I’m proud to say that I’m a huge Harry Potter fan! I’ve read all the books at least ten times (stood in line the day they came out), watched the movies more times than I can remember and will take on any challenge on HP trivia. So naturally, when I heard that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was coming to Universal Studios Hollywood, I was speechless and almost in tears!
The world of Harry Potter that existed in books, movies and in my mind was coming to life and I would be able to go there and experience it. It felt like the first day of school the night before. I readied my Gryffindor robes and scarf, and wore my Hogwarts shirt. I had one of the best days ever and wanted to share my 10 favorite things about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
1. Hogwarts Express
The moment you step into Hogsmeade you’ll see the Hogwarts Express on the right. You can take a picture with the conductor and see the train up close. Fun fact: The luggage racks you’ll see were part of the original Harry Potter set.
2. Honeydukes + Zonko’s Joke Shop
They’re combined into one shop with awesome joke products that you’ve seen in the movies and read about in the books. There’s no shortage of Chocolate Frog’s and Every Flavor beans in the candy section. You’ll also find Pygmy Puffs if you’re looking for a cute toy.
3. The Three Broomsticks
Everyone has been raving about the food here and they’re absolutely right. There’a line outside and inside so be prepared to wait. The Fish and Chips were amazing and I also got Butterbeer and the Butterbeer Pot de Creme for dessert. Nope, I didn’t have enough Butterbeer!
This deserve it’s own mention because it was that good. I’ve been dreaming about what this would taste like and imagining it in my mind for a while. So when I took my first swig, I was so delighted. It’s non-alcoholic so everyone can drink it and tastes like a delicious butterscotch concoction.
5. Ollivander’s Wand Shop
You’ll wait in the line to go through the official experience where you’ll go in with a group where you’ll find a wizard. They’ll help you find a wand, or if you’re lucky, a wand will choose you. If you purchase an interactive wand, you’ll be able to go around the Wizarding World and perform spells at certain locations. Look for these marks on the ground.
6. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
You can’t miss towering Hogwarts when you step into Hogsmeade. You’ll enter when you ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. This 4D ride takes you on a 3D adventure with the characters as well as an action-packed experience flying through Hogwarts, encountering dementors and dragons, and more! But I think the best part was leading up to the ride where you get to see Dumbledore’s office, the Mirror of Erised, the Sorting Hat, and the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom where there are original props from the movies.
Side Note: If you have a front-of-the-line pass, you’ll miss a lot of this. So I recommend getting there early and going through the regular line and using your front-of-the-line pass for round 2.
7. Flight of the Hippogriff
This is the other ride and though it’s not really scary and more of a smaller roller coaster, it does give you amazing views of Hogwarts Castle and up close to Hagrid’s hut.
8. Group Performances
There’s a stage right next to Flight of the Hippogriff where they’ll have performances throughout the day. Don’t miss the a cappella group that performs popular songs that you’ll recognize from the movies. Also, you’ll see a Tri-Wizard party with students from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang Academy.
9. Owl Post
You can send actual mail from the Owl Post with a Hogsmeade stamp. You’ll also be able to buy souvenirs in here like Hedwig backpacks, notebooks, quills, robes and scarves and just about anything you can think of.
10. The Experience
It’s not just about the props and the rides, everything is very well thought-out. From hearing Moaning Myrtle in the girls’ bathroom, the way the staff engages in conversation, and even the musical score playing in random areas of the park, fans and non-fans alike will be truly amazed with the experience.
Here’s one more tip for you! Check if there’s early admission on the day that you’re going. If so, get there right when it opens! There will be fewer people and less of a wait for the rides. If you’re lucky you’ll be able to get lots of cool pictures without too many people in it.
And after you do everything there is to do, you’ll have plenty of time to go around the rest of the park (yup, there’s more besides the Wizarding World) and come back for lunch at The Three Broomsticks and do it all over again. I solemnly swear you’ll have the best time ever at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!