REMEMBER when you picked up a book and all that was required was a little bit of imagination for it to feel like it was coming to life.

If you're lucky they might turn it into a film but you'll never actually be able to feel the hot, smokey breath of a dragon on your neck or pop into Honeydukes to try a Chocolate Frog.

Until now.

The phenomenal success of JK Rowling's books has now been turned into an incredibly impressive 20-acre land at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure in Florida completely immersing visitors in the wonderful wizarding world of Harry Potter.

And from strolling through the shops along Diagon Alley in Universal Studios to sampling Butterbeer and sweet treats at Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure, it really is magic.

Aside from confused Americans attempting to decipher the British-themed pub menus ("What's a shepherd's pie?"), at the centre of each park are two incredible state-of-the-art rides.

The queue for Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts takes guests through the bank's grand marble lobby, where goblins are hard at work, before a mind-blowing 3D ride through Gringotts vaults chased by Voldemort.

While Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey sees passengers swoop so close to Hogwarts on a broomstick you worry you might knock off one of the roof tiles, before a game of quidditch is interrupted by the evil Dementors and a fire-breathing dragon.

The two parks are connected by the Hogwarts Express which transports you from Kings Cross Station, where they were even selling British brands Boddingtons and Golden Wonder crisps.

It's easy to lose hours wandering around both lands while also trying to work out what kind of wizardry makes it possible for passengers to disappear through the wall at platform 9 3/4.

But thanks to our Express passes, allowing us to skip the queues, we still had time to ride the two parks' jaw-dropping rollercoasters Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit and the Incredible Hulk Coaster.

With an accompanying soundtrack you can select before the ride starts, Rockit rises 17 stories before a head-spinning six loops all filmed for you to watch back when the ride is over.

Meanwhile Hulk spits you out at 67 miles per hour before turning you upside down through a breathtaking zero gravity roll.

There's plenty of fun to be had for younger theme park fans too with Shrek 4-D, the chance to meet an incredibly realistic Velociraptor in the Jurassic Park land or sample a Krusty burger or Lard Lad Doughnut in Springfield.

Overall this place is an absolute must for any thrill-seeking film fans.

Just go with this warning; once you've been to Universal Studios you won't be able to read a book or watch a film again without creating the accompanying ride in your head.

And let's face it, after whizzing through New York with a 3D Spider-Man and surviving being so close to a battle between King Kong and a T-Rex you can feel each blow - all other theme parks are going to fall pretty flat in comparison.

A one-day ticket allowing entry to both parks and ride on the Hogwarts Express is $155 per person.

Prices for the Express passes to skip the queues start at $54.99.