The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood
I’ve been waiting a very long time to say this, so…Greetings from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™! Last September, my daughter began her journey into the world of HP and continued to devour each novel word-for-word at a record pace. It was a thrill for us to see her genuine excitement for the written word and hear her discuss detailed comparisons between the books and movies. So much of a thrill, that I pinky-swore promised the moment she was done with the series we’d head to theme park.
After reading Jon’s piece, See Universal Studios Hollywood in One Day, I had realized it’s been a really long time since the last time I visited the park, as in over a decade, so I was quickly becoming just as excited to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter as she was. The minute she finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I silently thanked J. K. Rowling and then immediately called the Hilton Honors line to book my room at Hilton Los Angeles / Universal City.
Tips for Visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
When you first arrive on the Red Carpet at Universal Studios Hollywood in the morning, you are going to want to hightail it directly to the land of Harry Potter. I must say, there is something so stunningly beautiful about watching the sun rising over Hogwarts Castle, and there is still a slight chill in the air as you wander through Hogsmeade’s snow-covered town. But have no fear should you visit on a day that resembles May Gray or June Gloom; dark skies also lend to the overall scenery and atmosphere.
Wizarding World is small enough to do the entire area in the morning, but it’s such a popular destination right now, it will take up much of your time at the park. As Jon mentioned, purchasing the Gate “A” Front of the Line passes are your best bet and worth the extra money. I highly recommend purchasing these passes once you get in the park and buying your tickets online before you arrive because the online tickets will get you into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter an hour early before the rest of the park opens.
You need a wand
I promise you this is not just a nifty little souvenir; it’s a really cool experience. Head over to Ollivander’s shop where your child will be fitted for a wand by one of Ollivander’s apprentices. This wand will allow your child to stop at different areas throughout Hogsmeade (in both Hollywood and Orlando) and cast their own magic spells. It’s a thrill to watch the sheer excitement across your child’s face when the spell works.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Once you enter the grounds of Hogwarts Castle and wait to board the 3D-HD roller coaster, Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey, you’ll feel as though you are on an official tour of Hogwarts Castle. See Professor Sprout’s room, the Great Hall with Professor Sprouts Mandrakes, and be greeted (or warned) by holograms of Harry, Ron and Hermione. However you simply have not lived until you’ve had your very own chance to play Quidditch and fight the Dark Lord. Buckle up and enjoy the ride because it’s so good.
Tip: This ride is a doozy for those prone to motion sickness. It is also dark and has some scary content which may not be suitable for younger riders. The other Harry Potter ride, Flight of the Hippogriff is fast and fun, but not scary and is considered a family-friendly roller coaster.
You have to. It’s a must. Just do it. Stand in line and order up the frosty beverage and smile. It even comes in frozen slushy form which is creamy, caramel deliciousness. Or if you are not a Butterbeer person, be sure to try the Pumpkin Juice and then there is always Gillywater. Oh, and you didn’t hear it from me, but they serve Boddingtons as well. Bottoms up!
Hogwarts Express and Platform 3/4
This is a favorite of mine since I am a “mamarazzi.” I love taking tons of photos. Upon entering the gates of Hogsmeade you are instantly greeted by the conductor of Hogwarts Express. It’s a fantastic photo-op and if you can even get your photo taken in the exact train car that Harry and friends used to film the movie.
Everything from Butterbeer fudge to magic wands to Quidditch uniforms can be purchased to bring home, but don’t worry, you don’t have to carry it around with you all day. Your purchases can be collected and stored up at the front Universal Studios Shop where you can pick up all of your goodies at the end of the day as you exit the theme park.
P.S.- Oh, and you didn’t hear it from me, but you know that dude, Voldemort? I double dog dare you to say his name to one of the WWOHP park staff.
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Armed with the latest issue of Vanity Fair, Chuck Taylors and a boarding pass, Nicole is on a perpetual mad dash quest to find the world’s best…