not bad at all. Good, right?

Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience: Beverages
Zoom in a little and check out the size of that cup

But here’s the catch. This tiny cup comes with a hefty price tag of S$14. The Butterbeer may have been good, but it wasn’t fourteen-dollars-good. With the already expensive ticket, another S$14 for this ridiculously tiny cup of drink is just a tad crazy to me. I’d suggest getting one cup and sharing it amongst your company for a taste, and if you really like it, get more. Is there a spell to make things cheaper? Because that would be my favourite spell ever.

Anyhoo, there are many other drinks and snacks for you to take on. Other drinks that await your sipping include Housed Iced Chocolates ($14) in five flavours and the Signature Mocktail Colovaria Cooler (S$12). And for your feasting, go forth and dish on the yummilicious desserts like the Chocolate Frog Mud Cake (S$12) reminiscent of Ron’s beloved chocolate frog snack, the Hogwarts House Surprise Buns (S$8), and the Forbidden Forest Cupcakes (S$12). Yummy awaits your tummy!

Ending Thoughts

Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience is an ode to our inner child. Those of us who grew up with Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Those of us who grew up with Gryffindor robes, wearing Harry’s iconic round glasses. Those of us who would secretly practise the swish-and-flick. Those of us who wanted to be Harry Potter. This is for us. 

Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience: Photo Opportunities
Haven’t we always wanted sick pictures of ourselves like this one, donned in a Hogwarts robe and a wand in hand?

But hear me out. As beautiful as the experience was, being a visual treat and a nostalgic walk through your childhood hero’s world, we were a little underwhelmed. We expected a little more. I wish there were more to do. It honestly just felt like a Harry Potter-themed walk in the park. A $44 walk in the park, to be precise. I wish we could cast more spells, see the more prominent characters of the series take the spotlight, and see more magic. I wish I could be blown away by what I saw.

Unfortunately, for the amount of hype generated for what Singapore imagined to be a life-changing lens into what the world of Harry Potter was like right here on our sunny shores, the actual event did not deliver. And that too, for S$44 on weekdays, with weekend tickets skyrocketing to as high as S$85! For comparison, an adult ticket to Universal Studios Singapore is S$88, and it comes with exhilarating roller coasters and thrilling shows that can take up an entire day. The Forbidden Forest experience will last about 45 to 60 minutes on average.

But could it be that we are desensitised to such sights, having incredible museums and similar experiences right here at our doorstep? Could it be that getting to see the most revolutionary installations so easily has made us complacent and unrealistically raised our expectations? I don’t know, but let this be a food for thought.

Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience: Photo Opportunities 2
Ah, magic!

Regardless, if you’re interested in and looking forward to this, get weekday tickets, take gorgeous photos and enjoy the vibes! And dress smartly! Remember that this is an outdoor trail, and you will be doing a lot of walking. Whether you show up as Harry Potter himself or a muggle, dress comfortably and be prepared for the walking that’s to come. We’re no strangers to the unpredictability of Singapore’s weather, so come prepared with a poncho or umbrella should some rainy showers rudely interrupt your evening. 

Anyhoo, Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience is yours to take on till 21 April 2024! Prepare those wrists to yield the wand, warm up your throats to cast those spells in your gutsiest voice possible and clear that phone storage to make room for the nostalgia that will invade your phone galleries. 

To enter or not to enter, that’s your call. If you dare to venture into those woods without the trusty Hagrid watching your back, the Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience’s gates are open for you…

Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience

Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience: Entrance
Come one, come all, for the Forbidden Forest beckons you forth.

🗓️Date: Till 21 April 2024
📍Location: Coastal Trail, Sentosa Island

  • From S$44 for adults and S$35 for children aged four to 12 years old (excluding booking fee)
  • From S$39 for students and seniors above 60
  • Deluxe Bundles are also available, which entail entry along with an exclusive tote bag containing a souvenir letter, light-up lanyard, and magnet. Price varies.

⏰Time: Slots starting from 7.30pm to 10.15pm

Get your tickets right now on the ticketing site, Fever. Check out all the information you need on the Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience’s official website. And the magic doesn’t stop; stay tuned to their Instagram and Facebook pages for more details!

Photos by Leo Chia of the DANAMIC Team.

Baani Kaur

Aspiring to achieve great heights like every human in the world, but till then, enjoy the most dramatic and sarcastic person you will ever read from.

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